The Wire season 5 episode 9 review

The Wire is coming to an end now... will they manage to tie up all the loose ends? Leo reckons they'll just about make it

The Wire is drawing to a close and there’s not much time to draw things to a tidy conclusion, but damn, they’re working hard to tie up the loose ends. This penultimate episode opens with Lester intercepting a new picture message on Marlo’s wire tap. It takes the surveillance team off to a new location at the marina. It’s the resupply point – the big one. Meanwhile Michael Steintorf is talking to Rawls and Daniels to point out that Carcetti needs a ten percent drop in crime to meet his election promises. Rawls tries to explain that policing is like a super tanker and you can’t just turn the money back on and expect the system to respond instantly. That’s as may be but Carcetti needs results and Steintorf closes the meeting by telling the police to ‘be creative, gentlemen.’

At that moment Lester visits Daniels to tell him that they re about to catch Marlo very dirty.

Daniels is shocked to find out about the covert operation but it is clear that this could be the answer to his problems. The police move on Marlo’s gang and seize $16 million of heroin while Bunk arrests Chris Partlow on a separate murder charge for Michael’s step-father. At the Mayor’s press conference to announce the success Daniels gives Alma short shrift when she asks for a quote – ‘It’s a good day for the good guys.’ She asks him to elaborate and he points out that the Sun previously had him stabbing Burrell in the back so he has no interest in talking to her. Back at the Sun Gus asks about the weak quote. When Alma explains he takes it well as she has been honest. It is clear to us that Templeton would have fabricated a quote but Alma has played it straight.

Marlo, Chris and another member of the gang sit in a holding cell and compare their charge sheets. The only key figure to have avoided arrest is Snoop. The charge sheets avoid mention of the illegal wire tap by referring to an anonymous source of information and then there’s the matter of Chris and his murder charger. Could Michael be the snitch? We know that Michael was arrested and said nothing to Bunk – when all’s said and done Chris was doing a favour for Michael – but Marlo’s people aren’t sure. ‘You willing to bet your future on that?’ Marlo asks Chris.

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The word goes out to Snoop that she has to take care of Michael which segues into a series of scenes that are familiar to anyone who has watched The Godfather, any Scorsese picture with Joe Pesci or The Sopranos. Snoop tells Michael that he has to kill a guy. Michael asks why and wonders whether the guy deserves his fate. ‘Deserve got nuthin’ to do with it’ says Snoop. She will supply Michael with a clean gun so he is to come unarmed.

Michael stakes out the rendezvous and confirms his suspicions so he makes some plans. When Snoop is driving him across town he turns the tables and kills her. Snoop’s final words are to ask ‘How does my hair look?’

‘You look good girl’

You look less good with your brains hanging out of the side of your skull, of course. Michael knows Marlo’s people will be coming after him so he collects Dukie and Bug and leaves his apartment for the last time. Bug is left with an aunt for safety’s sake and Dukie goes to see the junk dealer he’s been working with while Michael plans to vanish. As things stand the corner boys and dealers have run their course in The Wire.

Lester meets Clay Davis in a bar where Davis tries to curry favour by pointing Lester at the lawyers who help to launder the dirty money in Baltimore. He tells Lester that ‘Levy got someone at the Court House … someone hanging around the Grand Jury.’

Gus continues his investigation into Templeton by visiting a veteran of Iraq who served with Terry Hanning. He leaves the hospital convinced that Templeton invented a fire fight when the platoon had been hit by a roadside bomb and nothing more.

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Kima Greggs talks to Carver. She is appalled by what McNulty has done and wants to get her thoughts straight before she goes to talk to Daniels. That evening Daniels talks to Rhonda. They know that the serial killer is a fake so the phone calls and picture message must also be a fiction. That leaves the wire tap. They check the phone number listed on the wiretap and head to the evidence store. When they dial the number a cell phone starts to ring so it is clear that McNulty has not been tapping the phone for which he has a warrant. Which phone has he been tapping?

Meanwhile Levy is also thinking about wire taps and sends Herc to have a drink with his ex-colleagues to find out the source of the anonymous tip. Herc reports that no-one’s saying anything but Lester’s modus operandi is to work a phone to death.

With a single hour left to run on The Wire the only question centres around McNulty and the wire tap on Marlo. Daniels is going to have to do something with McNulty and, presumably, with Lester but what can he do without destroying the case?

We’ll find out next week.