Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wire Finale

Watching the last episode of season five (and the series), what do I expect?

A montage? No, not really in line with the rest of the series.

How will the series play out? Still trying to figure out what happened to Omar (and the switching of the body tags), will Marlo get got, what happens to Avon. Will Templeton get found out or win the pulitzer, does McNulty come to terms with himself (no), will he get found out and fired (yes). Can Kima live with her decision? What happens to the rest? Does the scandal go public? Will the Sun comply with any coverup? Does Gus quit? Get fired?

Bill Simmons and Jason Whitlock also spoke about the series (and last episode) on Simmons' latest podcast. Even though they are both sportswriters, there were a couple of interesting points, notably Whitlock's introspective comment of the cycle of the street (not his exact terminology but nonetheless). His premise starts with someone watching the show, who has no idea of what the street is like, asking questions like "How did these people get to be this way". And The Wire, by virtue of his story arcs that include kids (notably season 4), tells stories that show not only specific events and how they shape people's lives but more importantly it shows how self-sustaining the 'cycle of the street' is.


My roommate and I watched the finale last night. It wasn't quite as good as the last episode but covered a ton of ground and tied up a lot of loose ends. I was wrong about a couple of points (no montage? Perish the thought!), right about a couple of others, and simultaneously happy and annoyed how things turned out. I was annoyed because everything turned out just a little too well for some (Carcetti, Templeton, and Rawls), and not well enough for others (what happened to Kima?). On the other hand, I was happy that Daniels didn't take the commissioner's job, that Marlo had to get down and dirty in the street, and that they didn't shy away from Duquan's descent (more on that later). For some strange reason my roommate and I were a little too excited that Michael is the new Omar - speaking of, we never did find out about the switched body tag.

Is it just me or is Duquan the most tragic character on the show? He's already living on the street and then he burns the only the bridge he has so that he can buy dope to get high. He has a sweet disposition, a way with kids, and is smart and computer savvy. I think that's what Simon was trying to say about the street - it does not discriminate, it is harsh, and once you're there getting out is nearly impossible.

To me that's the biggest shame of all: unchecked, the cycle feeds on itself. With the current social system, the cycle feeds on itself. With corrupt government systems, the cycle feeds on itself. While there are many ways of dealing with poverty in our culture, it seems there are very few good ways. Even those good ways have a high chance of being abused and in turn feeding the cycle. While the show did have many personal stories of redemption (notably Bubbles) it was deservedly harsh on the systems that have failed so many.

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