The Wire
Hard Cases

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"If I Hear The Music, I'm Gonna Dance"

We open with a shot of Frank's back, as he sits by the water, watching the screaming seagulls, and the bridge. Nick soon wanders up and greets him. "Great view," says Frank, squinting out. "Harbour, I mean." "It's fucking picturesque, is what it is," Nick agrees. I haven't seen that locution since I stopped collecting Victorian postcards. Nick adds, "Every morning, I ask myself, 'Is today the day I drive down to Fort Armistead, stare out at the harbour?' Nah -- I figure eventually, if I mind my own business, Uncle Frank'll call, wake my ass up at 7 in the goddamn morning, tell me to get my ass down there for some mysterious fucking reason." Frank doesn't appreciate Nick's sarcasm, apparently, and takes a long sip of his coffee before returning to his theme: "Good anchorage. Good cranes. Good railroads. Close to I-95. Lot of people ready to work, right? That's my fucking town. Except the thing is, we're not another hundred and ten from any ship coming up from Hampton Roads. An extra day. So why come? Why come, unless you know your cargo's gonna move fast and clean through the port. Why offload in Baltimore, except that a Baltimore gang can turn your ship around faster than any other port, and a Baltimore gang'll make sure your cargo [pointedly turns to glare at Nick] -- ALL your cargo -- gets where it needs to go faster than anywhere else." "Like you guys never stole nothing back in the day," snips Nick. "We ain't back in the day, Nicky," Frank shoots back. Uh, is the smuggling facilitator really trying to stake out the moral high ground here? That's...interesting.

Anyway, Frank goes on, rhetorically asking Nick when he last saw trucks backed up outside the terminal for three miles: "If it wasn't for the car-ships, we'd be starving. The cameras come back." Nick sullenly looks away, and Frank spits, "I'm serious -- they come back today. We tell the shipper we lost the can in the stacks." Nick admits that he's already sold the cameras. Frank flares his nostrils in rage, and looks off, gritting, "To who?" Nick looks down, shame-faced. Frank tells Nick that the shipper is about to take its business to Virginia as it is; Frank doesn't need the hassle right now. "I do, Uncle Frank," says Nick. "I need the money." Frank leaps up, shoving Nick: "You ain't hearing me!" Nick turns on him right back: "You think this shit is easy?...You try living on five or six days a month, see how fast it puts you on your ass! I am on my ass, Uncle Frank!" Frank bellows that if Nick needs money, Nick should come to him. Nick snits that he forgot -- Frank is "Father fucking Christmas" on the docks lately: "No doubt his pockets are full." "You think it's for me?" barks Frank, shoving Nick again. "It ain't about me, Nick!" Hoarsely, Nick says he knows, and that he's sorry. Frank's not done being mad, though: "You got Ziggy mixed up in this? Jesus, Nick, the fuck are you thinking?" He's not under the misapprehension that Ziggy's an innocent, here? Or maybe he's saying he doesn't know what Nick was thinking, involving someone in his criminal enterprise who's 100% guaranteed to fuck it up eventually. Nick has no response, and Frank growls that he'll be discussing it with Ziggy later. He takes a deep, nostrilly breath, regards the fucking picturesque view some more, and orders, "Let's go to work." As they trudge along the waterfront, Frank asks how much they got for the cameras; Nick tells the truth. Frank asks who the inside man was. Nick is surprised that Frank doesn't already know: "Fuck you, then -- I ain't no snitch." Frank gruffly advises Nick that none of the members of the conspiracy should "flash too much money." Well, I assume Nick's seen GoodFellas and isn't so dumb he's going to go buy Aimee a fur or a pink Cadillac. Ziggy, on the other hand, is liable to buy a Cadillac covered in pink fur.

"If I hear the music, I'm gonna dance." -- Greggs. I support dancing and all, but please -- no Ani DiFranco.

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