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All good things must end.

“…the life of kings.” – H.L. Mencken
Daniels tells Carcetti that McNulty fabricated the serial killer. Fearing for his campaign, Carcetti orders a cover-up and Daniels is angry but accepts the orders for the sake of the careers of those peripherally involved. Freamon learns that Levy is involved with leaking courthouse documents to drug dealers and tells Pearlman. McNulty and Freamon decide to retire when Pearlman warns them that they are going to be re-assigned to dead-end units. Levy realizes the Stanfield investigation relied upon an illegal wiretap. As part of the cover-up, Pearlman negotiates a deal with Levy; Levy will escape charges for the leak, Stanfield’s charges will be suspended and he will go free but be forced to leave the drug game, while the others in custody will plead guilty to the charges. Stanfield sells the connection to The Greeks back to the Co-Op and plans to become a business man. Daniels refuses to falsify statistics to help Carcetti’s election campaign. Campbell brings up his past to blackmail him into compliance but Daniels instead elects to stand down and begins a new career as a defense attorney. For their part in the cover-up Pearlman and Rawls are rewarded with promotions; Pearlman becomes a judge and Rawls is made State Police Superintendant. Michael becomes a stick-up artist. Dukie begins using heroin. Carcetti goes on to become Governor, Campbell replaces him as Mayor and promotes Valchek to commissioner.

Deceased:

Cheese Wagstaff

10 Responses to “Episode 60: “-30-“”

  1. Sofia Zinger says:

    Wow. WOW. That was an amazing episode. It tied everything up, and it was nice that it at least left us with a little bit of hope that no other season finale really has.
    One thing I wanted to respond to was Dukie’s decline. Dukie is one of my favorite characters, starting in season four, because of his compassion. Despite the fact that I want him to succeed, I am glad that the show didn’t give him a happy ending because he seemed destined to fall into the underworld, and any other ending would have seemed like a cop out to me. There are many kids who end up like him, and portraying their story without embellishment and a happy ending seems right. The part of the plot towards the end between him and Prez seems very fitting with the theme we have seen both in In Search of Respect and in the series of “Never Say Never”. It’s hard to imagine someone stooping so low as to ask someone for money and lie to them, especially when they have been so kind as Prez has been to Dukie, but when it comes to the drug world, what you told yourself you would never do doesn’t apply any longer.
    My favorite part about the ending to the season was the part with Michael in the rim shop. A lot of other parts I found that I had somewhat predicted, like the copycat and Scott not getting fired over his “exaggeration”, but Michael’s future was a complete shock. Who knows if he will survive past this episode, as I am sure many people have tried to get a name for themselves on the street by stealing from drug dealers and failed miserably, but I am SO happy with what they did with Michael’s story. Also, I am glad that they held us in suspense about his future for so long.
    Finally, I wanted to mention how much I thought the show did a good job of showing everything coming full circle. From the murder in the same place as the murder of the man at the very end of the first episode, to just the return of the opening credit song from the first season, the show got tied together very nicely. Marla brings up the vicious circle again and points out that everyone has always juked the stats, and everyone will continue to do so. Also, the idea of nostalgia is something that we feel when we finish the season off and we see places such as the docks, and people we haven’t seen for a while, such as the Greek. The show even brings up nostalgia when Cheese says “There ain’t no back in the day… There ain’t no nostalgia to this shit,” but is then proven wrong when Slim Charles kills Cheese for disrespecting Prop Joe’s memory.
    There is so much to write about from this episode, but I think that ending my post on the note of nostalgia is very fitting. I am so incredibly sad that the show is over, but so happy that it ended in a way that didn’t disappoint me.

    Reply

  2. Edwin says:

    I really liked the finale, even more watching for the second time around.
    In the beginning the Grand Jury leak, Gary says, “I always wondered if they’d get their shit together. But I guess that’s Baltimore isn’t it?” I feel like this quote resonated throughout the episode. Daniels stands tall and says that the department needs to be fixed. McNultey denies Rawls’ suggestion to pin all the murders on the homeless guy that only confesses to two of them. McNultey says that he knows what he’s done, but he won’t do this. Later Daniels also says, “Bend too far, and you’re already broken.” This quote definitely speaks to the department, cutting corners, bending the rules, for “good” or not it screws things up.
    I like how in the end everything comes back to McNultey standing on the side of the freeway. As McNultey stands still, there is a montage of all the other characters and parts of Baltimore still moving as usual- Herc buying rounds, hoppers being busted on the corners, dope being sold, Daniels as a lawyer, police boats running in the harbor, Carcetti running for Govenor, etc. It shows that the world does not stand still when McNultey does, things still go on as usual without him and it’s almost as if he sees that as well.

