Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Wire Season 5 Episode 3: McNulty and Marlo

I saw the third episode of this final season of The Wire as soon as it went On Demand, on HBO. That was Monday. And, once again, I was going to wait until after the regular HBO showing this Sunday to talk about it .... But, hey, here am I, once again, unable to resist posting a review of this superb episode ... So,


I titled this review McNulty and Marlo - not because the two have anything to do with each other in this episode, but because they both play major, parallel roles...

McNulty has picked up the pro-active make-things-happen and damn-the-consequences approach he played so well in the very first season of The Wire. It's good to see McNulty really on top of his game again.

This time, he's trying to make his colleagues and bosses think there's a serial killer loose in Baltimore - the only way McNulty can think of to keep the cops focused on Marlo and the drug business. The only person wise to what McNulty is doing - because he was there when McNulty started hatching this plan - is Bunk, who is none too happy about it.

In fact, Bunk, as he often does, has one of the best lines in the show - right up there in the entire series - urging McNulty to "think his weak shit through"... (Wendell Pierce as Bunk is just perfect in his delivery.) This in addition to reminding McNulty that they both have families to support...

But McNulty, of course, is not to be stopped. He does manage to get the struggling Baltimore Sun to print a story about a possible serial killer - but it gets buried. (There's all kinds of good stuff about the newspaper in this episode, too, with Clark Johnson's Gus Haynes and other paper staff.) In a great last scene in this thread, Bunk's hoping the level-headed Lester Freamon (Clarke Peters) will get McNulty to see the light, and back off ... and ... Freamon loves McNulty's plan! He just thinks McNulty hasn't gone far enough in making the story big enough to grab some media attention ... Not such weak shit at all ...

Meanwhile, Marlo has much less screen time, but is undergoing a very significant evolution. As Proposition Joe (well played by Robert F. Chew) puts it, Marlo's not easy to "civilize". But Marlo's beginning to get there, as he goes to a tropical island to get money that Prop Joe has expensively cleaned for Marlo. All in the gradual way Marlo is moving not only into Avon's but Stringer's role.

Many other excellent threads in this show, with Michael, Carcetti, Daniels, and more, in what is shaping up to be a really satisfying concluding season, right up there with the very first...

See also The Wire's Back! Review of Season 5 Episode 1 and Episode 2: The Great, Dangling Conversation ... 4. One Down ... 5. Media Chasing Their Own Tales and Tails ... 6. Superman Omar and Tall Stories ... 7. King of Diamonds ... 8. Two Down ... 9. Cold, Killer Sweetheart ... 10. The Wire Bows out Gracefully

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