The Wire Unconfirmed Reports Recap Season 5 Episode 2 – In the premier episode of the fifth and final season of “The Wire” Former city councilman Tommy Carcetti has won the election and is now sitting mayor. Only now does he realize that it’s easier to promise than to deliver. Baltimore city budgets are strapped. He’s promised the police a much needed raise only to find out that the city school budget is in a multi-million dollar deficit. Carcetti opts to short the police department and fund the schools with available money. Police department morale is lower than it’s ever been. The Baltimore city schools and Baltimore Police Department aren’t the only institutions that are hurting; The Baltimore Sun is facing budget cuts, buyouts, and layoffs. It’s just like AnyCity America.
The Wire Unconfirmed Reports Recap Season 5 Episode 2
The Wire Unconfirmed Reports Recap Season 5 Episode 2 images from HBO.com
In Episode 2, the death spiral of Baltimore accelerates. Middle managers are grousing about the closure of foreign news offices, competition from other media, and a cynicism as pervasive as the ones in the police department and the may0r’s office. In the episodes of Season 4, we watched the deterioration of the social fabric through the eyes of four hapless middle schoolers and their gangsta’ bosses. Season Five looks at life through the lens of a major newspaper – the Baltimore Sun.
Son. That’s not a misspelled word. At the center of the Baltimore Sun’s newspaper operations is City Editor Gus Haynes, a true son of the Baltimore streets. Sharp-eyed, practical, and energetic, Gus commands respect in all corners of the city room. He’s the engine that could, motivating people when the morale flags, always ready to improve the product. At the other end of the spectrum is Scott Templeton, unhappy in the assignments he’s been getting, seeking to go elsewhere. He feels that city editor Gus is not giving him the shot he needs to up his game. Scott has talent but is something of a lightweight. He gets a good feature story of a disabled black kid in a wheel chair who can’t make it to the ball game but forgets to get the kids name. No picture either. The newsroom is split between the knowledgeable old pros on the verge of retirement and the new kids on the block – ambitious, idealistic, and raring to take over. But the reporters are finding Carcetti’s new administration hard to crack.
McNulty Strikes Again
Rogue detective Jimmy McNulty is out of the bag (cop uniform) and back on the homicide squad. There’s a general discontent there because of the twenty-two dead bodies found in the ‘vacants,’ i.e. , abandoned and boarded up houses in run-down neighborhoods.
The corpses were found at the end of Season 4; it was a breakthrough moment for Freamon and Moreland but with the new regime and the lack of money, investigating those homicides is suddenly a low priority for the Baltimore PD. What looked at the end of Season 4 as a breakthrough moment now begins to look like a breakdown moment.
It gets worse. The homicide squad feels betrayed since the higher-ups seem uninterested in solving the murders . One detective remarks cynically that no one cares about the murders of faceless poor black people. He alludes to all the press attention on the murder of a cheerleader white girl in faraway Aruba – referring to the Natalie Holloway case. But plucky McNulty has a remedy and like all his schemes the solution is sometimes worse than the problem. When McNulty is called to the scene where a derelict died of alcohol poisoning, he stages the scene to look like a murder. This involves some rather gruesome manipulation of a corpse.
Viewers can look forward to more heartwarming performances by Andre Royo as Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins. He’s the addict with heart, deformed like the weeds growing up through cracks in a concrete sidewalk, but never giving up.
He’s in with group therapy at a church and has a sponsor. Even the small roles in this extended drama are played with street-smart an realistic panache. Sponsor Walon, with his long-haired comb over and salt-and-pepper beard, earnestly entreats Bubbles to unburdern himself at the sessions. Bubbles gives it a try but you can see he’s still bottled up in guilt over Sharrod’s death and can’t come out with it.
Genevieve Hudson-Price as the former addict and prostitute Dee-Dee tells the group how it is as she daily struggles to stay clean. “Whatever it is you tell yourself you won’t do to get high? You’re making a list of all the things you will do as soon as your inner addict tells you to.
Executive Editor James Whiting III brings an element of satire to the episode in an editorial meeting with the Baltimore Sun newspaper staff. He’s not named ‘Whiting’ for nothing, and the ‘III’ marks him as the ivory tower white liberal aristocrat in charge. “The word I’m looking for is Dickensian,” he tells his staff, referring to poor kids in the city school system.
To him the problem is quaint, something to be romanticized in print, and then digested by well-meaning liberals who will feel good about themselves. He’s incapable of understanding Gus’s blunt message: “You want to look at who these kids really are, you gotta’ look at the parenting, or lack of it, the drug culture, the economics of these neighborhoods. Do we want to address the problems or win a prize?”
One of the prize liberal lines in this episode is again from Whiting III: “Look, Gus, I know the problems. My wife volunteers in a city school.” And that exonerates him.
West Coast Way
An editorial meeting of another type occurs on the street with Monk Metcalf and Snoop Pearson preparing to hit a rival drug corner. The issue causing the disagreement is whether or not the ‘west coast’ way of winning a turf war with a drive-by shooting is better than shooting someone up close and personally. The thugs decide to give the drive-by a try, blasting away as the group on the corner flees in every direction.
Nobody’s been hit until Snoop Pearson steps out on the sidewalk with an aimed shot that drops a victim. The dialogue there gets ugly and unrepeatable, requiring some sort of license to engage in it. Suffice it to say it is brutally realistic. The juxtaposition of civilized language and behavior with the brutally cold violence of gang warfare is what makes “The Wire” tick though it often seems the tick of a cultural time-bomb.
