Hey, it's Bubbles and his little pal Johnny, pushing their radiator-and-pipe-laden shopping cart down the street and chortling about their big junk score. And so we arrive at our first crisis moment in my tenure as Wire recapper. I really do not care much for Bubbles at all as a character. Whereas some might find his story poignant and haunting, I merely find him irritating and inescapable. More to the point, he takes away valuable screen time from any one of a number of better, more interesting characters, be it McNulty or Omar or Stringer or Third Cop from the Left or Anyone. So unless they're central to the plot, the Bubbles-related scenes might read a tad terse on my watch. Just so you're warned ahead of time. Anyhow...Bubbles and Johnny push a shopping cart. They lose control of said cart, allowing it to bump into an SUV. The SUV's owner is a gun-toting gangster -- employed by young Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector), I hasten to add -- who happens to be standing nearby. He demands restitution, whether in the form of blood (yay!) or currency (boo! Go back to blood). Because Bubbles and Johnny have no money, they wind up having to give away their pants. I like the part where Bubbles winds up without any pants.
Over to City Hall, where a city council subcommittee is holding a sparsely-attended oversight meeting in which Burrell and Rawls are being asked to account for the city's grim crime statistics. The meeting is being chaired by City Councilman Thomas Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) -- the nameplate tells us as much, just as the desultory let's-just-get-through-this-dog-and-pony-show manner in which he's conducting the meeting tells us that he's not terribly satisfied with the mumbly answers he's getting from Baltimore's top cops. Carcetti adjourns the meeting, catches up with Burrell outside the chamber, and makes a surreptitious lunch date to dish about boys and pop singers and crime stats. Then, Carcetti and another councilman -- it's Tony Gray (Christopher Mann) for those who demand full disclosure -- remark upon how State Delegate Watkins (Frederick Strother) was lurking in the back of the hearing chamber. "Who was that skirt with him?" Carcetti wonders, as the two walk off-camera. That'd be Daniels's wife. I'm not much good with putting names to faces, and even I knew that. Review the character cheat sheet, Carcetti!
Out on the streets, McNulty, Kima, and Freamon are photographing a young man named Drac. And what is Drac's claim to fame, you might ask? Why, he is the "talkingest motherfucker" that Freamon has ever heard on a wiretap. As if to illustrate his point, Freamon plays a tape of Drac bumbling through his way through a coded phone conversation before he loses patience and blurts out his desire to acquire and sell cocaine. For that reason, Drac is a fairly low-level player. Ah, but bust one of Drac's higher-ups, the team reasons, and perhaps Drac gets Peter Principled to a more important role. And how do you figure that, Lester? "That's Prop Joe's nephew," Freamon says, smiling. "On his mama's side." This is almost fiendishly clever. It'll be a real shame when it doesn't work out.