Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Ain't you the lil' king of diamonds?": The Wire

(Posting might be even more sporadic than usual around here over the next few days/weeks, as I deal with some personal things. -- ed.)

OK, first of all, I watched next week's episode already, and, as always, wanted to wait until it aired, because I don't trust myself not to spoil you on some things, though I'm certainly going to try. Suffice it to say that with the series in its home stretch, it's becoming harder and harder to write about individual episodes of the show instead of the narrative momentum that has us rolling downhill to the end. I don't think there's been a season of The Wire that feels this sleek and speedy, making room for all of the little Wire touches that make the show so great but still flying along like a rocket in a narrative sense. I know that some are complaining that this momentum is robbing the show of its realism, but I think that David Simon and his writers have made up for any lack of realism in spades with powerful moments for characters we've known for years, coupled with scabrously black humor.

But please, please, please don't spoil yourself on next week. It's one of the best episodes of the series' run (coming on top of this one, which was up there too), and there are surprises in it that are best left unspoiled.

Now, I can hear you all running off to find out what happens. . .

Let's take an abbreviated look at episode seven while I have a few minutes to spare.

In a season that's been sort of atypically loud for the show, Took was a quiet episode, sort of the brief moment of calm you get around episode 10 in a normal season of The Wire. This was wrapped up nicely with that final moment where Kima, holding her son in her arms, wished the ghetto an almost wistful good night (perhaps unusual for this series but still very moving). The episode seemed to slow down most of the storylines, not to a crawl, but to a point where they leaned against the wall and caught a bit of breath (and, again, knowing what happens, they needed it).

After the interesting scenes where Templeton talked to the PTSD homeless person in recent episodes, the tunnel vision scenes where he AGAIN lapped up the attention of everyone and the editors were happy to let him do so sort of took the journalism story slightly off track again, but I get what Simon is going for. The scene where McNulty faked being the serial killer was amusing, and the scene where Gus sat down and talked with the new reporter about how to get stories was beautifully written and one of the finer summations of the show's themes that I've seen in a while.

That'll have to do for now, as other obligations are calling. I'll probably be able to do some jawing in the comments, so leave your more detailed thoughts, and I'll see what I have to say.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I feel like I can't leave a specific comment for this episode because I watched next week's already, and that one is all I can think about now. So, general thoughts on the season instead: I am well aware of the speediness of this season, but it's not bothering me too much. At first I felt like too many things were happening in an episode but once I let go of my expectations of what a Wire episode was supposed to feel like I found myself really enjoying the pace most of the time.

And...that's all I feel I can say without talking about something I'm not supposed to. Darn.