The Cost – Episode 10, Season 1 – The Wire

Teleplay: David Simon

Story: David Simon and Ed Burns

Directed by: Brad Anderson

Opening quote: “And then he dropped the bracelets…” Kima Greggs

Spoiler Alert: This is written for those who have viewed The Wire at least once if not multiple times. If you have not viewed, please enjoy the wonderful experience of the series for the first time with the delight of not knowing what is coming next. I encourage you to leave this blog and go watch The Wire, or better yet, buy the DVDs from Amazon (affiliate link). The Wire: The Complete First Season

The Cost opens with Bubble sitting in a park. There’s a young girl making soap bubbles, there are mothers strolling babies, and the sun is shining. Bubbles has been clean for three days. The camera lingers on the sunshine coming through the trees, returns to the girls making bubbles. But then Bubbles looks in the other direction and sees the hoppers down the block on the corner selling.

His run in with Omar too close for comfort, Avon agrees to Stringer’s idea of a truce and sends Wee-Bey to get the word out in the street. Stringer asks about the cops following Avon after the game pointing out that if they are following him, they’ve got a name. Stringer puts even stricter rules in place, his own mafia wall: no one talks to Avon that doesn’t come through Stringer first.

We learn that there is a cost to being McNulty’s “Daddy” and playing hardball with Burrell. After a testy exchange with the Judge Phelan to get 30 days of wires on a new set of payphones, McNulty asks Rhonda what was eating the Judge. Seems Phelan is up for re-election and the party did not include him on the most recent election flyer.

D’Angelo tries to talk to Chardene on her way into work, but she is not interested.

Not only is D’Angelo missing Chardene, he’s getting more than he bargained for with Donette. Getting domestic with Donette is far more demanding and less fun than hanging with Chardene. Donette’s monologue of all the things D’Angelo will need to buy now that they’re living together is a wonderfully funny moment.

The big news is that the detail thinks they have found the main stash house. Lester has picked up a pattern: whenever the various sites in the projects run low on products they make a call. Then another call is made to payphone at a Mondo Mart in Pimlico. Carv and Sydnor will be staking out the Mondo Mart (Herc is out all week at in-service training) to see who is answering the phone and to get a location on the stash house.

It what seemed like a throw-away moment in the last episode – Herc and Carv are listening to the calls coming over the wire, rather than clicking off when it’s obvious the call is ‘non-pertinent’ they continue to listen as Poot and his girlfriend engage in phone sex. McNulty walks in just in time to hear Poot tell his girlfriend that he’s worried about Wallace; that he’s been using and not been right since the murder of the stickup boy (Brandon).

McNulty remembers this and goes to track Wallace down. He finds the house but no one is home. He pokes around a bit and then asks the rollers to sit on the house and bring Wallace into the homicide office if he shows up. One of the officers asks McNulty, “What with the yo boy?’ McNulty answers “stumbled into my world.”

Meanwhile, Omar is still nursing his bullet wound from the close encounter with Avon and Wee-Bey. McNulty and Kima meet up with him. He lets them know that Avon’s offering a truce and asks them if they know a doctor who can help him with his bullet wound, fearing that if he goes to the emergency room the word will get to Avon and someone would be sent to shoot him in the parking lot. We don’t see where Kima and McNulty take him – but I can’t help but wonder if they bring him to the doctors in the morgue.

Orlando learns the cost of wanting to be in the game. In spite of being slapped around by Avon, he nevertheless meets with his ‘connect’ to make a buy in the hopes of setting up his own drug operation. His ‘connect’ is State Police undercover Troy ‘Wig’ Wiggins.

Orlando is brought downtown for processing, where the currently jailed Marvin Browning* sees him. He calls someone in the Barksdale crew and lets them know that Orlando has been busted.

When Levy meets with Orlando in jail, Kima’s words from the last episode came to mind, “they [use] people and then they throw people away cause that’s how they do.” Levy has come with pre-dated papers for ownership of the club and for transfer of the liquor license. Orlando says he won’t sign unless they pay his bond. Levy is absolutely chilling when he replies “Is that what you want me to them? That you won’t sign?”

The rollers bring Wallace into homicide and McNulty tells Bunk that Wallace has given them enough information to pin the murder of Brandon on Stringer and Wee-Bey (or as Wallace calls them ‘the Tower boys’).

Even though Wallace was present when D’Angelo told the ‘tap-tap-tap’ story in episode 4, when McNulty asks about a girl getting killed in an apartment in the northeast, Wallace does not say anything about D’Angelo. McNulty asks about Pooh, who D’Angelo did murder, Wallace doesn’t say anything to implicate him. All he will say about D’Angelo is “D was good to me.”

Daniels and Pearlman discuss what to do with Wallace until they can get him in front of a grand jury and they’re only real option is to bring him to his grandmother’s on the shore.

Between the surveillance Sydnor and Cav have done and the paper trail Lester and Prez have tracked the stash house in Pimlico is found. This is a huge development for the detail. The house has security cameras, security bars, and no phone service in the house.

The climax of this episode is the undercover operation gone terribly wrong. While the detail is in the office running through plan of attack (Kima will be undercover and accompany Orlando to a buy with Savino), Carv brings up an excellent point that is too easily brushed aside: “They already know he’s been busted on the reverse buy – why wouldn’t they assume he’s snitching?” Very, very good question.

The parley: Omar meets with Stringer with Proposition Joe guaranteeing the meet:

A la Carte

  • *Marvin Browning was arrested in episode 4 that Kima and McNulty tried to flip to get something on Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale after the search and seizure at the low rises. Marvin laughed at them and took the years.
  • As Bubbles is walking the street, struggling to stay straight, a hopper walks by and says “Death Row – got Death Row here,” and Bubbles says to himself “Ain’t up.”
  • McNulty brings Omar to the bus station. Omar is off to New York in order to stay out of Avon’s way. He asks McNulty for a little travel money, “I mean I could go around the block and get paid but …”
  • When Walon and Bubbles talk, we discover that Bubbles has a son, KeyShawn, who lives with his mother in New Jersey.
  • When Prop Joe tells Omar “Don’t believe we’ve met…Steal from me, I kill your whole family” reminds me of Johnny Ola and Fredo in Cuba.

The Target – Episode 1, Season 1, The Wire

The Detail – Episode 2, Season 1, The Wire

The Buys – Episode 3, Season 1, The Wire

Old Cases – Episode 4, Season 1, The Wire

The Pager – Episode 5, Season 1, The Wire

The Wire – Episode 6, Season 1, The Wire

One Arrest – Episode 7, Season 1, The Wire

Lessons – Episode 8, Season 1, The Wire

Game Day – Episode 9, Season 1, The Wire

The Hunt – Episode 11, Season 1, The Wire

Cleaning Up – Episode 12, Season 1, The Wire