The Wire
Lessons

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"Come At The King, You Best Not Miss"

Inside, McNulty gets off an elevator and looks up and down a hallway. He peers into a computer lab, but doesn't see Stringer. The next classroom is also a bust, but then we can faintly hear the boring sound of a Macroeconomics class, and McNulty looks through the glass in the door to see Stringer, rimless eyeglasses in place and everything, attentively taking notes and politely raising a finger to answer a question posed by the instructor. Idris Elba is so big and so built that the standard school desk looks like a toy with him in it. McNulty does a double-take to see what the class is, and then flattens himself against the wall, smirking in shock.

Sergeant's exam, a.k.a. "Site Of Herc's Future Spectacular Failure." Carver really seems to be suffering with it, whereas Herc blithely fills in bubbles, not even seeming to read the associated questions. After a moment, a frustrated Carver tells the proctor, "My pencil lost its point." "All the girls say so," cracks Herc, getting a laugh from his colleagues. Carver is not impressed. Next time bring a mechanical, my friend. Rookie mistake.

Then we get an establishing shot of Fells Point Copy Cat, before cutting inside to see Stringer complaining to his underlings that they have work orders stacked up for jobs that haven't been completed, and were due the previous day: "People going to to be coming in here asking for their work and nothing been done." The camera cuts to the three dudes there, leaning on a machine, one of whom spits, "Man, fuck 'em. Let 'em wait." He shrugs at the others, who seem to agree with this way of thinking. But Stringer is not amused, and advances on his employees the better to make his point: "No, you are not going to bring that Corner bullshit up in here, you hear me?" The guys sort of squirm uncomfortably, and then Stringer decides to try to educate his workforce with some of what he's just learned in class: "We got an elastic product. You know what that mean? That mean, when people can go elsewhere and get their printing and copying done, they're gonna do it! You acting like we got an inelastic product, and we don't! Now, I want this to run like a true fucking business. Not no front, not no bullshit. Understand me?" The guys don't answer, and Stringer adds, "I'm serious." One guy nods. "Fuck 'Em" Guy still seems pretty committed to his position, though.

On some street we don't recognize, Stinkum and Wee-Bey are on a stakeout. Their chat exposits that they're in a stolen car; Wee-Bey tells Stinkum to ditch it on the Eastside when they've finished using it. We look up the street and see three guys on one corner and two on another; Wee-Bey predicts which ones are going to be trouble, and they decide how to split up the job of subduing them. Stinkum wishes Bird were there, which reminds Wee-Bey to tell Stinkum that, when they've finished, Stinkum needs to drop the gun he's holding down a storm drain. Stinkum doesn't look too pleased at this instruction. Wee-Bey tells Stinkum to wait until he's set up around the corner, and then flips his hood and gets out of the car. Stinkum briefly strokes his gun (not a euphemism), and then puts on his glove. After a moment, he also gets out of the car, his hood up. By now, Wee-Bey's on his corner, asking about "black tops." As Stinkum makes for his designated corner, gun drawn, he hears "Hey now" from a doorway. He looks up, and the split second he pauses on his way is long enough for him to get shot in the chest by Omar. He falls, the guys on the corners scatter, and Wee-Bey and Omar start shooting at each other. Wee-Bey is a bit jittery, but Omar just advances on him, slowly and without fear, eventually clipping Wee-Bey in the leg. Wee-Bey falls and crawls behind a parked car; by the time he's able to get up again and shoot from where he's taken cover, Omar is gone. Alone, Wee-Bey looks up the stret, wincing and catching his breath and wondering if this is how Ronald Reagan felt after meeting John Hinckley, which is when he hears the ghostly whistle of "The Farmer In The Dell." After a moment, the song stops: "[The] lesson here, Bey? You come at the king, you best not miss." Wee-Bey looks around to see if anyone's coming to finish him; seeing no one, he tries to stand, fails, and finally limps off. God, shot in the leg. I might rather just be dead.

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The Wire

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