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School’s out…

Episode #49: “That’s Got His Own”

“That all it is to it?” – Bubbles
Prez is rankled by Dukie’s social promotion to high school after having become close to him. Omar orchestrates the theft of the Co-Op’s shipment. Michael trains as an enforcer in the Stanfield Organization and violently alienates Cutty and Namond. Randy is kept home for his own protection but an arson attack on his home leaves his foster mother horribly burned. Herc is suspended for his loss of the camera. Freamon’s discovery of bodies in vacant houses damages the homicide unit’s annual clearance rate. Daniels realizes the statistics can be blamed on Royce so Carcetti approves a city wide search. Carcetti faces a massive school budget deficit and is forced to go the the governor for assistance. Bubbles prepares a lethal vial of narcotics for his tormentor but Sherrod takes it unwittingly and dies.

New Character:

Michael Steintorf (Carcetti’s chief of staff)

Deceased:

Sherrod

Episode #50: “Final Grades”

“If animal trapped call 410-844-6286.” – Baltimore, traditional
Bubbles attempts suicide after confessing his part in Sherrod’s death and is taken to rehab. Freamon begins to build his investigation and has Chris and Snoop brought in for DNA samples. Bodie reaches breaking point over Marlo’s murder of his people and turns to McNulty. Bodie is later killed on his corner after the meeting is observed. McNulty decides to rejoin the Major Crimes Unit. Proposition Joe is forced to reveal his supplier to Marlo to reassure the Co-Op after Omar’s robbery. Marlo meets with Spiros Vondas who vouches for Joe. Omar brazenly sells the stolen drugs back to the Co-Op. Carcetti rejects the Governor’s offer of assistance with the schools as it would cost his career too much in the future. Despite Carver’s efforts to prevent it, Randy is reluctantly returned to a group home. Colvin’s special class is shut down by the education board. However, he persuades Namond’s parents to let Namond live with him in order to keep him away from drug dealing. Michael commits his first murder and is given Bodie’s corner to run; Dukie is unable to settle in high school and joins his crew.

Deceased:

Bodie

7 Responses to “Episodes 49 and 50: “That’s Got His Own” and “Final Grades””

  1. jwmoritz says:

    So many things to talk about, to mention. Above all, I just feel drained. The last two episodes are so jam-packed full of content that is laced with an undeniably pessimistic tone as the ‘cycle of shit’ of the political, judicial, educational, and street systems get recycled and recreated, that only a blind viewer could leave the fourth season feeling anything other than drained. The violence above all got to me: Raymond’s house torched, his foster mother in the hospital, Raymond beat at the social house, Namond, beat up, Kenard beat up, Bodie executed, Cutty shot in the leg, a random dealer executed, Bubbs trying to kill himself, Sharod ODing in additon to the structural violence of the class study being ended, Carcetti leaving the governor’s money in exchange for his career, Jay pushing to leave the bodies in the vacants, and Rawls and the commisioner at each other’s necks… By the end of the episode I was just sort of numb.
    The last shot in the final montage struck me, a quiet street scene with green grass and people walking, colorful, and longer than expected. Is it meant to be ironic, to call into question the ignorance of a comfortable existence while the mayhem in the inner city persists?
    Your thoughts?

    of the list is so lengthy that by the end of the finale I was

    Reply

    Addison DiSesa Reply:

    I think you are right about that final shot; it feels like an establishing shot in some ways, but it comes at the end of the episode and, in this case, the season. The peacefulness of the last shot is a welcome relief from the mayhem about which you wrote above. I think that there was at least one largely positive event in the final two episodes: Colvin’s virtual adoption of Namond. Wee Bey’s decision to allow Namond’s adoption–we see that he made this decision unilaterally, to the chagrin of Delonda–strikes me as one of the most beautiful moments of the series to this point. It is rare that we have seen functional father figures in the series, and even more rare that the father figure comes from the street. Even as Wee Bey serves a life sentence for committing countless horrific murders, he sees hope for his son of a better life. The moment is truly touching and one that we hope happens in real life. I cannot stress enough how courageous Wee Bey is in making this decision for Namond. The fact that Delonda and Wee Bey still maintain a relationship is unique in an of itself. That they have remained together for much of Namond’s childhood is also unprecedented for the show. The most shocking, and truly heart-warming, in my opinion, is Wee Bey’s hope that his son can be anything that he wants to be. Surely he felt a little disappointed when Colvin told him that Wee Bey’s son is not the same type of man that he father is, but his better senses got a hold of him and allowed the effective adoption. Maybe I am overly-excited about Namond’s future and his situation–it would be difficult to leave the mother I love–but I think Wee Bey’s decision to let him go is perfect.

    Reply

    Emily McCabe Reply:

    I completely agree with you, this small victory and the potential for a future for Namond away from the corner seems much more profound in light of the depressing end to the other boys story lines. If I had been forced to pick one of the five main boys who I thought would transcend the corner at the beginning of the season it would absolutely not have been Namond. But one of the most wonderful parts of this season was watching his bravado and corner attitude get stripped away to reveal a compassionate and intelligent young man. It was especially satisfying to watch the scene with Delonda and Wee Bey partially because Wee Bey took her down a peg but also because he reassured her that he would continue to care about and provide for her despite her severe lack of judgement as a parent. This showcased another aspect of Wee Beys character that we didnt get to see when he was merely a soldier in earlier seasons.

