Wednesday, February 13, 2008
(11:33 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Wire-bloggingWhen I finished season 4 -- which, by the way, was wonderful -- I initially thought I would space out the extant episodes of season 5, watching one a day so that I'd be caught up just in time for episode 8 to be available on demand. By the time I had watched my third episode of the morning on Monday, it became clear to me that that plan was not going to work, so I just got it over with.
I am unsure about this season, and I am waiting to pass judgment until I see how everything plays out. The writers have earned a certain degree of trust, of course. It's not like when the last season of 24 went totally off the rails and it was more clear than usual that the writers were just hacks all along. But there is a lot on the table, and though it does all seem to be converging, I just cannot figure out how they can possibly end everything satisfactorily in three episodes.
Brad and I have discussed the possibility that the shorter season, coupled with the huge amount of stuff for the writers to take care of, is in fact a "meta" move -- a way of enacting the "do more with less" slogan on the level of the presentation itself. That would partly depend on whose decision it was to have a shorter season, and so far in my research it is not clear to me whether it was HBO or David Simon's call.
Either way, though, this season seems to be the most self-consciously "artful" one, even to the point of being "artificial" -- yet the artificiality itself is intrinsic to the message they're trying to convey. The whole season has a weirdly recursive structure, which so far seems to be demonstrating that finally, there is just no way forward for the system as it stands.
UPDATE: My prediction for how one plot strand will work itself out this season "below the fold." Also, comments contain spoilers.
In the preview for episode 8, they show the Iraq vet guy -- who was the subject of Templeton's one honest story -- accusing him of lying. At first I thought Templeton would ironically take the fall for the one story where he didn't embellish, but I think it's going to be deeper than that. When these accusations surface, Templeton will still have his status as golden boy, at least for the moment. Somehow he will figure out that McNulty is actually making up the serial killer, and he will take revenge on the vet by framing him for the murders -- further putting himself and the Sun in the middle of the story because the killer himself was brazen enough, etc. I think this will partly work because in the made-up call, Templeton had said that the "killer" was angry at him for making things up. McNulty's instrumentalization of the homeless was already foreshadowed when he arbitrarily moved the guy in order to get the tapping equipment capable of tapping photos, too, and framing an innocent homeless man will seal the deal -- completing the parallel with Carcetti's own instrumentalization of the issue. (McNulty and Templeton probably won't even have to explicitly talk to each other about the frame-up plot -- it will just happen and both will have to go along or risk exposing themselves, just like with their lies about the phone calls.) And finally, the Clay Davis trial has shown us that the system is incapable of expelling its own corrupt members if the corruption is big enough, so everyone involved in the serial killer gambit on the police end come out just fine.
Still not sure how the Omar/Marlo angle will work out, though. I just felt I needed to put this prediction out there for posterity's sake, in case I'm right.