    Reply

  3. Alex Oberg says:

    It’s incredible that that the last episode feels like the most upbeat season closer of them all, despite the fact that like the previous season endings, the vicious cycle of the street/institutions continues. I’m glad to see Daniels standing tall. Despite his failure to reform the BDP, he at least has kept his dignity by not juking the stats. While Gus has lost his crusade against Scott’s lies, the good work of Mike (who wrote the story on Bubbles) seems to leave him optimistic about the future. And Bubbles has finally earned the right to eat upstairs with his sister. I think these and other small victories make this season ending the most hopeful of them all.

    Reply

  4. Sofia Zinger says:

    One last thing…
    What did everyone think about the montage of the sunsets and sunrises and moons above Baltimore? That felt like the only part of the episode that was stilted to me…

    Reply

    Andrew Ostroff Reply:

    I actually really liked this stylistic decision. To me, it showed that a significant amount of time had passed in very subtle way…

    Reply

    Sofia Zinger Reply:

    Yeah, my problem was actually with the subtlety. I thought it wasn’t subtle enough, and that it was somewhat cliché.

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    Emily McCabe Reply:

    It did break the flow of the episode to indicate passage of time, but I didnt think it was necessary especially since in all the previous seasons the transitions to the montages was much more seamless and did this work for them. I specifically remember marking my confusion about the insertion of this series and I agree with Sofia that it may have been overkill.

    Reply

  5. Emily McCabe says:

    In general Loved the final episode! Favorite moment hands down: watching Bubbles eat upstairs with his sister and her daughter and watching him reforge the bonds of trust with those he cares about. However, Jimmy’s speech to that weasel in the newspaper office and Levy’s final scene with Herc were also pretty classic. Of course there were a number of disappointing surprises. Sidnor? Who would have predicted he would be the new McNulty to rise from the ashes. One can only imagine the lovable havoc he will wreak inside the department. Carcetti Lee, Leadership for all of Maryland? That scum should have crashed and burned outside the states house, or at least experienced a little more discomfort. The ending with Rawls in Annapolis seemed a little too neat. Valchek? What is Nerice thinking? On another note the fake funeral was cruel. I freaked out and started scrambling for ways one of Baltimore’s finest could have been felled in the line of duty. After I got over the shock I enjoyed Jays speech in the bar which encapsulated the love hate relationship of audiences toward Jimmy quite well especially as we knew him during the fifth season.

    Reply

  6. Matt Hedgpeth says:

    I agree with Sofia that the closing scenes and last montage were rather effective in helping to bring the show to a proper close. Interestingly, this last montage as a whole contained the only other examples of flashback in the entire series (and as we now know, the first example was HBO working against the creative decisions of Simon and his production team).

    Towards the end of the shots of “projected” lives of the characters––a sense of the world continuing––there are also shots of scenes from past episodes including the children on the fire wagon from the opening “Snot Boogie” scene, Wallace and Poot going to make the call reporting their sights on Brandon, Herc Carver and Prezbo drinking under the bridge before their raid on the high-rises, the empty Barksdale detail room, Beadie’s port patrol, and D teaching chess. I’m curious as to what people think the show might be saying by reintroducing these particular scenes to the conscious viewer?

    Reply

    Alex Oberg Reply:

    Interesting catch. I actually didn’t notice any of those “repeat” scenes until I watched the montage again. But I think they work. Maybe these flashbacks are subtly reminding us how far the show has come. For example it’s encouraging us to reflect on the Snot Boogie scene again– 60 hours later. And the D teaching chess scene… now that we’ve seen all three of the chess scene characters get killed, doesn’t that put D’s assertion that they were merely pawns, in a new light?

    The last scenes of the montage are what struck me the most– quick close-up shots of random Baltimoreans. While we have been focusing so much on what The Wire has to say about institutions, what really matters in Baltimore are its people. And there are so many people who’s stories we haven’t heard.

    Reply

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