The Wire
Ebb Tide

Episode Report Card
Wing Chun: B+ | 2 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
"Ain't Never Gonna Be What It Was"

Then we're in a tiny, depressing basement room, not improved with loud banging from around the ceiling. After a moment, Nick sticks a leg out from under the covers, and then we cut up to the kitchen, where his mother, Joan (Elisabeth Noone) stomps on the floor again to wake him up. In the basement, Nick sighs, and steps across the room to turn on his stereo, which starts playing something with the lyrics "I am the world's forgotten boy." Better to be forgotten, Nick, than disdained, like your ridiculous cousin.

Nick staggers to the top of the stairs; in the foreground, we can see the dirty, holey socks of whatever lout has fallen asleep on the couch, and Joan, stomping away. "All right, Ma, shit," whines Nick, before jostling Ziggy's foot (for of course it is he) to try to wake him up (unsuccessfully). Joan flintily tells Nick that there won't be any breakfast for drunken losers who can't manage to wake up in time to "catch a ship." "What ship?" mutters Nick. Joan says that Nick's father has reported the Talco Line in, which "makes two ships at North Point." Nick pours a little hair of the dog into a glass as he says that the ship is actually the Atlantic Light, and that it won't be there until the afternoon. Joan swats him with a towel, telling him that's no excuse. Nick swallows his whole beer in one gulp, and heads out, burping, to the head. Joan curses the lousy drunks she's sharing her morning with, and barks at Nick through the door not to leave without taking Ziggy with him: "I gotta clean in there, and I ain't gonna do it around his carcass." Ziggy apparently takes no offense. I suppose when you're Ziggy, you kind of can't.

Nick, having dressed himself, emerges to a cold morning (alone) and gets into his crappy old sedan. He tries to start the car, but can't, and finally gives up and gets out of the car. Oh, God, it looks so cold. I am not looking forward to having to leave my house in that shit on winter mornings, instead of just going to my office in jammies and Uggs.

But instead of thinking about that depressing prospect: to the church! Fr. Jerome runs into Valchek on the landing of a flight of stairs, and chides him good-naturedly about skipping church on Sunday, but then showing up on Tuesday "with an army." Valchek proudly hands Fr. Jerome an envelope, announcing that it's $2500 from himself and "every other Polack in three districts and four firehouses." Fr. Jerome asks to what the church owes such generosity. "A surprise," says Valchek excitedly. "We ordered up a window for where you renovated the nave. A memorial." Fr. Jerome's face falls. One of his faceless cop soldiers hands him the window we saw before, and Valchek shows it off to Fr. Jerome: "To Polish police and firefighters. Found this craftsman in Glen Burnie that you would not believe." So now we know that Valchek (and the rest of the Polack service employees) are cheap, and don't appreciate fine European craftsmanship. Fr. Jerome looks dismayed as he repeats, "For the nave." "Yeah, for the nave," says Valchek, beaming and blinking. It's nice to get a close-up of him in this, his last happy moment.

Aaaaaaand the next thing we see is Frank's enormous window. Cut to Valchek, contemplating it in silent rage, and Fr. Jerome, standing next to him, offering to put Valchek's window on the second floor of the rectory. Valchek recognizes this as a piss-poor consolation prize, and aggressively asks Fr. Jerome, "How much did them dock boys offer for this spot? I can match it." Fr. Jerome pleasantly says that offerings are confidential. Valchek interrupts him to say he can go as high as $4000. Aw, that's cute. He demands to know at least whether the stevedores went higher than $4000. He can read the answer in Fr. Jerome's face, and spits, "More than four. From the docks? How the hell...? I'm sorry, Father." He asks who came to the church with the offer, and Fr. Jerome tells him it was Frank. "Frank Sobotka has that kind of money?" murmurs Valchek. Fr. Jerome says that it was from his local. "The checkers?" marvels Valchek. "They don't have a hundred guys left paying dues." Fr. Jerome serenely says, "It's a parish of givers, Stan. Maybe you talk to Frank. Work it out somehow." File that under "Rue, Advice You Will Later," padre. Also? Awkward.

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