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Recap / The Wire S 03 E 03 Dead Soldiers

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Burrell and Deputy Ops. Rawls demonstrate how serious they are about their new directives to reduce crime by making an example of the Eastern District commander. Colvin pioneers an unorthodox solution to the Western District's escalating culture of drugs, and then proceeds to ruffle Rawls and Burrell's feathers at the weekly Com Stat by refusing to manipulate his district's crime stats. Carcetti leaks information to the press about Royce holding back money to train new police cadets, and Burrell is placed in an awkward position when Royce proves determined to spin the situation to his own advantage. Omar and his crew decide to attack a Barksdale stash house, but get more than they bargained for. With the wires dead, the MCU is instructed to pursue a new target, much to McNulty and Greggs' chagrin. Meanwhile, as the Homicide Unit bid farewell to one of their own, Bodie's crew clash with Marlo's, and Bunk is given a seemingly impossible task.

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This episode contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: At the third lot of vacant row houses they go to, Mello pretends to take a drag from a joint, then he extends his hand to Colvin and cracks, "Good shit, right?" The real Jay Landsman, who plays Mello, is apparently famous for saying that.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: As Carcetti says goodbye to Jen
    Carcetti: Gotta work the crowd, you know? Make 'em think I'm worthy of their faith.
    Jen: You are...
    Carcetti: Well, thank you.
    Jen: ...most of the time.
    Carcetti: Bitch. (they both laugh)
  • Because I Said So: While we know why Omar has it in for the Barksdales, the others in his crew don't, and he's not very forthcoming:
    Tosha: Why we gotta keep hitting up the Barksdale people? Ain't like this whole motherfuckin' city ain't got stashes all over it.
    Kimmy: True that.
    Tosha: So why?
    Omar: Because.
    Kimmy: "Because"?
    Omar: Indeed.
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  • Call-Back: In addition to the ones listed above, Bunk reminds McNulty that McNulty still owes Cole a clearance, and Lester reminds McNulty Daniels got him off the boat.
  • Catchphrase: Herc says they're keeping the corners clean "the western district way".
  • Character Death: Robert F. Colesberry, who played Ray Cole, and also served as executive producer of the show, died after the second season. This episode was partly in tribute to him.
  • Country Matters: As he brings the drinks out to Bunk and McNulty, Norris says, "Wake up and die right, you cunts."
  • Despite the Plan: Omar's ill-fated holdup of the Barksdale stash house.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: When Stringer asks Proposition Joe what kind of "dog" Cheese shot, Proposition Joe responds, "The kind that mistake your leg for pussy."
  • Due to the Dead / The "Fun" in "Funeral": The wake for Cole.
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  • Epigraph: "The gods will not save you" is Burrell's warning to the other commanders at Comstat.
  • Foreshadowing: Price will again appear as a recurring character in Season 5.
    • More immediately, Colvin's experiment, and Bubbles and Johnny's argument about Bubbles becoming a snitch, will be important in later episodes, while Watkins' growing dissatisfaction with Burrell and Royce plays over the next two seasons.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": This is the first time we see how the Baltimore PD honors cops who died before their retirement date, and it won't be the last.
  • History Repeats: Let's see; Kima bitches about the target no longer being Stringer, goes to investigate on her own, and is in trouble with her mate by being Married to the Job and drinking and staying out all night - no, that doesn't sound like McNulty at all. Lampshaded by Prez ("Well, McNulty's here in spirit, anyway") and by Kima herself ("Jesus, I'm turning into McNulty").
  • Homage: Word of God says the shoot-out between Omar's crew and the Barksdale crew is an homage to a similar scene in The Wild Bunch, though without the slow-motion.
  • Manly Tears: Omar after he burns his hand with the cigarette, in reaction to Tosha's death.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted; we see Kima coming out of the bushes after peeing.
  • Shout-Out: When Holley teases Bunk about all the "Peanuts" he needs to look up, Bunk snaps, "Motherfucker, do I look like George Washington Carver?" Carver was a botanist, scientist and inventor known for, among other things, promoted and helped make peanuts a viable crop in the South in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    • Grace's sister tells Cutty that Grace is making children all sound like Condoleezza Rice.
    • When Kima asks Herc about CI's, Herc says, "We don't need no stinkin' CI's."
    • The "cases" Jay mentions in his eulogy all refer to projects that the late Robert F. Colesberry had served as a producer on; the "Mississippi extradition" to Mississippi Burning, the "after-hours" to After Hours, and "Fayette Street" to The Corner.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Dennis Lehane, who wrote the episode, has confirmed this was the entire point of the "40-degree day" scene.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: After Royce stops Burrell and Demper's bickering, Parker cracks, "I don't think any of us wants to have to get a real job.", which everyone laughs at.
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