Tell him that Omar says that Marlo is not a man for this city

I am officially two episodes away from the end of the fifth season of The Wire.

There are only two episodes of The Wire, in exsistence, that I haven't seen.

I'll miss it more than any other TV show I've ever watched. Even more than Buffy, Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, and Clarissa Explains it All combined.

The fifth season has been far, far too short, but the writers have done their best to wrap-up a show that has always flaunted its disdain for tying-up loose ends. The season's central story arc is shorter and less intricate than the other seasons' have been, but the absence of a new major police investigation (replaced this season by McNolte's serial killer) allows for the writers to make brief forays into the rich history of minor characters the show has introduced over the course of four seasons. One of my favorite examples of this occurs when Bunk ends up questioning an older, angry Randy Wagstaff, who has made clear progress toward ridding himself of his snitch label by adopting a confrontational, agressive persona. Between this season the fourth, Randy has become as unknowable and foreign to Bunk (and the audience) as every other hopper on the corners of Baltimore.

This short glimpse of a sad fade out is the farewell chosen for many of the series' peripheral characters, as we can also see in Nicky Sobotka's impotent protesting of Carcetti's pet project, the gentrification and demolition of Baltimore harbor's port system, and in Omar's casual murder of Savino, a former Barksdale muscle who switched loyalties to Marlo out of simple necessity and survival.

Two episodes shy of the finale, I can say that I fear for McNulty, who seems destined to prove one of the The Wire's more cynical codas ( that long-established social institutions will easily control most people, and ultimately destroy those who try to operate outside of them) correct. Like Stringer Bell, Bunny Colvin, and Prop Joe before him, McNulty's manipulation of the bureaucratic machine he operates within may prove to be his downfall. Stringer's attempts to reshape the Baltimore drug trade as a non-violent open market environment were undermined by his own moral failings, some of which lead to his assassination. McNulty's plan to redistribute the city's major crime budget with a fictionalized serial killer is similarly undermined by McNulty's own delusions of grandeur and deeply-buried insecurities about his own intelligence and worth to the department. While I don't see a shotgun blast to the chest in Jimmy's future, I'm not sure the likely alternative is much better.

Well, I'm off to watch #9, and then last night's Lost. Steve told me that it has been called one of the best episodes ever. Steve is capable of exaggeration, but I want to believe this too much to not get excited. I also want to watch 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days sometime this weekend, but I have a lot of general life stuff that I really need to take care of first.

Jeez. Real life. Always getting in the way of the really important things, no?


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