Didn’t write much last week, I know. I watch my Wire On Demand, spend the week thinking about it, then post something after you proles without superpremium cable get caught up. And as you know, the new episode goes up a mere two hours after the last one airs for the first time.
And after watching Ep. 8, I felt…as though…how to put this? As though a little kid had walked up to me in a convenience store and put one in my dome.
Requiescat in pace, Omar. I knew it was coming, and yet, when it did, it still flattened me. That’s saying something.
So, knowing the man in the duster will be the topic A among Wireheads today, let me blow a little on the guttering flame of the unjustly maligned newsroom arc. Gus’ public exit from the newsroom, after publicly calling out Scott’s b.s. story lead, thrilled me to no end. Public fights used to be commonplace in newsrooms, and over the course of my career dwindled to a management-approved, behind-closed-doors model that was, nevertheless, just as revelatory. You really can’t work in a big room with a few score of nosy parkers and have any expectation of privacy, especially on deadline. But every so often something breaks right out in the open, and it’s yesterday once more. (I once knew a writer so boring he withered houseplants in his vicinity, but I’ll always remember him for the single great line he got off in his career: Regarding the newsroom of his personal Daily Planet, midway through a refurbishing that split the open room into a series of cubicle rows, he said, “Jeez, now you have to stand up to call someone a motherfucker.”)
The newsroom plot is unfairly maligned elsewhere, but every week I love it more. Was there an epitaph more poignant than Omar’s demise not even making the paper? The contradictory nature of truth and storytelling neither began nor ended with “Rashomon,” but this one was brutal. Not even a brief!
(In the excellent “Devil’s Night and Other True Tales of Detroit,” Ze’ev Chafets mentions how the newspapers participated in the delamination of the city, through such charming details as rounding up several days of mayhem under a single head: “This weekend’s shootings.”)
The other talker of this episode is Dominic West’s little master class in acting without words, as he absorbed the details of the FBI’s profile of his fictional serial killer. As much as I enjoyed it, however, I liked the short interlude with the publicity-hound F.B.I. deputy director more. Does Nancy Grace know she’s a figure of fun, or did she sign on thinking a guest turn on “The Wire” would give her gritty authenticity?
As good as Ep. 8 was, though, Ep. 9 looks to be a killer: “My name is my name!” I guess I better get to it tout suite then, eh? Envy me, bitches!
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