”The Wire” recap: What happened to Omar
Well, it was the good and right thing to have Omar reappear last night broken and crying in a janitor’s closet. After his leap into thin air, away from Chris and Snoop’s terrible clutches, we Omar fans cheered his escape. But he’s not a superhero, and a slick black trench coat isn’t enough to break a fall like that. After they searched what looked like the entire complex, plus the neighborhood Dumpsters and sewers and hospitals, how Marlo’s crew didn’t find Omar is going to have to remain a mystery. But at least we were reminded, through his tears and shattered leg, and his dismal moaning when he knotted that flimsy wash rag around his busted ankle, that the man is still earth-bound to The Wire‘s rules.
It looked to me like Omar stuck a broom under one arm and limped away from the scene of the crime in the bright light of day. I’d quibble that Marlo is fastidious enough to have left at least the kid on the bike to stand watch, but I wanted to see Omar live to bust around the corner with his shotgun as much as anyone else. We haven’t seen him in a rage like this since his boyfriend was killed all those seasons ago. Chris knows his days are numbered, and Snoop’s suggestion that they head to Toys ”R” Us wasn’t helping his mood. Omar, whose shadow is always the first thing we see, set a car on fire, shot one of Marlo’s cronies in the knee, and told him to tell the boss that a real man would meet him in the streets.
Marlo, though, follows a different code, and I can’t see him ever showing up for a ghetto duel. He lied to the council that Omar was to blame for Prop Joe and Hungry Man’s murders (not that any of those savvy men were buying his lies), called off future meetings, and told everyone the price of a brick was going up. Meanwhile, Lester finally figured out that Marlo was back on cell phones not for conversing, and certainly not to text-message his associates (”Need I remind you that these fine men are products of Baltimore public schools?”), but to send pictures back and forth. So Lester needed more money, and the tools to intercept photo images, and his growing list of demands frayed McNulty’s last nerve. ”You are a supervisor’s nightmare!” shouted McNulty, who had been so sure more money and resources would come rolling in after the serial killer made front-page news and the mayor gave an impassioned speech about it being his job to protect the city’s most vulnerable citizens. Alas, this is Baltimore, and McNulty got the news that he was screwed while Patsy Cline weeped in the background on the boss’ radio about going ”walking after midnight, searching for you.” Those are night shifts without overtime, mind you.
Finding himself stuck, McNulty somehow saw fit to kidnap an old homeless man, scratch out his identity card, stuff him far away in a distant shelter, and send an anonymous photo of the poor sap as a warning from the feared Cellphone Photo Pervert. When McNulty was driving his capture out of Baltimore, the drooling man’s head bobbing and weaving, it’s not hard to picture the rapidly unraveling detective in a similar bad way in the future. The detective looked like he had a crisis of conscience, aware for the first time of the moral swamp he was drowning in, but he left Larry-now-Donald to rot in another city anyway.
So now Scott’s juked serial-killer beat will get further play on the front page of The Baltimore Sun. The worm has what’s coming to him, but something about seeing him in his earnest man-of-the-streets Kansas City Star T-shirt, getting chased off the tracks by a German shepherd but sticking it out anyway to hear a ruined ex-marine’s story, was endearing. He’ll cook up anything in a jam, and get called the Jimmy Breslin of Baltimore by Nancy Grace because of it, but this sudden burst of real work seemed to both calm and inspire him. Even Gus was proud of the copy he turned in (”Read it and weep…literally”), but he also wanted Scott to make a couple calls about a woman complaining that he’d gotten a past story all wrong. Gus still smells something sour in his newsroom, but the higher-ups, chinless Yick and syrup-tongued Yack, want Scott to keep cranking out more Dickensian features on the plight of the homeless. When they praised the eager reporter for his story, they also quickly reminded him that it was yesterday’s news. They need copy for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.
NEXT: Bunk works a real crime
The press and politicians can salivate all they want over what working the homeless angle can do for their careers. Bunk, though, is going to work actual murders. What a treat to see him back in someone’s home (this time, Michael’s mother), giving a possible witness the stuff. There’s something off in the file on Michael’s stepfather’s murder; it was a crime of passion where all Marlo’s other murders were smooth and methodical. The scent led Bunk to juvie, where Randy walked into the room, and I bet all of you at home did a spit take like me. Randy, our once round apple in the baggy T-shirt, was dangerously grown up. Ripped in a wife beater, his cheekbones jutting out angrily, he lit into a pressing Bunk. ”Why don’t you promise to get me outta here?” he snarled at the detective. ”That’s what you all do, isn’t it?” On his way up the stairs, Randy slammed a smaller kid into the wall and disappeared, the same way the boy we knew just last season has vanished as well.
Randy wasn’t the only ghost from the past wafting through this episode. Through Randy’s rap sheet, we even heard a shout-out to Prez, who Bunk casually dismissed as that ”goofy motherf—er.” At the mayor’s sparsely attended ceremony to announce a supposed revitalization of the waterfront, chisel-cheekboned Nick Sobotka let loose a surge of obscenities from the back of the crowd, bemoaning his lost port of Baltimore.
If I had any complaint about this season, besides my constant waffling over whether I’m sold or not on this serial-killer plot, it’s that there aren’t as many new characters whose lives we can sneak inside. Apart from my beloved Gus, there’s no one else who’s going to make me start chewing my knuckles, knowing that these tough-minded TV writers might rip them from me. In season 1, I figured if I could just keep Wallace and D’Angelo, I’d survive. (Ack.) In the following seasons, I worried over the Sobotkas, Omar, Cutty, Bodie, and even Stringer Bell. Then there was that gut-wrencher fourth season with the boys, and I’m still not sure I’ve recovered from Dukie handing over a Christmas present to Prez or Randy yelling at Carver down the hospital corridor. And then there’s Bubbles, each season, giving me hope and setting me on edge. I understand that this is The Wire‘s final season and that those involved have brought us so many rich and rewarding characters that to introduce too many more would take valuable screen time from the ones we’re already invested in. But Scott and Alma aren’t cutting it. So it’s up to Gus to give us a new character to root for, and represent what’s good and under siege in the paper biz.
Oh, and for lines of the night, I’ll have to tip my hat to both Marlo (”That some Spider-Man shit there”) and Bunk (”My heart beats purple piss for you”). I’m not sure what it means for a heart to beat purple piss, but I’m going to try it out on the next overly aggressive telemarketer who calls. And if, by the way, they get the reference, then I’ll buy whatever they’re selling.
So, if you had to bet money, who in this snow globe is going to make it out alive when the final credits roll? Is McNulty doomed to end up as lost and loony as his poor passenger Larry? Is his saner, saltier partner Lester going to go down in a blaze of glory? Is there a smoother actor than Jamie Hector, with his languid moves and deadened purr, on TV today? Did Carcetti’s speech give you a shiver? And if that didn’t set your heart to pumping, how about when Daniels called his gal ”darling”? Attention, sir!