Marlo Stanfield is the busiest gangster on television right now. Loathsomely ambitious is the best way to describe him. In E-P-53, he goes to Joe with perhaps the best problem a person can have: He's got too much money. Needs help laundering it. Joe sets him up with a shady, Clay Davis-esque pastor and creates an account for him at a bank in the Antilles, $400,000 in the Stanfield name.
"How I even know it's there?" Marlo asks at Joe's front shop.
"You check it online, anytime you like," Joe says, but Marlo don't trust it if he can't hold touch it, so Joe sets him up with a passport to go check it out for himself. "Ain't easy civilizing this motherfucker," Joe quips to Slim.
He's also got a little gift for Vondas, briefcase full of cash, but the man rejects it. It's street money, dirty money, and Vondas doesn't like the way it smells, so young'n takes it to Joe to get it cleaned up. Marlo may have a lot of heart, he may have great instincts, he may be the perfect person to control the drug trade in a place like West Baltimore, but he's a pup when it comes to the finer points of being a full-fledged criminal. He's learning, though. Last season centered on education, but this year, Marlo's getting schooled.
Of course, there are still some things he can't be taught, such as letting matters rest. Despite Joe's advice to leave it be, Marlo remains hell-bent on achieving vengeance for Omar's last caper, and he tells Joe and Cheese to get word out to the other offended Co-Operators that he's putting 50 Big Ones on anyone close to The Terror. "His sister, his me-maw, some faggy he be with," Snoop explains in her own inimitable way. "All that shit count, you hear me?"
For his part, Joe isn't going to give up anything on Omar.
"Omar been gone," he tells Cheese. "Took a lot of bad history with him, too. Why in the hell would I want that motherfucker back?" Of course, there's a weak link in every operation, and every family, and in this case it's Cheese, who goes behind his uncle's back and tells Chris about some blind cat with a joint over on Collinton, eastside of the street. When Partlow cashes him out, there's no turning back.
Snoop steps into Butchie's bar to peep the scenario. Butchie and one of the guys he sent to aid Omar in jail last season are inside, as well as a third man (probably an employee), who dismisses Snoop as "a little girl." Five seconds later, the "little girl" has dislodged a bullet into his brain, Chris shoots Butchie's man in the leg, and two guns are drawn on a man who can't see (very courageous).
"Cash is in the register," he says.
"Fuck the register, old man," Snoop confirms. This ain't no robbery.
They tie Butchie up in the back of the joint and attempt to torture him into unveiling Omar's whereabouts, as the guy with the hole in his leg sits incapacitated. Snoop shoots Butchie twice in the kneecap, Chris smashes a beer bottle over his head, but he still won't give up his boy, so Partlow puts one in his head. Then he walks over to the survivor and tells him that when word gets back to the man, be sure that all of the gory details are included. On the way to the truck, Snoop points out that they still have nothing on Omar, and now he's going to be coming at them. Chris tells her that they're going to have to switch up; Marlo will have to move inside, and they'll have to live on the run. Snoop chastises the plan, but Chris quickly puts her in check.
"Marlo wants Omar," he says. "What else you need to know?"
At the close of the hour, Omar, in retirement with Renaldo in Puerto Rico, catches wind of Butch's death through his lover's cousin and a tear begins to roll down his suddenly angry face. The giant has been awakened.
Bug has a day off from school, so Mike takes he and Dukie on a little trip to Six Flags. In case anyone forgot, they're still kids, they still like to have fun, and these are the kinds of things kids do for leisure. When they return, however, Monk is waiting at Mike's corner, and he berates the boy for his daylong absence.
"Chris already heard about this shit," he says to Mike's chagrin. "Nice dolphin, nigga," he tells Duke for good measure, complimenting him on the stuffed animal he's holding under his arm. That single line is the greatest contribution Monk has made to this show. Add that to the long list of classic Wire quotes.
Elsewhere, McNulty continues his manipulation of dead vagrants. He contacts Alma Gutierrez of The Sun, but the story only makes the backpages of the paper. Bunk brings in Lester, hoping that maybe he can talk some sense into Jimmy since he can't seem to do it, but much to his chagrin, Lester instead gives Jimmy ideas on how to improve upon his plan. Lester suggests that they sensationalize the story, give the "killer" some kind of fucked up fantasy. "We need to give your killer a name," he says. "We need to kill again," Jimmy responds. He's got an ally in Lester, they both want Marlo; Carcetti's plan to supplant Burrell with Daniels hits print, and now Daniels and Marla worry that Burrell will air some of Cedric's dirty laundry in an effort to keep his job; Ashy Larry returns as Senator Davis' crooked driver and, after taking a peppering from Pearlman during a mock trial, he cries to his boss that they're going to jail. Clay goes to Carcetti and offers to help him in his move against Burrell in exchange for help with his impending grand jury trial, but he's being hung out to dry; Alma's story on last week's home invasion triple-murder gets only a small space of the front page; and The Sun is in the process of downsizing.
The tension builds.