The Wire Final Season

Week 7: Bitey the Bloodthirsty
Talking television.
Feb. 18 2008 12:16 PM

The Wire Final Season

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Dear Jeff,

Why be such a hater? (Or should that be hata?)

David Plotz David Plotz

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

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On the Obonda joke, cut David Simon and Richard Price some slack. Six months ago, they made a guess that 1) Barack Obama would be an important enough cultural figure in late February that they could risk a joke about him; and 2) Obama's support among black voters might be tenuous or touchy enough that the joke would make sense. They were dead right about No. 1 and a little bit off about No. 2. You really want to fault them for failing to predict the ebb and flow of the Democratic primary campaign? Do you actually think their six-month-out guess was worse than the (much more recent) forecasts by political reporters and pundits whose job it is to follow the race? I don't, and I give them ballsy points for risking the joke at all.

Yes, I share your general dismay about the linked faux serial killer/newspaper fabulist plots. (Klebanow, in particular, was ridiculous this week, more Dr. Evil than Marimow.) But given that we're yoked to these stories—this is not a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where you can start over with a different plot point—I think Simon and Co. did a dazzling job turning manure into fuel this week. As with Hamsterdam—the Season 3 premise that was almost as preposterous as this year's Bitey the Bloodthirsty—the unraveling can vindicate the awkward setup. The collapse of Hamsterdam, which gave us Bunny Colvin's disgrace, the return of crazed drug violence, and the seeds of Marlo's rise, was dazzling to watch. And while I'm not claiming that the Bitey plot holds a candle to Hamsterdam, I found this week's escalation at the mayor's office, police department, and yes, even the newspaper, fascinating and persuasive. It's going to be fun watching it all fall apart in the next couple of weeks.

Also, I think you're wrong that the killing of Savino is vintage Omar. He has killed while stealing from drug dealers, and he killed Stringer Bell for revenge, but I can't remember him taking out a random bad guy like that. Readers, who's right about this, me or Jeff? Is this the same old Robin Hood Omar or a new Omar? 

A couple of weeks ago, I whined that The Wire doesn't show young black men in the working world, but this week it had a heartbreaking nod in that direction—Dukie flipping through the want ads. The jobs are hopelessly out of his reach. He doesn't even know what most of them are.

David