Marlo’s never out of the picture with regard to police photo surveillance. He’s gone far for an outsider but wants to go all the way to the top. He wants to jump line and get Prop Joe’s direction connection.
The path to Spiros and “The Greek” runs through Sergei Malatov, the hired thug who sits in prison. Chris Ashworth plays tough Russian mobster Sergei who disdains Marlo at first. Marlo has tried to curry favor with him by setting him up with ‘canteen’ – money to buy stuff at the prison commissary. “In my country, I was in jail four years.” He looks around at his surroundings. “In my country, this is not prison. This is nothing. I don’t need money. I don’t need you.” But Marlo eventually manages to convince Sergei to set up a meeting with Spiros, the international smuggler with whom he had been employed.
Other episodes of The Wire reviewed on TV Eskimo:
The Wire Unconfirmed Reports Recap Season 5 Episode 2 characters and cast include:
Jimmy McNulty – Dominic West (Chicago, The Affair, Money Monster, Burton and Taylor, The Hour, John Carter, 28 Days, 300)
Tommy Carcetti – Aidan Gillen (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Game of Thrones, Quantum Break, Calvary, Blitz, The Dark Knight Rises)
Sydnor – Corey Parker Robinson (Unstoppable, The Red Road, The Neighborhood, Orange Is the New Black)
Rawls – John Doman (Gotham, The Affair, Person of Interest, House of Cards, Damages, Borgia, Blue Valentine)
Norman Wilson – Reg E. Cathey (The Mask, American Psycho, The Machinist, Seven, Outcast, House of Cards, Banshee)
Bunk Moreland – Wendell Pierce (Parker, Ray, The Gift, Suits, Ray Donovan, Treme)
Cedric Daniels – Lance Reddick (Fringe, John Wick, Bosch, White House Down, Lost)
Duquan ‘Dukie’ Weems – Jermaine Crawford (DC Noir, Damsels in Distress, Twelve, An American Affair)
Kima Greggs – Sonja Sohn (Bringing Out the Dead, Shaft, Slam, Luke Cage, The Originals, Domain)
Herc – Domenick Lombardozzi (Frank and Ava, Rosewood, Bridge of Spies, Boardwalk Empire, God’s Pocket, Breakout Kings, Public Enemies, Phone Booth)
Michael Lee – Tristan Mack Wilds (90210, Half Nelson, Red Tails, Shots Fired)
Gus Haynes – Clark Johnson (Alpha House, Magnum Opus, The Shield, Homicide: Life of the Street)
Rhonda Pearlman – Deirdre Lovejoy (The Blacklist, Bones, American Gothic, Beauty Mark)
Scott Templeton – Tom McCarthy (Win Win, The Station Agent, Spotlight, The Lovely Bones, Boston Public, Michael Clayton, Duplicity)
Marlo – Jamie Hector (Bosch, Max Payne, Queen of the South, The Strain, Quarry, Power, Person of Interest)
Lester Freamon – Clarke Peters (Notting Hill, London Spy, John Wick, Chance, The Tunnel, Jessica Jones, Show Me a Hero, Midsomer Murders, Treme, People of Earth)
Sgt. Carver – Seth Gilliam (Starship Troopers, The Walking Dead, Still Alice, Nurse Jackie, Teen Wolf, Change in the Air)
Burrell – Frankie Faison (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Luke Cage, Banshee, The Thomas Crown Affair, Red Dragon, My Other House, The Good Fight)
Avon Barksdale – Wood Harris (The Breaks, Creed, Justified, Southland, Dredd, Once Upon a Time in Venice, As Good As It Gets)
Bubbles – Andre Royo (Empire, Hand of God, Fringe, Prime Suspect, In Security, The Spectacular Now)
Sergei ‘Serge’ Malatov – Chris Ashworth (Deepwater Horizon, Underground, TURN: Washington’s Spies, Terminator Salvation)
Odell Watkins – Frederick Strother (Twelve Monkeys, Beloved, Law & Order: SVU, All Square)
Omar Little – Michael Kenneth Williams (Hap and Leonard, The Night Of, Ghostbusters, Boardwalk Empire, Inherent Vice, Kill the Messenger, RoboCop, 12 Years a Slave)
Sgt. Jay Landsman – Delaney Williams (Law & Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, The Punisher)
Michael Steintorf – Neal Huff (Spotlight, Moonrise Kingdom, Big Daddy, The Mist, Billions, The Affair, The Wannabe, Show Me a Hero, Fringe, The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Chris Partlow – Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Taking of Pelham 123, Mercy Home, The Savages, Edge of Darkness, The Deuce, Home, Nurse Jackie)
Snoop – Felicia Pearson
Clay Davis – Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Mist, Cars 3, Atlanta, Chi-Raq, Veep, Rubicon, Cedar Rapids)
Slim Charles – Anwar Glover (Jamesy Boy, 12 Years a Slave, LUV, The Deuce)
Maurice ‘Maury’ Levy – Michael Kostroff (The Blacklist, The Good Wife, The Deuce, Molly’s Game, The Wizard of Lies, Banshee, Show Me A Hero, Damages)
Alma Gutierrez – Michelle Paress
Thomas Klebanow – David Costabile (Breaking Bad, Billions, The Post, Suits, Damages, Flight of the Conchords)
James Whiting III – Sam Freed (Coneheads, American Gangster, House of Cards)
FBI Agent Terrance ‘Fitz’ Fitzhugh – Doug Olear (Something the Lord Made, Law & Order, The Mentalist)