The Wire: The Wire   First Watch 
June 20, 2014 6:52 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Brandon is found. Wallace is unsettled. The detail gets a wiretap running. Daniels clashes with Rawls.
posted by Bugbread (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
So, the scene w/D'Angelo getting dressed? Does that show that he feels like he never fits in, never belongs, that he's playing a part, etc., or does it show that he really likes clothes?
posted by box at 9:13 AM on June 20, 2014


In an earlier episode when Bodie brags he "clocks more than that in an hour," I wonder if that's just bluster, and if not, where does his money go? Question answered on that point for D'Angelo after seeing his closet. Nice to see there is something D enjoys after all: looking FINE. Other than the occasional bonus, do we even vaguely know how much he makes running the terrace crew?

Re: the cold open, this is around where I start having nightmares from watching too much. Not just the graphic violence, but the profound bleakness of Wallace's existence.

How great is Landsman at his most sycophantic with Rawls. Chain of command, Jimmy!
posted by Lorin at 11:22 AM on June 20, 2014


Also not to stir up the whole narco/knocko thing, but Wallace making the distinction here between knockos and rollies is why I've always taken the term literally. Maybe it's both. Knockos knock on doors / Narcos take doors, the Western District way.
posted by Lorin at 11:27 AM on June 20, 2014


do we even vaguely know how much he makes running the terrace crew?

No, but we know he's on a wage, not gettin' a percentage.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:54 AM on June 20, 2014


Yeah, Avon dangles 'points' in front of D' if he keeps the hot sales going in the courtyard. I thought it was fascinating how he explained the reward breakdown.

$500 to Wallace for making the call.
$500 to D'Angelo for relaying the message.
and was it
$500 each to Bird & Ouibey for the hit? (Was that it? Seems low to me, sheesh.)
posted by carsonb at 2:04 PM on June 20, 2014


the profound bleakness of Wallace's existence.

Kings and pawns.

And the king stay the king.
posted by nubs at 3:08 PM on June 20, 2014


Seems low to me, sheesh.

Likewise the bonus Stringer gives D in episode three. He counts out eight bills and the only denomination shown is a twenty? With fifty grand on the table, you can see why he's choked about being passed up for promotion.
posted by Lorin at 4:05 PM on June 20, 2014


$500 each to Bird & Ouibey for the hit? (Was that it? Seems low to me, sheesh.)

Yeah, but it's also sort of part of their job description too since they're the Barksdale muscle.

I mean, right, it's low. But they were getting paid for doing their jobs anyway.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:25 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Good communications is such a strong theme on this show. Wallace gets a huge payout (for him) for making a phone call and getting the ball rolling. The people he's reporting to pass that along chain of command, and shit gets done (which is to say, Brandon gets brutally murdered). Meanwhile McNulty has got nothing but problems for not following the chain of command, problems as direct as his direct supervisor screaming CHAIN OF COMMAND at him.

So following chain of command gets results for the folks at the top of that chain—Wallace's call was exactly what Avon was looking for regarding his Omar problem. And NOT following chain of command has got everyone and their father-in-law up in arms and frothing at the mouth on the police side of things.

McNulty's got heart, and everyone knows that he's an asshole and what his deal is, personally, so to speak. But D'Angelo doesn't have the slightest fucking clue that Wallace watches over a whole brood of young'uns—he says 'Go treat your girl to something nice, blow the whole wad.' Chain of command works for the system, not the people in the system. McNulty's disregard for that system (and his approach to policing in general) is much more personable and we (along with anyone else who isn't above him in a chain of command) like him that much more for it. Wallace might be better-able to look past the brutality his relatively innocent phone call resulted in if his superiors were able to at least pay him back for his service in a way that was more personable.

I'm mostly just bullshitting here, but finding these parallel themes between the drug gang and the police corps tickles my fancy.
posted by carsonb at 4:53 PM on June 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah, but it's also sort of part of their job description too since they're the Barksdale muscle.

That makes sense, and also they're basically just mopping up whatever was left of the initial price on Brandon/Omar's head that Avon had called.
posted by carsonb at 4:55 PM on June 20, 2014


Miscellaneous notes:

Two times this episode you hear an ice cream truck. Because of the recent-ish post on the blue about ice-cream trucks, and various commenters regurgitating urban legends about ice cream trucks selling drugs, I can't help but imagine that there's some rival drug operation selling stuff in Avon's backyard, right under his nose.

