“Go with your people.”

A few days back Ray commented:

Wallace, D’Angelo, Bodie…whenever one of these kids figures out “we just like them little bitches on the chessboard”, they’re near the end of their life. I wonder if a pawn feels that way right when he gets set up diagonally from his opponent pawn as bait, just so a bishop who moves faster will have an easier shot at the king.

Michael won’t survive the season. I can feel it the way I can feel that Bubbles is going to stay clean.


The fates of Michael and Dukie are in persistent high rotation among the pieces rattling around in my head after the first two eps. On one hand, like so many other viewers, I wanted to see the boys come back and was thrilled that we were going to have at least two of them. On the other hand is the dread that comes with knowing these two are now firmly entrenched in the game. They’re alive, stable and safe with a roof over their heads, food on the table, creature comforts, every aspect of their existence now bankrolled by Marlo Stanfield.

Early on Nancy talked about bad lies versus innocent lies. Michael attempts to sell Dukie on the stay-at-home nanny plan with somewhat of a white lie: If something happens to Michael, who will care for Bug?

He probably thinks he’s being kind, and to an extent, he is. We all know Dukie’s gentle soul is not cut out for the street. But Michael’s lying to himself as well. If something does happen to him, who’s going to take care of Dukie? Of what value is Dukie to Marlo?

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

— Charles Dickens, David Copperfield 

Dukie has survived in the world thus far on cautious invisibility coupled with a dependence on the kindness and strength of others but we have to wonder: is he invisible to himself? Of what value is Dukie to Dukie? He isn’t likely to survive by being dependent on others for his very identity, for the role he plays in his own life.

In the game, as in life, it’s play or get played.




  1. First of all: love the blog, all of your work.

    Second: Have any of you bought the soundtrack on iTunes or whatever?

    Because there’s a haunting snippet of dialogue between Dukie and Michael on Track 34.

    Throughout the whole soundtrack, there are quotes from the show interjected here and there… but Track 34 is an so-far-unaired soundbyte between Dukie and Michael. So I guess it’s a slight spoiler.

    The short soundclip doesn’t exactly reveal anything, but it’ll get your head spinning, wondering just what the context might be.

  2. Third: Do you think Dukie will step up and play?

    And if he does, which of the known character molds does he end up fitting?

    Best case: Chris Partlow
    Worst case: Bubbs

    … and by “best” i mean “worst,” and by “worst” i mean “worst”

  3. If Dukie stayed on the corner, he’d end up like Wallace. He’s not hard enough, and eventually somebody higher up would see him as a weak link that needs to be removed. Michael knows this, but Michael isn’t as hard as he’s trying to be either.

    But It’s gotta hurt that now that Dukie isn’t the “stinky retard” any more, he’s still getting rejected, kicked out of the club, even by his best friend. This has gotta be a real blow to his growing self-esteem, and how he reacts is anybody’s guess.

    I don’t think Dukie is going to passively “end up” the way somebody like Wallace did. I think Dukie is going to be an active wild card somehow, but I have no idea how.

  4. Thanks for commenting Hon Tea, and don’t be a stranger. I haven’t gotten the Wire music yet- my monthly music-gettin’ budget is always shot by the first week of every month and I have a list as long as my arm.

    I agree with Ray, I can’t see Dukie lasting long enough on the corner to be anything other than roadkill.

    I’ve been working on a long and seemingly not-to-ever-be-finished post meditating on personal identity as expressed in the Marlo versus Omar struggle and found myself wondering whether Michael’s best case scenario might be ending up as some combination of the two. He’s obviously bright, but he’s also such a lionheart, and I have to think his salvation, if he has one, comes from that place, which is what I think of Omar. Omar didn’t just survive because he was a badass, he survived because he has values and heart. Michael doesn’t appear to have had a Grandma or a Butchie in his corner to help with the values, but maybe because he’s had to care for Bug, he still hasn’t shut his heart down.

    I don’t have any idea of whether Cutty’s going to come into play in Season Five, or whether all those bridges were burnt, but damn, this stuff makes you wish for an army of Cuttys and Bunnys and Grandmas and Butchies and Miss Annas and Prezbos…

  5. On the HBO Wire board a few years ago, somebody asked “What happened to the kids Wallace was taking care of? Now that he’s gone, what will happen to them”. David Simon said something like “not to be flip, but what do you think happened to them? What do you think happens to real kids who live in this environment?”

    And that’s Bug.

    VT, I want you to revisit your comment after Episode 3.

  6. Good to see ya, Ashley!

    Yes, that’s Bug, and the kid that ran out the back of Junebug’s house.

    “Motherless children have a hard time”

  7. So can we talk about the sound clip of Dukie and Michael here?

  8. If you follow the SPOILERS in COMMENTS Policy, go ahead.

  9. That’s it, I’m out of this thread.

    Just the fact that Dukie and Michael have a haunting conversation is a spoiler for me. Because lets say (theoretically) that Snoop tells Michael he needs to “take care of” Dukie, now I know that it’s not gonna be a simple driveby, or that it may not happen at all.

    If somebody says, “I won’t spoil it, but you should see what Omar does in Episode 5”, that’s a spoiler. Because you’ve told me that Omar is still alive in Episode 6, so any perceived danger he gets in between now and then, I know in the back of my mind “he lives through this shit because somebody told me he appears in Episode 6”.

    I’ve already seen one mainstream media preview that describes just the setting of one scene, and just that setting tells me something very critical about this season. I don’t know who the characters involved are, but I know something very specific will happen to somebody from a very specific subset of characters. And the mainstream reviewer who wrote that shit is fucking marked for death, because I can’t help but watch the whole season wondering which one it will be and when it will happen, instead of letting it just happen as a surprise, with my mind a clean slate. If I ever see him, I’m giving him a beatdown like Michael’s father got.

    I like playing games of “given what we already know, what do we think will happen?” I frickin’ hate “I can see a little bit of the future clearly, let’s guess about how it fits”. I don’t want my head spinning wondering about the context. I don’t even want to know that such a thing occurred.

    But that’s just me. Y’all talk amongst yourselves, I’m gonna try not to read comments in this thread any more.

  10. Haha, guess I’m “a little eager”

    I don’t want to deal in spoilers, so I’ll sit on it.

    I think What Will Happen to Dukie and Michael? is one of the most important questions of this season. In true Wire fashion, it’s also a question that will float under the radar, compared to things like “How Will the Media Play?” and “The Fuck Did McNulty Do This Time?”

    For all the intellectual posturing of the media angle, and the narrative drama of the McNulty Frustrations, I think the true heartbeat of this season, the D’Angelo and Wallace of Season 5, will be the fate of Dukie and Michael… and I know that my heart will be broken. Fuck.

    Reminds me of an interview with Michael K. Williams. He said to keep an eye on the kids for this season.

    (BTW, the fate of Bubbles? Heartbeat of the whole show, seasons 1-5)

  11. Hmm, wrote my post before seeing Ray’s.

    Sorry to plant the seeds. Not that I know any spoilers other than from the soundtrack, but I’ll be cautious moving forward.

  12. Duquan is really good with math. In his spare time, I hope he goes to the library or finds some kind of outlet towards a career or a trade.

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