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The Wire Virgin Diary – The Greek isn’t greek

'The Wire' lives up to its reputation as season two comes to a close, erasing all of my frustrations with the first half of the season.

It looks like The Wire’s second season came to a much better conclusion than the first. While this season of this Virgin Diary started off very disjointed, the final several episodes have pulled the threads together, resulting in a fairly good story. I was particularly taken with how much I suddenly cared about Ziggy.

Episode 11: “Bad Dreams”

After all the whining I’ve done about Ziggy all season long – and all of the explaning I did about that whining in last week’s entry – I have to admit that his scene with Frank in this episode almost made his season-long incoherence worthwhile. Ziggy is the definitive screw-up, but to see him admit that to his father as he sits in jail was heartbreaking. Frank’s story was just as rough; realizing that not only that he was never the father he needed to be, but when he finally might have a chance to step up, The Greek’s FBI mole might screw things up for everyone.

In these entries, I post about both episodes, but I obviously write about the first episode before I move watch the second. This week, I was tempted to watch both and combine everything. I think if I did that though, you’d miss my comically half-informed reactions, so here goes:

Frank is dead as hell, and if The Wire had any level of karmic justice, Nick would flip on the Greek and the whole organization would go down. But since this is The Wire, the whole case will fall apart, and the only one that will end up doing any significant jail time is Horseface. Despite the fact that it was Homicide that royally screwed the detail’s operation, Rawls will find a way to blame everything on McNulty. Barksdale will continue to sit in jail and be completely irrelevant.

Jokes aside; Stringer Bell has pissed in Omar’s corn flakes one too many times. As risky of a game he was playing with clan Barksdale, punking Omar like that raises the stakes to a level I don’t think he anticipated.

Episode 12: “Port in a Storm”

“I bet you there’s a fucking police detective somewheres else looking at a table full of heads right now.”

I’m a bit shell-shocked that things turned out as well as they did for the detail. They were able to make most of their case – I don’t think anyone watching this season would have reasonably expected for them to get the Greek or Vondas. Frank’s death was expected, but still disappointing. As he said to Beadie in the last episode, he was always just trying to do right by the union. Getting in bed with the Greek was a means to an end, but he got caught up in a game beyond his control.

Nick turning himself in and rolling on what he knew of the Greek’s operation was also a nice surprise. His actions in this episode were everything I expected out of D’Angelo Barksdale at the end of the first season. I was blown away, however, that whoever was sitting on him at the hotel would let him go to work. If those were US Marshalls in the WITSEC program that we all know and love from In Plain Sight, they wouldn’t let him out of their sight for a second.

Burrell’s move to keep the detail together as a Major Case squad means that the third season won’t begin with everyone in their disparate jobs needing an excuse to come together again. I don’t expect that Herc and Carver will stick around. From their perspective, they’re not wrong – especially for being left out of the loop on Nick’s surrender. At the end of the day though, they are simply average cops who aren’t afraid to pocket a little cash out of the evidence pile from time to time. They likely won’t be missed.

On the other hand, I will miss Beadie. I thought she was an interesting addition to the team this season. She was just the right balance of inexperience and naiveté with quiet determination.

We did get one last peak at Stringer and Avon. I’m assuming the story in the third season will feature them to a greater extent than this season. Omar, of course, is also hanging out on the periphery, waiting for his chance to get revenge on Stringer. Avon didn’t look too happy about the situation forcing the alliance with Proposition Joe, something that he’ll likely blame on Stringer. If – more likely when – Avon finds out his top lieutenant was behind D’Angelo’s death, then Stringer Bell is going to have nothing but enemies in Baltimore.

For those of you who have read along all summer, thanks for coming along. I’m not quitting on The Wire but the likelihood of me being able to wait until next summer – when I usually take on a couple of shows for this feature – before getting to the next couple seasons is fairly slim.

Photo Credit: HBO

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