Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The Wire, episode 60: "-30-" ('...the life of kings.' - H.L. Mencken)
Shockingly, I don't have much to say. Not in a speechless way, but in a I just don't have that many thoughts about it kind of way. I discovered "The Wire" in the summer of 2006, and between then and now, it arguably replaced the game of basketball as my most favoritest thing, which is really saying something. To borrow a quote from Michael Jordan and morph it so that it works for me, "The Wire" was my wife. It demanded loyalty and responsibility, and it gave me back fulfillment and peace." Yet now that it's over, I'm just over it. I don't feel sad. It was a great show, the best I've ever watched and the best ever aired on American television. But I'm only writing about it this final time because I'm ready to close that chapter of my life and move on. "The Wire" helped me cope with the brief mediocrity of the Lakers, and the Omar obituary put this blog on the map. And yet I sit here writing this rough draft, and I have no real emotions. "The Wire" deserved better from me, but as Snoop and Bill Munny have taught us, "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
Anyways, no matter how many different storylines they had going at once (and there were always plenty) - the street was invariably the most interesting one. A few brief notes on that aspect from E60:
- The scene where Michael robs Vinson at the rim shop may have been the hokiest in "Wire" history - Mike's partner had deer-in-the-headlight-is and Vinson was on auto-pilot - but overall, I guess it worked. Mike and Omar share a few obvious traits: independence, intelligence, skill and, as far as killers go, a heightened, obligated moral sense. It also served, along with Dukie's tumble into a life of homelessness and addiction and Sydnor's going outside of the chain of command, to bring home one of the show's final points: the faces and names change, but the positions stay occupied.
"The cyclical manner of the institutional prerogative was going to be asserted," said David Simon in a recent interview.
- "Ain't no back in the day, nigga. Ain't no nostalgia to this shit here. It's just the game, and the street, and what happen here today." - Cheese
- The odds of Marlo staying retired from the street and becoming a legit businessman are highly anorexic. He's just a gangsta, he bleeds red not green, the corner is his country, etc., and that's all there is to him. Sure, he could make millions building condos and owning copy shops and such, but like Jack Nicholson's character in "The Departed," it's not about the money and it never was. No way he changes his stripes. As he told Joe in rebuking the man's final Proposition (that he just disappear from the game, never to be heard from again), "Truth is, you wouldn't be able to change up any more than me."
- If I have one regret about this brilliant show, it's that we never got to see how Chris, who ate the bodies and took life with no parole so that his boss could walk free, ever became so loyal to Marlo. From the closing montage, we see that he is now Jessup-buddies with Wee-Bey, another fiercely loyal, unconscionable hitman who murdered first, asked questions never and then took the fall on behalf of the team. Except we know that Wee-Bey dropped out of school in the sixth grade and started slinging with Avon and Stringer; he grew up with them. What was the connection between Marlo and Chris? This we will never know.
And so it is. The connect is now shared and shared alike by the Co-Op, who will continue to move the dope that kept the MCU wiretapping, had City Hall juking stats, stole kids away from the classroom, and had the city's top newspaper oblivious to it all. It was all connected, and at the end of five seasons, it was all the same. "The seeds of the future are sown throughout Baltimore," the synopsis for the finale told us. Unfortunately, that future looks a lot like the present and past.
So long to "The Wire." Thanks for making me think long and hard about a television show.