Take a Drink: whenever Snoop shows her cold-blooded skills
Take a Drink: whenever Marlo makes your skin crawl
Take a Drink: every time Mr. Prezbo takes shit in school
Take a Drink: whenever the 8th graders pull a scheme
Take a Drink: every time Namon’s mom acts a dragon lady
Take a Drink: whenever Carcetti bitches about something
Take a Drink: whenever Walker (the evil cop) is a dick
Take a Drink: whenever Donut breaks into a car
Do a Shot: Sheeeeit!
Do a Shot: this should be for every season, but when the opening quote is spoken in the episode
By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –
I went to public school in a district that, hmmm, what’s a good way to put this… was ghetto as shit.
This is the street right behind my house.
Kids I played on the playground with are now low-level drug lords, gang soldiers, or their victims. It’s a difficult image to reconcile with a nice little kid that loved doing penny drops off of the jungle gym, so maybe that’s why nothing in The Wire hits me as hard as Season 4. This season is about the public schools, you see, and a new generation of kids fated to supplant Avon, Stringer, Marlo, Omar, and all the rest.
I just rewatched (and reviewed) Chinatown recently, but this was the first time I learned the significance of its title. It symbolizes an imbroglio so complex that any attempt to make things better may well make them worse (like police found the mix of cartels and ethnicities in 1950s Chinatown to be). Season 4 turns out to be a whole host of characters’ own personal Chinatown.
Forget it, Bunny, it’s Baltimore.
This season is where many of the character decisions over the last several seasons come to roost- gang maneuvering and Marlo pacification, police department politicking, actual politics with the denouement of Tommy Carcetti’s mayoral race, the Fuzzy Dunlop saga, Bodie’s standard-bearing for the vestiges of Barksdale’s glory, and so much more. The heart of the season, though, lays with the kids.
Michael (Tristan Wilds), Randy (Maestro Harrell), Namond (Julito McCullum), and Dukie (Jermaine Crawford) all do simply excellent work, quickly making us empathize with and get drawn into their lives in ways the more experienced actors playing the dockworkers couldn’t even quite accomplish in Season 2. Every week is a lesson in how the game is rigged against these poor kids, whether it’s in Mr. Prezbo’s (Jim True-Frost as Pryzbylewski does his best work by far here, almost making you forget his shittiness in Season 1) No Child Left Behind-plagued classroom, Colvin’s latest social experiment problem child class, or those inescapable, voracious corners.
An Oscar Meyer meatgrinder sees less wasteful shredding
The scene that sticks with me most is when the boys try to find out what happened to the missing man who Randy unwittingly sent to his fate. They think Snoop and Partlow must be making zombies back in the condemned row houses they take their victims to, so they decide to investigate. This trip is almost Goonies-like in the outset, but the boys will find no magic, no Spielbergian whimsy, no pithy life lessons there, or on the corners, or, for some, in their mirrors… just real monsters.
Season 4 of The Wire signals the end of simply the finest achievement television has ever seen… and a new beginning.