Watching The Wire: Episode Seven: One Arrest

Category: , , , , , , By Rev/Views

“A man must have a code.” - Bunk

Teleplay by Rafael Alvarez
Story by David Simon & Ed Burns
Directed by Joe Chappelle

Wendell Pierce (Det. William "Bunk" Moreland), Deirdre Lovejoy (Asst. States Attorney Rhonda Pearlman), Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale), John Doman (Maj. William A. Rawls), Lance Reddick (Lt. Cedric Daniels), Andre Royo (Bubbles), Idris Elba (Russell "Stringer" Bell), Frankie Faison (Deputy Comm. Ervin H. Burrell), Larry Gilliard Jr. (D'Angelo Barksdale), Dominic West (Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty) and Sonja Sohn (Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs)

Peter Gerety (Judge Daniel Phelan), Michael Salconi (Det. Michael Santangelo), Maria Broom (Marla Daniels), Tray Chaney (Malik "Poot" Carr), Delaney Williams (Sgt. Jay Landsman), Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar Little), Michael B. Jordan (Wallace), Leo Fitzpatrick (Johnny), Brandon Price (Anton "Stinkum" Artis), Clayton LeBouef (Wendell "Orlando" Blocker), Jim True-Frost (Off. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski), Seth Gilliam (Det. Ellis Carver), Domenick Lombardozzi (Off. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk), Clarke Peters (Det. Lester Freamon), Corey Parker Robinson (Det. Leander Sydnor), Hassan Johnson (Roland "Wee-Bey" Brice), J.D. Williams (Preston "Bodie" Broadus), Isiah Whitlock Jr (State Senator R. Clayton "Clay" Davis), Robin Skye (Madame LaRue), Lizan Mitchell (Shooting Witness), Jimmie Jelani Manners (Kevin Johnston), Donnell Rawlings (Damien Lavelle "Day-Day" Price), Steve Earle (Walon), and Fredro Starr (Marquis "Bird" Hilton)

The Summary:
Greggs, Carver, Herc and Sydnor grab the runner holding the re-up stash for the pit. Now that the cops have their stash a furious Avon questions D’Angelo about a snitch being in the pit. D’Angelo denies the allegation but Stringer tells D’Angelo and his crew to use pay phones a block away now, and not to use the same phone twice. Afterwards, they snatch out the existing pit pay phones. This, of course, disconnects the detective’s wiretap.

Read about catching the early bird, psychic solutions and ripping handsets beyond the link...

The Recap:
In the basement Prez, McNulty, Herc, Carver and Freamon are listening to a phone conversation that has them slightly confused. Herc is able to translate, if you don’t mind getting some completely fabricated nonsense for humour value. Prez and Freamon on the other hand have been listening to these conversations long enough and break it down for the other detectives. The low-rise pit is nearly out of drugs but there is a new package arriving noon tomorrow, four G-packs handled by Stinkum. Prez and Freamon reveal they’ve cracked another beeper code to get this information in full. Carver is a little incredulous that the two men would spend so much time on this kind of stuff, but as Prez himself admits “It’s kind of fun figuring shit out.” Hit the credits.

In homicide Santangelo is talking with Rawls about his low clearance rate combined with his absence since he was assigned to the detail. Rawls is pissed that McNulty and the detail are still out there and that they got his murder charges put on hold for a while. So he offers Santangelo an ultimatum, solve a murder or hand over McNulty on a platter.

In the basement Kima, Herc, Carver and Freamon are discussing how things are going to break down. The plan is to pull over Stinkum with the re-up, catch the runner who will flee with the stash but let Stinkum go. They don’t take Stinkum because they’ll already have a charge on him whenever they want to press it and waiting will mean they don’t have to reveal that they’re using a wiretap.

Rhonda and McNulty are in Phelan’s office, giving the judge the low down on the case’s progress. They fill him in on some of the assets available from seizures; Phelan fills him in on a little grammatical correctness (due to errors in McNulty’s report) and uses it to put McNulty in his place a little. He feels there’s more than enough evidence of progress here to justify a continuance on the wiretap. Phelan then hits on Rhonda and suggests that one day she might make it as a judge.

On the street Kima, Sydnor, Herc and Carver spot Stink and attempt to pull him over. Stink bolts and the runner bails, fleeing into the Pit where Bodie gets in Herc’s way as he pursues the lad. The more observant viewer will have noticed that this boy is wearing an eye patch, but do you recall the significance of this? Bodies interference has giving the lad enough of a lead to evade Herc but he runs straight into Kima and is cut off from escape by Carver and Sydnor. All Bodie, Poot and Dee can do is watch as their re-up is now in the hands of the police.

McNulty is still in Phelan’s office and the two men are chatting. Phelan wants to know the lay of the landscape in the department and McNulty is happy to fill him in. Rawls is trying to get the entire thing closed down, Daniels has stepped up (to their amazement) and kept the wiretap, but Phelan wants to know why McNulty didn’t come to him – McNulty explains, he doesn’t trust him anymore after the leak to the papers about Gant’s witness link. McNulty then explains he has a week before he’s back in the homicide rotation and if he isn’t there Rawls will strip his skin from his flesh. Phelan suggests that McNulty has friends in the court house; McNulty expresses his concern about how little he feels he can trust his so-called-friends.

Stink rolls up to a (tapped) pay phone and pages Stringer, Freamon intercepts this and tells Kima, they need someone with an eye on this to be able to log the call. Without a watcher it’s inadmissible. Sydnor makes the run, getting there just as it rings – but the conversation is very short Stink’s “We lost four to 5-0” is cut off by Stringer who reminds him that they should never talk about this kind of stuff on the phones.

In homicide Santangelo is trying to make a homicide case for Rawls, he’s not allowed to do jack until it’s cleared, but it’s old and cold. Landsman has no sympathy for him, and brings over a card for a psychic, selling one Madame LaRue to Santangelo for kicks.

Bunk and McNulty are looking at the scene where William Gant was shot, they realise that there should be plenty of witnesses and attempt to turn one by helping a middle aged woman struggling with her shopping cart. She clocks them as Police and invites them in.

In the court house Johnny is facing charges for possession of cocaine after he was caught in the previous episode. Bubbs turns up to support him with Kima in tow, she pulls out Johnny as long as he pleads and agrees to undergo treatment in probation. She lays the land out to Johnny and he agrees.

The woman talks to Bunk and McNulty about the shooting, now she saw what happened but she can’t ID the shooter. They don’t push her because McNulty already has Omar for the ID and apparently Bird will still have the gun. Bunk is happy.

In the basement Herc and Carver are processing the runner when Prez walks in; he stares intently at Prez who double-takes before realising just who this kid is. While the rest of the detail missed this link Prez fills in Daniels on the situation. While Freamon has never seen the lad before and Daniels is in his office so he didn’t get a look at him clearly Herc and Carver should’ve known as they were present. The boy is Kevin Johnson, the lad who was blinded in one eye when he was pistol whipped by Prez at the end of ‘The Buys’. Daniels talks to him and offers him a way out of this charge, Kevin isn’t interested.

Santangelo is meeting with Madame LaRue about his cold case, he’s told to bury a statue of Saint Anthony by the victim’s grave for an hour and then hold it to his ear before going to sleep.

Later that evening Bunk and McNulty are drinking, as usual, this time it’s Bunk’s choice of venue and he’s enjoying the scenery. Elsewhere Daniels is out socialising and schmoozing at a party with his wife Marla when he catches Burrell’s eye and the two of them talk. They chat a little about the politicians before Burrell points out one Senator Clay Davis (39th District), using Daniels’s lack of knowledge to highlight what it takes to get places.

