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Recap / The Wire S 03 E 01 Time After Time

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When the 221 tower block is demolished by Mayor Clarence Royce as part of Baltimore's inner city urban reform, Bodie, Poot and new Barksdale enforcer Slim Charles suggest new territory should be taken, by force if necessary. However, Stringer maintains it doesn't matter where they operate as long as they have good product. Meanwhile, the MCU is up and running, supplemented with Sydnor and Ofc. Caroline Massey. However, having spent six months with wires on several of Prop Joe's people they have nothing with which to make a case, and, as such, Daniels and Pearlman are considering dropping the wires and trying to get some of the street crew to roll on their higher-ups. In the Western District, soon-to-retire Maj. Colvin is growing increasingly disillusioned with both the street scene and his own people, including Carver and Herc. Elsewhere, legendary Barksdale enforcer Dennis "Cutty" Wise is released from prison after fourteen years, finding himself out of touch with the contemporary drug game, while ambitious city council Thomas Carcetti attempts to ingratiate himself with Acting Commissioner Burrell.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Burrell asks Daniels why he thinks Drac will get promoted even though he's a knucklehead, Daniels replies, "We do it all the time.", which Burrell chuckles at.
    • Also, the other dealers with Justin laugh when they see he's tried to sell to Colvin.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: String loses his cool after Poot asks if "the Chair knows we look like some punk bitches out there?".
  • The Bus Came Back: With Herc and Carver having departed for the Western, Sydnor has been brought back into the detail after being absent for the Sobotka detail.
  • Call-Back: In addition to those listed above, Daniels reminds McNulty getting the numbers from Proposition Joe's crew was a good job, and Stringer reminds the others in the Barksdale crew of the beef they had with another crew that led to the shooting of a kid.
  • Catchphrase: In addition to Herc's "the western district way", McNulty gets to say, "What the fuck did I do?" after he upsets everyone at the detail meeting.
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  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Word of God admits any similarities between the major storylines of the season with the War on Terror - including the towers coming down, McNulty's obsession with catching Stringer, and the feeling they had him before but didn't do it right the first time, and being alone in this belief - are entirely intentional.
  • Epigraph: "Don't matter how many times you get burnt, you just keep doin' the same", which Bodie says to Poot at the beginning.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Colvin does a late night drive through his district in an unmarked but obvious police car. A kid named Justin tries to sell him drugs. Colvin is baffled since he's wearing his uniform. So he turns up his police radio hoping that the kid will get the message. That fails, so Colvin puts on his peaked cap. The kid now gets that Colvin is a cop, and his friends laugh at his stupidity as Colvin drives on.
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  • Foreshadowing: Carcetti's pressing Burrell (and by extension, Mayor Royce) on crime, Colvin's dissatisfaction with how the drug war is being fought, McNulty's obsession with Stringer, and Stringer's attempts to run drug dealing like a business while Avon wants to run it like a war, are all major storylines over the season. Marlo is also important.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: During the Comstat meetings, Burrell and Rawls seem to play a variant of this. Burrell is firm but reasonable, while Rawls chews everyone out.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: When Rawls is telling the commanders how they need to show a drop in felonies, he says, "We are dealing with certainties.You will reduce the UCR felonies by five percent or more, or, I've always wanted to say this, 'let no man come back alive'."
  • Internal Reformist: Stringer is attempting to do this with the drug trade, saying, "We're going to carry this shit like businessmen." Unfortunately, he's Surrounded by Idiots, at least from his point of view.
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: After Burrell and Rawls tell the commanders the felony and murder rates need to go down:
    Colvin: Deputy, as familiar as we all are with the urban crime environment, I think we all understand there's certain processes, by which you can reduce the number of overall felonies. You can re-classify an agg assault or you can unfound a robbery. But, how do you make a body disappear?
  • The Peter Principle: Averted in the case of Drac, to the detail's dismay.
    Prez: That idiot works for us, he'd be a deputy commissioner by now.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Seth Gilliam (Carver), Domenick Lombardozzi (Herc), Corey Parker Robinson (Sydnor), Jim True-Frost (Prez), JD Williams (Bodie), and Michael K. Williams (Omar).
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The Neville Brothers do this season's version of "Way Down in the Hole".
  • Rule of Symbolism: Word of God says the shades are open in the Comstat meeting room whenever Colvin says something, as it's the rare time truth is being told.
  • Shout-Out: When Carver and the others are getting ready to bust the corner, Herc puts the theme from Shaft on his car stereo.
    Carver: Seek therapy.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Especially apparent when Stringer is trying to run his meeting according to Robert's Rules of Order, with highlights such as Shamrock's, "You ain't got the floor. Chair doesn't recognize your ass" or Stringer's, "Adjourn your asses." Not to mention:
    Poot: Do the chair know we gonna look like some punk-ass bitches out there?
  • You Keep Using That Word: When Taylor tries to say his people had responsibility, Rawls interrupts to say, "Goddamit, Marvin, did you just invoke the word 'responsibility' to explain why you didn't get on top of this shit? Did you just do that? I don't think you know what the word means, when I look at the 24s here and plainly see that some .38 caliber asshole is raping your entire district, all the way from Greenmount to fucking Edison Highway."

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