D’Angelo Teaches Bodie & Wallace How To Play Chess
D’Angelo Barksdale, nephew of kingpin Avon Barksdale, uses the game of chess to explain the inner workings of the Baltimore drug trade.
Even if you’ve never seen a second of “The Wire,” you’ve likely heard of the mythological Omar. He’s one of the most beloved characters in all of television, and this scene helps us understand why.
Frank Sobotka Being A Straight Up Bro
Season 2 chronicles the death of blue-collar America, which is best epitomized by port union treasurer Frank Sobotka’s heartbreaking quote, “We used to make sh*t in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket.”
Sobotka teaches us that there is perhaps no greater bond than that between loyal and trustworthy men. This scene is a reminder that even if the world doesn’t always have our back, it’s important that we surround ourselves with Bros who do.
Avon: “I’m just a gangsta, I suppose.”
The rift between Avon and Stringer was the ultimate downfall of the Barksdale/Bell dynasty. Their differing ideologies were simply too much to overcome, exemplified beautifully in the clip above. String wants a business, Avon just wants them corners.
Bunk Rips Omar
The Bunk’s best scene, hands down. Despite the hero-worship Omar receives both within and outside of the show, Bunk has the wherewithal to call him out for who he is. Sure he’s a man with a code, but he’s still a killer. He’s still responsible for tearing families apart, and his actions often send kids the wrong message. More than anything else, this scene teaches us that the concepts of good and evil are never black and white, and that the terms may simply be a reflection of how our actions impact certain people and institutions.
Bunny Colvin Tells It Like It Is
Bunny Colvin stands up for what everyone else is too afraid to address; the disconnect between the public school system and what the world is actually like. Creator David Simon creates a remarkably real setting in which the institution serves to be its own worst enemy; bureaucracy and commitment to unattainable goals, despite well-intentioned, causing more harm than good. Colvin is a true Bro throughout the series, always doing his part to give people a chance in a system that doesn’t seem to want to.
Bodie Stands Strong
This is one of my favorite subplots of all the series. It shows us that no matter one’s background, friendships can always be formed on the basis of mutual respect. McNulty asks Bodie to snitch, but there’s no question that McNulty respects Bodie more for staying loyal through and through. It’s a brilliant expose on the realities of institutional change, and the trials and tribulations of weathering the storm that comes with it. In a weird way, both of them are “pawns” within the larger system, yet are fully committed to being the best f*cking pawns they possibly can. That is why they get along so well, and that’s why McNulty pays Bodie the ultimate compliment, calling him “a soulja.”
Marlo's Final Scene
I was never a big Marlo fan (personally, I thought he was simply a product of being in the right place in the right time), but there’s no doubting that he came into his own by series end. Marlo’s final scene shows that in a funny way we always end up being who we’re meant to be, and f*ck doing sh*t we were never meant to do.
The protagonist of “The Wire” was the city of Baltimore; its failures, its small victories, and its manifestation of the city as an incomplete version of the American Dream. But if there was ever a guy who ate, shotgunned, and sh*t Baltimore, that guy was Detective Jimmy McNulty. At the end of the day, McNulty may be more Baltimore than Vinny Chase is Queens Boulevard.