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Wire: The Return

Episode 44 aired last night after the tragic skip week. The show continues to be utterly uncompromising in its refusal to advance the pace of the crime narrative. Herc and Carver are circling in the vicinity of Randy’s knowledge of where Marlo stashes his bodies, but can’t think to ask the right question. Freamon was convinced to drop his inquiry into the case of the missing bodies just before Randy showed up on the cops’ radar, so nobody’s pushing it. It appeared, briefly, that Omar’s arrest would drag McNulty back toward the center of action, but instead they gave us another entirely McNulty-free episode. Instead, the focus stays on season four’s main plotlines — the kids and city hall.

Prezbo’s nice gambit sort of seems like him groping his way toward managing his class effectively, but on another level reads to me as overindulgence. Leveraging the kids’ interest in dice to teach them something about probability and, perhaps, how to multiply fractions (that, IIRC, is what he was trying to teach in Ep 43) makes sense, but it wasn’t made clear if the kids actually were learning any math there as opposed to just sitting around throwing dice.

The special program, meanwhile, seems like an interesting sort of failure. You’ve got a small number of kids, and several smart adults who know what’s going on. As seen in the refusal to kick Namond out or suspend him, they know the score and they refuse to be played. But what can they really accomplish? Is it possible to teach people who honestly don’t want to be taught? What schoolteacher can possibly reach an eighth grader facing intense pressure from his mom and dad to become a harder-working, more succesful drug dealer?

Cutty is much more effective, but he has the significant advantage of not being in nearly as direct competition with the corners for his kids’ loyalties. After all, the skills and training he’s imparting are not without their value on the street — as seen in Cutty’s ability to get that other dude to leave Namond alone. Meanwhile, if the special program in school can’t seem to work, the larger question about Cutty’s program is what makes him think it will “work” even if it does work? After all, Cutty himself was well-trained in boxing as was Avon Barksdale and that didn’t keep either of them out of game.

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Carcetti, meanwhile, as best one can tell has given up on the schools. Education is an obvious point for an opposition candidate to raise, but he never brings it up during the campaign. Now that the transition’s under way, it still doesn’t get mentioned at all in his universe. To him, urban renewal begins with more effective crime control policies. He’s looking at Daniels for commissioner, but I think him getting the job would be contrary to the spirit of the show, which will doubtless find some way to thwart this gambit. Meanwhile, my feeling is that it would be genuinely odd for a city’s police commissioner to be dating the city’s top violent crimes prosecutor, but that particular topic hasn’t gotten aired yet.