The Wire
The Wire

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"...And All The Pieces Matter"

We open with a body on the hood of a yellow '70s pimp car. The corpse is unshod, his pants undone, and his chest is so bloody and raw-looking that it looks like it might actually have been flayed. Well. Good morning! The camera pans up over the yard and along an extension cord that looks like it's coming straight out of an upstairs wall, stealing power from a hydro pole (or however people in Baltimore get their electricity); we then follow another orange extension cord up through a broken window and into another house, across the alley from where we started. A clock radio crackles into life at 7 AM; Wallace, sleeping beside it in his clothes, awakens with a start. He gets up, yawning, and heads into the bathroom, where he rinses his mouth with a gulp of water out of a handy bottle and then starts brushing his teeth with a dry toothbrush, watching himself in the mirror. He spits, and then resumes brushing, making his way down the hall. He pushes open a doorway, brusquely waking up Poot and his rough-looking lady friend. Wallace continues on his rounds to another bedroom, waking up the four little kids sacked out on various sad-looking cots and mattresses. One protests, but Wallace is having none of it: "Y'all know what happens when you don't go to school? Soon enough, they're gonna be calling, and y'all gonna end up in foster care." (Speaking of school: it may not be simple chance that Wallace, in this scene, is wearing a burgundy polo shirt, as the Tilghman eighth-graders we'll come to know in Season 4 all do.) We hear the kids giggling and waking up as Wallace gets down to the kitchen, snaps on a light, and pulls some juice boxes out of a little bar fridge. He hears a siren outside and peeks out the window as a squad car goes by. "Narcos?" asks Poot, dressed and in the kitchen doorway. "Naw, rollies," says Wallace. The kids come downstairs, looking for breakfast, and Wallace starts handing out little bags of chips. The first kid gets two, but the next one, though he asks for the same, is denied; maybe that's the incentive for being the first one down? Bribing kids to get results, Wallace? It's like you were reared at Supernanny's knee. The last (and littlest) kid shows up, asking, "Where's mine?" I shall call him Oliver. Wallace, exasperated: "Go show your teacher." He snaps the light off, leaving the kitchen with Poot.

Cut to the front door, which has a piece of plywood nailed to it, stenciled, "IF ANIMAL TRAPPED CALL 396-6286." What if something's trapped in there other than an animal? Wallace emerges, standing aside as his six little charges troop past. Wallace stops one to ask where his book bag is, and the kid chirps, "Teacher ain't giving no homework." Wallace doesn't seem to buy it, but sends him on his way regardless.

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The Wire

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