“The Wire” begins with one of the season’s more disturbing images: stickup boy Brandon’s dead body, horrifically mutilated and left on the hood of a car like a trophy buck for all of the residents of the low rises to see. It is a tough image to look at for even the most hardened of viewers, and the sadistic brutality of the murder will haunt many characters (most significantly Wallace, D’Angelo, Omar, and Daniels), motivating their actions for the rest of the season.
For his second heist, Omar and his crew take their act to the Eastside, partly because they want to lay low after Brandon called Omar out in the Lowrise rip, and partly for some easy pickings. This stickup is the opposite of the first one in every way. This one is in broad daylight, with not a shot fired, nobody hurt, and there is very little in terms of pre-rip reconnaissance. What both raids do have in common (other than the fact that Omar walks away with the stash) is the way Omar exploits a common trait among corner boys: a sort of warped childishness.
“I owe you, okay?”—Cantrell
Daniels is immediately reluctant to head the newly-formed Barksdale Detail, but it’s not until the opening scenes of “The Detail” that he begins to realize the real scope of his predicament. It’s starts off with the detail’s exile to the basement, but then he sees the parade of humps who Burrell gave him for the case. They appear to be a ragged assortment: two lazy drunks hiding behind seniority, a dull wall-shooting reject, and a mute wallflower absorbed in his own strange trinkets. Daniels asks for more manpower, and he gets the department’s waste (“dead wood,” “garbage”). At this point he realizes that he is being dragged down into the quicksand of departmental politics courtesy of a special force known as “suction.”
In the rapidly-shifting contexts of The Wire, it is sometimes hard to tell whether a character is the king or a scurrying rodent. The title of the first episode, “The Target,” suggests a similar level of complexity. There is a clear literal meaning to the title (Avon, who becomes the target of the new, reluctantly-formed detail), but a close examination of all the episode’s targets shows that there is more to it than just taking aim.