Burrell is cleaning out his office when Rawls stops by -- to say his farewells, I guess, and not to start measuring the floor plan to see if his furniture will fit, though I don't think we should put the latter past him. Rawls makes some small talk about how he hears Carcetti's going to come through for Burrell with that cushy sinecure and how Burrell deservers it. "Sure, I deserve it," Burrell says. "But not for doing the job. What I got, they gave me for carrying their water all these years." And here we get some insight into Burrell that we saw only in flashes up until this point, so I'm going to transcribe as much of it as I can: "To Carcetti, I'm a hack," he says. "Royce was no different. Maybe I am. But every day, they send over a new priority. 'Go after the bad guys. No, change that. Make quality-of-life cases. Get on top of the murders. On second thought, run the whores out of Patterson Park.' You think the mayor tells the schools how to teach kids or the health department how to do its job, or sanitation how to pick up trash? But get elected, and suddenly, they know police work." Rawls has been smiling knowingly through all this, but he's not going to smile at this next part. "You might think it will be different when you sit here," Burrell says pointedly to Rawls. "But it won't. You will eat their shit. Daniels, too, when he gets here." Sensing the sudden chill in the room, Rawls slinks out, and Burrell allows himself a slight smile, imagining the prospect of Rawls -- and especially Daniels -- kowtowing to all the people Burrell just spent the past few years kowtowing to. So why do I love this scene so much? Because for the entirety of The Wire's run, we have been shown time and again that Burrell is not very good at his job. It's not that he's a monster or a boob or a two-dimensional nincompoop, but because he was just overmatched by the thankless task at hand. Some people are. But everyone is the hero of the narrative in their heads, and this scene shows us that human side of Burrell. Not a lot of shows would have the inclination or even the ability to do that, but The Wire does, and it's one of the 423 reasons that this is a great, great television program. Why am I going on so much about this? The answer will become apparent the next time the action shifts over to the offices of the Baltimore Sun.
Episode Report CardMr. Sobell: A- | 1350 USERS: B-
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