Bubbs and Johnny are at a rehabilitation program, they have to stay for the meeting to get Johnny’s slip signed. Bubbs notes that there are a lot of familiar faces here, ones he hasn’t seen for a long time. One addict called Waylon steps up and talks about his difficulties and his life, how far he fell, how he’s climbed back up and how hard it is for him to struggle every day against the need. Waylon’s speech gets to Bubbs and makes him think. Then key chains are handed out to people who’ve managed to stay clean for periods of time, there are no takers for nine or six months, but there is one for three and then even more for one month. When the room is asked if anyone has twenty four hours or a sincere desire to live Bubbs is compelled to stand up and get one. Johnny doesn’t understand why he needed one as they used in the morning.

Daniels heads into the kitchen where several others men are watching the game, he chats a little a man named Damien Price (Day-Day) who’s bragging about how he’d hit the house their at and sell on the goods. Daniels reveals that he’s a police lieutenant before Marla comes in and takes him away to meet someone.

In the bar McNulty and Bunk are both enjoying the mountainous "scenery" while chatting about Gant and Diedre, Bunk tells McNulty that he needs to get both the Gant and Diedre case into solid charges and hand them over to Rawls. It’s the only way he’ll get out of the mire he’s in with the Major. McNulty expresses his thanks for the gentle way he’s handled him over the years.

In Orlando’s the following morning Dee arrives to talk with Stringer, Avon, Wee-bey and Stink. Orlando tells him that he has something he’d like to talk about later. Inside the office tempers are frayed, the Barksdales have taken a major hit with this arrest and they’re convinced someone is snitching to the police. Dee disagrees, but he’s told to shut the Pit down until Stringer comes down and runs them through all the changes in operating procedures. After Dee leaves Stringer and the boys speculate why the police didn’t pick up Stink. They smell something bad, and they’d be right.

In the basement Santangelo asks McNulty to cover for him, McNulty is less than pleased about this, not realising that the reason Santangelo is running about and not helping in the detail is because he’s covering McNulty’s back by running the case instead of turning him in. Freamon calls Herc and Carver over to listen to a phone conversation about them, they’re pleased with being called ‘Batman and Robin’.

While Bubbs and Johnny shoot up Bunk and McNulty are in the basement talking to Daniels and Kima about the Bird murders. As soon as they find Bird they have him bang to rights. Santangelo sits for an hour in a cemetery while McNulty and Kima take Omar out to try and clock an ID for Bird. Omar explains that no-one on the street will be packing steel, so they can’t roll Bird up for the gun easily. They need to locate his crib. Omar suggests that they could go looking for Bird elsewhere, as the man might be out scoring elsewhere in the city for some drugs. Avon doesn’t let anyone get high on the stuff they sell “Don’t get high on your own supply.”

In the Pit Bodie and Poot are talking about Wallace, he’s been ‘in the wind’ for a while now since Brandon was killed and dumped outside his house. The boy’s death really disturbed Wallace, a lot. Orlando walks up to them looking for Dee and Poot sends him over to the coach. Orlando has a proposition for Dee, he has a connect from DC that can help supply gear. Orlando wants to make a little something on the side selling without letting Avon and Stringer in, as he mentioned earlier in the series Orlando is fed up with just getting straight pay.

The detail are scoping out a store with Freamon and Sydnor on the street and the rest in cars, Bubbs is also present selling hats and he drops a red hat on one man as he comes out of the target house, signifying that he is the target. It all runs smoothly and they have Bird.

In the Pit Stringer and Wee-bey roll up to chat with Dee, Poot and Bodie about the problems the Pit has been having lately. They run through potential leaks and Bodie notes that there are no phones here, just the pagers and the pay phones. Stringer tells them to tear out all the pay phones and tells them they are now to walk a couple of blocks before phoning and never use the same pay phone more than once a day. In the basement Freamon observes the first tearing down with a ‘Service Interrupt’ warning arriving on the computer.

Bird is in interrogation, Landsman first photographs him (evidence that he wasn’t brutalised in interrogation) and then Kima presses him. Bird isn’t willing to cooperate and Daniels asks McNulty to head in and help, not because Kima needs the help, but because she’s likely to hurt Bird if he carries on. At the same time Bunk chats with Omar about his witnessing of Bird’s shooting. Omar recognises Bunk from school, there’s not much between the two men age wise, Omar is the younger of the two and remembers Bunk because he played Lacrosse.

In the interview room the forensic report arrives and the gun is a match for the one that shot Gant. But Bird isn’t the least bit interested in playing ball, so Daniels tears up the Polaroid and they lay into him.

Omar hands over a murder to Bunk; one Denise Redding and Bunk reaches for the phone. Waking Santangelo up as it was his case. Santangelo has no idea who Denise Redding is but he comes into homicide and is handed over a completed case from McNulty and Bunk. Santangelo is thrilled that he got a case and thanks Landsman for the gypsy, Landsman sets him straight and tells him he should thank McNulty and Bunk. Santangelo tells McNulty they need to talk about Rawls.

McNulty turns up at Rhonda’s house very later at night; she assumes he’s drunk and looking for a quickie. But the truth is he’s terrified because Rawls wants his badge and he admits to Ronnie just how important this job is to him…

The Themes:

There’s just the one important theme to look at in this episode and it’s based from Bunk’s titular comment as uttered to Omar.

“A man’s got to have a code” – This is a layered theme that holds two things, Bunk is overtly referencing that to live correctly one needs to have a code of rules they live by; lines they won’t’ cross and rules they won’t break. One of the important things that happens in the Wire is people who break their own code suffer the consequences.

The second, lighter reference in this theme runs directly to the Barksdales, who use codes for almost everything they do. In short, to operate for as long as they have without drawing too much attention on them they have to use codes.

The Catchphrases:
No Catchphrases this episode, but there was the presence of a man who’s going to start uttering one later on. That’s all you’re getting on this front right now.

The Review:

‘One Arrest’ gives the B.P.D. their first pair of big wins against the Barksdales; not only have they managed to get some charges on Stink but they’ve also managed to bring in Bird for Gant’s shooting. Things are beginning to come together for them, but also there are events moving that will provide bigger setbacks. The Department has members within its walls who are not so interested in the case; Rawls in particular has begun to take everything that happens personally. This isn’t really surprising because from his perspective he’s offered McNulty an olive branch and a way out only to have the man turn around and defecate all over him. McNulty consistently manages to rub people the wrong way, despite doing the right thing here. The long game plan is better than the short win for the city.

Catching Bird has also answered Dee’s question to Avon about Gant. He wanted to know if Gant was shot for testifying, we now know the answer.

Also, in picking up the 4G re-up the detail has played their hand somewhat, while they’ve attempted to be very careful about revealing anything to the Barksdales they’ve said volumes not just with their actions but also with their inactions. Not picking up Stink, or even really attempting to chase him so has caused alarm bells to ring in the heads of the Barksdales heads. Once again the police have underestimated just how smart the men at the top of the drug organisation are. It’s a little surprising that they’d make this mistake because they’ve had tonnes of evidence that reveals just how clever this crew is. Avon is so far divorced from the street that all they have on him is an ancient picture from his boxing days and some second hand talk from a now deceased girlfriend. All they have on Stringer is a pager number and some vague conversations. So really the detail should have played the pick up a little smarter, providing a chase for Stink to evade instead of just letting him go unfettered.

This means that the Barksdales are now aware something is up and they’ve begun to act. Ripping the Pit pay phones out sends a message back, they could have just stopped using them but actually removing them not only disables the wiretaps on them but it also lets the detail know that they’re now useless. Of course, it would have been a better move to leave the pay phones up and just switch to using different ones. But you can’t expect Stringer and Avon to know exactly how a wiretap works.

One Arrest is a great little episode that just holds such brilliance in its scripting, there’s so much said with expressions and little moments that it’s almost impossible to get everything that’s happening in it first try. But, hopefully by this stage in watching the show the average viewer left will have clicked with the style of story telling and detail involved in this show. You’re not going to be spoon fed the answers by the show (hopefully my recap helps the odd moment where things aren’t clear) but I personally think that’s a good thing, treating viewers as intelligent human beings who understand without having explained repeatedly through exposition is something more shows should consider trying. You can say a lot more with actions and expressions in a far shorter time than you could ever manage with words.

