The Wire
Collateral Damage

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Wing Chun: A | 1 USERS: A+
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"They Can Chew You Up, But They Gotta Spit You Out"

Port of Philadelphia. The Baltimore cops get out of their car.

On board the ship, an authority figure of some kind (the first mate, I suppose, though he looks pretty young) gives the breakdown of the crew -- fourteen Yemeni, eight Sri Lankan, five Filipinos, and the rest a motley assortment. As they arrive at a dining or meeting room of some kind, set up with benches and tables, Beadie asks whether any of them speaks English; Matey says that, given the sorts of questions the cops are going to be asking, he'll be "amazed if any of them manages a word." The four sit down at a table, and Lester asks Matey where his captain is; Matey replies that he's at the Coast Guard office, "angry as hell because we're due on a New Jersey pier tomorrow morning." "You're not gonna make it," murmurs Bunk, unsympathetically. Matey complains that every day the cops hold the ship, it costs the shipping agent $100,000: "The Atlantic Light is a huge enterprise." "The Atlantic Light is a crime scene," Bunk retorts. And, like so many crime scenes, it's full of seamen. (Trust me, if you read it out loud, that joke is HILARIOUS.)

Dank, scary torture/interrogation room. Sam is being advised not to "try to play tough guy." The camera pans past various piles of garbage and crap until we can see Sam, naked and sitting in a chair, getting clouted in the head as Sergei orders, "Talk to me!" Sam cries and (I think) barfs. He doesn't say anything, though, and Sergei hits him again, hard enough this time to knock him off his seat. He orders a henchman to pick Sam up, as Sam cries and protests and gasps. Once he's sitting again, Sergei demands that Sam "talk about the girls," but Sam babbles, "No girls, nothing. No English." Sergei pulls his hair to get him to look up, and asks why he ran; Sam replies in some unsubtitled language I certainly don't understand; it's neither French nor Pig Latin.

At this point, we cut to a doorway; there's a puddle of water, into which a cigarette is tossed, and then we hear Spiros briefing another guy on what they're about to walk into, saying that Sergei thinks Sam "looks like an Arab." As they walk toward the torture scene, the camera pans from their feet only as far up as their torsos...

...and then we get a shot, again, of naked Sam, from behind, and see that Spiros's companion is that old dude who's always hanging around the diner. Holy shit, that dumpy old coot is The Greek?! ...Okay, I knew that this time. But it took me this long the first time I watched Season 2. The Greek advances on Sam's chair, watching the man carefully as Sergei dismissively declares, "He don't know nothing." "But you kept hitting him anyway," says The Greek accusatorily. Oh, hello, Good Cop. Sergei spreads his hands, like, "Does a bear shit in the woods? Sergei assaults in a dingy warehouse." The Greek orders Sergei to get Sam's clothes, and offers Sam a cigarette, from which he cowers. The Greek says he's going to have one, and lights it as Sam coughs and sort of sobs a little. Sitting down, The Greek tries speaking to Sam in Portuguese, and Farsi. He kindly offers, "Let's talk," but Sam effortfully grunts, "No English." The Greek asks Sam to tell him what happened to "the girls," and what language he does speak, if not English. He offers a few words, which The Greek apparently understands. He helps Sam to put his coat on over his shoulders, taking the opportunity, as he does so, to grip Sam's arm and thus get a better look at the crescent and star tattoo just under the crook of his elbow. The Greek exposits that Sam is Turkish. The Greek sits down again in front of Sam: "Don't worry, patrioti. I got nothing against the Turks. That's the old world. This is the new." He asks his new companion's name, and then asks again what was up with the women. Sam: "I don't know nothing about--" "You know. And you're going to tell me about it, too. After that, you're done. I give you my word." Sam, looking like he just wants to believe some-thing right now, nods, and says, "We popped the can to let them take a bath. Get some fresh air. You gotta understand, my crew, they pulling on their pootsos for weeks. These girls -- they looked pretty good...The men had cash to spend. I admit it -- I saw chance for business, but that was all...One of the puttanas decided she didn't want to be a puttana no more. This one guy got rough with her. The whore died. The others one saw. I didn't know what to do." The Greek, steely: "You kill one, then you kill them all?" Sam says it was another man. The Greek asks who. Sam: "The one girl -- they saw! They knew!" The Greek stares. Sam says something else I can't understand, and The Greek, still squinting angrily, tells him, "Relax. I gave you my word!" He takes a drag from his cigarette and leans back to watch as Spiros comes up behind Sam, pulls his head up by the hair, and efficiently slashes his throat. Sam chokes horribly for quite a bit longer than you would think, and as the blood gushes down, Spiros warns The Greek, "Watch your shoes." "Goddamn Turko," hisses The Greek, getting up. So much for the global village. "In a year, each whore would bring in a quarter million. What is that?" "Four million dollars," says Spiros. "Gone," says The Greek. But he shakes it off: "There will be other girls." As he gets ready to leave with Spiros, The Greek tells Sergei, "This one? No fingerprints. No face." Sergei's on it. Of course, The Greek is right. There always are other girls.

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