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'The Wire': Endgame -- predictions and polls

March 7, 2008 | 10:58 am

Well, this is it. No matter how hard we try and fight it, somewhere around 10:30 or so Sunday night "The Wire's" intricate little universe will draw to a close. And with promises that this whole "Dickensian" marvel of a show is actually going to tie everything together in a neat little bow at the finish, we couldn't resist passing along our half-baked predictions, judgments, hopes and dreams about this season. After the jump, a chance to cast your vote in our all-encompassing poll for how this crazy thing is going to end. Vote early and often -- and while pondering the many ways this could wrap up, don't forget to read Matea Gold's fantastic roundtable discussion with many of "The Wire's" cast.

Now, onto the predictions. And please feel free to weigh in with thoughts and predictions of your own in the comments.

From Patrick Day, "Wire" fan and "Lost" show tracker:

I’m probably going to be shouted down here, but I have a feeling “The Wire” will end on some small note of hope. We’ve had five seasons of nothing but a dark, gloomy view of inner city Baltimore, so there’s no reason on earth that David Simon and crew would go back on their well-earned cynicism right at the end. But after the seemingly perfect arrest of Marlo Stanfield in the penultimate episode, I’m thinking maybe we’ll get a peek, but just a peek, mind you, of a hopeful future for the city.

That’s not to say I think everything will turn up roses for all the cast members. Nothing but bad things await McNulty. He’s gone too far off the deep end and been too much of a self-involved heel this season for his life to suddenly turn out all right. Will he live? Probably. But I don’t see him being a cop anymore.

From Philip Michaels (a.k.a. Mr. Sobell) from Television Without Pity:

Because this is "The Wire" we're talking about, the question really shouldn't be how's it going to end -- depressingly, for the characters and viewers alike -- but just how depressing is it going to be watching everyone we've grown to care about get ground down by the remorseless boot-heel of fate while society crumbles around them. Will it be an "I just listened to Elliott Smith CDs for three hours" kind of depressing? A bury-your-face-in-a-pillow-so-the-neighbors-can't-hear-your-sobs depressing? Or are we talking about a full-on dim the lights, pull the shades, and sit motionless in the Barc-o-lounger for days while you contemplate the meaninglessness of it all-type situation.

Because I deal in extremes, I tend to think we're due for a series finale where David Simon & Co. crank the ol' Futility-Meter up to 11. So how do things play out in this grim world view?

McNulty's serial killer fakery is exposed, of course, dragging down everyone foolish enough to even have had a conversation with him at any point during the last five seasons. Kima, Bunk, and Freamon will be drummed off the force -- the latter will take to traveling from town to town doing odd jobs and helping locals solve their problems until his true identity is discovered and he's forced to move on to the next city. Daniels will be booted from the deputy of operations post, stripped of his rank, denied his pension, and stricken from any departmental records. Curiously, Herc will be rehired, cited as "the sort of person we need more of around here."

Ever the opportunist, Carcetti will cement his gubernatorial bid by denouncing everything that happened in the city of Baltimore ever, except for anything he did. He will also lead an unsuccessful effort to return Baltimore to the British. When that fails, Baltimore is kicked out of the Union. Marlo Stanfield becomes the first president of New BaltimoreLand, whose leading exports are heroin-stuffed refrigerators and Royal Addicition clothing.

I do not even want to contemplate what happens to Dukie, but suffice it to say, mimes will be involved.

Perhaps, most disappointing of all, Templeton is not brought down by scandal. Rather, through a crafty manipulation of the facts, he's able to produce a series of articles on corruption and sedition within the ranks of the Baltimore Sun that lands Gus Haynes in Gitmo. For his stellar work, Templeton wins the Pulitzer, which is promptly renamed the M. Scott Templeton Prize for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Free-Form Journalism.

Also, the show will end with a musical montage of some sort, with a song by either Sisters of Mercy or Raffi.

And finally, from yours truly:

Predicting "The Wire" is tricky. Thinking about where we're headed is half the fun, but the show has such a high standard of yanking the rug out from under any expectations that I'll feel disappointed on some level if I'm actually right. But, here goes: I have to believe McNulty's headed for a big, messy fall, and somehow, someway, he's going to wind up dead. Given his erratic behavior this season, I can see him taking a guilt-fueled potshot at Marlo if he ends up walking, which will most likely just get himself killed in the process. Either way, it's tough picturing him coasting into forced retirement or a reassignment. He just doesn't seem, um, wired that way. Lester of course will go down right with him, but at least he has his tiny furniture to keep him occupied.

As for the rest of the show, I keep coming back to the theme of nothing changes in Baltimore as long as the game exists in its current form -- a game Simon's repeatedly said is rigged. So, given there's no way the war on drugs will be won Sunday night, there will be a new Bubbles, a new Marlo, and a new Omar to come as the series closes. I see Dukie, unfortunately, getting himself a nasty smack habit since he's now living on the streets -- or worse, becoming the junkman's Sherrod. Now on the run, Michael will do what he needs to survive, be it robbing or killing, though he will live by his own code -- that sound like anyone we know? Marlo will fall, but not for his crimes. Instead of jail, I think the street will claim him, and maybe Michael will be the one pulling the trigger. But he won't take over the drug trade -- maybe that's someone from the old co-op, or someone even nastier than Marlo we haven't met yet. As for who becomes the new McNulty, my money's on Sydnor. He learned enough at Lester's knee to carry on coloring outside the lines at the Western.

Elsewhere, Carcetti is headed for governor, Daniels will somehow still wind up police chief, and Templeton is a mortal lock for the Pulitzer over at "The Sun" (particularly given how rooted-in-fact that storyline seems), despite Gus' best efforts. This means St. Augustus of Metro is finished, -- he'll either walk, get laid-off or fired. But hey, he can always turn to a career in television.

Now, onto the poll:

See you Sunday.

-- Chris Barton