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The Shield: Memorabilia

Category: By Rev/Views
Looking for a little something to extend your love affair with The Shield?

Well here's the best of the things I've found across the Internet and fortunately (unlike the official The Wire merchandise) many of these are available in or at least shipped to the UK.

First up is the Concrete Blonde album featuring ...Long Time Ago, the song that Shawn Ryan decided a long time ago that was going to end the show. It's available on the album 'Walking in London' and can be had from for £6.50 right here on playtrade. Alternatively you can go with getting it from Amazon here. It's not that easy to get this side of the Atlantic pond mind you.

It doesn't contain material from the latest season but there is a collected soundtrack available right here.

Next we'll roll around to eBay, I'm not saying anything brought from here is going to be safe. Use your normal caution and common sense when eBaying, check up on the seller before paying. But these are some of the more interesting items up right now.

Remember Vic's? Strike Team T-Shirt from the pilot episode? Well you too can own your own version, it comes in Black, Navy Blue, Green or White for just £9.99. There's currently 7 left over in the store.

I'm not as keen on the design of this one, but I do love Cletus Van Damme and if you do as well then it's possible to get one right here. The one I've linked to is a chocolate brown XL but there are more sizes in the sellers store.

This one is very noir in style and includes one of my favourite Vic Mackey quotes, it only comes in black but everyone looks good in black.

I'm not that convinced about the picture of Vic in this one, he almost looks like he's from a photo fit or the side of a milk carton. But it might be to your taste.

The following t-shirts are located in the US:

The first one really cracks me up, it has a great sentiment. "I'd rather be watching The Shield." Indeed.

The second makes use of the 5th season's styling and provides us with a white t-shirt that has the 5th season cover design on it.

Not as keen on this one, but again it might be to your taste.

There's a few different ones at this website, I especially like the first one with the Farmington logo on it. Unfortunately I'm not able to get one due to shipping issues. [Insert sad face here]

If you prefer to display your affiliation on the wall rather than your chest then there are a few posters available. Here's an A1 print of Vic in shades and Kevlar. Pretty iconic.

This print is from the same shoot as the one used on the season six UK cover. I quite like this picture, it's very iconic and appropriate.

If you've seen anything else out there across Inter-la-la-land-net please let me know here.
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The Week That Was - 29/11/08

Category: By Rev/Views
A relatively quiet week for TV watching in the Rev-Views household.

Finally we're past the spoiler moment for Dexter, I already knew for a long time that Prado was going to get drawn into Dexter's tangled web after the news report about the knife incident mentioned saran wrap. This has impacted on my enjoyment of the show because instead of watching Prado take steps into a world that he shouldn't be involved in and sit around hoping he would pull out, I've instead been watching his slide into evil.

But, this week still managed to pull a great revelation moment that has set the scene and returned all of the tension (as Rob predicted they would over at Dan's reviews of the show). The final few episodes of Dexter promise to be pretty special.

Boston Legal:
An exceptionally unusual episode of Boston Legal this week, taking place almost entirely in Shirley and Carl's home over thanksgiving. There are no court cases, just Carl, Shirley, Denny, Edwin Poole (remember him?), his adopted son, Alan, Jerry and Katie. It's a sweet episode that has some exceptionally lovely moments for Shirley and Carl, plenty of amusing groans everytime Alan said he had something to say and an "about time" moment for Jerry. I really do feel that the quality of the show has risen greatly in this final season and I'm going to miss the show when it's gone.

Eclipse is the first of a two-parter in what is possibly the worst decision the show has ever made. Right now they've ruined the characterisation of their core characters so deeply that the only entertaining elements left are the powers. Now they've taken them away for the duration of this two part 'event'.

As a consequence things are exceptionally dull, short of the writers killing Claire and Peter off (which will sadly not happen any time soon) there's really nothing much to be gained from this episode beyond some half decent - but bizarre and out of character - moments for Elle and Sylar. This is a show that I'm very close to walking away from, as frankly, it's rubbish right now!

How I Met Your Mother:
This season has had a few very good episodes and then a few that are pretty flat. Fortunately for us "The Naked Man" belongs to the former category. We have every character involved in fun storylines based around Robin's latest date who likes to pull something he calls 'The Naked Man', a move that has a 2 in 3 success rate. Cue some brilliant moments for everyone, even Ted manages to be a bit less boring than normal this week.

The Shield:
It's over and this will be one of the last times I get to talk about the show (until the Season 7 DVD release, which should come out in Region 2 before Region 1 if past trends are anything to go by) but I'm still at something of a loss. The full review is over here, but there are still so many more things I'd love to say about this show. The short version is this. The Shield was the best thing that aired over this Fall season, no arguments, no disputes, that's the truth. Of course, the show will be ignored at Emmy time, but that's because the Emmys are as meaningless as popularity polls when it comes to judging what shows are actually the most well written and performed.

I digress. It was AMAZING and frankly the show is now a MUST WATCH for anyone who considers themselves an informed and tasteful watcher of TV.

Oh and the words "Family Meeting" will never sound the same again to my ears.

The IT Crowd:
I missed the first episode and a few minutes of this one (the second). I enjoy the IT Crowd because of Richard Ayoade's portrayal of Moss (I've enjoyed his work since The Mighty Boosh and Darkplace) and because I think Katherine Parkinson is lovely. The episode was fun light comedy but nothing really groundbreaking, it seems that the show is in something of a rut. Fortunately it's still fun and I honestly enjoy it. But it's not something that's ever going to be worth more than a paragraph in a review round up.

Live at the Apollo:
I managed to catch the first 'Live at the Apollo' this week by almost pure chance. It was presented by Michael McIntyre (a comedian who I first saw at the Hammersmith Apollo) and featured his own talents alongside the stylings of American comedian Rich Hall and fellow Welshman Rhod Gilbert. Michael was just brilliant, as always. Likewise Rich (who I normally see on shows like QI and Not the Nine O'Clock News, I've never seen his stand up before) was great. Rhod on the other hand was a little hard to get used to, I sat in silence for most of his gig. But I did start laughing towards the end, his style just took some adjustment on my part.

The episode is here if you wish to watch it.

In other news I've been catching up with Weeds season 2 + 3 and continuing to work on 'Watching the Wire' episode seven will be up tomorrow. Outside of TV land I've been enjoying Left 4 Dead on the 360.

That's all for this week, so if you don't mind. Lets just take a moments silence for the passing of one of the greatest TV shows of our generation.


The Shield.
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DVDs in Review #43 - Weeds: The Complete Second Season

Category: , , , By Rev/Views

You can find the review of The Complete First Season through that link there.

Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin
Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes
Hunter Parish as Silas Botwin
Kevin Nealon as Doug Wilson
Alexander Gould as Shane Botwin
Justin Kirk as Andy Botwin
Andy Milder as Dean Hodes
Romany Malco as Conrad Shepherd
Tonye Patano as Heylia James

The Show:

The second season of Weeds follows directly from the first season, Weeds has an exceptionally compressed storyline and this makes it very easy to follow. At the end of the previous season we were left with the shock reveal about Nancy's newest man alongside her decision to turn "corporate" with her business.

The second season picks up almost right after the finale of the first season, this means it's a very smooth watch from one season to the next. Conrad, Nancy and co step up their operation to the next level by becoming growers rather than just dealers. But this contains it's own risks, from the DEA, Armenians and other dealers. They're beginning to really tread on some important toes and not everyone is going to just let them expand without a fight.

On top of this Nancy is having problems with her sons and her brother-law Andy, who continue to act up or goof around respectively. Plus she has to continue with keeping up appearances around her friends and conceal her choice of career from her new man Pete.

The season runs ahead with a delicious mix of dark comedy, drama and intense moments before leading to a season finale that will have you immediately rushing off to watch the third season. It's a great show that deals with a very adult matter in a clever manner that's both serious and tongue in cheek at the same time.

