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 THREE AWARDS
The race for the Most Valuable Player of season three was probably our tightest yet. Avon wins, but just barely.
Avon takes the prize though because once he gets home from prison, the season really kicks into gear, whether it’s the war with Marlo or the slow-train breakdown of his relationship with Stringer. Avon is the straw that stirs the drink, to borrow a phrase from Reggie Jackson.
And it’s not like Avon is chalking up big numbers when it comes to screen-time either and that makes him winning the MVP that much more impressive. He does so much in such a short period of time. He rarely has more than three scenes per episode but almost every scene pays off, even the ones where all he says is something like “oh, shit,” which happened when Chris shot up the car he was in. Even that was a fascinating glimpse into Avon’s role in the war. What was he even doing there, taking part in a stakeout? He shouldn’t have been putting himself in such a dicey situation but it’s almost as if he had to. He couldn’t help himself, which ended up being a big part of his downfall because his obsession with the Game and the Marlo War forced Stringer’s hand.
Even when not saying anything, Avon spoke volumes. When Brother Mouzone confronts him at the barbershop and makes him realize that it’s either give Stringer up or take a possible deadly hit to his reputation with New York, it’s amazing to watch Avon process everything in those few seconds, playing out the scenarios and weighing the pros and cons. And it only takes seconds because for Avon, the choice is clear. Stringer’s fate is sealed. Stringer has to go and there’s nothing Avon can do about.
Also thanks to Avon, Marlo becomes a legit force and his rise is that much more credible. The beef with Avon legitimatized young Marlo and helps set him up to be the new major player heading into season four.
Besides Avon, here are some of those characters in the running and the case to be made for each:
We’ll get into the mechanics of his Amsterdam idea later, but for now, Bunny was a welcome addition to the show. Beyond the Amsterdam angle, Bunny gave the show a solid plotline outside of the Major Crimes Unit and helped provide an earnest commentary into the problems that dog policing in America.
At this point, McNulty is like Mike Trout when it comes to MVP voting. He’s going to be there no matter what. McNulty finds himself in contention here because his obsession with Stringer Bell keeps an investigation in play for Major Crimes, even though it was Kima who learned that despite what the unit initially thought, Stringer was still very much in the game.
Other characters who could have been considered:
Cutty, Kima, Bubbles
The Character Who Deserves a Second Look: Prez
I knew the thing with Prez was coming, that thing being him shooting another cop, but it didn’t make it any less painful, especially because Prez was killing it on the tech side of things with the detail.
Other cops talking shit about him too after it happened was tough too because we knew Prez in a way they didn’t. We had seen another side of him, one where he actually was good police.
But it’s like my dad always said: one oh shit, ruins a whole slew of attaboys. And unfortunately for Prez, his oh shit moment was killing a cop and his oh shit moment only brought screaming back other oh shit moments of his, moments like shooting up his own car and blinding a kid for no good reason.
Man, I can only hope this isn’t the last we see of Prez and somehow he lands on his feet.
Favorite Character: Slim Charles
Man, I love Slim Charles. I want to hang out with Slim Charles and if Slim Charles had a podcast, I would be an avid listener.
One (On-Going) Semi-Big Realization (or Reaffirmation): Stringer is Kind of Bad At This
All of season three is nothing but a confirmation that Stringer just isn’t cut out for “this gangster bullshit.” The real kicker is that we also learn that he’s not really made for regular old bullshit either as he gets played big time by Clay Davis. He truly did become a man without a country and his fall was a slow burn of self-owns and self-inflicted wounds.
He had a good run but in the end, couldn’t remember if that run was a sprint or a marathon.
The Final Avon/Stringer Scene Is A Top Three Scene For The Show
Avon knows what he’s done. Stringer knows what he’s done. You and I both know what each other has done.
Yet despite that all, they find a way to reconnect, albeit briefly, bonding over a childhood memory. Sharing a drink with an old friend will do that; it will lull you into a sense of security, a feeling that everything is right in the world even though you know all too well that it isn’t. The fantasy that is looking back is a short-lived one. Reality is a real son of a bitch that way.
I think my favorite part of the scene is each man’s eyes; how they dart back and forth and the longer the scene goes on, the more they’re unable to look each other in the eyes. By the time the scene was over, they couldn’t have been further apart; a divide that had only been building and growing since Avon returned.
LVP: Mayor Royce’s Number Two
I don’t know his name and I don’t care to know his name. I don’t like the man. I don’t like how he sits off to the side, making snide remarks and talking tough despite having absolutely nothing to back it up. Big man because he sits in the shadow of the throne, huh?
Get out of here with that nonsense, whoever you are.
So, About Bunny Colvin’s Grand Experiment…
It was doomed from the start.
Bunny, who, as was stated numerous times, was on the doorstep of retiring with a full pension at a major’s level, had grown tired of the bastardization of the police department, of the over-reliance on stats and of the general monkey business he felt had become detrimental to his officers doing actual police work. Instead of milking the clock and putting his head in the sand for his last few weeks of work before moving on to a cushy post-retirement gig at Johns Hopkins (which is what most people would have done in his position,), he decides to make a stand by creating the free zones, areas where drugs and drug-use are essentially legal.
He gets his cops onboard and he gets the dealers onboard and he gets the addicts all onboard. He creates a haven for drug use and drug dealing but he could never see the negatives, only the positives. Yeah, he cleans up his corners and his district’s numbers go way down, but he created a doomsday scenario. He concocted a situation with no clear end all while he himself had a clear end on the horizon. Those two scenarios couldn’t feasibility exist at the same time.
What was his exit strategy?
I can answer that. He didn’t have one. And that’s surprising because Bunny seems like a man who thinks things through. But in this case, he didn’t and it cost him big time. He can blame the higher-ups and he can blame the politicians but really the main person he has to blame is himself and that kills me to say that because I’m a big Bunny fan.
The Wait, What? Award: Rawls Is Gay?
Overall season three was pretty standard for Rawls. He was a dick and an asshole. He had one redeeming moment back in season one after Kima got shot and he talked some sense into McNulty. But beyond that, he has been a dick from start to finish.
So you could be forgiven for thinking that there wasn’t much to Rawls.
But alas, this is The Wire, where everything and everyone seemingly has another angle or level. Is Rawls gay? Well, he was hanging out in a gay bar and while that might not mean he’s gay, it does light up some signs that are pointed in that direction.
And if he is, eh, whatever. But I thought it was a strange thing to add into the mix in the waning moments of season three, especially because it never gets mentioned again. Oh sorry, spoiler, it never gets mentioned again.
Gay or not though, Rawls sucks.
A Quick Appreciation Of The Cutty Arc
The Kind Of A Tough Hang On A Rewatch Award Goes To…Carcetti
Did you hear that he heads up the Public Safety Committee? It’s true.
Ah, but poor Tony Gray. My man got played and is going to get played and come on man, how could you not know what your boy Tommy was up to? I feel like everyone knew but didn’t want to say it because as Tommy so eloquently put it, “he’s white in a city that ain’t.” The idea of Tommy running for mayor was crazy talk and despite him showing Watkins something in the end there, it was still bananas.
Or was it?
I mean, or is it?
I mean, whatever. We spent a lot of time with him and could have done without 35-40% of it.
Okay. On to Season Four. Get the tissues ready.