Call it a crisis of leadership.
The Wire: When I say there are spoilers included, I am not kidding. These aren’t just spoilers, these are SPOIL…ERRRS. SPOILERS! I take no responsibility for ruining anything for you…
Ok, now on to Season 3: I've kinda bullet pointed things as they happened. I'm a huge nerd like that. Here's what I've got so far (and I have two episodes in the season left to watch):
The theme song: I like this version much better than season 2. Interesting point: This version is performed by the Neville Brothers...after Hurricane Katrina, Art[hur] Neville and his family lived downstairs from Haley, Natalie & me in the apartment in Alara Brook. They used our internet - we found out when we saw that we were always sharing our iTunes with people. Before we knew who it was, we always wondered who the big Art Neville and the Meters fan was...and then thought it was hilarious when we found out it was him!
Prez is finally in the opening credits!
I feel lost in this first episode...like I came in on the second disc of the season or something.
Bunny and Dennis are certainly doomed.
There are too many frickin' people in this season and I can't keep straight who's with who. I do love that Santagelo is still around, though.
Oh Prez. :( Oh, oh Prez.
Mouzone is back! High five!
Okay...it's episode 8 and I'm into the season now. Stringer just told Avon how it was (and pushed him around and all that). I seriously hope Avon dies. Soon. I feel odd rooting for the drug dealer with the long-view.
Pulling back and showing Rawls in the gay bar was fantastic....I wonder if that'll lead to anything, or if that was an Easter Egg of sorts?
After Bunny "confessed" to the Commissioner and Rawls, I love this: Bunny uses the language "Here are some letters from people, ministers, citizens..." and then when the Commissioner is handing them over to the Mayor, he says "people, ministers, voters..." Fantastic writing!
I'm interested to see how this season is going to end, since it seems to really be focusing on political aspect of everything. I'm guessing that with only two episodes left, the whole Carcetti thing has to carry over to next season? Also, interesting that Carcetti kinda looks like a small Ed Burns...I looked it up to make sure it wasn't his brother or something.
What did y'all think of season three?
PS I was secretly devastated when I thought Poot had been shot :(. Also, I just watched the opened scene with the Omar - Mouzone stand off. INTENSE!
Reply from Andy:
Season 3 is pretty rough for Prez. I’m sorry, I know that’s hard on you. He should never leave the office. Ever!
-The very first time that Mouzone pulls his gun, I think he pulled it on Cheese, was so funny I almost fell off my couch. I backed it up and watched it about 5 times. He’s such a cool character. Mouzone + Omar = Explosive. Their “showdown” was straight out of the Old West.
-Bunny and Dennis are doomed, huh? Interesting.
-Do you remember Bunny from Season 2? In season 2, the writers realized they would be able to do at least 3 seasons, so they started planning ahead. He only appears for like 1 minute, cleaning up a crime scene, but it totally sets up his character and how he feels about what’s happening to Baltimore.
-When Stringer and Avon talked about who was “strong enough”, I was wetting my pants. I had no idea what was going to happen. That was so intense.
-Now do you understand how that KIA commercial with the hip-hop hamsters was inspired by THE WIRE? The street sign at the beginning of that commercial says “Hamsterdam”. Ahhhh...
-You’ve seen now the character Deacon who is a friend and adviser to Bunny Colvin? Here’s some WIRE homework for you. The actor who plays that role is named Melvin Williams. Google that name and see what you can find out about the actor. Trust me, it’s worth it!
-Biggest shock of the whole series to me was the moment we see Rawls in the gay bar. I’m not going to spoil what may or may not come after that, but it was one of those “wow” moments that make the series brilliant.
-Have you seen the “wake” scene as the police mourn a dead colleague? Landsman’s dialogue there is the height of prose.
-If you need to, don’t be afraid to slow down, or re-watch some episodes. Better to know who’s who than just plow through and miss some cool stuff. The cast continues to expand the entire time, and again, all the pieces matter.
-You’re starting to feel more love for Poot and Bodie, right? Stringer too. I think even Avon will grow on you more once you see Season 4 & 5. That’s the beauty of the series, to me. How could we ever like those guys after what they did to Wallace? Or D’Angelo? Or Brandon/Omar? They’re murdering, drug-dealing, criminals! But THE WIRE shows us their whole person, unlike almost any other show. Do we ever see anything on CSI or LAW & ORDER where we see the criminals grandfather like when Avon and D visit theirs? Or, like that scene in Season 1 when Herc and Carver storm Bodie’s grandma’s house? Do we ever see their world and what makes them like that, and all the potential for good they have that no one else seems to recognize? Most shows never show the real fear, humor, and soul of the people who are “criminals”.
Not to go too theological on you, but here’s a lesson I learned through THE WIRE: God sees a person’s whole world, whole life, whole person. We may just see one news story, or just have one interaction with a person on the street, and it’s hard for me to have compassion. God sees the whole story, and so he can have compassion even on the people we may consider “the worst” of society. God’s still just and righteous and hates the sin, but he loves the sinner. THE WIRE made that concept so much easier for me to understand.
