How good was the Wire’s finale? It was so fucking good. It was just about perfect.
Honestly series finales usually suck. For some reason I had no doubt that last night’s ep would kick ass. Maybe it was the fact that David Simon is truly incapable of making bad TV, or maybe its because he actually plans his stories out ahead of time instead of just throwing everyone onto an island and never bothers to explain why the fucking button needs to be pushed every 108 minutes.
Television shows usually end 1 of 2 ways. Good shows with shitty ratings get yanked before their time and the creators have to hustle to cram everything they wanted to tell into a condensed arc or episode. Prime examples of this include Farscape, Carnival, Action (if you can remember that show), or Babylon 5. Babylon 5 – (which sadly is a great story hidden in an incredibly shitty production, just horrible sets, makeup, terrible actors, stilted dialogue. If it wasn’t for the overall arc being so awesome the show would have been relegated to Battlestar Galactica 1980 status) – was interesting because the show was canceled so JMS moved his season 5 story into the second half of season 4. Then the show got UN-Canceled so they had to come up with an entirely new story for season 5 (which didn’t really work out all that well).
The other way shows end are shows that started off good, but then turned to shit as the networks try to pump every last $$$ out of these highly recognizable shows. Cheers, the X-files, ER, the list goes on.
As a result series finales are usually shit. They consist of either compressed stories that are not allocated enough space, or stories that have stayed on the shelf past their due date.
The Wire finale was none of those things. It was perfect.
The wire went out on its own terms. Yeah, those fucks at HBO cut 3 eps this season, and that pretty much killed any chance of the newspaper storyline resonating with viewers. By and large though Simon got to tell his entire story over the course of these 60 eps. Each season had a specific thematic link that tied everything together, and the overall seasons connected to each other thematically as well.
The show is constructed like that. In The Wire everything connects. Every time a character does something, it affects everything else, which is why people have no idea what’s coming next. In a city of over a million people you can’t know who’s shit is going to land in front of you as you’re walking down the street to pick up the paper.
The finale was incredibly adept at tying up loose ends. Almost every storyline got an ending, and new beginning. It effectively showed how everyone is trapped by the lies they tell. These people don’t just trap themselves, they trap each other. They’re trapped to each other.
This couldn’t be delineated more clearly than in last night’s episode. Multiple scenes demonstrated that fact. The scene where Mcnulty tells Templeton to fuck off, or when Freamon realizes that the bosses need them to go quietly, or when Daniels figures out that he’s got as much on Carcetti as they do on him.
I loved the homages they paid to previous episodes. The scene where Daniels and Mcnulty are in the elevator is reminiscent of the scene from the pilot where Rawls is in the elevator and tells one of the higher-ups “You can have him. that Mcnulty son-of-a-bitch is dead to me”.
Duquan turning into Bubbles.
Micheal turning into Omar. You feeling me?
Sydnor turning into Mcnulty. (That scene with the judge was my favorite)
Carver turning into Daniels.
The players on the street continuing to grind and playing the game.
The difference between The Wire and everything else on TV is that there is no filler in the wire. There are no Nikki and Paulo episodes. Fonzzy doesn’t jump the shark. Sam doesn’t get Rebecca. Ross and Rachel don’t date. I can’t think of a single episode, a single scene in the wire that didn’t have a larger point, that wasn’t relevant to the larger story Simon and Co. were telling.
I honestly don’t think we’ll ever see another show like this. The amount of research that went into this show…the writers of this show went out and essentially used the date they collected to write a scientific study (albeit it a descriptive study) on the workings of a major metropolitan city in the 21st century.
It’s kinda depressing that there isn’t anything even remotely as good out there. People love shows like the Sopranos or Lost or Battlestar Galactica, but for every “Pine Barrens” there’s 5 episodes of Tony scratching his balls or having metaphorical out of body Grouper sandwich, for every ” “Live Together, Die Alone“ there’s a “Exposé“ , for every “Exodus, Part 2” there’s a “Scar“.
I defy you to find me even a single scene in over 60 hours of television that is the Wire that qualifies as filler. The Wire will be missed. Thank you David Simon.
(oh yeah, I was way off on my predictions, except for Dukie,Templeton and Carcetti. But those were kinda obvious)