The Wire Final Season

Week 8: Could Chris Fill Marlo's Shoes?
Talking television.
Feb. 25 2008 2:02 PM

The Wire Final Season

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Dear David,

The second-most implausible character in last night's episode, after walk-on-water-Gus (as you have already noted, he restores sight to the blind, but did you also know that, in his spare time, he invents superefficient biofuels while battling al-Qaida with thought rays?), is Carcetti's wife. I didn't see what you saw: No wife I know, including my own wife, and yours as well, would sit even semidisagreeably by her just-come-home-from-a-long-day-at-the-office husband's side as he surfs cable for images of himself, of all things. And, by the way, Carcetti's fall doesn't seem like such a fall to me; he's always been one of David Simon's most interesting and complicated characters—I don't think you could plausibly argue that he's shed all of his idealism this season in pursuit of the governor's mansion. Witness his press conference performance on the homeless. I think he's actually quite a sympathetic figure. Every successful politician in America kowtows to men like Clay Davis; they couldn't be successful without them. OK, maybe not Clay Davis, exactly, but every Saint Obama has his Rezko. Isn't this what David Simon is telling us? That everybody's dirty?

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I have to ask you to reconsider my Chris-kills-Marlo hypothetical. It came to me in a flash when Marlo, obviously relieved that Omar is dead, smiles (which is bad enough) and then promises Chris a trip to Atlantic City, N.J. Chris' look just then was homicidal. Chris is obviously humiliated by the circumstances of Omar's death; a small boy did what he and his whole crew could not. Chris' anger (and, based on the evidence, he has something of a problem with anger) could redirect itself against Marlo, who, this episode proved, is not quite as tough as Chris and Snoop. After all, where was Marlo during the Omar-as-Batman shootout? Nowhere to be found. Omar may get his posthumous revenge on Marlo; keep in mind that Omar dirtied Marlo's name up and down the city before expiring. I agree with you that Marlo is obviously an adept businessman, but there's nothing to suggest that Chris couldn't fill his shoes; he is, to invert your phrase a bit, an entrepreneur of homicide. He just has to learn Greek.

One more question, suggested to us by our maximum leader: What was the point of seeing Omar laid out in the morgue, victimized one final time, in this instance by a city bureaucrat? If it was to prove the point that the city doesn't work, well, I think the point has been made. Or was it just to allow the audience to mourn? Or get a fleeting glimpse of Omar's groin?

Jeff

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