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'The Wire': The Fall of Spiderman

February 25, 2008 |  6:00 am

Omar Let the record show that the true beginning of the end is underway in Baltimore.

No doubt, there are plenty of unhappy Omar fans out there right now. While talking over the final season, one "Wire"-watcher I know said, "Whatever happens, as long as they don't kill Omar." Well, all right then. But that, for better and for worse, is not how this show works.

Omar's end played like the opposite of Prop Joe's shooting a few weeks back. But where Joe's end was excruciatingly and almost lovingly slow under Marlo's watchful eye, Omar was gone in a flash, with an almost insulting level of anonymity from a person who at first just seemed a random kid in a liquor store (but after a quick rewind became Kenard, the wee bundle of undiluted hate from Michael's corner). Apart from the ominous build-up of Omar furiously prowling Baltimore's vacants in the unforgiving midday sun, there was little indication something like this was coming -- other than the unsettling momento mori of Kenard trying to light a cat on fire as Omar passed by. In short, wow.

Still, those who have been with "The Wire" from the beginning can't be surprised for long. Everyone in David Simon's Baltimore is a potential casualty, regardless of how many leaps from tall buildings in a single bound Omar pulled off. Just ask Stringer Bell. Still, for one of the few times this troubled season, an episode's impact has lingered well past the closing credits until finally, after running the full gamut of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, acceptance has been reached. Given all "The Wire" has established up to now, would it really have been more satisfying to watch Omar mow through Marlo's crew one by one before a final, High Noon showdown? Maybe it all could've wrapped up with Omar enjoying a victory Newport backed by some "Don't Stop Believing" while the closing credits roll -- would that have been preferable?

Of course not. As good as the above might have felt for everyone who loved West Baltimore's most fascinating export, this ending feels right. There will be no Jerry Bruckheimer finale with a hail of hot lead and venom for Omar, only a cruel moment where someone's guard was let down for a split second too long. That was enough for everyone who crossed Omar's path, and so it's enough for Omar.

So that begs the question: If Omar can't get Marlo, who will? Does anyone truly believe the law is the fastest horse in this race? Baltimore's finest are closing in, however, with Bunk in the lead thanks to new DNA evidence against Chris for his killing of Michael's stepdad. But, thanks to Lester's understated secret weapon, Leander Sydnor, the Greeks' code seems to have been cracked. And it's, um, the Baltimore Thomas Guide? Really? If indeed Lester and his rapidly swelling ranks of his "shadow" Major Crimes unit (thanks, McNulty!) are on the right track, it will be interesting to see where we go from here. But it's hard to picture Marlo's end coming with something as simple as a pair of handcuffs. Justice, for all its tantalizing appeal, is not "The Wire's" way.

Speaking of McNulty, things aren't looking good for our "hero." He spent much of the episode crumbling under the strain of his false empire, confessing his sins to everyone from Kima -- who might blow the whistle on the whole weird scheme -- to the long-suffering Beadie, who finally got his attention by bailing out for a night. Maybe hearing Quantico's psychological profile of his "killer" hit a little too close to home, but McNulty finally seems to be recovering his senses, which at this point just seems horribly sad. As great as it is to see McNulty's character regaining its nuance, redemption seems about as common as a Passenger Pigeon in Baltimore -- unless your name's Clay Davis, of course.

Have to say, if this episode is any indication, there's reason for optimism for how the series is going to wrap up. The pacing this week seemed far more natural, and even the troublesome newspaper storyline seemed less over-the-top than usual with Gus' brusque stand against Templeton. But is it all too little too late? Have we been set up for the ending we've been waiting for? Or have we just been set up?

-- Chris Barton

(Photo courtesy HBO)


Comments () | Archives (9)

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thrILL!

Just to get a rep.

Not only the title of a classic hip hop album (Gangstarr), but the soundtrack that passed thru Omar's skull. They've been quietly building this up since last season as we saw Kenard become involved in the corner's ways. He tested Namond and got away with it until Michael put him in check. Kenard was not scared of Omar the way that Michael was (altho Kenard wasn't facing a whistle to his dome). In fact, he was rather unimpressed. The other kids ran off as Omar approached, yet Kenard continued to torture that cat.

Omar shouting to the neighborhood about Marlo to no avail convincing himself that nobody could step to him again. He must have dinged his head in that 5th story jump.