-The actor who plays Sergeant Mello also has a cool story. His real name is... Jay Landsman. Here’s where it gets confusing. He was a real homicide detective that David Simon spent a year with when Simon was writing his first book “Homicide: A Yea on the Killing Streets” (which later became NBC’s HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS). Anyway, Landsman was the funniest detective in the squad, but also a really good cop. So, Simon named this totally vulgar character in THE WIRE after him, as a joke. Then the show takes off, and Simon has a chance to make the real Landsman an actor, but has to make him a different character. So, a lot of the humor, pretending to smoke weed and telling the cops, “Don’t’ get captured!”- that’s the real guy coming through. Fun trivia, I think.
-You know both actors who play McNulty and Stringer are actually British, and using fake accents for their WIRE characters, right?
-One of my favorite scenes in the whole series is in Season 3. It’s when Bunk has the meeting with Omar, and Bunk talks about growing up, and how the kids look at Omar, and Bunk almost makes Omar cry. No one messes with Omar like the Bunk did in that scene. Long live the Bunk!
-Did you know the actor who played Nicky last season is Live Schreiber's younger brother?
-Have you met Snoop yet? The girl who helps Marlo- the one who doesn’t seem to be speaking English, just mumbling? I love her.
-When I first watched Season 3, I was into it, but not as much as Season 1 or 2 until the very end. But after I had seen all 5 seasons, and watched them again, my opinion of Season 3 grew a ton! I can’t explain all of why without ruining what’s to come, but I’ll just say this: There’s an important shift going on in the story the writers are trying to tell. Their “world” is growing and shifting from the characters who inhabited “old school” Baltimore to the “new school”. It’s not easy, but to get the true picture of all that forms this world, these characters are so important. More than any season, I think 3 is more symbolic and thematic than plot-driven, which leads me to...
-Two major “stylistic” notes I can’t believe we haven’t talked about yet:
#1- In Season 1, what does the train represent? David Simon has talked before about how that was a major symbol, but Americans are taught that “Symbols appear I literature, not on TV.” So, most of us missed it. I know I did. But even looking back, I’m not sure what it symbolizes. I want to hear your opinion before I spout off. To my knowledge, Simon has never given a definitive answer.
#2- The first scene of each Season: To my knowledge no other show does this, but Simon says the first scene is written totally based on theme. That scene is supposed to introduce the Season’s theme, and that’s it. It doesn’t have to have any plot value. It’s just about theme. Season 3 is the most obvious to me, the idea of blowback and unintended consequences, thinking your solving problems but really you’re just moving or hiding them, etc. But the other “first scenes” are all brilliant when you see them through that lens. Ever heard of another show that does that?
All in the game, yo. All in the game.
Reply from me:
Jaw drops. Stringer. Noooooooooooooooooooooo!
Reply from Andy:
I KNOW! Can you believe it?
Reply from Emily:
Jen...you are moving fast through these!
(sorry I've been on vacation)
stringer...I may have cried a little.
It's so funny to get these emails and have Jennifer be so in to it. Then live with caitlin who is watching them, but with not so much gusto. It's SUCH a good show!
[Maybe this is where I started feeling guilty for watching them so fast...]
Reply from Andy:
All that you’ve seen so far, and now Season 4. That means you’re just starting what many consider their best season, and I certainly consider the most socially valuable season of TV drama ever. So, the good stuff is just beginning.
Wow...that one e-mail gave me a lot to process. I know one thing, I definitely paid more attention to the opening scene of season four! I am seriously into this...I only watch really one tv show at a time, though (I don't have cable or anything), so I justify my quick season watching by knowing that this is literally ALL I'm watching. Also, I am a maniac who HAS to know what happens next!
I actually took a class in college "Film as Fiction" where our professor led us in "reading" movies. It was pretty interesting.. I'm going to think more about the train tracks imagery. The fact that I can't remember actually seeing a train on the tracks would make me jump straight to a story like D's - the hope of doing the right thing and thinking you can change you life (get away), but not having the right tools (in his case, the support (like of his mom), in the literal sense, the train) to accomplish what you want.
Now that I think of it, there was one time that we saw the train, right? McNulty stood on the tracks in front of it until the last minute and stepped out of the path? Hmmm...If we went with the same idea as before, would that mean his own self/ego was in the way? He had the opportunity and tools to change, but didn't want to?
Finishing season three, I felt really unsatisfied, especially after the death of Stringer. I'm glad that, at least so far, season four seems to pick up pretty close to where three left off. I read up on Deacon and Mello, and that's really interesting. Also, I did know that Dominic West was British coming into it...not that I knew much about him, but I know my Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts movies, and he's been in them! There are a couple times where he raises his voice in season one where I could hear the accent, but he seems to have grown into it. I didn't know about Stringer until after season one, though...he's really amazing (was :(). That Baltimore accent is so hard - it's pretty easy to pick out the ones that are actually from there (like Deacon). It's that southern drawl with the weird northeastern clip in the o's...turns everything into an "ou" sound. Almost like someone born in South Carolina spent their elementary school years in Vancouver.