The Wire: Duck and Cover   Rewatch 
August 23, 2014 6:49 AM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Jimmy McNulty, Captain Chesapeake, has stopped bailing and started drinking again and so finds himself sinking quickly to the bottom. He's desperate to get on the detail where they've got every swinging dick setting up The Wire on Sobotka and The Greek, so Daniels puts what little flex he has on Rawls. Turns out McNulty's just the john they were looking for.

"How come they don't fly away?" - Ziggy

Ziggy's emasculation continues apace as he earns another ass-kicking and spends his share from Nick on a lame duck with a diamond necklace. Sobotka pays his bills to keep the phone on, unnecessarily. At his caution, the smuggling goes on hiatus even as the demand for the good drugs straight off the boat increases.

Eastside grows strong as its superior product pulls the clientele across town. To compensate Bodie attempts to chase the users and expand his territory even though he knows it's going to come back on him hard and fast.

Fuzzy Dunlop gets a face. And a stipend.
posted by carsonb (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I can never work out if David Simon wants us to hate Ziggy or feel infinitely sorry for him, and this is one of the better examples of that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:19 AM on August 24, 2014

I feel like Zig's the D'Angelo of Season Two--his biggest flaw is the absolute narrowness of his worldview (and his second biggest flaw is the flash). College kids ain't shit!
posted by box at 8:21 PM on August 24, 2014

I feel like Zig's the D'Angelo of Season Two--his biggest flaw is the absolute narrowness of his worldview (and his second biggest flaw is the flash).

D'Angelo was the one whose world-view was way to big for sitting around in project courtyards, he's Hamlet, seeing premonitions of death everywhere. I haven't gotten much farther than this in the season but I'd guess Ziggy is sort of comic misdirection so it hits harder when his cousin takes the fall because you weren't paying attention.

(also, ziggy's casting sucks unless he's secretly a DEA agent and is meant to seem totally out of place)
posted by at 3:11 AM on August 25, 2014

Yeah, Ransome is a MD native, but he plays Zig with a way-over-the-top Bmore accent that winds up less convincing than e.g. Stringer, McNulty or Carcetti.

(Unrelatedly, I watched an episode of 'Law & Order' the other day where Bunk played Clay Davis' lawyer. It was pretty great.)
posted by box at 7:47 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

My first watch through Season 2, I hated Ziggy. Loathed him. I very nearly skipped every scene he was in because I found him so painful to watch.

Yet Season 2 remains my favorite, and the more I watch, the more I get out of Zig. He's so tragic - he just wants to be one of the guys, but whether it's because of who his dad is, or maybe just because he tries a little too hard, he's never going to be taken seriously. He's always in somebody's shadow, and acutely feels that chill.

But hey, he's a legend of the docks.

And then McNulty. The doubling of that same bar, the same phone call for sex, and the different conclusions of the evening. He can get scrapple, he can get anything he wants.
posted by rocketman at 11:24 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

he plays Zig with a way-over-the-top Bmore accent that winds up less convincing

Another accent moment that went over my hide. I like Ziggy, as this pathetic misfit who just fucks up everything he touches. I can imagine him tagging along with his dad to the docks as a kid, and making a fool out of himself to make everyone laugh. His build just isn't really made for dock work, but I think a mix of parental pressure and a determination to be loved pushed him towards working on the docks. He also sees, and probably has seen, his dad go the extra mile for the dock workers, but not really for him.

McNulty hits some serious rock bottom here, completely without an anchor of work or family. Apparently a lot of women want to have sex wit Jimmy, which has always been a little baffling to me. I guess he's a cop, so theres that... He does have a moment of decency, deciding that a one night stand with Beadie would just be destructive for them both.

The detail here hit some more bad luck, with Frank noticing that his phones been tapped, which somewhat hurts the detail, although they do get Vondas' number from it, which is as close as they'll ever get to the Greek.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:53 PM on August 26, 2014

There's always a Ziggy. I think the casting makes him less tragic, in terms of being bearable, than the real desperation would be.

Or maybe I entirely misread because of the sexy. James Ranson has massive charisma.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:28 PM on August 28, 2014

On my first watch through this, ten years ago, roundabouts a personal bottom in my life, I remember seeing this episode and being frustrated that even at his drunkest, most self-destructive worst, McNulty could pull some strange sex without any effort. Now I know that 1.) I never looked like Dominic West and 2.) that sex addiction is like any other addiction and you'll internalize the ways to get your fix. I couldn't go out and buy heroin today if I wanted to, but drop Bubbs downtown somewhere with a twenty and he'll figure it out pretty quick.

I also hate-hate-hated Ziggy on my first watch through and find him much more tragically sympathetic this time. Nicky, who has financial needs and knows what to spend money on if he's got it (getting his family slightly more comfortable, replacing his broken-down ride) only sees his foray into the Game in terms of financial benefit, which is also a big part of why he's so much better at it than Ziggy-the-Eternal-Fuckup. Ziggy, as we see here more starkly than in any other episode, doesn't know what the fuck to even do with money when he has it, and only craves a sliver of respect, which he'll never receive. Something in a previous episode that I don't think I ever caught but that my wife did last night is that the cruelty in the "Love Child" prank, that even Maui probably didn't intend, is that Ziggy wanted that kid. Probably for purely selfish reasons - the paternity suit meant that someone was asking him to take responsibility, and in his imagination the kid is someone who would look up to him - but he's robbed of that for yuks regardless.

And I'm not even sure that Frank Sobotka is even really to blame here - as they say, Ziggy's brother went to community college and presumably did something different - but Ziggy grew up seeing the respect and cameraderie of the dockworkers and thinking that was the most important thing in the world.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:16 AM on April 23, 2021

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