The Other Stuff:
As always I love to see good and efficient packaging and Weeds is up there in the better designed tiers. It's two slimline DVD cases inserted into a cardboard cover; now if I'm honest the job could be done a little better here as there are only 2 DVDs in the set, but that's a problem which is rectified (see the next season review when I do it) and the narrow profile of the show's box more than makes up for it. The cover is stylish and while there was a couple of stickers directly applied to my copy they came off without leaving any residue or damage to the dust jacket itself.

Each DVD case has individual artwork and the back of them lists the episodes and the special features in each, this makes it easy to locate whatever feature you're looking for or work out which episode you watched last. Of course with only twelve episodes at a runtime of just over three hours it's easy to watch the entire thing in one sitting.

Start up and Menus:
The start up for the disc features an unskippable warning and Lionsgate logo then adverts for 'The Lost Room', 'The Dresden Files' and 'Darclight'. Fortunately the adverts are all skippable and only present on the first disc.

The Menus for Weeds:Season Two are great, the resolution on them could be slightly better and the loop is very harsh. What I mean there is every menu has a short loop of animation and music, some of them handle the point where they reach the end of the track better than others by making sure that it matches up and loops well, but most just stop abruptly and then start from the beginning again. Weeds is one of the latter.

You have the ability to pick any of the episodes but not individual scenes from each one, the almighty "Play All Episodes" option is present both on the main menu and the episode menu (hooray!) and the transitions between each menu are very stylish, with a pull out to show the main menu as a picture frame then a zoom into another picture frame which contains the sub-menu.

The Menus are identical on both discs.

We get a wealth of extras, including commentaries and other little items added for your enjoyment.

On the first disc there are:
Commentaries from writing and production staff on the episodes, Corn Snake, Cooking with Jesus and A.K.A. The Plant.
Trivia Tracks for Last Tango in Agrestic, Mrs. Botwin's Neighbourhood and Crush, Love, Panic
A MILF Gag Reel
Conrad's Grow Room
Huskeroos Commercials

The second disc has:
Commentaries on MILF Money, Bash, Yeah Like Tomatoes and Pittsburgh
Trivia Tracks for Must Find Toes, Mile Deep and a Foot Wide and Yeah Like Tomatoes.
Jammin' Nation Extended Montage
Slangin' 101
Little Boxes Montage
Tools of the Trade

Right now our winner is who have the entire set for a meagre £10.89 right here. That's 3.5ppm, respectable and a great deal for anyone who enjoyed the first season.

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Runtime: 319 mins (plus extras)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Rating: 18 (Contains drug-dealing theme, strong sex references and very strong language.)

The Final Word:

What's to say? If you enjoyed the first season of Weeds this one is a no brainer to watch, the price is ridiculously good right now and I'd recommend picking it up for anything under £15 without hesitation. It's funny, sexy light entertainment that's easy to watch and hard not to enjoy.

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The Shield: Collected Review Round Up: Family Meeting

Category: By Rev/Views
I think this is the best way to open up this final set of collected reviews:

I have nothing clever to say about these reviews, enjoy them for what they are. Just as you enjoyed the show.

Geeky Talk
Alan Sepinwall
Jason Pinter
Premium Hollywood

Show your appreciation for these fine writers by leaving them a comment in their own threads. Remember, comments are like currency for bloggers, even a simple "Thank you" or "Nice review" can spur them onto greater efforts.
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The Shield - Finale - Family Meeting

"Remember, the Team comes First" - Vic

Back in May I sat down and thrashed out my personal Top 50 Shows, now looking back on the list I know it's something I'm going to have to revisit in a year or two as there has been some newer shows (at least new to me) that have stepped up and become favourites. At the time I'd recently finished watching The Wire's final season and I was completely blown away by the show, so I had an agonizing decision between my top two slots, The Wire and The Shield were both competing in my head for the number one place and it was almost impossible to decide between them, I already knew how The Wire went out, but The Shield and I have had a long standing relationship since around the time just after the first season aired and I couldn't decide which.

Eventually, after thinking long and hard about the two shows and talking to one friend I realised that The Shield had the number one slot all along and I was just trying to, well, fit in with many other lists by putting The Wire up there. Now don't get me wrong, The Wire is amazing, but my heart belongs to Vic Mackey, Dutch, Billings and Co. So I placed The Shield in the number one slot without seeing how it would play out.

This final season has justified that faith and the final episode was everything I hoped for and more.

Read all about it beyond the link...

Seven seasons, eighty eight episodes of a show that just brings the noise and pumps the action, but it all ends with two of the most powerful silences the show has ever aired.

I'm still at something of a loss when it comes to putting words down about this, the show has literally closed a chapter of my life that was opened when I first wandered into HMV and saw the Michael Chiklis staring at me from the first season box. I was compelled to purchase the show. It was the best impulse buy I've ever made and there are a lot of people (and I do now mean a LOT) who would never have seen this show if I hadn't handed over that now worn and battered DVD set and let them watch the first season for themselves. It's been like a virus that's infected most of my life for the past five or so years and I'm not sure what will step up to fill that hole.

The final episode follows a lot of logical moments that have been set up for quite a while, it also delivers several expected moments in very unusual manners. That final Vic and Shane confrontation does arrive and it does result in one of them dying. But it's over the phone and Vic doesn't actually kill Shane himself, instead he convinces Shane that it would be best to kill himself and his entire family with his taunting.

Vic and Ronnie get their final moment, Vic gets his final triumph over Claudette just as she shows him exactly how much it cost. The interview scene between the pair of them was staggering, an almost biblical meeting between the two paragons of Law and Corruption that ends with Vic's mask slipping for a moment until he realises that the camera has shown his moment of weakness. Michael's stone cold silence throughout Shane's final words (delivered, by proxy from Claudette) and his inability to look directly at the photographs of Shane's family meeting/murder/suicide were so powerful. But even more powerful was the moment where he just slams the shutters back down and becomes Vic again.

Speaking of which, Shane's decision was well choreographed but also heavily signalled throughout the convenience store scene. It was clear from his conversation with the checkout girl that he was trying to impart some last fatherly advice, perhaps she provided a proxy for his own unborn daughter. And once he left the remaining money for her I knew his fate was sealed. Still it didn't make it any easier to watch the scene as Claudette and everyone busts down his door, hears the gunshot, finds Shane's body and then discovers the 'shrine' of Mara and Jackson laid out on the bed. After just over two seasons of clamouring for Shane's blood over his murder of Lem I'm almost angry that the show has managed to turn me around on Shane and Mara. I wanted to feel vindicated that Shane took his own life but instead I just felt sad that he passed.

There's one other member of the strike team to talk about and that's David Rees Snell as Ronnie. Last week's episode sealed the moment for him, we knew there was no out for Ronnie, a man who has grown so much over the show and almost managed to escape from Vic's shadow, a man who is arguably the most innocent member of the original strike team (after Lem), he's the one who takes the brunt of Vic's crimes. The department has been seeking their corrupt cop for a long time now and they've finally got someone to make an example of, he won't be getting out of prison for a long, long time at best. It's a crying shame.

Dutch gets his closure and we're shown a glimpse of Dutch's future. It was good that Lloyd returned for one final swipe at Dutch, but Lloyd's obvious inexperience combined in contrast with Dutch's wealth of detective experience meant that I was confident it would go down the right way in the end. Nice touch having Jay's real life wife play Billing's 'bitch dyke' lawyer and have her express an interest in Dutch. Even nicer touch having Danny comment on it afterwards.

Last of all, the big man. The ending. Vic Mackey. The Alpha Dog.

What's to say, it's as fantastic an ending as I could have asked for. I know many people have been braying for Vic's blood and demanding that he either die or become imprisoned for his crimes. Especially the shooting of Terry Crowely. But I for one always hoped that Vic would come out of this alive.

Which he did, but the cost he's paid is astronomical. He's lost his friends, his family, his old job, his presence on the streets, he's left stuck at a desk for three years with a boss who's looking to take out her revenge on him for putting the biggest one over her possible. He's lost his protege Shane to suicide, his close friend Lem to Shane, his third friend Ronnie to his own actions and his Wife and kids to his own reputation for a fearsome level of self preservation.

