So as we open, Michael is running down an alley in broad daylight, tearing past a very mean-looking German Shepherd as he goes. Soon, Partlow and Snoop, handguns drawn, come into view, following from a discreet distance. Michael comes to an apparent dead end, but grabs a handy rag to wrap around his fist and breaks the glass in a door to let himself into a locked-up warehouse. But although Michael escapes for the moment, Partlow sees the shattered glass, and he and Snoop follow Michael into the building.
Inside, Michael looks around desperately for a hiding place. Then we cut to Partlow and Snoop, behind him; Partlow thinks he knows where Michael must be, and points, walking forward with his gun drawn. The whole thing is super-tense -- particularly given the discussion in the PPOE from the end of the last episode -- when you watch it the first time. But this is not my first time, so I just spend this whole time waiting for Michael to shoot Partlow in the hip with his paint gun. Once Snoop's spotted Michael's hiding place, she steps forward to get him, but he hits her too before she can get a shot off. Michael emerges, walking slowly toward Partlow, who asks what happens now. Michael matter-of-factly says that he finishes the job with a head shot: "I keep it quick." Snoop tells him he doesn't do that yet, and the camera cuts to her, showing her hand covered in red paint from where Michael shot her: "You shoot live rounds like paint, boy, you'll be the shit, you hear?" Michael smiles shyly. As Partlow bounces up from the floor, Michael comments that their pain guns really look like Glocks. Partlow says they make them that way, and asks why Michael shot low. Michael repeats the lessons we already saw Partlow and Snoop giving to some of their other recruits, and Snoop proudly grins, "A-ight! Boy's learning." Now, if he can only learn to sell out Randy, he'll be well on his way to shedding all his humanity.
"That all there is to it?" -- Bubbles. Depends who you ask.
Vacant. We open on a considerably decomposed corpse while a criminalist takes pictures and so forth. Lester stoops thoughtfully over the body.
Outside, Lester inspects another door in the row, Bunk asking whether he's going to go in there, too. Lester has just said he intends to do the whole block when Jay rolls up, freaking out. He snaps that it's bad enough Lester "popped the top" on one house and came up with a body: "What the fuck are you doing now?" "An experiment," says Lester innocently. Jay bitterly laughs that he's dealing with Madame Curie here. Lester reaches into his pocket and pulls out one of Snoop and Partlow's nails, showing it to Jay as he says that it came from a nail gun: "And it comes from the house with a dead man inside." He says that every other house has its boards up with the screws that the housing department uses; gesturing with the nail, he says that anywhere they find these nails holding up plywood in Baltimore, they can be sure to find a body on the other side. Jay takes the nail, sarcastically complimenting Lester on his good work. Lester seethes at Bunk as Jay actually throws the nail away, and asks Lester, "Do you see a tool belt on me? Do I look like one of those fucking jerkoffs in Aisle 5 of the Home fuckin' Depot?" Um...kind of? That, or a guy who works at a bowling alley. Jay says that there are three weeks left in the year, and that the Homicide unit is showing a clearance rate under 50%: "We do not go looking for bodies -- especially moldering fucking John Does. We do not put red up on the board voluntarily." Lester very slowly explains that the houses are full of Marlo's bodies, and Jay sputters back, "Then they belong to him!" Good one? Jay says that he realizes Lester isn't in Jay's unit anymore, but that he is still part of CID, and Jay's still a sergeant, so until Jay takes this situation up the chain of command, Lester's not opening shit. Jay storms off, and Lester stomps over to the nail Jay chucked, carefully picking it up. He seriously looks like he's going to bury his crowbar in Jay's fat head.
Carcetti's office. The mayor is also pacing, still freaking out about the insane school deficit. Some dude named Andy, the new chief of staff, mutters that the school didn't lose so much money overnight: "This was on Royce's watch." He pointedly asks Campbell whether she didn't get a whiff of this impending problem during council review, but she wearily buck-passes that neither Royce nor the city council is to blame, putting fiscal responsibility on the school board. Andy points out that the city council has oversight, but Campbell tells him that in its budget review, the council only ever sees city money, not whatever comes from the state. Campbell tells Carcetti -- who looks like he's ready to snort Excedrin right now -- that Andy needs to know that whatever happens at North Avenue "is on the school system." Krawczyk (whose name, I know, is also Andy, but who isn't Andy the new chief of staff) defensively says that's a simplistic view, expositing that he's the president of the school board, and chalking the whole thing up to "a bookkeeping issue." Okay -- I think the issue is that the books were fiction. BOOYAH! What Krawczyk claims, though, is that they've been rolling over the system's debt since 1999. Shit, how does the school board still have credit? Norman and Andy both bitch at Krawczyk for fucking over future generations, and Carcetti gets impatienter, demanding to know whether they're talking about waste, or fraud, or embezzlement. Krawczyk guiltily looks away, and Sheepson pops up, saying in her most condescending teacherly tone that although the school system has "some poor accounting practices," most of that money was probably spent on programs. Andy finally decides to grant that no one in the room is to blame for the calamity they're in (and...I think the only one who's entirely blameless here is Norman -- maybe), and asks what their next move is. Norman suggests bumping the property tax rate, but Andy, instead, recommends scaling back the city's budget, and telling all departments that they're going to have to suck up salary flatlines, hiring freezes, and reduced services for the next year or two. Carcetti whines that he just got elected on a clean-up-the-streets platform, and has promised all kinds of crazy shit to the cops. Campbell blinks slowly, and finally offers, "Annapolis." She recommends that Carcetti go to the capital and beg the Republican governor to bail their asses out. She hides it well, but you can tell she kind of loves sending him to his political doom like that.