The Wire
Ebb Tide

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

Clement Street bar. Inside, the Sobotka boys are drinking -- Nick morosely, Ziggy twitchily. The latter tells the former, "You should take me with you." Nick has no response to that. Ziggy presses that if he can meet "these guys," they can figure out a way to do some business together. Nick quietly warns, "These guys are real." "What, I ain't real?" yips Ziggy. In his doggie sweater. Sure, dude, you're hardcore. Before they can get into it, though, a bunch of other stevedores start talking about some very cold day in the very distant past, when they had to work with wooden shovels -- which you have to use instead of metal when you're working on grain, to avoid sparks. Horseface wraps it up by saying they won't be seeing another grain ship in Baltimore. Nick gets up and walks behind the veterans, fondly calling the guys "dinosaurs": "They sit around all the damn day talking shit about how they used to offload with shovels, and carrying fuckin' railroad cars on their backs." "Shit, and drink whiskey with a fire hose," says one guy. "Go home and fuck their wives silly 'til breakfast," adds Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto (Jeffrey Pratt Gordon). "They was some fuckin' heroes back then!" Nick declares that the "shit is thick" in the bar tonight. The old-timers say that the younger generation "just don't know" and that life on the docks "ain't never gonna be what it was." Johnny Fifty bellows back, "Every night with these old fucks, it's like 1952 and shit!" Ziggy raises his glass and imitates his elders: "When I was your age, I unloaded ten ships a goddamn day!...I'd do it one-arm after a three-hundred-pound bag of Polish dildos fell on me!" Everyone cracks up. La La breaks in to ask what a Polish dildo is, and before I can even think of a joke (it's shaped like Chopin?), Ziggy shoots back, "At my house, it's a ring of kielbasa...where you guys hail from, I'm sure any old breakfast link will do." "You know he's gonna pull out his dick, right?" says one guy wearily, so that we know this is something Ziggy tends to do to end debates, scare off solicitors, or celebrate sunset. The inter-generational shit talk turns to whether the Checkers still know how to use a pencil, and finally, Ziggy orders "all hands starboard." The young guys all truck over to one side of the bar as Ziggy embellishes that they need to because the old guys unloaded so much bullshit, "this whole motherfucker's gonna capsize": "Brace yourselves, we're sinking!" Ziggy climbs up on a table or something, and the crusty old barmaid, knowing too well where this is headed, barks at him that he's not going to take his dick out in there again. But her warning falls on deaf ears, and deaf pants, as Ziggy announces, "Let me show you old gents some bulk cargo that none of you could ever handle." The guys all try to wave him off, but Ziggy presses on: "Who says they don't make 'em like they used to?" And then he's unzipping his pants, and we're all learning things about James Ransone that should have stayed between him and his urologist. Right on cue, the Nighthawks punctuate the end of the meat party, and the guys drink and carouse some more...

...and then it's sunrise. A police helicopter hovers over the canal. Down on the water, McNulty, using a big pool skimmer or something, hooks a floating dead body. He calls to Diggins to ask whether they should bring her into the boat, but Diggins emphatically tells him not to: "She'll fall apart if we try to bring her in...We'll hook her real good. We'll tow her slowly over to the pier." Love-ly. Diggins asks how long she seems to have been in the water. McNulty (who's now brought her over so that her head is touching the side of the boat) says that she's "fresh," although both her legs are broken. Diggins speculates that she jumped from the bridge that we can see behind McNulty. Sure, a "probably" theory is probably enough to satisfy McNulty.

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