Monday, February 18, 2008

Goodnight, Scammers

After working something big with no resources, the parties concerned on The Wire now are working nothing at all with all the resources possible. The theme here is about changing the story for an advantage, as nearly every main character gets away with some stretching of their respective truths and comes away with what they wanted. The episode is also the directorial debut for actor Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty,) and he takes full advantage of a fine Richard Price (Clockers, Color of Money) penned script.

For every story being told this week, each embellished the agreed upon story for that person's benefit, some in more obvious ways than others. McNutty's spoofed call into the monitored wire was the first, and featured West having a bit of fun with his attempt and quick abandon of a Bawlmer accent in season one. By giving the killer a voice, he puts the machines in motion and finds himself doling out authorized OT like a sugar daddy -- just don't call him 'Boss'! Even as his old partner Bunk is left behind doing real police work, McNulty can't help but feel somewhat justified.

Meanwhile the 'red ball' has similarly been unleashed at The Sun, and Scott's getting himself on the front page. His first person narrative bends the truth on an already large lie, and Gus can only shake his head as it gets published despite his protests. David Simon's vengeance against his old Sun enemies has never seemed so transparent.

Like Simon himself, Omar has gotten a little sloppy, judgement drunk on vengeance. Omar, formerly a sort of Robin Hood, now seems to be changing his own story here, by killing Savino and coming up on Michael's corner in the middle of the day. On the flip side, Clay Davis changes his story to become Robin Hood, himself. The silver-tongued senator uses race and geography to turn the charges against him into a rallying cry against poverty and racism. As Pearlman says to 'O-Bond-a': "they don't teach that in law school".

Finally, in one of the most touching scenes ever shown on The Wire, Kima changes the classic children's bedtime story into one that better fits what she sees outside her window:
Good night, moon. Good night, popos. Good night, fiends. Good night, hoppers. Good night, hustlers. Good night, scammers. Good night to everybody. Good night to one and all.
It's a scene that's lifted from Price's Clockers, making it the latest 'borrowed' scene from the much admired novel and movie script. Price isn't really cannibalizing himself as much as appeasing Simon's full admiration of his work on Clockers. Speaking of 'borrowing,' Richard Belzer's Detective Munch makes a small cameo here, making it the ninth series that the character has appeared on since first appearing on the Simon-penned series Homicide: Life on the Streets. The person Munch was based on, the real Jay Landsman, also appears in this same scene playing Lieutenant Dennis Mello, blowing my meta-fucking mind.

Playlist: The Wire - Episode 5.07
1. "Shake" - Sam Cooke - McNulty, Pearlman & Phelan in diner
2. ""The Ooh" Ahh Song - G.E.M. - Carver picks up Michael on his corner
3. "Dance Floor" - Zapp - Meets Bubbles at soup kitchen
4. "Down, Down" - Maya Azucena - Greggs assembles Ikea
5. "My Babe" - Little Walter - Haynes in cop bar
6. "I Told You So" - The Nighthawks - Haynes and Mello talk in bar
7. "On & On" - Erykah Badu - Greggs assembles Ikea again
8. "Ayo" - Bossman - Michael's corner gets an unexpected visitor
HBO's track and scene info

Previously: Rebel With an "Et Al" (Episode 5.06)

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