The Wire: The Cost   First Watch 
July 12, 2014 12:40 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

With Wallace in custody, McNulty and Daniels try to figure out what to do with him in the months before he testifies. Sydnor and Carver track down one of Barksdale's stash houses, and Prez shows off his 'gift for the paper trail.'

(Above from Amazon) Other things:

- The trouble of having a babymama and a girlfriend
- The trouble of having a clean informant
- Stash house
- Prez on the street
- Orlando talking out his ass
- Buy and bust. BUY AND BUST!
- The trouble of having a family and a job

Jumping in here, it's been 5 days! Sorry if I'm landing on someone's toes.
posted by carsonb (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The drug cops right outside Baltimore have never heard of Avon. Reminder of how small his kingdom is.

Signal 13. The cops all go to Kima's aid. No one helps Orlando. Going to assume his head was in a dozen different pieces or something. Poor guy can't catch a break.

So much for Bubble's sobriety. He's not going to take the news well. The scene with Kima and Bubbles was touching, showing she cares about him as more than just a CI. Kima and Jimmy are both spending a lot of their own money as part of their job.
posted by riruro at 1:07 PM on July 13, 2014

Gotta love Bubbles in this episode. He demonstrates how hard it is to get clean even when you've hit rock bottom. He's spent the last few years burning all his bridges so even his sister barely trusts him, forcing him to hang out on the streets full of addicts and temptation.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:14 AM on July 14, 2014

Oh man, Bubs. You take the drugs out of drug culture, and you've still got a whole culture to deal with. Without the haze of drugs to view the world through, it's that much more apparent to him how he doesn't fit into any other kind of culture. He notices the normalcy all around him, and its stark contrast to his own situation. He doesn't fit into non-drug culture. But then he clearly doesn't recognize the hood who says 'What up, Bubs?' With a head full of smack, don't matter who says 'what up,' it just warrants a 'what up' back. But clear-headed even such a simple transaction leaves Bubs shaking his head. He doesn't fit into drug culture anymore either.

Kicking an addiction isn't just quitting drugs, it's finding a way to survive in a whole different world. Which is, of course, why Waylon wants him to go to meetings so bad. Quitting is the easy part. Living in the world is the hard part.

The drug cops right outside Baltimore have never heard of Avon.

Remember that nobody at Baltimore PD knew his name either until recently, not even Kima and Daniels over in Narcotics. It was McNulty in Homicide who brought his name into the mix and started this whole deal. Sure, there's a lot going on in the big city and Avon's pool is relatively small compared to everything that's going on in a happenin state like Maryland, but it's not tiny and it's certainly not as walled-in as you might think. He's dropping thousands of dollars to politicians on the regular, he's in real estate and various businesses, his operation is large enough to keep itself going without his name on anything.

That's the tricky part, and why it's no surprise Maryland State PD doesn't know the Barksdale name. Avon (and Stringer) has kept his name off of EVERYTHING. Nobody is supposed to know he's in charge, except his direct reports.

Which makes for an interesting problem for Avon, because if his name isn't on the mix he maintains control just by his word. Stringer, who's the one actually pulling...strings... is positioned nicely to take over should anything happen to the kingpin. You can almost see the greedy gleam in his eye when he tells Avon to hand over his pager and informs him that he won't be handling any drugs or cash at all any more. Official Figurehead Status.
posted by carsonb at 10:59 AM on July 14, 2014 [6 favorites]

No one helps Orlando.

You mentioned this in the context of the murder at the end on the show, but pretty much every single time in this show that he appears, "No one helps Orlando." I can see why. He starts this show in about as plum a position as you can get in 'The Game'. (I guess that would be just outside The Game, without being 'courtside'.) He doesn't have to do anything illegal, he gets to sling liquor and boss around pretty girls all day, and it's literally all set up for him. As Avon told him, his only job is to keep his name clean. That's it.

When someone's got it so obviously easy, it's just as easy to let him twist in the wind when it turns south. Especially when he's the one huffing and puffing so hard.

Random observations:
Prop Joe wears orthotics.
"Sheeeeeeeit." - Avon Barksdale!

[Bubs] spent the last few years burning all his bridges so even his sister barely trusts him, forcing him to hang out on the streets full of addicts and temptation.

When Kima asks him if his clean streak will stick he readily admits, "Who knows?" Bubs totally recognizes that his addiction is more powerful than his grip on reality at any given time. He knows full well that he's standing there in the middle of his Kima bridge, asking for a few hundred, holding a lit match. But there's no where else to go.
posted by carsonb at 11:23 AM on July 14, 2014

OK last one (for now):

"And then he dropped the bracelets" - Kima Griggs

I forgot to include that in the post, it's the quote the episode leads with. Might have been a subconsciously intentional omission however, since I really don't like her story. Probably very much the same way Kima's girlfriend doesn't like it.

This episode aired over a decade ago now, and I think it's the first time we get some full-on making out between Kima and her girl. I recall that being pretty risque back then. Funny (actually, pretty great) how it's no thing at all when I watch it now.
posted by carsonb at 11:27 AM on July 14, 2014

I'm rewatching, and this was the first episode that I was, like, 'geez, I kinda wanna skip this one.' We see Kima about as happy as we've seen her, and then... yeah.
posted by box at 7:30 PM on July 14, 2014

I know we're first-watching this series, so I want to be careful here. Also, honestly I can't remember the answer to this question anyway so it's unlikely to be anything other than unintentionally spoilery....

Anyway, Burrell pushed hard for the Buy/Bust, insisted on it when everyone else (er, Daniels) wanted to go another route, and now one of his detectives is down. Does that come back on him?

I bet not.
posted by carsonb at 9:07 PM on July 14, 2014

Bubbles being "stuck" in his spot in more ways than just addiction seems to be a core theme.

The orange couch the guys are sitting on in the middle of the pit has some interesting production history.
posted by sammyo at 7:14 AM on July 17, 2014

There are a ton of season 1 spoilers in sammyo's link, just FYI.
posted by carsonb at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2014

This episode is such a killer. Kima!

On the subject of Orlando, it's interesting, why does he do what he does? As already mentioned, he has a pretty sweet deal. Gets paid for not doing much, just has to stay out of trouble. And yet he floats his idea of selling a little extra on the side to D, gets his ass kicked by Avon and Stringer, and then still goes through with the buy anyway.

What's missing, I think, from his situation is the possibility for advancement. The hope that the future will be even better than the present. If Orlando could keep his appetite under control and live within what he gets for being Avon's clean name, he'd be fine. But he gets used to what that life can buy him and eventually wants more. Especially as he watches Avon and others getting richer and richer. Orlando wants a piece of that for himself.

As much as people dream about sitting on the beach with no responsibilities for the rest of their lives, in general people just aren't built that way. It seems like it will be great.... but people are either moving forward or moving backward, there is no such thing as standing still.
posted by ngc4486 at 3:49 AM on July 23, 2014

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