In the lions’ den


Given that the linear thought plugin for the virgobrain appears to be on the fritz this week, I’m surrendering to some shorter impressionistic posts. Please jump on in with your own riffs if any of my jumble resonates.

During Marlo and Prop Joe’s visit to Our Lady of Laundered Money, the painting Daniel’s Answer to the King by Briton Rivière dominates the initial shots. The painting depicts the morning after Daniel’s dark night, as he answers those who have come expecting to see him devoured and instead find him delivered by his righteousness:

“My God has sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.”

While pure innocence is not a widely held commodity in The Wire, we are seeing many of our characters (most of them believing their own actions justified, righteous) facing the test of their lives, thrown to the lions either by circumstances beyond their control or as a direct result of their own actions. That, I think, brings us back to the difference between believing, the act of choosing to have faith in one’s subjective interpretation of events (which may or may not have been manipulated by others), and the objective involuntary act of knowing something concrete, that others agree is also true.

Some of our characters believe that in the fullness of time, they will be vindicated. Clay Davis, for example. Others know better, know they’ve reached the end of the line, their faith in what brought them here now lost. Remember the image of Burrell, who lived by the stats, now likely dead by them as well, staring out the window, the paper on his desk by the ringing phone.

Conversely, there’s Lester, as noted yesterday in Racy’s post:

Now we have Lester acting somewhat out of character, going along with Jimmy and the fake serial killer scam. Why? His people are broke, alone and abandoned in the face of a tragedy. They are on the verge of not being players anymore. They think surely we will be rescued. Surely the Government wouldn’t do nothing in the face of 22 murders? This is America, we shouldn’t be abandoned!

Well, give it up Lester. No one is coming to help you!

What about Butchie? There was a discussion in the comments here yesterday in response to Ashley’s original statement that Butchie was not in the game, and therefore, shouldn’t have been a target. I’m not going to say Butchie was an innocent but I think his refusal to talk wasn’t just him being a good soldier. Butchie was never Omar’s soldier. His exact relation is unclear, but what we do know is that they were family, bound by mutual devotion above and beyond the game, and Butchie kept the faith to the end. We see that borne out by the expression on Omar’s face when he gets the news about Butchie.

Which brings us to Marlo, Omar’s opposite god of war in the impending battle. Who among his crew has that kind of devotion to him, has faith in him, affection for him transcending the game? Likewise, is there a soul on earth that Marlo would shed a tear for, anyone or any ideal he wouldn’t give up if the price was right?



1 Comment

  1. Nice stuff about the painting. I am going to chew over this…

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