The Wire
All Due Respect

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Mr. Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
"There's Never Been A Paper Bag"

Around Baltimore, the aforementioned post-Towers expansion plan for the Barksdale gang is continuing apace, and Stringer's lieutenants are mostly finding a cautiously receptive audience. The exception to that "mostly" is Bodie, who (unfortunately for him) has been tasked with bringing Marlo Stanfield on board. And Marlo isn't making himself available for idle chit-chat just about now. Adding insult to injury, Bodie gets to receive the brush-off from bored thirteen-year-olds -- you just know he stomped home and immediately logged on to to see if there were any postings for mid-level drug dealers.

And now the grim realization about Season 3 sets in -- that just because the Polish dockworkers have gone away doesn't mean that the reprehensible Valchek is joining them. Nope -- he's still here, cackling away with his office with Carcetti about the business the councilman gave Burrell last episode. "You fucker, you're up to something," Valchek chortles. Carcetti protests that he's not: "I can help him, he can help me. A little itch here, a little scratch there." Valchek correctly surmises that Carcetti's in a no-lose position: if Burrell continues to give him the cold shoulder, Carcetti can grab the headlines by making the police commissioner his personal punching bag. And if Burrell does play along, "you get yourself a snitch in the Mayor's inner circle." Carcetti shrugs noncommittally -- Valchek's not telling him anything Carcetti hasn't already mapped out in a notebook labeled Mayor By Season 4: My Secret Plan To Rise To The Heights Of Baltimore City Politics. Carcetti suggests that perhaps Valchek could arrange another meeting between him and Burrell. "And I should tell him what?" Valcheck croaks. "Make nice, or invest heavily in petroleum jelly." "Hey," Carcetti replies. "His ass, his choice." Fun fact: Also the title of an upcoming movie on Lifetime starring Noah Wyle and William Devane.

Back on the streets, Marlo's continued inaccessibility is going to force Bodie into making an executive decision. Mull that chilling possibility for a moment. Anyhow, in the absence of word from Marlo, Bodie decides to station his crew in the middle of the block, just across the corner from where Marlo's underlings are doing business. It's just like Macy's and Gimbels, only with far more firearms.

A van pulls up in an abandoned warehouse, and a crew of worker bees starts setting up a chalkboard, a bunch of barricades, and what appears to be a ring. If my memory of a particularly stomach-churning installment of Real Sports is anything to go by, we're about to see us some dogfighting. Terrific -- I was worried that I was going to miss my monthly quota of Michael Vick references now that the Falcons' season is winding down. Into this sport of kings dickweeds strides Cheese, the subject of so much consternation at the Major Case unit lately. Cheese is here as a participant -- well, by proxy, anyhow, as his dog will be doing most of the heavy lifting. But wouldn't that be a fun twist? "Hey guys, let's give the dogs a rest this time out, and have the two of you fight brutally to the death. C'mon, what are you brave sportsmen waiting for? Don't make me break out the ol' rape stand." On the bright side, the dogfighting operation does observe a strict check-your-weapons-at-the-folding-table policy, so there's that nod to civility. Also worth noting: Cheese's li'l buddy, Triage, notices the opposing dog owner dabbing a red cloth on his entry. Are you trying to imply that some participants in the noble world of dogfighting are less than honorable? For shame, sir.

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The Wire




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