Ok, question time:

McNulty's business card, which he puts under Omar's windshield wiper, has all the official stuff printed on it, like his name, department, telephone number, etc. But he's also written "9-1-1" on it by hand. Why?
posted by Bugbread at 7:17 AM on June 22, 2014


Bugbread: "

Ok, question time:

McNulty's business card, which he puts under Omar's windshield wiper, has all the official stuff printed on it, like his name, department, telephone number, etc. But he's also written "9-1-1" on it by hand. Why?
"

I'm guessing it's code that to tell Omar that it's important to call him.
posted by fizzix at 7:21 AM on June 22, 2014


Yeah, I can see how it would be easy to look for extra meaning when a cop writes 9-1-1 on his business card for a snitch but I think in this case it was just McNulty needing to indicate that Omar should get in touch quickly, as soon as possible, stat.
posted by carsonb at 7:40 AM on June 22, 2014


Ah, ok, ASAP. That makes sense (and I feel stupid). I was thinking "911 means police, and it says everywhere on the card that he's police. Did he write it because he thought Omar was illiterate?" But "Emergency, ASAP" makes a heck of a lot more sense.
posted by Bugbread at 8:04 AM on June 22, 2014


So, the scene w/D'Angelo getting dressed? Does that show that he feels like he never fits in, never belongs, that he's playing a part, etc., or does it show that he really likes clothes?

Bit of both. I think D does take pleasure in what he wears, and it seems to be almost the only pleasure he ever gets in the life he leads. That said, perhaps the pleasure he is getting is picking exactly the right outfit to fit in. "This one will let me fit in. This one will let me belong."
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:53 AM on June 22, 2014


I dunno. I think it's there to counterbalance the impression that you might be getting at this point in the show. He doesn't seem to like the game very much, and the restaurant scene showed him not enjoying the money it brought, so the viewer might be thinking "Well, why is he even in the game?" The clothing scene (and the nice house in general) showed that he does like the money that the job brings.
posted by Bugbread at 3:20 PM on June 22, 2014


I guess you can read it that way. To me I've always thought that D is in the game because his family is heavily involved. That kind of pressure is likely to be highly selective. We know D isn't an idiot: at the very least he has a grasp of the rules of chess and is actually pretty good at managing the pit, but he simply lacks the ruthlessness that Stringer and Avon clearly have.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:43 AM on June 23, 2014


IIRC, this isn't the first time we've seen "911" used to mean "extremely urgent" rather than "police." My memory is fuzzy on the details (and we're only six episodes in? Sheesh, I'm getting old.), but I believe there was a scene in an earlier episode where someone in the Barksdale gang (maybe D'Angelo?) gets a page with the usual encoded number, immediately followed by a "911" page.

(Another fun page from a completely different show: in Millennium, Frank Black would get the page "2000" as an indication to call the Millennium Group.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:13 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also not to stir up the whole narco/knocko thing

I've noticed the odd pronunciation but never knew it was a thing. Can you point me somewhere else it's been discussed?
posted by scalefree at 7:50 AM on June 23, 2014


I always just thought "knocko" was an unsubtle pun and jab (and perverse point of pride amongst the actual police) at the lack of sophistication of most of the cops working the drug beat. They don't do real police work, they just jump out and knock heads.
posted by mzurer at 8:17 AM on June 23, 2014


IIRC, this isn't the first time we've seen "911" used to mean "extremely urgent" rather than "police."

I wanna say we saw it on the actual wire, or perhaps someone physically dialing a phone? According to a close personal friend, throwing a 911 page to your dope dealer was once a universally understood way to say "Get at me ASAP."

Can you point me somewhere else it's been discussed?

There was a discussion and some links regarding narco/knocko in the thread for episode two. Alen Sepinwall, in his recap of the second episode* pointed out "knocko" as a bad pronunciation by Dominic West and the discussion stemmed from that.

* link to the spoiler free "newbie" recap
posted by Lorin at 10:11 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


If I remember right, we see someone use a 911 page as part of the Brandon situation.
posted by box at 10:19 AM on June 23, 2014


You're on it. Wallace 911 pages Stringer.
posted by Lorin at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am so jealous of anyone watching this show for the first time. Oh! To think about the days that television wasn't ruined for me because this is the greatest and it sets the bar too high! To fall in love with Omar again!
posted by the_royal_we at 9:30 PM on June 23, 2014


Best Line: "This, this is the job".

I admit I waited a few days to watch this to kind of prepare myself; it is a pretty disturbing episode.

250-300 murders a year! Baltimore has six times population and 50-100x the murders of my town.

D's wardrobe also places him firmly in the middle management part of the drug organisation. He dresses well and lives well in a good part of town because of that. I found his choice to wear at least like new if not brand new work boots an interesting choice. It can take weeks for a new pair of boots to get comfortable. Making a choice to wear new boots all the time would be like choosing to wear 5" heels or some other masochistic footwear.

Another example of the dysfunctionality of the BPD: both crime lab units are investigating the theft of lawn furniture instead of murders.

Anyone know if it is common for criminal attorneys to do pro-bono work for lower members of criminal organisations?

Lester starts building the big case starting with conspiracy.

Daniels starts cleaning up his crew starting with Polk.

D is taking care of his crew by not reporting thefts up the chain. Good for that local crew but probably bad from a big picture sense.
posted by Mitheral at 11:14 PM on August 3, 2014


IIRC, this isn't the first time we've seen "911" used to mean "extremely urgent" rather than "police."

Am I just old? This was super common back in the pager days.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:38 AM on January 8, 2015


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