The Wire Episode 60: Series Finale (few spoilers)
The last 90 minutes of the 2nd greatest cop show ever seemed rushed, packing it all in with one quick glance backwards before it goes, which could describe the final montage with McNulty looking out over the Potomac and seeing the near future of many of the characters from the series. This episode could have been three separate episodes easily (could be a function of having three less episodes to work with than originally planned). I wanted more, like how and when did Dukie take his first hit of heroin and how and when did Michael decide to become a stick up kid? I suppose I wanted more in part because I’m not ready for The Wire to end.
I think it’s telling that a lot of the speculation about what would happen to some of these characters came to pass. I must have read 50 times that “Michael will be the next Omar.” Perhaps it was the same guy spreading the theory at 20 different BBS, I dunno. I suppose if Simon et. al. think that West Baltimore needs an amoral center, Michael’s your guy. Michael has no crew and only a rep as a stone cold killer to serve him so he’s a stick-up artist now.
The reason fans wanted Mike to become Omar is that these were two characters who, though violent criminals, seemed to consider the concept of justice well, and would act as our own instruments of revenge and take the “bad guys” out.
Considering the great pains the creators took to match temperaments between Michael and Cutty you’d think . . . or have hoped they’d have sent Mike off with a bit of hope. Not to be.Also, Tristan Wilds, what was up with that LL Cool J thing you were doing in your final scene, kid?
Everyone who predicted Cheese would get a hole in the head, give yourself a point.
Everyone who predicted Marlo would get a hole in the head, give yourself a point. Right, Marlo lives. But you recall from Levy’s deal with Rhonda, Marlo has to stay off the block and stay clean to stay out of jail. His final scene showed he cant comply.
Let’s not rehash or worry too much about who got away with it and who was unfairly punished, though, since we feel we know these characters so well, it’s our first instinct. I’m more interested in the big picture for the final season. In Ep 59 I suggested it was about how a really big lie can move a mountain, and the season proved that true. Look at all that came about because of McNulty’s moment of clarity, all those whose lives were affected for better or worse or push. In every death, promotion, or slap fight arose from the fake serial killings — save Prop Joe’s murder and Marlo’s hit on Omar’s people .
I’m sticking with the Iraq War analogy, especially given Bunk’s words that compared the serial killer lie to a war — really easy to get into but hard to get out of. Lives were lost, careers were made and destroyed and changed (for example, without the wire tap and arrests going down on Marlo the way they did, Mike wouldn’t have had to murk Snoop and so then Dukie wouldn’t be in the junkyard shooting heroin).
So I guess that makes McNulty George Bush. Except that, McNulty’s been shocked into seeing the error of his ways, that there is an “ends and means” problem, that you can’t use people as objects, pawns. Bush is still a bit surprised that the price of gas is rising. And, it seems that, like Dubya’s experience, those already in power continue to reap the rewards in any mess simply because they have the power to control their own destiny, even one whose destiny is ostensibly in the hands of “the people,” like Carcetti.
It all makes sense. This year journalism was introduced into the series as yet another organization culpable in the fall of Western Civilization, corrupted by money and corrupting of society. The press, Judith Miller in particular, is considered implicit in keeping the machinery of the Iraq War running by offering support of the bullshit.
However, though the Iraq stuff fits nicely I don’t find this season to be simply an indictment of the war.
I’ve noted the criticisms of the series, the non-stop drone from fellow journalistas about how bad the newsroom scenes are (the whining from the Baltimore Sun‘s critic and the guys at Slate before only unbearable, now at a fever pitch). Not to keep harping on the Iraq bit, but if someone approached you with a story claiming the government made up a reason to wage war on a nation a few years ago you’d claim that unbelievable, too. The bigger the lie the more they believe. It’s the willing suspension of disbelief that they mean to complain about I’m sure. I mean, I don’t see how McNulty’s fake serial killer is less believable than Bunny’s free drug zone.
The whining about The Wire actually began last season, the praise heaped on the series being directly proportional to the amount of bloodshed. Not making any accusations, just sayin . . .
Now that I’m just rambling it seems, I will try to finish my own well sourced article and call it a night.