The Wire 4.12-4.13

4.12 That’s Got His Own

The Wire isn’t the kind of show to pull a bait and switch or a misdirect, so it’s surprising that this episode starts out with one. But in true The Wire fashion, when it does do one, it’s excellent. Michael being chased by Chris and Snoot turns out to actually be a training run. While Michael gets a taste for the game, Namond reaches the point of being sick of it. He’s not his father.

Meanwhile, Bunk gets his body when he and Lester finally unravel the mystery of Marlo and the bodies. They break into one of the vacants where Chris and Snoot have been stuffing the bodies for months. Lester is told not to hunt the bodies because it will screw with the stats, but Daniels sells the operation to Carcetti as a way to pin the bodies on Royce’s administration. Daniels is finally getting his own taste of the game.

Randy’s house is fire-bombed by some kids and his foster mom ends up in critical condition. Carver promises to protect the kid, but he’s failed him. It’s a moment that asks if the system can really protect these kids. The answer: never as much as it should.

The structure of this episode is strange this late in the season. All these arcs are at a midpoint. Major crimes is starting back up, Omar is beginning a war against Marlo, and Michael is getting into the game. These are springboards into final acts, but there’s no way the next episode is going to bring a conclusion to everything this season.

4.13 Final Grades

Carcetti has to face the hard choice: does he do what benefits people the most, but sacrifice his political viability or take the hit and hope that he can do more good later in the game when he moves up the political pyramid? Here we see that even a politician with good intentions can get wrapped up in the game. Carcetti is facing the practical problems of delivering on promises while also trying to campaign. The constraints on both ends are tying him down.

It’s a reminder that people change. Michael is a soldier now and he seems to be doing it for his brother, Bug. Bubbles goes back to rehab and seems to really have hit rock bottom this time, which might be where he needs to be. McNulty decides to join major crimes and he thinks he can do it without falling back into his dark self.

Amid a lot of broken systems and broken people, The Wire gleams with hopeful moments and I think this episode is a wonderful example of that. For instance, in this episode Bubbles confesses to accidentally killing his boy, Sherrod. He tries to hang himself after confessing and Jay tells the detective working the case to drop the charges against Bubbles. This is after Jay whines about the deluge of red facing the department with tons of unsolved cases piling up by the day. Even amid the crappiness, there’s the potential for human empathy and mercy.

Likewise, when Bodie blows up when they unearth his boy Slim Charles (Tyrell Baker) from one of the vacants, McNulty shows the kid some mercy instead of letting him stay in a cell after roughing up a cop car. And Bunny decides to adopt Namond, imploring with Wee-Bey, the boy’s father, saying he sees great potential in a kid who no one else will believe in. It’s the image the season ultimately ends on, one where Namond is given a better life.

© 2014 James Blake Ewing