Monday, March 17, 2008

The end of The Wire

The finale did little to improve my feelings about season 5 of The Wire. Marlo, who always seemed to me to be a less-interesting retread of Avon, fared best. His scene, leaving a wealthy party and going to the corner, was great. The (quickly dropped) pigeons aside, he never had much of a personality, but he blossomed at the end of the season. Bubbles also had a sweet conclusion to his story.

Omar, a key character in the show from season 1, fared far worse. His character was so marginalized that, by the time he died, he had no friends to mourn him. In fact, the only send off the writers gave him was a confusing toe-tagging sequence. Compare season 1, when Kima was shot and the story just stopped dead for a while to deal with Kima being shot. Omar died, and virtually no one noticed.

Other lgbt characters also got the short shrift this season. Snoop got a bullet to the back of the head, Rawls remained a one-off joke, and Kima had nothing to do.

Lester got the worst deal of all, I think. At one point, he was careful and precise, intellectual and strongly virtuous. This season, he stopped being careful and became sloppy and silly. Seeing him running all around town bribing people with information made no sense. He'd never done anything like it, and it all seemed unreasonable, like a fantasy story with no emotional resonance.

Which is pretty much the problem with season 5. The mayor's advisor tried to explain the season as lies nested within lies, all deployed for political gain. Of course, that had been a theme of previous seasons, and they had managed not to devolve into dull farce.

The first four seasons of the show were great, and (not unlike Homicide), it lost the plot at the end. But as silly as season 5 was, the first 4 seasons more than make up for it.

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