At the start of “Game Day,” Stringer describes Omar as a modern Robin Hood who steals from the rich dealers and gives to the poor fiends. By the end of the episode, however, Omar proves to align with a very different character type. When he strolls into Prop Joe’s shop bearing a bag of Avon’s heroin as an offering, he tells Joe “we free.” Suddenly, this seemingly-noble folk hero is stealing from the rich and giving to the rich. Not exactly the socialist equalizer he is made out to be.
When the Barksdales disconnect the payphones in the pit, Freamon responds calmly. He sees that type of disruption as an inevitable result of their arrest of Kevin Johnston. He simply responds by adapting, figuring out the new payphones that the crew will be using and devising other ways to get into the heart of the Barksdale’s communications. But when Freamon learns about Omar’s ambush on Stinkum, he becomes furious. “This fucks us,” he roars. Their jump-out on Kevin Johnston gave them a charge that they could put to Stinkum at any time. This means that Stinkum is more valuable to the investigation as a free man than he is in prison. In the morgue, Stinkum is utterly useless.
I have always had mixed feelings abouth ESPN football/everything columnist Gregg Easterbrook, otherwise known as the Tuesday Morning Quarterback. If I am being totally honest, I haven’t read him in years, and I have probably never read an entire column of his from beginning to end (of course, that is more likely due to the fact that his columns often reach lengths rivaling that of major pieces of legislation). As with any writer who has extremely strong opinions, he tends to put people off, and I can’t say I agree with all of his viewpoints.
“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).
“The Wire” marks the beginning of the uneasy alliance between the detectives and the big bad lone-wolf stickup artist, Omar. It is a convergence several episodes in the making, and it finally comes together through a combination of luck, strategy, and tragedy. With the sworn officers of the law on one side and a man who commits crimes against criminals on the other, it is a pairing that is as risky as it is unlikely. This first meeting shows the potential benefits and necessary trade-offs that take place when equal and opposite entities come together.
McNulty: I know. We will.
The scene in the morgue, where Omar says his final farewell to Brandon, is one of the most emotionally excruciating of the season. The scene parallels the earlier morgue scene from “The Detail”, especially as they both begin with a shot of the corpse appearing upside down. But this version is much more emotional and far more personal.
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. The one thing both raids do have in common (other than the fact that Omar walks away with the stash) is that they show how Omar is able to exploit a common trait in the projects: a sort of warped childishness.
The police are a drug kingpin’s primary natural enemy. They are the ones who are most likely to topple his empire, putting him away for decades or even life. The Wire supports this notion by focusing on Daniels’ detail and their attempt to take down the Barksdale crew. But after the introduction of Omar’s small, tightly-formed three-man crew in “The Buys,” the Barksdales are forced to fight on a second front, one that exists on their own side of the legal divide.
There is a long history of classic literary heroes getting introduced a good way into the work. In The Great Gatsby, for example, the hero is mentioned in the title, and constantly throughout the first few chapters, but we don’t lay eyes on him until he appears without warning in the middle of chapter three. Similarly, Moby Dick’s Captain Ahab doesn’t appear until the Pequod is on the open sea, even if his spirit haunts the book from page one.