I have decided to watch ‘The Wire’ again. This might the fourth or fifth time, I can’t remember.
The first time I watched the show, I took an unusual route, starting with season four and then going season three, season one, and then season two. After that, I rewatched it again in chronological order. I watched season five when it aired. Now I know for certain that at some point while dating the gal who I would eventually marry, I watched the series again. So that is three times I am sure of. There may have been one other pass-through which is why I don’t know if this is re-watch four or five.
Upon finishing each season, I’m going to recap it via awards. For more about ‘The Wire,’ check out my rankings of all-things related to the show.
SEASON TWO AWARDS
Ah, But First, The Case for Season Two
Season Two is generally considered to be the weakest of The Wire’s five seasons even though the fifth season featured NcNulty posing as a serial killer. And I can understand that if while watching the show for the first time, the second season throws you for a loop because of how it shifts from West Baltimore to East Baltimore and from a majority black cast to a majority white cast, but the season benefits probably the most from a rewatch.
For starters, you know that the show heads back to the west side in season three, so you can rest easy knowing that. Omar and Bubbles might be side-lined for the bulk of season two, but knowing that they both come back strong in the following seasons helps soften the blow.
Season Two is also more of a cop procedural feel than the other seasons, but I don’t think that’s totally a bad thing. It’s just a different thing. I actually kind of liked it.
There’s no denying the weight of seasons one, three, and four, but just because season two doesn’t feel as heavy, doesn’t mean it’s without substance. The Wire wanted to show how damn near everything in Baltimore was a mess and to do that, they needed to show a different side of the city that also had problems, problems that for the most part, were just as systematic as those facing the people over in West Baltimore or those in the police department.
Plus, you see where the drugs come from going forward. That seems important.
I still rank the seasons in this order: Four, Three, One, Two, Five. But I ride with Season Two.
Low-Key MVP: Prez
If it wasn’t for Prez, there’d be nothing doing here. In the same way that McNulty kicked season one into gear, Prez do so with season two.
Of course, an argument could be made for Valcheck but I don’t want to give him that kind of satisfaction. Valcheck might have targeted Frank Sobotka and that did technically get things going, but if he hadn’t put Prez in charge of the detail, it would have gone nowhere.
Prez pushed for Daniels to be brought in and for the band to get back together. That’s what gave the detail and the season legs.
And then he punched Valcheck.
We are awarding ten bonus points for that with those being reflected in the series’ final box score.
The ‘Ugh, This Effin’ Guy’ Award for Excellence in Douchebaggary: Valcheck
Valcheck is the worst. The worst! Yes, Rawls is a real gnarly son of a bitch and Burrell is nothing more than a company man obsessed with the bottom line and appearances, but Valcheck is a straight-up dick. Just a massive asshole.
Are you familiar with Little Man Syndrome? It’s when a little dude feels less than whole and to make up for his literal short-comings, he overcompensates and acts tougher and bigger than would ever be necessary. Valcheck is a poster-child for Little Man Syndrome.
He got his feelings hurt. That’s what started this. He wasn’t into corruption or wrong-doing. Sobotka gave that church a fancy window when that was Valcheck’s plan and Valcheck got pissed. That’s it.
And Valcheck is just so slimy. He oozes words out of his mouth and they smell like pickles and rotten fish.
Now, you hope that when season two ends, we won’t have to see him again. But this is The Wire. So not only will you see him again, he ends up much better off than when he started (standby on that one.)
Ugh. That fucking guy.
The Character Who Deserves a Second Look: Ziggy
Hear me out on this one.
I know Ziggy sucks. I know that he’s annoying. I know that if I ever had to work alongside Ziggy, I too would want to strand him on top of can and leave him there.
I get all that.
But how can you not feel bad for the guy? His life sucks. His dad barely acknowledges him, he’s trying to make it in a world he’s not suited for – two worlds actually, as he’s an alien on the docks as well out on the streets. He lacks street smarts and situational awareness. He’s clueless, a walking tragedy.
The man essentially murdered a duck for crying out loud! However, he only bought the duck because he was so lonely. So you know, it’s not as cut-and-dry as it may seem.
Then he kills Double G and gets locked up for life, left to spend the rest of his days in a prison system that probably won’t be all that forgiving to a person such as himself. There’s probably a decent chance Zig ends up hooked up with the white supremacists while he’s locked up and 2020 has really driven the point home that those guys effin’ suck.
Ziggy was hopeless and will always be hopeless and unfortunately, it’s only partially his fault. He’s a victim of circumstances, of his surroundings. Like with so many characters on The Wire, he is a product of the world around him, for better or worse. He doesn’t have the heart of someone like Wallace or was as sympathetic as D’Angelo, but they were all dudes not suited for the world they were living in and all three paid the price.
Favorite Character: Bunk
It had been a while since I watched Season Two, so part of the fun while rewatching it, was not knowing how things were going to happen. And also, I had just plain forgotten some things.
Like, I did not remember Bunk basically going to work with the detail. I have always remembered him as someone in their orbit, but not directly involved. But that’s not the case. In Season Two, he’s in it with them and it’s fun seeing Bunk out of his element
Favorite Bubbles Moment: When he visits McNulty at the Marine Unit
Specifically when he’s waiting for him and gets busted eyeing up the unit’s grill. Bubz gonna Bubz.
One (On-Going) Semi-Big Realization (or Reaffirmation): Stringer is Kind of Bad At This
Stringer gets points for keeping the Barksdale crew in business by teaming up with Prop Joe, but that could be about it.
I mean, just look at some of what he did this season.
- He slept with D’Angelo’s baby-momma
- He had D’Angelo killed behind Avon’s back
- He went through with Prop Joe deal also behind Avon’s back
- He (unsuccessfully) tried to prop Omar and Brother Mouzone against each other
Well, the only other thing I think he did that was smart was empower Bodie. That young man has potential.
But other than that, String keeps logging L’s.
An Unanswerable Question: If The Greek Wasn’t Greek, What Was He?
Turkish? Israeli? From Dundalk?
Thing That Surprised Me: I Kind of Felt Bad For Herc & Carver
It’s admittedly hard to do, but I did feel some sympathy for those two clowns. They both seemed comfortable moving on with their lives, doing more normal police work and then they once again got roped into working a lengthy detail in which they spend the bulk of their time sitting in a car waiting, holed up in an abandoned building waiting or sitting around the office, waiting for someone like Freeman to tell them what to do next.
Seniority truly does suck for those that don’t have it and this season Herc and Carver really felt that. They routinely got the shaft and as a result, there were moments when I felt bad for them.
Of course, those moments were fleeting because having watched the show before, I know how each fucks things up in the coming seasons. But strictly within the confines of Season Two, they had my sympathies.
A Tip of The Hat To: The Show for Dropping Bread Crumbs About Season Three
Around the ninth or tenth episode, I started wondering how they get back over to the west side and back to targeting Stringer and the Barksdale organization. Then the show started laying the groundwork for how that would happen.
It actually started earlier, when Stringer teamed up with Prop Joe. That made Stringer relevant because of how Prop Joe was relevant to the Season Two story, what with him getting the drugs off the boats and all. Then Bubbles gets himself busted for boosting stuff from an ambulance and keys in Kima and McNulty into what’s been going on since they’ve been gone.
And just like that…
Nicely done, The Wire
The Geico Insurance Best Driving Award: NOT McNulty
Okay. On to Season Three.