He's literally been put into his own personal hell with this new job, he's divorced entirely from his old life and everything that made him who he was. But in those closing moments, as he looks at the pictures of his kids and the cropped picture of himself and Lem (Ronnie and Shane were also in that picture, they've been cut out) he looks close to cracking. Then the lights go out, he picks up his gun and as he puts on his suit - a suit that makes him look so small and even highlights a bit of a belly - as he stands up and the reality sets back in you see the familiar set of his face return and realise that ultimately Vic stands just fine alone, he's lost nothing. He's still who he is and he'll push through these three years of penance and come out the other side smelling sweeter than ever. Because that's who Vic is.

I chose to use the quote from the very first episode at the top of this review because it highlights something very core about the show. Vic talked the talk about the team coming first, but at the end of it he always knew it would be every man for himself. When it comes down to it Vic is a survivor, he will keep on moving and charming people until he dies.

You know that right now Vic is paying for what he's done and he's still alive to suffer for it. But also you know that he'll get past this and end up doing well for himself. Because that's what Vic does, he's a survivor, a shark, a true apex predator, and in the end he'll always be able to compartmentalise any of his losses and shut down what ever emotions he needs to.

Because Vic is a survivor and that's what he does best.

Thoughts in brief:
I can't thank Shawn and Co enough for two things, first of all bringing back Clark Johnson for the final directing job AND giving him a cameo as 'Handsome Marshall' right at the end of the show. I honestly can't get enough of Clark and I really dig both his on screen talent and directing style.

The second thing I'd like to thank them for is the closing montage and the picture of Vic and Lem together on Vic's new desk. Lem remains my favourite character even after his demise (I have a long history of favourite characters in shows dying - Six Feet Under, Dexter, Millennium, 24, The Wire - twice -, The Dead Zone etc...) and I'd been hoping all season that there would be a glimpse of Kenny Johnson in a closing montage. I was rewarded with not one, but two of them, one of which was the final shot of the show (Shane and Lem in the closing episode of season 5 with Lem figuring large in it). Those made me happier than anything else that happened.

I did enjoy the way the episode hinted at future events without actually closing everything; Dutch got his man and has a sniff of his woman, Julien's homosexuality was acknowledged and Acevada's campaign - while looking like a lock - wasn't resolved.

Nice to see Andre 3000 back in a great cameo/returning role.

Great fake out over the Presidential motorcade, all that talk and it didn't even feature in the end.

We finally get a time frame for the show, three years. I'm not surprised, I knew it was something around that from various other snippets about the place. But I did love Dutch's delivery to Ronnie.

To close I'd like to direct your attention to Alan Sepinwall's interview with the series creator Shawn Ryan, there are insights a-plenty for the curious. It's a good chance to try and extend your love affair with the show a few precious moments more and speculate about a 'The Shield' reprisal/movie down the line.

How did you find it?


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The Shield - 712 - Possible Kill Screen

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"What kind of detective did you raise over there Captain?"

Honestly, I don't know what to say or write about this episode at all. UN-F**KING-BELIEVABLE. Best. Episode. Ever. Finest hour on television. Seriously, I thought I was going to struggle to write about next week's episode but this weeks. What on earth is there you can say about that? Seven years, all culminating in one gigantic build up that lays out the foundations for next weeks complete S**t storm...

Read about just pure awesomeness beyond the link, seriously...

So much to talk about, so much happened. But there's no way I can manage to talk about this in chronological order, so I'm just going to have to vomit out whatever thoughts arrive as they do.

Vic actually did it, he actually sat down and confessed to every single last crime he committed, even the original sin of shooting Terry Crowely. ICE offered him immunity to every crime he confessed to and he laid them all out there, that scene was just incredible. The silence as Vic sits there, willing up the nerve to lay it out and actually bring every little (and big) crime he was involved in to save Corrine was just stunning. That scene, the look on his face. The look on Oliva's and her superior's face as they hear his confession. They were just amazing. But then to have Claudette and Dutch walk in and see what's happened, Claudette's expression, her reaction, her realisation that they pushed Vic into this and have set him out of her legal reach. Her attack on Dutch afterwards, blaming him for it. The terror, the loss, everything her face and actions said. It's just incredible.

I've said in the past that Claudette serves as the polar opposite to Vic, she's the straight laced, law abiding cop that stands as a foil to Vic's corrupt, cut corners thug with a badge. But both of them sit as examples of just how much you lose when you're a positively or negatively charged personality. They're the two extremes of the spectrum in The Shield and they've both lost so much for their positions. But Claudette has had no end of setbacks in recent times and now she's just lost her white whale. If Vic goes down in the final moments it's going to be hard for her and it'll probably cost her everything, she needs to be careful that he doesn't become her Moby Dick.

The biggest splash to come from Vic's confessions apart from the immediate reveal of the demon underneath that bald head hits Ronnie. Vic has always stood by his friends but family comes first, he wasn't willing to betray Ronnie until he thought Corrine was in danger. Then he sold Ronnie out, it's clear it wasn't easy for him but he did it. Now Ronnie is up not just for the $100K but for every single crime he committed over the years. This is such a massive betrayal that Ronnie has stepped up as the number one potential for ending Vic's life. But, at the start of this season Ronnie killed and this has three potential meanings, first it was to move Ronnie into a situation where he would be just as dirty as the other two and thus deserving of this Norse saga sized dumping, second it shows that he's able and willing to kill, but three it slightly lessens the impact of any potential shooting of Vic that Ronnie might pull. If Vic was Ronnie's first murder it would be staggering, it could be hard anyway but I'm not sure that this is the way they'll go. Regardless, Ronnie is Effed up Swan Lane in a golden stream with nothing but a newspaper boat to protect him. In short he's screwed no matter what and while I suspect that Vic has realised avenging Lem isn't important to him any more, Ronnie might be a different case.

Likewise Shane and Mara are ragged and at the end, the romance of being on the lam has gone for them both. Shane has taken his last few steps into hell, reduced to robbing people and even taking drugs. Mara is falling apart after her shooting of that young lass and injuries in the cold opening. They're both wanted murderers now and I suspect it's not going to end well for either of them. Walton Goggins has been phenomenal this season, both Shane and Mara have become better rounded characters who, while not redeemed, are likable in their own fashion. What's happened to them is just awful beyond words, but what's going to happen is probably worse.

In a continued theme of 'Who's screwed next?' Acevada could be in a lot of trouble, Vic's deal has certainly closed the door on Ronnie and it may have closed any deal on him as well. Vic knows pitch perfect how to play Acevada doesn't he? Even after all these episodes Victor Samuel Mackey can play David Acevada and make him dance like a puppet. I suspect Acevada's deal with ICE is going to go sour and his 'end game' of a mayor ship is in serious jeopardy, if not his life.

Dutch is a likely candidate to at least have an attempt on his life next week. The Lloyd serial killer storyline has been building up towards this and there is almost certainly going to be a crack at him in the finale. It's been signaled so far in advance that I'm not sure the attempt will succeed. I'm going to go all out on a limb and predict that Billings will save Dutch in an ironic fashion but maybe die or at least get seriously hurt in the process. Proving to Dutch that Billings is a good man in his way.
There's a good question hanging over the fates of Danny, Julien and Tina. They were all present in this week's episode but right now they don't seem to fit properly into the picture. Danny is going to be looking after Vic's kids during the final episode, it's hard to say how things will fit there. Tina on the other hand has been on the receiving end of Shane, and while he treated her well considering, she is prone to violent overreactions. Julien on the other hand is McSuperDooperCop once again, he spotted Shane's car and came within a whisker of catching him. I'm sure Julien's mighty policing instincts will have one final card to play in the last chapter.

I guess I'm blind hoping that Tavon will make one final return, I think he's already had his revenge on Shane. He called him out for what he really is and Tavon must be sat at home chuckling to himself about the news reports. Still I'd love to see him take down Shane in the end.

