"Foolish pride is all that I have left so let me hide from the tears and the sadness you gave me when you said goodbye" - Cyndi Lauper, Walk On By
When I read a great page turning book, I barrel through those final 40 or so pages with an agitated excitement. My chest tightens. My mind fills with that world as my own reality falls away. It's a rush. Mingled in with that is a sadness. This fictional world's time is coming to a close, at least for now. The characters, people and places that I've loved for 400 or 600 or 1000 pages revoke my priviledge of peeking into their world and while I enjoyed my stay more than maybe even I know, I want more. I'm greedy for more.
The third season finale (and possibly the series finale?) of The Wire feels exactly like that.
Unlike the last two season finales, I'm not left feeling like I need more, though. I understand that the worlds of these characters will go on but I'm satisfied. I know enough about McNulty and Bubbs and Daniels and Freamon and Pearlman and Bodie and Puddin' and Omar and Mouzone and Herc. Okay, maybe I could get a bigger taste of Kima and Carv and Cutty and Bunk and I'd like to see how Marlo does as the new big dog on the corners but I don't have to. In truth, I know how their stories will go. The details may be different but as we've been told over and over this season: the game is the game. Whether it's the hoppers or the police or the politicians, the game don't change.
What else doesn't change is how spectacular David Simon is at capturing the soul of a city. Maybe Spike Lee does it in The 25th Hour and Do The Right Thing and maybe Walter Mosley gets old Los Angeles right in his Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones mysteries but, damn, David Simon is Baltimore. From his books to Homicide to The Corner to The Wire, if you don't feel like you could step foot in B'more and survive, well, you just aren't paying attention. Everything he writes is a tough love letter to his hometown, a city ever teetering on the precipice of oblivion.
It's horrifying and invigorating.
And maybe, this is enough. Enough to see The Corner's real DeAndre McCullogh playing Brother Mouzone's muscle (and by extension knowing he's still alive and, apparently, doing well...something that can not be said about most of the real live people from Simon's novel). Enough to see McNulty finally see himself for who he is while Kima rapidly turns in to him. Enough to hear the venom in Bunny Colvin's "Get on with it, motherfucker" to a smug Rawls. Enough to hear Rawls say "bend over" and get why he is always amused by his sexual metaphors to his subordinates. Enough to see dark skin on dark skin. Enough to see dark skin on light skin. Enough to know that Avon has finally realized the hell that he had brought into the world.
But like an addict, I will always be ready for another hit. And I will always hope that it will be as good as this even though I know in my heart it really can't be.
How can it?