It’s really hard to judge at this point where this season of The Wire is going. If anything, this episode seems to be working off the idea that stuff streams downhill on people because the characters lower on the various totem poles are getting dumped on by those above them.
Let’s look at how that works. First up: Commissioner Burrell. Though he does bring down the hammer on the various police majors beneath him, he’s caught between having to take a political fall for the mayor and the ambitious Tommy Carcetti when it comes out that the police academy will be holding up a new batch of rookies to save the city money. By the by, if you didn’t figure out by now Carcetti is ambitious, seeing him having sex with a woman who is most decidedly not his wife should have been the giveaway. Not because of the sex, but because of the way he was looking at himself in the mirror while doing it.
So, Burrell, working through Rawls, takes it out on the majors below him like Colvin, who seems to have an interesting idea on what to do next. Colvin is looking to create a zone where dealers can deal away from regular folks and schools while knowing at some point after they get comfortable, he can just swoop in and nab ’em all. Longterm planning. Will it work? Not on this show, but he seems to be taking the whole dressing-down thing in stride since he knows he’ll be retiring in six months.
About the only part of the police force that seems to be off Burrell and Rawls’ hit list is Daniels and his Detail. Granted, they actually get results, but Daniels isn’t completely free to do his own thing anyway. The Stringer thing isn’t working, so he’s going for a new target as a result of the mayor, through the commissioner, through Rawls, looking to take down a lot of crime on the streets. That slides down to McNulty (who proves by testing the murder weapon that D’Angelo probably wasn’t a suicide), but McNulty gets less bitchy than usual since it generally gets pointed out Daniels got him off a boat. Greggs isn’t happy about it either, but them’s the breaks.
On the other side of the law and order coin, we see the ongoing war between the Barksdale Organization and Marlo Stanfield’s group isn’t going well for anyone. The cops can’t stop the gang war, and neither side seems to be winning overall. Stringer gets a tip from Proposition Joe about phones, but the biggest result of all this is Stringer getting security upgrades on the stash houses since that’s what Omar likes to hit.
And that would be when one of Omar’s hits goes wrong, and a female member of his foursome dies in a shootout. Stringer has the funeral heavily-guarded, but Omar isn’t that dumb, though his gang is starting to wonder why they only hit Barksdale houses.
Much of the episode is taken up by a cop’s wake for a detective from the previous two seasons who died on a Stairmaster. The actor in question had died, so the series gave him a send-off. And if you didn’t see much of him onscreen, the man was also a producer for the series, so that probably had more to do with it.
And while I still don’t know what the hell is going on with the Cutty storyline, we do see him trying very hard to stay straight and even trying to sweet-talk what looks like an old girlfriend. I’m starting to warm up to the guy, and I still have no idea why he’s on the show. Oh well.