There we are, some wild speculations, some thoughts, some hopes. But what is there to say, this was easily the finest episode of The Shield to date. I lost count of the number of moments that elicited an absolutely visceral response from me. But the moments that will haunt my memories are all coming up in picture form here.

Vic realising that his deal was OK'd and mistakenly assuming Ronnie was included as well. This is the most human I've seen Vic since Lem died.

Ronnie likewise thinking that he was safe, moments after this he almost collapses to his knees.

Vic's contemplation and realisation that Ronnie isn't included. Which is followed by his unwillingness to abandon his man and last friend.

Vic in fear over Corrine's impending arrest.

But the big three are these.

Vic literally just as he opens his mouth to confess about Terry's murder. Look at the fear and commitment in his face, every moment of him in this interview before this moment was stunning as well.

Olivia looking like she's going to throw up as she realises just what she's done to ICE and herself.

And the pay off.

Claudette's face at the words "Full Immunity" simultaneously hilarious and devastating at the same time.

Simply amazing. Perfection distilled. I can only imagine just how amazing the final episode is going to be at this point.

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Stephen Fry in America: Episode Six: Pacific

Here's the link to the entire series on the BBC iplayer, enjoy it while it's still available. For those of you who wish to watch Pacific it's located here. Slight disclaimer, I watched this episode while still mildly ill and I'm having to work from my notes, they're rather... interesting... in parts so I may miss names of people or so forth.

In this, the final episode of Stephen Fry in America, Mr Fry travels to the final five states on his journey, these are the five states that all touch the Pacific Ocean. California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

We pick up from where the previous episode ended in California, Stephen has travelled to San Fransisco to admire the mix of old and new transportation, he rides on the trams to China Town and takes in the sights and sounds of the place. Visiting a company called Golden Gate who have been in the business of producing fortune cookies for forty six years. After talking a little with the owner he travels to the amusingly
named Nob Hill to speak with one of the most influential Brits in recent times, Johnny Ive, designer of the iMac, iPod and iMac. Unfortunately for us, while Johnny has designed some excellent products he's not much of a television speaker and he struggles through a few lines of conversation, stammering and hesitating while trying to express his opinions. While his place may have an amazing view of Alcatraz Prison, a place that Stephen notes only Clint Eastwood escaped from, the conversation with him is somewhat lacking.

After travelling across the Golden Gate bridge Stephen looks into a major product of California's economy. While California may have the seventh largest economy in the world it also has it's (slightly) darker side, it's suspected that California's number one product and export is the show Weeds, starring the delightful Mary Louise-Parker. No, wait, scratch that. I meant the plant and illegal substance. Stephen joins the local Sheriffs with the intent of riding along for a bust. But first he gets to channel some more Clint Eastwood down the firing range as he's handed a Smith & Western Model 29 .44 Magnum as made famous by the aforementioned actors portrayal as the most excellent Dirty Harry. Stephen shows his flair for the dramatic and fun by quoting that famous scene almost word for word only breaking character when the kick of the gun surprises him. It's a bit of an odd scene in one respect, the entire thing is set to one of the spaghetti western sound tracks. After he's handed a Kevlar vest he travels up with the Sheriff for a relatively simple bust, there is no exciting chases or gunfights here, the growers surrender peacefully and after Stephen gets a chance to look at the crop it's destroyed. On the way back in the car the Sheriff muses on the problems they have with semi-legalised cannabis and wonders why the department can't make some money from the legal sales while also having a method of identifying legal plants. Slippery slope my friend, slippery.

Next he meets up with a couple of different varieties of environmental protectors, first of all is Carmen King who studies Energy Efficiency and also works hard to promote her feminist values while continuing to unwittingly widen the gap between the genders. Honestly I had little time for her and I was glad when the conversation was over and we moved on to a slightly more tolerable pair of people, who ironically were tree huggers but still more likable than Carmen. Stephen spent some time with them seeking the habitat of the Red Tree Vole, a protected species, because locating a vole nest will result in a 10K protected area of forest. They were slightly more likable than most enviro-fanatics, while I do very much believe in a sustainable and protected environment I dislike many of the methods employed by people of this persuasion, the sustainable housing of last week's episode is more the kind of environmental action that I feel is presented in a productive and worthwhile way.

From tree fanatics to another kind of enthusiast. In Oregon we get to meet up with a Bigfoot spotter! He's able to give us a chilling account of his first encounter with Bigfoot (sadly it's not Bender shouting out "Hey Fry, it's me Bigface!") and explains why he's so passionate about spotting Bigfoot. He goes on to hint about a conspiracy to cover up Big foot's existence from the park and muses why this is. Stephen is naturally cynical about the whole thing.

Next it's Seattle, Washington. Home of the 90s grunge movement that (eventually) spawned The Foo Fighters (which is why I feel grunge was a worthwhile form of music). Stephen heads to Pike Place Market to meet up with Christoff Snell, the owner of Can-Can Cabaret. After enjoying some freshly baked donuts he chats about life in Seattle and ponders with Christoff about the high suicide rate in the city all inter spaced with some scenes from a cabaret show.

He then goes to meet a twenty two year old seal called Barney who doesn't have a hygiene problem, thanks to careful brushing he's avoided the issues that plague many wild seals. After talking with the keepers a little he also goes to look at some North/Alaskan Sea Otters and feeds them a Union Jack fish surprise.

The final two legs of Stephen's journey will not use roads, so he waves a sad farewell to the little taxi which has taken him so far and heads up to the penultimate state on his journey, Alaska. His first stop is Kodiak Island where he talks a little about the historical role of the Russian Orthodoxy in Alaska, they first arrived to minister the fur traders who hunted sea otters for their incredibly dense furs but ended up working to help the native peoples after seeing how poorly they were treated. He then admires the beauty of the country and heads out on a boat, watching some live sea otters before going fishing for halibut and catching an Irish Lord.

He then travels to the northern most city in all of America, the perpetually snow covered Barrow, inhabited almost exclusively by Inuit. It's a cold and desolate looking city as most of the time people either stay indoors or head out of the city to hunt. Stephen has arrived just in time for the whaling season, the people of Barrow are permitted to hunt twenty two whales a year to provide them with food to survive. Stephen is shown a wicked looking weapon that is revealed to be a whale gun and the how and why of whale hunting is explained to him and us before we get to watch the hunters launch their seal skin boat and head out to hunt. But the weather is not kind to them today, the situations quickly turn unfavourable for hunting and due to a risk of the boats being crushed by moving ice the hunting is abandoned.

Finally Stephen travels 3,450 miles to the southern most part of America, Hawaii. On Honolulu he meets up with Terry, a real life Hawaii P.I. who has a few stories to share while walking the south beach. In the north Stephen heads out to sea and swims with some Galapagos Sharks before taking a paddle to Hula and chatting about the nature of tourism with one of the true inhabitants of the islands.

On Big Island Stephen visits the Mauna Kea Observatory and talks with Alex, an astronomer who's passionate in the manner of a true devotee, determined to make Stephen (and us) understand just how important stars are to humanity while also showing us the most powerful explosion ever recorded and waxing lyrical about mankind's possible fate.

The show ends with a flight over the lava rock formations in Hawaii where Stephen admires the raw power of the Earth itself, the volcanoes of Hawaii are still active in bringing up more land to the surface and it's here that the series ends. We've come across the entire of America in six episodes and seen every state, ending at a beginning, because every day these volcanoes create more America.

If I'm honest the episode 'Pacific' is not the best of the series, it feels a lot more like a series of talking head interviews combined with some light nature documentary, while I did still enjoy watching it and there were some breathtaking scenes shown it still felt a little off when compared to the other previous episodes. Still the series as a whole has been just fantastic to watch, Stephen is always a delight to see on screen and his passion always manages to bring out the fun and the interesting. I've enjoyed watching this and I look forward to his next endevor. I must also take some time to push the book of the series, it's a spiffingly fantastic read and is able to go into events with a far greater depth than the show does.

