The Wire: Game Day   First Watch 
July 7, 2014 11:28 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The team begins to trace Avon Barksdale's money and find that through a variety of dummy companies, he's invested in a wide variety of businesses and properties. They also find that he's been making fairly large political contributions. Omar is continuing his vendetta and this time makes a deal that he hopes will let him get Avon himself. When the squad learn from the wire of another money drop, Carver and Herc are sent to intercept it. They succeed but are short $7,000 when they turn the cash in.
posted by desjardins (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love, love, the scene where Avon accosts the ref.

Everything about the basketball game is carried out according to an elaborate set of rules, and rules about the rules. There's the basketball game itself, where the rules are clear. Then there's a whole set of things that are sort of against the rules, but in a "rules are made to be broken" kind of way. There's always a little more physical contact than is allowed by a strict reading of the rules of basketball. It's ok to pay big money to bring ringers (even though Prop Joe and Avon give each other hell about it). The ref misses a foul at the end of the game, that's not supposed to happen but... it's part of the game. Then Avon gets up and starts yelling at the ref. He's angry that the game didn't play out according to the rules... but getting angry at the ref is also part of the game.

Suddenly the ref doesn't know what game he's playing. The ref is supposed to stand his ground no matter how bad the call, but he doesn't want to get shot, so he stammers, offers to put time back on the clock. This is the thing that sends Avon over the top---it just isn't supposed to happen. So Avon has to play both sides of the argument: he tells the ref there are no do-overs, and instructs him to walk away. That's the way altercations with the ref are supposed to go.

Also, is Bubs pulling out his beard hairs? Damn. That's no joke.
posted by ngc4486 at 4:17 PM on July 7, 2014 [5 favorites]

Avon is not exactly the most quotable character on the series, but that scene, I love it. "You talking about a do-over baby?" It's nice to see him out of the back room, getting into it courtside and giving Daniels the slip. With Stringer doing so much of the heavy lifting it's easy to forget Avon is the man. I mean, yeah, I get it, he's the boss, the whole Goodfellas "Paulie didn't have to move for anybody" thing, but it's fun seeing Avon up in the mix.

McNulty all high and mighty over the boys for listening to the phone sex, but no compunction about falsifying records later that day when nobody's on the rooftop. Typical. "You gotta justify that," is the line, so I suppose he feels justified and that's that.

Whatever corruption is in Daniels' past he's obviously determined not to let it happen again. And Lester continues to be hero of the squad, or my hero anyways, with the work on the paper trail, helping Kima turn Shardene, and showing a willingness to take that charmingly paternal tone of his even with Daniels when necessary.
posted by Lorin at 8:49 AM on July 8, 2014

Omar really puts Avon in a pickle. Avon's totally right that he's taking a big hit by not doing anything about Omar, but Stringer's convinced it's worth the wait if they really want to 'get him'. I think it's fascinating that they pick up on the "Robin Hood shit" where Omar gets everyone except the people he's robbing on his side by handing out free drugs. It's a good play to hang back on Omar when operating under the assumption that he's only working when needed, but it's a deadly choice if he's hunting a vendetta.

D's a fucking moron, goddammit. He wants to help Wallace get out of the game, even gives him some dough and a pretty convincing line about 'starting back up at high school and winding up at Harvard,' but all that comes only after razzing the kid about being held back several years. The good nature occasionally shining through D'Angelo (and many of the other young hoods on this show) is often as not blighted by the bad nurturing he's got from his family and 'hood. Wallace doesn't have any more brainspace or emotional reserve for joking, he's all wound up in his own head, so the throwaway joke from D stings. He's still feeling that sting while D's already moved past the usual conversation-opening banter and on to the serious stuff he's there to really talk about.

Never caught onto this before, but when Bubs asks his sister for a place to clean up there's thunder rumbling during the whole conversation and the wind has picked up by the time she gives him the key. Shelter from the storm. He's down there jonesing when those beard hairs come out. Ouch. Also just picked up that he's got himself a key to go on the token he took at the Meeting for his 'sincere desire to live': a key chain. That's what he's rattling in his hand while he's tearing his beard out.

