Bunk Moreland has got to be the most entertaining voice of reason around.

As McNulty chases his quixotic serial-killer angle to its next (il)logical step on The Wire this week, Bunk does his level best to wash his hands of it. As usual, though, he does it with a style that’s beyond the reach of most of the rest of us.

(My spoilers are clean.)

Bunk must know that his protestations aren’t going to do much good, as far around the bend as McNulty has gone on this, but as his partner and his friend he needs to make his voice heard. Entertainingly so: "You know what they do to police in jail, pretty police like yourself? … I just bought brand new lawn chairs and a glass patio table. You don’t buy no s**t like that if you plan on going to prison."

The Bunk has a point, though. There’s no way McNulty’s plan ends up working well — heck, even the Sun doesn’t care that much, burying the story he planted with Alma deep in the metro section. In fact, the most surprising thing to come out of his investigation this week was the fact that the normally reasonable Lester was on board with what Jimmy’s trying to do.

Much like Bunk, I was a little shocked when Lester started to break down what Jimmy was doing wrong with his case: "You wanna do it right, a straight-up strangling is not enough." He likes McNulty’s reasoning, though, and figures that the plan might shake loose a few dollars to work a case on Marlo. Amusingly, though, he’s bothered by the sloppy detail work McNulty has done so far.

Less amusing, but more interesting, is the way the serial-killer story is also holding up a mirror to the way sensational crimes are treated in the media. "They’re dead where it doesn’t count" is this week’s lead-off quote, uttered by a Sun reporter after Alma complains about the placement of her story on Snoop’s home-invasion killings last week. And it’s true: Crimes seem to get more attention when the victims are pretty white women than when they’re people society has already written off. ("You know why they ain’t got a pot? ‘Cause no one gives a good f**k," is how Landsman acerbically puts it.) The Wire isn’t being too preachy about it, but it’s arguing, via McNulty and the paper and now Lester, that what sells isn’t always what’s important.

The week’s other big development was the return of Omar. In most other circumstances mentioning that this far down would be burying the lead, but he only appeared in the final scene, which in effect felt like a trailer for things to come.

Still, the sight of B-more’s most feared lone wolf ambling along a beach, griping about the lack of Honey Nut Cheerios in his new home, felt oddly nice, like he’d earned the respite. Which made it all that much tougher to watch as he absorbed the news about Butchie. I know Marlo wants to take Omar out, but I have a feeling he’s going to regret that, especially after Omar learns what Chris and Snoop did to his friend (the scene in which they torture Butchie was one of the more disturbingly violent sequences in the show’s history and a reminder that while Snoop might be the crazy one, Chris is capable of just as much violence as she is).

Elsewhere, though, the episode felt a bit like it was laying groundwork for later in the season more than anything. Marlo makes his first overtures to Vondas, who’s unimpressed with the suitcase full of "dirty" money Marlo brings him. It’s from the street, he explains, whereas everything Prop Joe brings is "clean."

So Marlo, in one of the night’s more amusing sequences, has Joe obtain some literally clean money, crisp and fresh from the bank. As much of a businessman as he is, though, I don’t think Marlo is quite grasping Vondas’ meaning here. Even though Joe has explained the ins and outs of money laundering and offshore accounts, Marlo is still a tactile sort of guy, even going so far as to get a passport so he can go check on his money in the Antilles. ("It ain’t easy civilizing this motherf***er," Joe wryly notes.)

I wonder, though, if Marlo is going to take the dirty-clean money thing as a slight on Joe’s part when he figures out that Vondas wasn’t just looking for crisp stacks of bills. He’s already itching to get out from under the co-op, and we’ve seen in graphic detail that he doesn’t like being dissed. Couple that with Joe’s boy Cheese giving up Omar and things could get hairy for Joe.

McNulty isn’t getting traction for his serial killer at the Sun, but another story from the department makes news. Carcetti’s man Norman meets with Gus to leak the idea that Commissioner Burrell is on his way out, with Daniels the top candidate to take his place, at least after a transition period with Rawls in charge. It’s all true — except, probably, the "react quote" from City Council President Nerese Campbell. It’s a subtle thing, but just before Templeton sends Gus his quote, he picks up the phone, then puts it back down and starts writing.

Next we see Daniels calling the quote about him undermining Burrell a flat-out lie. That’s the defensive reaction from anyone caught with their hand in the cookie jar, but everything we know about Daniels suggests that he doesn’t play that kind of game. The quote, however, is just plausible enough (and, important for Templeton, not attributed by name) that it can probably pass as sour grapes from one of Burrell’s supporters.

Other notes:

  • I think more and more like the Clay Davis case is going to blow up in a big way. A man who’s had that kind of power for as long as he has won’t go quietly, and it looks like the time is coming where he gets desperate enough to take down everyone around him.
  • Speaking of the investigation, the scenes with Sydnor baby-sitting the witnesses cracked me up. Here are these power brokers trying to make sure Sydnor knows just how important they are, and he could not be less impressed.
  • Good to see Michael, Dukie and Bug get to act like kids, however briefly, with their trip to Six Flags. Sadly, though, their real world is waiting for them when they get back in the form of a scowling lieutenant who’s pissed that Michael hasn’t been monitoring his count all day.

Where do you think things are heading with The Wire? Is Marlo going to catch on to Vondas and Joe, and will anyone ever give McNulty the time of day? And how excited are you to have Omar back?

Posted by:Rick Porter