Every season on The Wire, we brace ourselves for the loss of a favorite character. Wallace, D'Angelo, Stringer Bell and Bodie have all been eulogized fondly, and now we can add Prop Joe to that long list of great characters we'll miss. Marlo is now successor as king of the Baltimore drug trade, but you'd have a hard time knowing it looking at his face upon taking the crown. He seemed more intrigued with Prop Joe's execution, with a look that only needed a raised eyebrow to achieve pure Spock-like detachment, as he, like in many a karate film, kills his master -- or in this case, has Chris-son do it. Fitting then, that the chillingly emotionless Marlo comes as close to empathy as we've seen just a few seconds prior, easing poor Joe into taking Marlo's idea of severance calmly:
Close your eyes, it won't hurt none. Yeah... there now, Joe, relax... breathe easy.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Burrell is getting a much nicer severance, a new four-figure salary and a nice pension to boot, all so he'll also quietly go into that good night, and not scorch the earth -- and his successor, Daniels -- behind him. "Close your eyes, Ervin, this should take the sting off." If the connection of successors wasn't obvious enough, we learn Prop Joe was a year behind Ervin at Dunbar. Says Joe, "He was in the Glee club." I just love the way Robert Chew delivers this line, emphasizing the word "glee" as if it's all you need to know about Burrell. Unlike Marlo, though, Daniels lets loose a smile upon taking a seat behind his new office. But, like Marlo, we know he needs to watch his back, because the skeleton in his closet isn't as buried as he would like to think. All of ex-Mayor Royce's old collective -- including the inimitable Senator Clay Davis -- seem to still have some life in them yet, thanks to the dossier on Daniels' dirty Eastern District days.
The third "transition" continues at The Sun as outgoing cop reporter Twigg hands the reigns to rookie Alma. Twigg gets in his last scoop and byline, but it serves more as a reminder of what they'll be missing. There's no word on whether he went to Dunbar as well. This subplot still feels pretty small compared to all the great goings-on elsewhere, but I still trust that David Simon has a "grand story" to tell here and it's just merely slumming in the margins right now.
But hold on a minute... Omar's back in town. It's a testament to the power of this episode that our favorite gay stick-up artist doesn't get mentioned until now. His entrance is backed by some fine DC Go-Go music from Trouble Funk, which naturally means that we are in the presence of Slim Charles, played by Go-Go singer/rapper Anwan Glover (Backyard Band) who continues to play the hell out of his muscle character. Omar has his sights set now on an unsuspecting Michael, which has me worried for poor poor Dukie. Michael has taken him out of the game, and we know that move doesn't have a good track record in this series.
You said you love me and thats a factPlaylist: The Wire - Episode 5.04
Then you left me, said you felt trapped
Well some things you can explain away
But my heartaches in me till this day
1. "What You Know About Baltimore" - Ogun - BPD altercation on Michael's corner
2. "Baby, I'm Yours" - Barbara Lewis - Prop Joe gets flowers for Butchie's funeral
3. "Drop The Bomb" - Trouble Funk - Omar checks in on Slim Charles
4. "Train In Vain" - The Clash - McNulty at the bar
5. "Street Legendz" - Shortie - Omar meets up with Donnie
*Congratulations to Amy Ryan for her Oscar nomination (Best Supporting Actress - Gone Baby Gone). Seeing her again now in such a small, and stiffly written scene felt strange given her recent jump in exposure.
Previously: Desperation and Transformation (Episode 5.03)