Dark Knights of the Lowrises

Poot: (on wire) Them two is freaks, yo. Stash-finding motherfuckers popped the package from nowhere.
Girl: Who you talking?
Poot: Skinny Black motherfucker and that ass-ugly knocko. The white boy with the ballcap.
Girl: The ones who jumped Bodie?
Poot: Batman and Robin, yo.

When stone-faced Freamon summons Herc and Carver into the control room, they think they are either about to get chastised for something or given another menial task. Instead, they get a surprise that makes their day: a recording of a phone call from Poot where he elevates the clownish duo to the modern-mythic level of Superheros.

As Poot explains to some nameless girl, the pair possesses the superhuman capability to sniff out the stash and appear as if by magic to snatch it. His use of the word “freaks,” which has a mix of awe and derision that calls to mind another set of superheroes: The X-Men. For Professor X and his students, the “freak” is the mutation which makes them outcasts at the same time that it gives them power. This gets to the core of our fascination with superheroes in general. They represent the possibility of human evolution, a possibility that is both frightening and exciting.

In the case of Herc and Carver, though, it is a lot more grounded in reality. They are more like magicians. To the audience in the low-rises, they making the stash disappear before their very eyes. But we can see behind the curtain, and we know that Herc and Carver are no more magicians than Gob Bluth and his “illusions.”

We already know the sleight of hand that makes the trick work. It is the wire. After the successful bust, Herc says it went exactly like Freamon said it would, “like it was a plan.” Freamon answers simply “it was a plan.” With superior technology and a little bit of strategy, even clowns like Herc and Carver can be endowed with the appearance of superhuman abilities. Perhaps evolution is less biological than it is technological.

Either way, the appearance of power doesn’t last long. Poot fails to specify who is Batman and who is Robin, leaving the pair to squabble over their roles. Their petty debate over whether Batman or Robin are more likely to be black (not to mention the phrase “suck my bat dick”) show just how quickly the superhuman comes crashing down into the absurd.

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