And last of all, if you feel like you've learnt something through this series (and I hope you do) then have a go at naming all fifty states in ten minutes here. Ross (on Friends) couldn't manage it but you should be able to now you've seen them all.

If you want to see more from Mr Fry you should check out his current project, Last Chance to See, where Stephen revisits the endangered animals that Douglas Adams visited many years back in the radio show of the same name.
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Watching The Wire: Episode Six: The Wire

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“All the pieces matter” – Lester Freamon

Teleplay by David Simon
Story by David Simon & Ed Burns
Directed by Ed Bianchi

Wendell Pierce (Det. William "Bunk" Moreland), Deirdre Lovejoy (Asst. States Attorney Rhonda Pearlman), Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale), John Doman (Maj. William A. Rawls), Lance Reddick (Lt. Cedric Daniels), Andre Royo (Bubbles), Idris Elba (Russell "Stringer" Bell), Frankie Faison (Deputy Comm. Ervin H. Burrell), Larry Gilliard Jr. (D'Angelo Barksdale), Dominic West (Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty) and Sonja Sohn (Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs)

Michael B. Jordan (Wallace), J.D. Williams (Preston "Bodie" Broadus), Leo Fitzpatrick (Johnny), Jim True-Frost (Off. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski), Clarke Peters (Det. Lester Freamon), Domenick Lombardozzi (Det. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk), Seth Gilliam (Det. Ellis Carver), Brian Anthony Wilson (Det. Vernon Holley), Corey Parker Robinson (Det. Leander Sydnor), Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar Little), Antonio Cordova (Sean McNulty), Wendy Grantham (Shardene Innes), Delaney Williams (Sgt. Jay Landsman), Michael Salconi (Det. Michael Santangelo), Richard DeAngelis (Maj. Ray Foerster), Nat Benchley (Det. Augustus Polk), Robert F. Colesberry (Det. Ray Cole), Michael Kostroff (Maurice "Maury" Levy), Edward T. Norris (Det. Ed Norris), Tray Chaney (Malik "Poot" Carr), Erik Todd Dellums (Dr. Randall Frazier), Brandon Price (Anton "Stinkum" Artis), Eric Ryan (Michael McNulty), Caroline G. Pleasant (Bodie's Grandmother), Michael Kevin Darnall (Brandon Wright), Sheena Barksdale (Cass)

The Summary:

Brandon’s bloodied body is discovered in a lot that’s coincidentally located next to Poot and Wallace’s house. Wallace reports this to D’Angelo, and also expresses how seeing Brandon’s body has started to bother him. D’Angelo tells Wallace to simply get over it, but Wallace is still unsure. Wallace gets further unsettled after Avon rewards D’Angelo and him with extra cash for their parts in getting Brandon taken care of.

Read about hood ornaments, wiretaps and copper beyond the link...

The Recap:

The episode opens with the sight of a beaten and deceased Brandon lying on the hood of a car before panning up and following an orange wire that leads to Wallace’s room. He’s awoken by his radio alarm and sets about getting everyone else in the house up, it turns out he lives with Poot and they essentially cares for a great deal of other kids, working the street selling drugs to keep those kids out of foster care.

Outside the police have been called out to Brandon’s body and cordon it off while Wallace and Poot watch. The expression on Wallace’s face says it all, he didn’t think about the consequences and he never thought he’d end up seeing the aftermath. Fade to the title credits.

In homicide McNulty is heading to Rawls’s office with Landsman, Rawls isn’t interested in anything McNulty has to say about how the detail. He wants McNulty out of the detail and back into the rotation in a week.

Dee is at home getting dressed for a day in the pit, it’s a real contrast in comparison to Wallace and Poot’s circumstances of living, and Dee is picking up brand new clothes from his wardrobe, stuff that still has the tags on them. He’s just one step up on the organisational ladder from them right now but his relation to Avon gives him luxuries the others could only dream of. His pager beeps…and in the basement Sydnor and Freamon notice, they also noticed all the activity the night before…Dee then heads into the kitchen where Shardene is making breakfast, having spent the night with him. They chat a little and Shardene makes it clear that she understands the situation between them.

Back in the basement the wiretaps are finally going up in the low rises, Freamon explains that they can’t listen to anything that’s not monitored, there needs to be someone observing one of the targets on the phone. Needless to say Herc is less than excited with the prospect of sitting up on a rooftop watching dealers chat on payphones.

In homicide McNulty is talking with Bunk about the situation he’s in when a call comes in about Brandon’s body. He heads down to the pit and after a quick shock from a guard dog he notices Poot observing from a nearby window. The detectives who arrived on the scene have made a connection between the Kevlar vest Brandon has and the one Bailey had when he was shot down. McNulty confirms that they are connected and asks about the crime lab, they’re not at this scene because all of them have been called out to dust down the city council president’s house – his lawn furniture was stolen.

In the pit Wallace is feeling bad about what happened to Brandon and is expressing himself to Dee, but Dee sets him straight on this. Wallace has latched onto Dee’s comments about how the selling doesn’t have to involve killing – McNulty’s sentiments have transmitted themselves down the line to Wallace. But life isn’t like that. Wallace is freaked, but Dee tells him to just ‘let it go’ and heads over to the payphone.

Carver is on the rooftop and observes the interaction, Dee pages Stringer and the man calls him back a few moments later. Needless to say this is a massive moment for the detail; they’ve finally gotten a sniff of the men at the top of the Barksdale organisation. Stringer tells Dee that Bodie is being bailed out and brought back. Nearby McNulty is on the phone with Kima about Brandon, they need to get in touch with Omar.

In juvenile court Bodie is being tried for his actions, Levy is defending him, using the retaliation the Baltimore PD inflicted on him – along with the beating he received in the interview room from Herc and Carver – as evidence. Bodie ends up being placed with home monitoring with his grandmother, but in essence he’s off scott free.

McNulty leaves his card with Omar’s van while elsewhere Bubbles is working an honest day’s labour at a fruit store when Johnny and his friend Uck roll up with a scam. They’re going to hit the copper house and Bubbles is in.

In the Pit Bodie is observed using the phone by Herc who is happy to let Carver know that they’re favourite juvenile beat stick has escaped charges again. Bodie’s call is to Stinkum, he wants to know what’s happening and Stink offers to talk the following day. Prez labels the conversation as non-pertinent as there was no drug talk and it’s up to Freamon to remind him just who they’re dealing with here.

On the street Bodie is ambushed by Herc and Carver who were convinced that he walked out of juvie again, but the truth is more galling. They discover that Bodie is out and on just home monitoring. Bodie is happy to rub their faces in it and even pulls a lift home out of the pair.

Rawls is in his office with the murder files that McNulty attempted to show him when he spots something and calls in Landsman. The following morning Bunk rolls in and discovers that Rawls wants to move in on the Deirdre case immediately. Landsman isn’t happy about making him work on this, it’s a weak case that’ll screw the detail’s investigation but Rawls is the boss.

In the pit the lads meet up and Dee informs them about a switch up in the way they’ll be running things. In the basement Kima and Freamon are chatting about what they’ve learnt today. Polk rolls in half cut and Daniels calls him into his office while McNulty responds to Bunk’s page. Polk’s been skipping out on work, while the others have been covering for him but Daniels has noticed. Polk is honest about his feelings and attempts to get himself sent out of the detail and back to property, but Daniels isn’t interested in that – either Polk admits he has a drinking problem or he gets up onto the rooftops and starts watching the payphones. Polk decides to leave.

McNulty is convinced that Rawls is pushing for these cases to screw him over personally, but as it’s pointed out to him this is about stats. The cases are weak at best, but enough to provide clearances and Rawls wants more names in black on his board. Kima wants to tell Daniels but McNulty is convinced Daniels won’t fight for it and thinks it’s a waste of time. Kima explains that they should at least try.

Bubbles and Johnny are out on the street outside the copper yard, Johnny leaps in the way of the delivery van and is knocked down. This, combined with his colonoscopy bag bursting provides enough of a distraction to allow Bubbles and Uck to steal the copper pipes and run. It turns out that the bag contains nothing more than onion soup and was part of the plan.