The Game
Herc: "Maybe we won." LOL
And woah Carver outs himself to Bodie as an East-sider while they're "on break."
Proposition Joe is illiterate. That's a sharp bob Avon throws during the game, "That's a fake clipboard man, you can't even read a playbook! Be real!"
Where'd Daniels get that picture of Avon boxing?
"THAT IS NOT HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED. You gon let jus any ol niggah get up in yo face? You da ref!" An interesting conflation with 'The Game', coming from Avon. Playing 'The Game' you need a different set of rules, and Avon isn't just any old, uh, guy when he's up in your face. But it's another story when it's "over a ball," as Prop Joe says and as the ref learns.
The song Avon is listening to when he makes the tail is excellent: Michael Franti & Spearhead - Rock the Nation
(Sorry, there are a lot of lyrics but they're worth the read.)
We livin' in a mean time and an aggressive time
A painful time, a time where cynicism rots the vine
In a time where violence blocks the summer shine

Lifetimes, go by in a flash
In search for love, in search for cash
Everybody wanna be some fat tycoon
Everybody wanna be on a tropic honeymoon
Nobody wanna sing a little bit out of tune
Or be the backbone of a rebel platoon

It's too soon to step out of line
You might get laughed at, you might get fined
But do you feel me when I say I feel pain everyday
When I see the way my friends gotta slave
And never get ahead of bills they gotta pay
No way no way

Some make a living doing killing Colombian penicillin
Some are willing to play the villain, they just chillin'
To pass the time, pass the information or pass the wine

Pass the buck or pass the baton
But you can't pass the police or the pentagon
The I.R.S. or the upper echelon
I think it's time to make a move on the contradiction

Bom-bom, rock the nation
Take over television and radio station
Bom-bom, the truth shall come
Give the corporation some complication

Bom-bom, rock the nation
Take over television and radio station
Bom-bom, the truth shall come
Give the corporation some complication

This is the dawning of our time, I say it one more time
To emphasize the meaning of my rhyme
To rise above all the dirt and grime
Add the right spice at the right time

Fuck the constitution
Are we part of the solution or are we part of the pollution
Sittin' by and wonderin' why
Things ain't the way we like to find them to be, to be

For you and for me
The people over there and the ones in between
Check our habitation are we a peace lovin' nation
Peace lovin' nation

I have a reasonable doubt, I think I'll just spell it out
There's no need to scream or to shout
The N.R.A. just bought a man's soul
Then he jumps up and shouts gun control

The government says that killin's a sin
Unless you kill a murderer with a lethal syringe
So I ask again "Are we peace lover's then
Peace lover's then?"

Some of them slang guns when they six years old
Some of them end up in some six foot hole
This whole damn place seems to lost control
So I raise my voice before I lose my soul

Bom-bom, rock the nation
Take over television and radio station
Bom-bom the truth shall come
Give the corporation some complication

Bom-bom, rock the nation
Take over television and radio station
Bom-bom the truth shall come
Give the corporation some complication

Radio rock the mic

This is the way I'll express my feelings
Vibe revealed and revolved, spinnin' on a record, y'all
Try to confiscate take what I communicate with
It's ancient, gift of the lip steady creating

Activating passion vocal vibrations to the blind plus the seeing
Human doesn't mean just being
Be coming, don't believe it, just belife it
Belongings or beloved, rehearse it or recite it

While shining drop your guns and move your tongues
Battle motivation in no time lyrics come
Sometimes fun, others run their mouth or away
My mind comes beaming like an early sunray

One day we'll get the picture and all combine
Less the talking 'bout mines is mine and become one mind
Every piece of the puzzle has its place
To build the piece of the puzzle called the human race

Taking it long enough we crush the formal journalistic
Dyslexic critters talk backwards to rap words
I'm sure raising my hands with questions and demands
Statements and a plan with a map of the land

Bom-bom, rock the nation
Take over television and radio station
Bom-bom the truth shall come
Give the corporation some complication

Bom-bom, rock the nation
Take over television and radio station
Bom-bom the truth shall come
Give the corporation some complication, y'all
posted by carsonb at 11:30 AM on July 8, 2014

Where'd Daniels get that picture of Avon boxing?

Freamon got it from his old boxing gym. I forgot how he figured out that Avon was a boxer in the first place.
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on July 8, 2014

Somebody mentioned he'd participated in Golden Gloves, I forget who
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:35 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

(Little thing: Avon didn't say Prop Joe was illiterate, he said he can't read a playbook.)
posted by box at 12:54 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, but the implication was... and the look on Joe's face after he said it...
posted by carsonb at 2:02 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

it's fun seeing Avon up in the mix.

It is! Especially when he actually gets IN THE MIX when Omar pays him a visit. Because all of a sudden he's nothing but a soft target for some hard bullets. For as hard as Avon is on the court, and up in his office, when it's out on the corner he's just as shit-scared as everyone else with half a brain in the same situation.

(Need to remind myself to come back to this idea of who Avon really is and how he got to be that as we get closer to the end of the season...)

Gotta wonder at Omar's choice of weapon when he goes to hit Avon. Up to now he's known for his big ol' shotgun. Had he used his signature firearm on Avon, Omar could have really fucked up the police investigation. But that pistol and Wee Bey's excellent timing got Avon off. Lucky bastard.
posted by carsonb at 2:39 PM on July 8, 2014

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