The Wire: Hamsterdam
December 16, 2014 2:29 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

"Why you got to go and fuck with the program?" -Fruit

Frustration mounts across the board as players try to change the game but find they can't move the pieces.

From the newbie recap on Hitfix
Four episodes into this season, this is what amounts for progress: Jimmy gets a phone number for Stringer phone number (as does the equally-clever Lester) that the man only seems to use for legitimate business, Bunny has the real estate for Hamsterdam but no occupants, Cutty has a job in the Barksdale crew he's not sure he wants, and Tommy Carcetti has announced a plan to run for mayor that everyone thinks is as foolish an idea as Bunny's plan to legalize drugs in his district.
posted by nubs (4 comments total)
I love the scene between Lester and McNulty - it's fantastic that someone finally says to Jimmy what needs to be said; equally great is that the moment McNulty is out the door, Lester turns to Prez and gets him going on the Stringer investigation. It's a wonderful, cathartic scene as some stuff gets aired and they both get to be right - McNulty does set fire to everything he touches, and the detail did lose sight of the money trail in the Barksdale investigation. And Kima's awkward body language as she watches her two mentors go at each other is perfect.

One thing I think the recap above misses - this is really the first time the detail catches wind of Marlo, but can't conceive of the fact that he might be a new player. He has to fit into their existing worldview, related somehow to Barksdale. "Game the same. Just got more fierce."

And the school scene is a nice tip of the hat towards season 4.
posted by nubs at 2:40 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

In a way, Carcetti being this morally pure white force to oppose the corrupt black mayor could be an issue, but of course we'll soon see that it's much easier to be morally pure when you don't have any actual power.

This is also marks McNulty and Pearlman's "relationship" coming to an end and the most positive relationship on the show starting (well, maybe Prez and his wife is a good relationship, but we hardly see it).

Yeah the Marlo thing is interesting, and underlies the need for good street knowledge, otherwise you can get completely the wrong impression.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:09 AM on December 17, 2014

Carcetti being this morally pure white force to oppose the corrupt black mayor could be an issue,

I don't think Carcetti has really been held up as all that morally pure to this point; he cheats on his wife, and seems to be doing what he is doing in part because he's a little bored and wants to get some attention. But we learn fast enough that Carcetti knows how to play the game, including getting into the mud.

Which is to say I don't think this was intended to be a black/white issue in terms of corrupt/uncorrupt, but a black/white issue in terms of the "race issue" in politics, which is just another component of the game.
posted by nubs at 1:10 PM on December 17, 2014

Fruit's quote rings through this whole season. Mild spoilers here, but look at what happens to people who "fuck with the program":

1. Bunny Colvin "legalizing" drugs in the Western.
2. Stringer Bell taking the game out of the game.
3. Jimmy McNulty disrupting the chemistry and power structure of the Major Crimes unit.

The only exception is Carcetti - the white man running for mayor in a black city. But why does Carcetti escape punishment for it? Or does he escape punishment? One could argue getting what he wants *is* the punishment.
posted by rocketman at 9:19 AM on December 19, 2014

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