‘The Wire’: Omar Is Superman

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Episode: "React Quotes"

Opening quote: "Just 'cause they're in the street doesn't mean that they lack opinions." —Haynes

So let's say you're in a firefight in the upper floor of a condo building. Sure, it's unlikely, but c'mon, it never hurts to plan ahead. And let's say you're pinned by gunfire behind a couch; your partner is already dead; your gun is out of bullets. What do you do now? According to this week's episode of The Wire, if you're Omar Little, you'd be well served to crash through a sliding door and leap off a balcony. Omar's bulletproof disappearance — Chris, Snoop and Michael peer over the ledge but can't find him — is surprising, given that for the first time in a long while, Omar doesn't seem like Superman. After all, this time Omar isn't three steps ahead of his prey; instead, Marlo's three steps ahead of him.

The ambush that kills Donnie, and seemingly doesn't kill Omar, is well laid: Chris tells his family he's heading out of town for work, then camps along with Snoop and Michael in the condo of Marlo's lieutenant Monk for a couple of days until Omar, sure he's worked out Monk's schedule, comes in, guns a-blazin'. That Omar was so easily fooled makes him, for a welcome moment, more human; sadly, that he apparently flies off the balcony, trench coat trailing behind like a cape, makes him, once again, Omar the myth.

Speaking of myths, McNulty has a whole city buying into his serial killer. And when Freamon gets Marlo's new cell number, he and McNulty launch a plan to set up a fake wiretap — a plan that gets pushed helpfully along by budding fraud Jayson Scott Templeton when, addicted to the front-page play his serial-killer stories are getting, he fakes a phone call by the serial killer. The look on Templeton's face when McNulty claims another call came into Homicide from the same guy is funny; the look on McNulty's face when he immediately realizes Templeton's full of shit is priceless and pretty much makes this whole subplot worthwhile.

Not worthwhile: Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan's scene as Beadie Russell, stuck playing the despairing girl here, going hat in hand to Bunk asking him if it's worth sticking with McNulty. Bunk doesn't exactly give her a pep talk, but he isn't going to rat out McNulty to Beadie any more than he's going to rat him out to the brass. For a reminder of what McNulty's already lost, we get to see an awkward exchange between Jimmy and his sons, and an even more awkward one between him and his ex-wife, Elena. She calls him out on his drinking and his bullshit, and we can only look back sadly now on what she told him last season, when it looked like he was pulling it together: "If I knew you were going to be a grown-up, things might've worked out differently."

Marlo's growing up, though; he's the Greek's new connection now that Prop Joe's dead, and that cell phone Freamon's so excited about tapping seems only to be sending data. A fax? A text? A photo? Clay Davis is hunkering down; indicted and under fire, he's spoiling for a fight even as Nerese tells him to lay low. And Dukie, poor Dukie, is realizing how small Baltimore can feel to a kid running out of options; he can't shoot a gun, and sparring practice with Cutty makes it profoundly clear he can't fight. Sitting on a bench with the old gangbanger made good, Dukie looks downtrodden and defeated as he mournfully asks, "How do you get from here to the rest of the world?"