Remote Destination – Thoughts on The Wire Finale

This past Sunday HBO aired the final episode of The Wire. It was the episode that fans never wanted to arrive and couldn’t wait to watch. It was both satisfying and heartbreaking. The finale was an episode that I couldn’t wait to talk about and dissect. And in the days past I’ve watched it a few more times and it continues to impress.

Seriously the finale didn’t disappoint. Like every season finale before it, the series finale wrapped up it’s season as well as providing a fair amount of closure for the numerous characters on the show.

There was so much to love about the episode. The episode started on a great note with Carcetti literally speechless when confronted with the fraud perpetrated by the overzealous cops. The entire season he’s been remarkably eloquent so to see him dumbfounded really nailed the point home.

Seeing Lester’s smugness when approaching Pearlman about the mole in her office was fun to watch. An equally entertaining confrontation was when Rawls, Daniels and McNulty met in the box. Some of the most memorable scenes of the first season involved confrontations between Rawls and McNulty, so seeing that chemistry one last time was almost touching.

Kima’s apology to Lester and McNulty was also pitch perfect. I hated Kima with all of my heart when, in the penultimate episode, she made the decision to rat on them. As a fan, I thought she was beyond redemption. But her apology was concise and rang true to the character, as did McNulty’s acceptance of it.

I guess all the “goodness” wasn’t all good. Dukie scamming Prez for money was powerful, but in a “sick to your stomach” kind of way. And seeing Dukie flagrantly drop the sham, with Prez still in sight really illustrated how far he’d fallen.

Equally frustrating was seeing Daniels futile attempt to adapt to his new position. It was frustrating because he deserved better, but then again Lance Reddick excels at characters who are tense, so performance wise it didn’t disappoint.

Speaking of performances Tom McCarthy did an amazing job in the finale. When his character, Scott Templeton, was confronted by McNulty about their shared serial killer lies, I completely believed that Templeton felt his world crumbling around him. The look of fear, panic and shock that McCarthy wore, as well as his posture when leaving the office, is certainly worth of being recognized by whoever doles out awards.

I also appreciated the scenes where torches were passed. Seeing Sydnor filling the void of department troublemaker was a surprise. Michael stepping into the role of Omar was equally surprising, as I swore last episode would have been his last appearance. And seeing Dukie taking the place of Bubbles the lovable junkie was heartbreakingly predictable.

The ending montage was so touching and memorable, it was a fitting note to end the show on. Revisiting the characters was cool, but revisiting the locations pivotal to previous seasons was what I found the most touching. It was great so see those locations alive and vibrant. It was very much a love letter to the city of Baltimore. I’m telling you, I used to live in Baltimore and I’ve never been more nostalgic for the city than the long lingering shot of the downtown skyline that closed out the episode.

And as satisfying as the finale was the fan in me still wonders “what if.” What if the final season had gotten the thirteen episode run David Simon wanted instead of the ten he got? What if Cutty’s storyline hadn’t been cut? What if we’d seen Cheese Wagstaff met his son, Randy Wagstaff? This the kind of stuff that keeps me up night.

The Wire has concluded and the finale didn’t tarnish the legacy. Now that everything is over and done with, The Wire still stands as one of television’s greatest achievements.

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