    In terms of the depressing and world wearying aspect of the last two episodes, im not sure what upset me more: Bode’s death, Dukie’s potential wasted on the streets, or Randy’s fate in the group home. When Randy tells Carver that he doesnt need to feel bad since he tried, I almost lost it. The moments of helplessness exhibited by Carver, Prez, and Kima where they are forced to walk away from people they have come to care about just adds to the frustration and anger generated by the outcomes of the plot. By playing in drastic ways with the characters fates these last couple of episodes do as Jake mentions wring us out emotionally. It will be interesting to see where the show takes us on the final ride in season five.

    Reply

  2. Benjamin Meader says:

    I have to agree with Jake, Addison, and Emily. Drained, sad, and an all encompassing sense of despair. The show’s plot and message hangs us on the coat rack. McNulty is back in the game, Marlo is still at large, Randy can’t escape his snitch’s fate, Michael becomes what he was always going to be, Dukie can’t escape the drug dealing world, Bubbles is at the bottom of the bottom, Carcetti is eating the shit he heard about, and on and on. The shot at the end was really the most troubling to me too. Namon has this “new beginning” (Wee Bey shows wonderful character) but we can kind of see how Namon might not fit in this new world. His friend runs the stop sign and it brings a smile to his face. Will he last in this new system? I can’t help but doubt it. The last shot is just long enough to be disturbing, somehow. It breaks the pace.

    I thought the best part of this season was the character progress, like Carver’s. His struggle with Randy was the hardest but probably most important story-line for me. He does a complete about face in his police work, and considers adopting Randy to keep him out of harms way. But it appears that his good intentions have no effect in the end—except for the fact that Randy knows “he tried.” I don’t know—perhaps the Wire has conditioned me to feel cynical about success stories.

    Reply

  3. Baird Kellogg says:

    Season 4 delved a lot further into the political arena than we have previously seen. It also introduced the Baltimore School System, which we have now seen is just as screwed up as the Police Department. There is the same bureaucracy, negative ties to stats, and the inability to make exceptions or to implement innovative changes. As Season 4 wore on, I saw a lot of comparisons to the woman principal of Edward Tillman Middle to Rolls. At first she seemed a competent women who knew how to keep the rowdy students in line. She even allowed the Pilot Program to take place or at least deferred the decision to the head of school. Eventually, however, I was disgusted by the way she ran the schools. She was a product of the system just like Rolls, implementing the “teach to the test” approach like her bosses want. Furthermore, she was completely unwilling to go out on a limb to help Dukie. Do you all see her in the same light, as the Rolls of the education system?

    Reply

    Shane Mandes Reply:

    I was also disgusted with the school’s Principal’s values and ways of running the school. The school system, in this season, seemed like a direct parallel to the political system and the policing system. It clearly shows that any institution is laden with boundaries, stats, chain of command, and quotas. In a world where every institution harbors so many restrictions and regulations, it seems impossible to change it, and certainly even more impossible to overcome it. Moreover, any courageous soul who TRIES to go against the grain and change it gets chewed up and spit out. Presbo tries so hard to help his students both academically and personally, yet he is mocked by the Principal when he becomes attached to Dukie, and forced to move Dukie along. All the work and care he put into Dukie went to hell because the system forced Dukie to move along to an environment he wasn’t ready for. Forced into this unfamiliar and overwhelming environment, Dukie rejects the new environment and becomes a corner boy instead of continuing school.
    Likewise, Carver grows attached to Randy, and even though Carver is a Lieutenant of the Baltimore Police, the Social Service’s regulations and boundaries restrict Carver from relocating Randy into a safe foster parent, or even in his own home. Obviously, Randy was in much better hands and safety under Carver’s authority or under a new foster mom, however, the system wouldn’t allow it and, instead, succumbed Randy to a group home where he was beaten up immediately.
    Ultimately, the 4th season depicts how messed up EVERY system is, and, arguably, this season was the most powerful because we grew attached to the kids in the schooling system, and we saw first hand how they were affected by the confines of the system.

    Reply

  4. Andrew Ostroff says:

    Reflecting upon Season 4, I am reminded of the familiar warning that encourages working professionals to resist becoming emotionally attached to their line of the work. I have always believed that McNulty’s alcoholism was a product of his line of work (a suspicion that is now confirmed given his new attitude and outlook in the fourth season). Rocco Klein suffered similarly during his difficult investigation in Clockers. Other members of the Baltimore Police are becoming too invested in the job as well. Carver would rather adopt Randy than see him go to a group home, and Bunny Colvin actually welcomes Namond into his home. Then there is Prez, who took Dukie under his wing, and made him feel valued, at least for a little while.

    The look on Prez’s face when he sees Dukie on the corner during the Season 4 montage, as well as Carver’s emotional breakdown after dropping Randy off at the group home are similarly tragic. It only goes to show that “the game” impacts everyone, and that nobody can sit on the sidelines without getting burned. Of course, one cannot help but become emotionally attached when in this line of work. Thus, we must look for silver linings, such as Namond’s getting off the corner. We would love for all the boys to be saved, but luck, in this case, was not on our side.

    Reply

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