Apparently, season three was creator David Simon’s commentary on the Iraq War, and this episode title is a direct reference to those events.
We’ll move on anyway.
Following Stringer’s death, we are mostly here dealing with the aftermath of Stringer’s last moments and who killed him. Bunk is officially on scene as the homicide detective in charge, and McNulty is on-hand to say how he couldn’t tell Stringer he lost the game in the end. The wiretaps had worked. Stringer would have gone down either way.
And while the killers, Omar and Brother Mouzone, end their truce and go their separate ways, we know neither of them will see any jail time for it. The lone surviving witness only describes Omar as a large black man with a large gun, and Mouzone was never seen by that guy.
But Hamsterdam is coming down, one way or the other. The mayor is still not sure how to handle the whole thing, and he’d just assume pin the whole thing on Burrell. Burrell, on the other hand, finds a way to basically blackmail the mayor into keeping his job by threatening to tell the press stuff the mayor would rather the press not know, some of which might actually be true. It’s similar to how Colvin handled Burrell when he offered to be the fall guy so long as his people were left alone. As it is, Burrell has a parting gift to Colvin too. Once the press got wind of Hamsterdam and descended en masse, it was no longer a secret. As such, Burrell is forcing Colvin out early, and demoting him to cut the man’s pension. Plus, news of his actions costs Colvin the sweet security job he had lined up at a local university.
About the only one not blaming Colvin publicly is Carcetti, but the way he comes to the man’s defense by lambasting the mayor and the push to bring crime numbers down doesn’t exactly make him friendly to Colvin per se, plus it costs him his best friend in the city counsel when said friend realizes Carcetti is running for mayor against him.
As for the mayor, he has to explain to the feds that he didn’t authorize a legal drug zone to keep the half million in aid the city gets.
With Stringer dead, Bunk and McNulty manage to get into Stringer’s place, find a very nice apartment, and see how he avoided getting caught for so long by constantly switching SIM cards on his phone whenever he had to call anybody. As such, he had probably a dozen different phone numbers. Avon doesn’t have that system, so while he and one other guy know that Stringer died because of Avon, the rest of the crew don’t and are on their way to put a hit on Marlo Stanfield. Since the cops knew about it thanks to Avon being less crafty with the phone, the whole gang gets busted and Marlo lives another day. Avon doesn’t put up a fight. He knows he’s caught. About all McNulty can do is show the arrest warrant with Stringer’s name on it as a CI (a lie, but the sort of lie McNulty likes to tell, and it pleases Colvin when McNulty’s former CO finds out).
Hamsterdam comes down. Rawls personally leads the charge while playing “The Ride of the Valkyries” because that’s the kind of asshole Rawls is. Bubbles’s closest friend Johnny is dead in the rubble of an overdose. That needs to be covered up so the press doesn’t see it. The whole thing is bad enough.
And so, the season comes to a close. The montage happens, but not everything of worth happens in the montage. Among the things that we end the season on:
- Daniels has been promoted to the rank of Major, finally, and with his wife’s political career assured, he can now publicly date Pearlman.
- McNulty realizes his life has been not working out, and he might be happier as a uniformed patrolman. Despite an offer for another chance from Daniels, McNulty turns it down to be a beat cop in West Baltimore, and looks to be starting a romantic relationship of a more old fashioned nature with Beadie Russell.
- Carcetti has formally announced his candidacy.
- Cutty’s gym seems to be keeping kids off the street, and Carver is working on a relationship with the man.
- Herc, meanwhile, hasn’t changed a bit, and that’s the difference between the two and why Carver may ultimately be the better cop.
- Omar disposes of the weapons from Stringer’s death.
- Avon goes back to jail. His sister won’t stay for the sentencing, but Marlo sure will.
- Despite Lester’s best efforts, Prez realizes he shouldn’t be a cop and quits the force.
- Hamsterdam isn’t just closed down; it’s bulldozed. Drug crime is back to normal all over the city.
- Bodie seems to be alone on the streets of the Barksdale crew.
- And Bubbles has a new protege to teach about the fine art of hustling for drug money.
In an epilogue, Colvin and Bubbles meet at the site of the former Hamsterdam. Colvin asks Bubbles if it was a good thing. Bubbles, perhaps best expressing what happened more than anyone, just says it was a thing and nothing more.
So, what does city politics do for people? Nothing. Everyone is out to further their own careers and protect their own asses. So far, I’d say this was the season David Simon was at his harshest in criticizing things. He never quite got on a soapbox, but he came damn close. Good for him.