In the morally-ambiguous world of The Wire, there are few truly-noble characters, but there is no doubt that Shardene, the stripper from the county, is one of them. From the beginning, she is presented to us as an honest soul in a world of players. She pays back one disgruntled customer even though she didn’t actually take his money, and later she reveals her blissful ignorance of her true employers and their business. Perhaps that is what keeps her noble–she exists outside of the game (even more so than the arguably-noble Omar). She lives by a simpler code of honesty, fairness, and simple human decency. As Freamon puts it “she’s a citizen.”
“Lessons” marks our first glimpse at D’Angelo as a member of a social group within the Barksdale organization. To this point, the focus has been to the older generation (Avon and Stringer) or the younger generation (the Pit boys). But when Stinkum, Wee-Bey, and Savino roll into the Pit and snatch D’Angelo to go an an unannounced “beef run,” we finally get a look at how the young Barksdale interacts with his peers. The episode features two social settings (the roast beef lunch and the party at Little Man’s later that night) that show how uneasy D’Angelo is in his social world. Then, the next day, there is one wrenching encounter where that discomfort transforms into a broader discomfort with his role in the drug game and the world into which he was born.
“One Arrest” begins with an illustration of literal codes and ends with a meditation of metaphorical codes. In the opening scene, Prez and Freamon walk us through the power of language to serve as a unifying force, both on a macro and micro level. Codes enable two or more people to communicate through the medium of (openly or tacitly) agreed upon meanings for certain words. So, when one person says the word “turtle,” it is generally accepted that any hearer will understand those letters or sounds to mean “a slow-moving reptile protected by a large shell on its back” (assuming the hearer speaks the same macro-language as the speaker).
D’Angelo: So, what you going to do with your money? You know what you should do? You should take the whole roll and do something nice for your girl. You do have a girl, right?
D’Angelo: Well anyway, you’ve got enough money to go get yourself one now.
“The Wire” is the episode that really solidifies the bond between Wallace and D’Angelo. Up to this point, their relationship took the form of a strict boss/employee dynamic. There were moments where D’Angelo seemed to favor Wallace, the most sensitive of the pit boys (such as when Bodie threw the bottle, or when teaching Wallace how to play chess), but nothing to show that they could become closer.