Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Episode 5 - The Pager

First off, a quick apology for missing a day. I have had a few visitors in my apartment all this week, some less announced than others (Dave), but all were great guests and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, less time for wire watching/writing. Don't worry (all two of you), I'll be caught up today and this weekend.


Episode 5 - The Pager
In the opening scene, Avon grows increasingly paranoid about the police (or perhaps this is his daily M.O.). He even asks that a girlfriend's phone be removed after getting a phone call with no one on the line. Not without good reason as his nephew's pager gets cloned and tracked that day. Avon didn't rise to his position by being careless.

"...a little slow, a little late."-Avon Barksdale
Avon ruminates on the fragility of life, because he thinks that everyone is out to get him (and many are). Similar to Bubble's quote in the previous episode, the here today, gone tomorrow quality of the drug game come out in full force as Omar's crew both get killed in separate incidents.

"Seem like some shit just stay with you..."-D'Angelo Barksdale
"You got money, you get to be whatever you say."-Donette
This little interaction in an expensive Baltimore restaurant exposes how Dee feels illegitimate. It resonates with another scene from Season 4, but again shows that D'Angelo made from different cloth than his uncle. I think this gets at the importance of reputation in his world. On the street, people are immediately judged by their position and reputation. In this fancy restaurant you are judged by whether or not you can pay, as Donette points out.


This episode is called "The pager" because the device itself plays such an important role for the Barksdale organization and the police (especially in the final episodes). You could also consider Wallace the "pager" as he gets the crew of shooters to take care of Brandon.

Simon plays up the influence of surveillance and "big brother" in this episode (especially the final scene) more than in any previously. The clicking of the wire tap computers and the pay phones seems dehumanizing, as if the pagers themselves are killing Brandon (the viewer only sees numbers logged on computers, not the actual torture and murder of the kid). It's a pretty powerful scene for mostly including the beeps of technology punctuated by very short sentences and 12 second conversations. But at the end, we sense the slight sense of regret on the faces of Wallace and D'Angelo. Including Wee Bey's creepy clicking of handcuffs, it's an intensely human scene because they are about to snuff out a life. 'Tween Heaven and Here, indeed.

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