You can't take on the empire all by yourself, Omar. Did any of you honestly think he would get Marlo? I never did. I thought he might get Snoop or Monk, but never Marlo.

Don't forget... it was sloppy, reckless reactions that got Avon pinched by the cops and Marlo might be headed in that direction himself.

And from the previews, it looks like Michael might just ascend to the throne himself by series end. I guess I have to go back and watch the ep, but I thought Chris had on gloves when he beat Bug's pops into streetmeat. If they have paper on Chris, then Michael might be a threat to Chris in his eyes. Michael is one smart kid tho!

It was good to see Poot move on and get out the game...

I'm so gonna miss this show when it's done....

Kobe

I'm the BIGGEST Wire fan on the planet! So, I pray that we have NOT been set up.

I still believe there should have been some type of scenario with Marlo & Omar.

I did NOT like the way Omar went out. He should have been then for the finale,

at least. Do you agree?

Kobe

I'm the BIGGEST Wire fan on the planet! So, I pray that we have NOT been set up.

I still believe there should have been some type of scenario with Marlo & Omar.

I did NOT like the way Omar went out. He should have been then for the finale,

at least. Do you agree?

Chris - LATimes

Part of me definitely agrees, Kobe -- who wouldn't have wanted to see Omar and Marlo face off? But I've really come to love the surprise of it all, the idea that few if any of us saw something like this coming after all the build-up between those two. Plus I like how this adds a little more to "The Wire's" sort of underlying message -- that no one's above the Game, though Omar certainly was fantastic to watch while he seemed that way. I'm going to miss him in the finale, but partly because now it's two extra hours we don't get to see him anymore.

thrILL!

I think it's kind of poetic that the biggest, baddest street hustla was done in by the smallest, greenest corner kid. I've been waiting for Kenard to pop someone... I'm just glad that it wasn't Dookie. Omar was a great character but nobody is safe on the streets of Baltimore. Omar let his guard down for a second and that was enough.

I'm starting to think that the logic used by Marlo (dispose of anyone who might be a threat via the cops) is about to be used by Michael. Instead of Chris being concerned about Michael droppin a dime on Chris about killing Bug's pops, Michael might do the same to Chris to protect himself and Bug. I know Chris really likes and possibly cares for Michael like a son and sees big things for him. Plus, I don't see Chris snitchin on anyone.

So maybe it's Snoop that gets blasted bcuz I know Michael is getting tired of her running yer yap at him trying to put him in check. It's obvious she feels threatened by Michael's smarts.

Why do I have the feeling that the manner in which McNulty and Freamon built their case against marlo is going to get tossed out of court in a mistrial? Except that with only 2 eps left, there's really not time to go there. And Maury Levy had to have known who Herc was when he hired him and basically all but handed him Marlo's cell number...

This could go another season easily... looking forward to seeing what Simon's next project is. Not to mention what HBO is going to do to make up for 2 of its best shows being gone...

Lakafo0

Best show EVER!

Aaron

I missed the episode when it aired originally so a co-worker told me that Omar was killed. I was bummed out. So then I watched it last night from my DVR. Watching the episode was so intense because I knew he was going to get shot but didn't know when exactly it would happen.....lol
Omar LIttle was one of the best "bad guys you gotta love" ever on TV.... gonna miss him :o(

KB

When I originally saw the episode I thought the only good thing about it was the fact that Poot got out of the game alive. After Omar took one to the head, I couldn't concentrate and was feeling everything from disbelief, anger, and even hope that somehow he was as strong as I wanted him to be and survived a bullet to the head. Honestly, I hate the way that Omar was killed. I wish David Simon would write me into the script and give me the opportunity to throw Kenard around like Mike once did. However, I must say it was a brillant move by the writers. As much as I dislike it, I haven't been able to stop talking about it! It's outstanding T.V!!!! The only thing is now I'm actually afraid to watch the next show because it's clear anything is fair game, and I can't take another death of any of my favorite characters.

On another note, I really hope Dookie doesn't become the local street pedlar/ garbage man..he has so much potential, but I fear he's going to be the next Bubbles, another brillant but tragic character.

Funky Blue Rooster

I agree that Omar should have made it to the end, but I think Dukie and Michael are gonna be the last ones standing, and leaving Baltimore all behind

The Wire is the best!


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