Thursday, August 4, 2016

Now on Amazon Prime: The Wire, Season 4 (2006)

The Wire, Season 4 - Created by David Simon; Dominic West, Wendell Pierce, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Domenick Lombardozzi, Clarke Peters, Andre Royo, Michael K. Williams, Jim-True Frost, J.D. Williams, Aidan Gillen, Jamie Hector, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Felicia Pearson, Tristan Mack Wilds, Julitto McCullum, Chad L. Coleman.

By Kenny Howell

With the fourth season, The Wire became the series it was destined to be.

It had progressively gotten better over the seasons, and season 3 was stellar with the introduction of legalized drugs in special zones and the battle between Avon and Stringer to keep their business going.

Avon and Stringer are gone, one in prison, one in the grave, so the focus now shifts to the next generation. We are introduced to the likes of Michael, Namond and Dookie at the beginning of season 4, a bunch of kids who are basically rapscallions (to take an old person term), just messing around the neighborhood like any kid would do. But things get progressively worse over the season as the neighborhood shifts their lives, sometimes into horrible places.

The horror of the neighborhood is mostly perpetrated by the new king of the drug trade Marlo Stanfield (Hector) who was waiting in the wings as Avon and Stringer fell. Marlo is more ruthless than Avon ever was, and we are introduced to his nightmarish muscle in the first scene of the season. Snoop, a terror of a young woman brilliantly played by Felicia Pearson, is buying a nail gun as we open. Along with her partner Chris (Akinnagbe), they handle all their killings inside vacant or abandoned homes, nailing the doors shut once they are done. It helps hide the murder victims from the police and the community, at least for awhile.

On the law enforcement side, McNulty (West) is back on the streets and going a bit straight, Kima (Sohn) is moved over to homicide, and Daniels (Reddick) is next in line for Police Chief as the new Mayoral administration comes in to power. They work together over the season to make a dent in Marlo's power, which has taken over pretty much all of West Baltimore.

I can go on all day recapping what happened in the season, as I have barely scratched the surface. I didn't even mention Prez's move to an inner city school teacher, Bubbles descent into the saddest spiral, and Bodie's fight for survival in the drug trade. Season 4 is so dense with characters, yet somehow so expertly controlled. The episodes skip from character to character, but you never feel stiffed on the time spent with them. It truly paints a picture of a city as a whole, seemingly on the brink of collapse, and the next generation which could make or break its next step.

Rating: ****

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