In the basement, Daniels is talking with McNulty and Kima about Rawls action, McNulty lays it out for him – put up or shut up. Daniels seems unwilling to play ball.

Avon, Stinkum and Stringer arrive in the Pit in a rare moment with non diuretic music and slow motion walking. It’s an unusual moment in the show where the normal solid rules of the show’s reality are violated – it’s not often you’ll see The Wire play things this way and usual it’s done to make a point.

Dee meets with them at the coach and they talk about Brandon and Bailey, everyone involved is getting $500 including Wallace and Dee. They then chat about the crimping that Stringer told Dee to put on his men, no-one is flashing any cash though everyone is begging for money and looking hard done by. Avon lets Dee know if he carries on like this he’ll end up getting a percentage. On the roof Santangelo is the man observing, but at the time Avon and Co rolled up he was not paying attention at all. His lack of observation here has missed an opportunity for the detail.

Daniels meets with Rawls to try and preserve his case, he explains what will happen if Rawls pushes ahead with these prosecutions now but Rawls isn’t interested. Daniels comes just short of begging him but Rawls won’t budge.

McNulty is playing football with his boys when he’s paged by Omar who is naturally upset and wants to see Brandon. McNulty meets up with Omar (still with his kids in tow) and takes him to the morgue.

Having successfully sold the copper pipes Johnny, Uck and Bubs celebrate by getting high and Bubs proposes that they steal the copper again once it’s installed in retaliation for the poor price paid. Johnny heads out to score some more heroin but he’s pinched by the narcs.

Dee is sat on the coach when Wallace comes up to talk to him, Dee recommends Wallace uses his money to get himself a nice girl and splash out on her. Wallace wants to know why members of the crew have been cut. Dee explains it’s because they’ve been stealing from him by selling on the side, if he told Stink or Avon about what’s happened the two thieves would end up beaten and possibly dead, so instead he’s let them go. Dee also explains why he’s been holding back everyone’s wages.

McNulty leaves his kids upstairs and takes Omar down to the morgue where he breaks down and screams loudly enough to be heard up in the lobby by McNulty’s kids. This is enough to make him decide to turn snitch (which he was unwilling to do before) and the following day he heads into the basement with Kima and McNulty. While he tells them about what happens Freamon connects the dots and finally realises what that pager activity was about. Omar fingers Wee-Bay, Stinkum and Bird for Brandon’s murder while Freamon fills McNulty in on what he’s realised about the calls. McNulty lays it out to Daniels and shifts the blame onto his slow response time getting the wire up. They missed the chance to catch nearly the entire organisation in this. McNulty and Freamon head out and examine the place where Brandon was picked up, the payphone is a match.

Daniels is talking with Foerster about the case, he wants to fight for the case but Foerster isn’t interested. Rawls is not a man you cross.

Back in the basement Omar fills Kima in on the details of Barksdale’s crew, most importantly with regard to Bird, the man who shot Gant. Bird uses a .380 and won’t have dumped it. But the gun alone isn’t enough, they need an eyeball witness, and Omar claims he can ID Bird and will testify.

Rawls and Daniels are talking with Deputy Op Burrell about the situation with regards to the murders and the detail’s case. Rawls wants to charge despite the weak case; Daniels wants to protect his investigation. Burrell admits he hates the wiretap and wants to know why he shouldn’t jump on it. Daniels explains that the murders can be charged a month from now and still work just as well, but if Rawls can’t roll up a conviction on Avon Barksdale from those charges then everything falls apart and Judge Phelan is going to be really angry. A while later Rawls calls Santangelo in to try and get some leverage against McNulty.

In the basement Daniels informs McNulty that not only are the murder warrants on hold but also that Omar has handed over himself as an eyewitness for Gant’s murder. McNulty actually thanks him before leaving, but Freamon just asks Daniels if it cost him.

After they’ve both left Daniels stands and looks at the pictures of Brandon, dwelling on the fact that the boy could possibly have been saved if he’d moved faster and it’s this knowledge along with departmental backlash over his decision that will be his price.

The Themes:

“It doesn’t have to be this way” – McNulty’s exasperation over the sheer amount of bodies the dealers create was voiced to Dee back in the interview room a while ago, but the sentiment refuses to die. Dee voiced it to Bodie, Poot and Wallace later on and now Wallace echoes it back to him. These lads are not just thugs who enjoy killing, they’re people who live the only life they have and while they’re smart enough to question the way it is, they’re still stuck.

“Breaking the rules” – The Wire is not afraid to break its rules occasionally if it has a point to make. It does it twice in this episode, once with the slow motion walk to music and once when Omar sees Brandon in the morgue. Now I’m not entirely sure that these moments were needed, but the black and white cut of Brandon’s face felt very Homicide in its style. It’s possible it could have been a tribute, it’s certainly a moment that would have been punctuated by the Homicide sting if it was on that show.

The Review:

The Wire is something of a change over point between the two sides in the series. The Barksdale crew have been ascendant until this point, with the police scrabbling around scratching at half clues in the dirt. But the arrival of the wiretap has given the detail a huge leap forward, they’re beginning to see the top level of the organisation. Also Brandon’s death, which was in part caused by the delay in getting the wiretap up, provided the final piece of motivation for Daniels. He’s in all the way now and that means the investigation can push ahead. But he’s been warned that his actions will have a price.

Just as the name of the episode would suggest, The Wire signifies the real start of the story, every episode before now has been about building up momentum and characters, but now things begin to take shape. We know all the players of the game intimately, we know who the ‘bad guys’ (as much as there are bad guys in this show) are in both organisations and who the ‘good ones’ are. The pieces are in place and the game begins in ernest…

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The Shield Collected Review Round Up: Petty Cash

Category: By Rev/Views
Rounding, rounding, rounding.
Keep The Shield's reviews in.
Rounding, rounding, rounding.
Round Up!

First up, I've had to drop Capone's reviews over at Ain't it cool because they've turned into an exercises in spoilers. It's a shame but them's the breaks. I'm not going to go looking at a post in which the title and opening line seems to indicate that he's about to spill the beans on what happens in the final two episodes. If you're curious and you don't care then feel free to google it up but I for one prefer to live in a spoiler free world (though I must admit I wish the final two episodes would just get leaked in advance because things are beginning to spill out all over the place after the critic's screening happened. Seems some of them just can't keep their mouths shut - which is a shame.) I suspected he was going to start getting all spolier-ish after last week, shame really - I know some people prefer to get their spoilers but it's pretty bad form (imo) to not to have a warning title or conceal your spoilers behind a cut. (Even if there aren't any spoilers in that post I just don't want to take the risk.)

The imdb synopsis on the other hand is an exercises in how not to spoiler things. It contains a full synopsis as always and is a pleasure to read.

Likewise Alan is diligent in his policing of user's posts and ensures that his review does not give away anything about the next two episodes despite the fact that he's seen them. I thoroughly appreciate and respect this.

Jason at Premium Hollywood has noticed (just like most of us I suspect) that Shane is a lot smarter than most people give him credit for. Shane's evolved a lot over the course of the show, as has Ronnie. Ironically Vic hasn't changed one bit since the first moment he exploded onto our screens, only his situation has.

Jonathan over at TV Squad is filled with almost as many questions as I have been this week. He's called for people's predictions about how it's going to go down. I didn't risk reading the comments just in case, so scroll through them at your own risk.

Tom R mentions in his recap and review that he's expecting something similar to a train wreck for the final two episodes. To be honest, I think he's right. It's going to be messy and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Geeky Talk has it's usual mix of screen caps and a shrewd review for you to look over. Sometimes I think I should break up my reviews with more pictures, but they're such a hassle.

Last of all this week we have Jason Pinter's own review, this week he's gone for a random thoughts style post, which if I'm honest are the ones I like most of all from him.

Next week comes "Possible Kill Screen", which is an ominous title for an episode if I ever heard one...
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