June 16 is Bloomsday, the unofficial holiday celebrating James Joyce’s epic masterpiece Ulysses. The entire action of that novel takes place on June 16, 1904, and so on this date, Joyce lovers from all over the world celebrate in a variety of ways. Some go to public readings and performances while others travel to Dublin to reenact the events of the novel. Last year, a Twitter feed was developed to tweet the entire novel over the course of the day.
Santangelo: Madame fucking LaRue? I gotta thank you Jaybird, you saved my fucking life here.The only thing I can’t figure is I asked for help on the Lindsey case, not this one. Landsman: Hey Mike, fuck the gypsy shit. These are the guys that saved your ass right here.
When you picked up that phone, what did you think they was gonna do?–D’Angelo
As I mentioned earlier this week, I see “The Wire” as the essential episode of the series, and so I thought this would be a good time to discuss the shared title. “The Wire” is a literal reference to the investigation technique used by the detectives, and it draws particular focus to the superiority of complex surveillance over traditional buy/bust methods of investigation. This superiority is suggested in some of the other possible meanings of the word–a wire as a conduit for information, or a medium of connectivity.
The Pit is the nucleus in the atomic structure of The Wire’s first season. It is the world around which all other worlds revolve: the junkies come here to cop, the cops come here to take that first step up the investigative ladder, and the crew bosses come here to oversee their domain. Most importantly, the four central members of the Pit crew–conflicted leader D’Angelo, Bodie the “smart-ass pawn,” childlike Wallace and sex-crazed Poot–serve as the Greek chorus, commenting on the events that swirl around them. In the middle of the the low-rise courtyard, they sit on milk crates, utility boxes, and that immortal orange couch and debate the ethics and hierarchy of the drug game. These are some of the funniest and smartest scenes in Season One, most notably the chicken nugget scene from Episode Two and the chess scene that comes later on in Episode Three. So it is appropriate that the one opening scene with all four of the Pit Boys serves to highlight the connectivity of The Wire’s many worlds.
“The Target” ends with a stunning awakening for D’Angelo. We see him among a crowd of onlookers craning their necks and whispering around a taped-off crime scene. A corpse lays out like a piece of street art in front of a backdrop of dumpsters. Under the stony gaze of statues of frozen frolicking children, a hung over detective (who will soon become known to D’Angelo) walks up to the scene and orders the uniformed police officers to roll the body. They do, revealing a face and a name familiar to both D’Angelo and us: W. Gant, the man who identified D’Angelo as Pooh Blanchard’s killer.