The Wire
Collateral Damage

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

McNulty returns to the container, as Beadie tells him about the cargo in the front of the container, and the false back that concealed the women, with a door that only opened from the outside. McNulty, looking around with a flashlight, asks whether the women were in the container for the whole trip, and Beadie says, "Probably not. Once they're at sea, there's usually someone in the crew who's in on it, you know? A shepherd? He lets them out to eat, move around, use the bathroom, whatever." She shines her light on one side of the compartment as she sadly adds, "They were clawing at the wall for air." McNulty, businesslike, asks where the air pipe is, and Beadie points to the ceiling of the compartment: "That's the hole. Pipe's up top." If this were some kind of wacky reality show, that would be where the cockroaches would have been dumped on the women inside. But...uh, it isn't.

Outside the container again, as Beadie walks up a ladder to the roof of the can, McNulty asks whether she gets a lot of stowaways. She says that there are a few, but that Customs or the INS normally finds them, and that most of those are from the Caribbean. "Not so much from Europe," McNulty surmises. "A bit more since 9/11, actually," Beadie replies. "I think because people can't get in on visas anymore like they used to." They've arrived at the hole now, which Beadie points out for McNulty: "Usually if the shepherd is doing his job, he tries to put a can like this on the bottom of the stack so they can pop it and the girls just walk out on the floor of the hold." McNulty asks where this one was, and Beadie sort of spreads her hands; she doesn't know. McNulty leans down to get a better look at the air hole from the outside, and directs Beadie's attention to something. The angle changes so we can see what they're looking at: while the rest of the roof is corrugated, like every container you've probably ever seen, one ridge is sort of flattened out at one end. Beadie doesn't get it, and as McNulty puts his hand out to feel the slat, she kind of suspiciously asks, "You said you were with the Marine Unit?" McNulty distractedly answers in the affirmative. Beadie: "What does the Marine Unit have to do with a bunch of dead girls in a can?" Is that a riddle? "Not a thing," McNulty admits. I would have also accepted "spite."

So in some fancy part of Baltimore that we viewers seldom get to see, Valchek is pursuing another avenue in his anti-Frank campaign: Andy Krawczyk (Michael Willis). Valchek wants Krawczyk to go to Fr. Jerome and convince the priest to give back Frank's money so that Valchek's window can go up in its place. Krawczyk practically cracks up as he rhetorically asks, "You ever in your life seen a priest give money back? The guy pays for a window, he gets a window." Valchek pissily says he thought Krawczyk had "suction." Man, that word again! I really could do without it when the guys who supposedly have it look like Krawczyk and Valchek. Krawczyk, walking Valchek toward the window, says he does -- at City Hall, or in Annapolis: "But who but the Pope has any drag with the cardinal? Get over it." Valchek crabbily asks how Frank got that much money, anyway. Krawczyk says that's a good question. Valchek: "I mean, the whole I.B.S. can't have fifteen hundred guys left in this town, and there ain't a hundred checkers." Krawczyk muses, "They got the car ships coming in; the roll-on; roll-off cargo is keeping them afloat." Looking around shiftily, Krawczyk tells Valchek, "Past six months, I.B.S. hired Bruce Dibiago's people to lobby for them down Annapolis. They've been good with the political contributions. They're throwing around a lot of cash." "How can they?" squints Valchek. Krawczyk: "You tell me. Dibiago does not come cheap, Stasz. This is real money we're talking." Valchek shifts back and forth on his feet as he gets ready to unleash hell: "You know what I think? I think Francis Sobotka's into some dirt." Krawczyk: "You're the cop, not me, Stasz." Valchek beams smugly, and the two share manly shoulder smacks as Valchek heads toward the door, stopping at an architectural maquette: "The Grainery?" It's the grain pier we've already seen many times, all dolled up condo-style. As he inspects it, Krawczyk comments, "I hear Burrell's gonna be the next police commissioner." Valchek sighs, "I've seen worse," and heads out. Krawczyk is left to fidget with the little toy boats surrounding his maquette, and think about what he wants his church window to look like.

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