Monday, February 25, 2008

The Assassination of Omar Little by the Coward Kenard

On the face of it, it seems like an unfitting end to the one character on The Wire who was bigger than real life. Shot from behind, unsuspecting, killed by the 11-year old miscreant Kenard. No build up, just buying cigs at a corner store... than pop and drop. But when you think about it, it's kind of fitting for Omar to go out, considering his character has always felt a bit like the romanticized outsider of the great West, ala Jesse James or Wild Bill Hickock. All were larger than life figures, who's reputation often shadowed their actuality. All, in turn, were similarly shot in the back of the head by lesser men -- men who were fascinated in and than disappointed by their subject.

Remember, it was Kenard last week who said, "that Omar? He's just a cripple, man." And Alan Sepinwall points out that early in season four, it's Kenard who play acts as Omar in a game of 'hoppers and thieves' with other 8-year olds. Omar is then, in a sense, killed by a product of his reputation. Omar was just a shadow of his former self, though, getting sloppy and heading down Season 5's slippery slope theme since breaking his code. He was limping and desperate -- not how we want to see our hero. One could argue that Kenard's cowardly shot was a mercy killing. Mad props for the visual foreshadow of showing Kenard getting ready to set fire to an alley cat when he sees Omar the first time. Not just the metaphor of Omar as alley cat, but revealing Kenard to be a sociopath in the making.

So what does Omar's death mean for our other slippery slopers, McNulty, Freamon, Templeton, Carcetti and Marlo? Since they're all embroiled in lies and deceit, and this is David Simon's world -- where you got to play the game to get ahead -- I had thought they'd all come out smelling like roses, but there's got to be more consequences for actions taken. And since Simon's taking aim at our favorites, someone better tell McNulty to watch his back.

So much else happened, but most of it seems to set up the last two episodes, so we'll table it for next week. Until then, I'm drinking to Omar - rest in peace, brother.

Playlist: The Wire - Episode 5.08
1. "Stay" - Lady D - Poot and Dukie in shoe store
2. "Every Booty (Get On Down)" - George Clinton - Dozerman and Truck check out rental car
3. "Let This As Nothing Happened" - Choi Suk Jun - Kenard takes out Omar in corner store
4. "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" - Lou Rawls - Bunk's ringtone in crime lab
5. "A Bay Bay" - Hurricane Chris - Chris and Snoop in SUV
6. "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover" - Coleman Hawkins - Freamon and Davis in bar
HBO's tracklisting and scene info

Previously: Goodnight Scammers (Episode 5.08)


Arjan said...


Good to see this blog. I also run a soundtracksblog, but it seems you post more often.
I also keep track of the music in The Wire. I only have trouble tracking stuff from before HBO put tracklistings on their site.
greetings from ,

Alan Page said...

this blog entry was fricking great, from the awesome title/literary reference to how you tied together kenard's entire history in the series.

i kind of think it's unlikely that a kid would get the drop on omar like that. would have been cooler for him to have died in a gunfight with snoop and chris (taking at least one, if not both, of them with him).
having the snoop/chris protege (forgot his name, but he looks like lil scrappy) take over omar's spot was genius.

Shawn Anderson said...

thanks for the kind words...

This wasn't the same Omar we knew and feared/loved. This was a broken down version of that 'romantic' anti-hero, so I thought it was believable that he'd have his guard down at that moment. He was larger than life, and it's in The Wire's nature to turn that notion on its ear.

The name you're looking for is Michael (Tristan Wilds -- who moved on to the rebooted 90210 - something I've yet to wrap my head around).

Lisa Tolliver said...

Good post, but it needs one tweak: Kenard was already a full blown sociopath.