I’ve been having a hard time coming up with what to say about Wire 47 since the episode was basically so fantastic that I have nothing to grouse about. The signature moment, on reflection, has to be Chris’ savage beating-to-death of Bug’s dad. The distinctive thing about the Marlo-Chris-Snoop troika from the beginning is that they’ve presented themselves, from the beginning (i.e., Marlo’s hilarious “what’s you name again?” query in the back seat of his car after meeting the girl who was supposed to seduce him and lead him to his demise) as essentially inhuman characters. Chris’ breakdown, monstrous as it was, was also human. Killing that dude was more than a job to him — it was vengeance for some demons in his own past; a murder that, perversely, makes Chris seem more normal and less like the ultimate drug soldier.
It was, however, just that inhuman quality that had made the Stanfield crew so effective. Chris not only lost his head, but violated the corpse-hiding procedure that’s been integral to keeping the heat off.
West Baltimore, as we see, is trapped in a spiral. Weak, soft kids like Namond are too week, too human to avoid the game. The strong ones (Michael) resist its temptations better but are also much better prospects who get more attractive offers and wind up signing up at the end. But even the best, most professional among them (Chris) have their moments of humanity and trip up. Meanwhile, the descent of Major Crimes into ineptitude is frustrating, but having seen Marlo rise from the ashes of the Barskdale crew we know perfectly well that Colonel Daniels and a revivified CID will only open up space for a new player if they ever do bear down. Everyone is, in essence, doomed. Which is, it seems, the general POV of the show as we see as well in the Hall plotline.
From the beginning, though, there’s been a counternarrative: Prop Joe always wins. He tricks Avon, brings in a ringer, and wins his basketball game. He has an out-of-town “product” hookup facilitated by a smuggler who enjoys protection from the FBI. The Baltimore PD never focuses on him no matter how central he becomes to the Charm City drug trade — indeed, it’s not clear they even know who he is. Marlo comes to him for help as to those fleeing from Marlo. Is Joe just lucky, or has he figured something out nobody else on either side of the thin blue line knows?