Disclaimer: For those yet to see The Wire, stop reading now because spoilers will follow.
Allow me to address two brief thoughts about Season 5 of The Wire. Okay, three.
1. It’s that weird season agreed upon by many that falls far behind the genius that was Seasons 3 and 4 – the best run of television ever, and this comes from a guy who was just finished the series a year ago – behind Season 1, but before Season 2. That said, S2 is vastly underrated for reasons LC scribed in July and we can all agree there’s no true horrific season of The Wire.
2. This collection of thoughts nearly focused on Marlo and Avon’s prison conversation after passing by the Jessup exit on I-395 on my way to Delaware about two months back heading to my homie Zakee’s wedding.
3. I don’t know where Marlo Stanfield has placed himself on my favorite characters hierarchy, but I’ll be damned if that son of a bitch doesn’t rank somewhere near the very, very, very top. Some days it’s Avon. Some days it’s Slim Charles. Some days it’s Marlo. Some days it’s Bodie. Some days it’s Omar. Some days, it’s even the incredibly flawed hero himself, Jimmy McNulty.
Season 5, however, does harbor two of the series’ trademark scenes. The first being the aforementioned Avon and Marlo “Clash of the Titans” – off the strength of Avon’s “authority figure” soliloquy alone.
The second being Marlo single-handedly evaporating the co-op. Funny enough, the Miami Heat’s self-deemed coronation in 2010 or Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse have repeatedly drew comparisons in my head with Season 5′s involuntary transfer of power. All three represent single entities assuming jurisdiction in a room filled with contemporaries while detailing new guidelines of how business operates with no legit regard for backlash.
Part of me will forever hold a grudge against Marlo for making the call that ended in Bodie’s death. My friend Sophia – who told me for years to invest in the the DVDs and watch the series – expressed afterwards Bodie’s death is still the one lingering the most long after her first experience with the show.* The same feeling resides in me. The same feeling resides in nearly everyone who saw the show. And Marlo’s to blame for that.
Nevertheless, the small sense of “fear” to arise in the pit of my stomach whenever Marlo, Snoop or Chris appeared on camera was nothing short of authentic. And f*cking spectacular. Like Avon, Marlo ruled with an iron fist and a “my way or the highway” approach. But perhaps because Avon came up in the drug game with family (Stringer, D’Angelo, his sister), there was an ounce of compassion he’d exercise on rare occasions.
With Marlo, compassion ran through his veins similar to Bishop in Juice. It was always business and personal. We’re talking of the same man who in demented and perverted fashion sang Prop Joe a bedtime story as Chris unloaded a bullet in his skull, a murder that fell on Omar’s lap. And then dismantled the aforementioned co-op two episodes later with his own set of #NewRules.
Exterminating the middleman while destroying every ounce of order and prestige Baltimore’s multi-million dollar street pharmaceutical conglomerate was built on was both incredible and incredibly stupid. He became too powerful and too selfish for his own good. But dammed if it wasn’t one of the most beautiful and poetic train wrecks to witness.
Marlo was responsible for half of the murders in the city of Baltimore and probably more than half of the dope. And much like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, rooting for the bad guy never felt so right.
* – I’d venture to say Bodie’s hurt slightly worse than Wallace’s. And Wallace’s still brings a tear to my eye at sheer mention.