"Man, that school shit is a joke" - Dead Prez, "They" Schools
Episode 40: Home Rooms
Written by Ed Burns & Richard Price
Directed by Seith Mann
"Y'all ain't got no 'Honey Nut'?" - Omar
"How you expect to run with the wolves all night when you spend all day runnin' with the puppies?" - Omar
"Patience, girl. More patience." - Omar
"I'm my own trademark, ya feel me?" - Omar
Official: "I love the first day, man. Everybody all friendly an' shit." - Namond
Previously on: Michael makes an impression, Bunk catches a case and Carcetti makes a move.
We open this week with naked ass Omar startled by the garbage man. Despite his jittery nerves, Omar has little to worry about these days. With the Barksdale crew done, nobody's gunning for him. He's traded in Brandon for a new man, Reynaldo, and the low-rent crews he's hustlin' don't even put up a fight for their stashes. Things are so easy, he walks to the store in his pajamas without a gun in search of Honey Nut Cheerios. Obviously, Omar likes to start his day with a healthy breakfast.
When he returns from his errand, Reynaldo is at the table reading George Pelecanos's Drama City and Omar decides it's time to remind the "wolves" of Baltimore just who he is. In a week of stories full of people trying to teach others a lesson or two, Omar is maybe the only successful one. After casing a Stansfield stash house at the same time as Kima, Reynaldo assists Omar in the stick-up and walks away unscathed. Despite the number of guns around their condemned row house, Rey obviously didn't know who he was going to bed with. He's been schooled now, yo.
In Baltimore, everywhere there are lessons to be learned. Bunk learns that McNulty isn't the man he once was. Despite his argument that McNulty is like the fake lake trout "all dressed up like something [he] ain't" in his picaresque life with Beadie (Yay Beadie!!), McNulty appears to be the real deal. Royce learns that Carcetti is also for real and tries to school him on big boy politics by sic-ing the entire Baltimore infrastructure on his campaign. Bunny learns he can't stop being good Po-Lice just because he no longer has the badge. Lester and Kima are taught that being good Po-Lice in Baltimore always has a price. And Herc, after years of remedial classes, finally learns that knowing is half the battle. It's Prez, however, who gets the education of his life.
All his preparation to mold young minds is for naught on the first day of school as Randy gets over on him and steals his hall passes. His students know instinctively that he's green and pay him no attention or respect. He is unable to get through even one lesson in any of his math classes. He has to break up a fight between Shaquan and a girl whose name we never learn during what appears to be third period at Tilghman (an 8th grade math class that also features Randy, Namond, Michael and Dukie) and has to have order restored several times by Cutty's old girlfriend, Grace, whose last name I still don't know. He ends the day with gum all over his formerly pristine chairs, one glimmer of hope from a completed assignment and another clue that maybe he isn't cut out for this either with a "Fuck Prezbo" scratched into a desk. The very next day, the girls go at it again, with our nameless young 8th grader cutting Shaquan's cheek wide open with a box cutter. She threatens Prez as his students look on until Grace, once again, saves the day by slapping her and re-establishing order. Dukie, who has spent his first two days of school getting teased and playing with a discarded electric hand fan, uses it to cool down our angry and exhausted aggressor.
- Randy has a serious hustle at school, rocking three different uniforms so that he can sell to each grade level during lunch.
- Michael has caught the eyes of both Marlo and Bodie who see him as a kid with bonafied skills. "Big paws on a puppy" is how Chris explains it. Bodie tries to get Michael to give up school and take Namond's place as his lead runner but Michael is more interested in caring for his younger brother.
- Bodie might also see Michael as the potential muscle he's going to need for whatever trouble is coming down the pike. And be sure trouble is coming. Marlo wants Bodie's corner, Slim Charles has no gun-slinging type support to give for an independent like Bodie, no matter how well he's selling that Pandemic but Bodie is still "Barksdale" in his heart and is not going to get tossed or hustled without a fight.
- Speaking of the wise old Slim Charles, he's now part of Prop Joe's co-op (which meets in a hotel conference room real official-like) and they note that while Marlo is a problem, he's nothing compared to the New York crews creeping into the Eastern and starting to push in on the Western. Prop Joe wants to go after Marlo to get him in the co-op so that Baltimore dealers can have a unified front against New York (not unlike Royce circling the wagons to deal with Carcetti) but Slim hopes that "[he's] got some better shit to say than Stringer." Slim, proving how keyed in he is, even knows how Marlo is hiding his bodies.
- While the kids are great this year, the real acting tour de force so far this season has been Glynn Turman. He's excellent in this role and he was wearing a tie I own. He's got good taste. Bonus: Glynn is also in one of my very favorite movies of all time.
- Assistant Principal Donnelly makes reference to Up the Down Staircase as school opens. We've talked about that before.
Next week: Kima and Lester move to Homicide (but what about Sydnor and Massey?); Omar goes directly after Marlo and we get more Cutty and Bubbles time.
Welcome back Omar. We missed you.