So. The Wire. Finally saw the first episode of the final season on Sunday. It was in top form, exactly as depressing as I could have (expected? hoped?) it would be. Things are bad, and getting worse.
Well, plotwise, anyway: the writing and performances are in top form.
Two things stuck out in my mind:
First, I wasn't expecting that "federal war with local consequences" thing I mentioned to kinda-sorta show up in The Wire itself. The nakedly political nature of the Republican US Attorney's actions on the show kind of put the mayor's own ambition into context. It really does feel like the mayor is trying to make Baltimore work, but higher levels of government simply don't care about cities like Baltimore except as vehicles for making them look "tough on drugs" and "tough on crime". You can kind of feel for the guy and understand how he'd be chomping at the bit to take one of those higher positions.
Second, Clark Johnson is going to help David Simon lose a lot of friends. Clark's performance on The Wire was like a welcome return for me--Johnson "Meldrick Lewis" remains one of my favorite Homicide characters, is a fan favorite in general-- and I don't think it's an accident that he the Simon's choice for the protagonist of the Wire's examination of journalism. The avuncular Johnson is a spoonful of sugar to help some bitter, bitter medicine go down.
And hoo-boy is it bitter. I'm not going to get into the details, but The Wire's Baltimore Sun is sinking fast, and sinking hard, becoming exactly the kind of newspaper that is too fluffy and untrustworthy to take seriously. It still goes after politicians, who are easy targets, but the bosses go out of their way not to offend the moneyed folks with real power. Johnson doesn't like that. But Johnson can't do anything about it.
Lot of that going around. And it isn't getting better.
Matthew worries that The Wire won't be able to wrap everything up in 12 episodes. I can't disagree, so for God's sake, Nobody tell him that there's only ten episodes this season. He might have a breakdown or something.