I originally wrote this on March 10, 2008.
First, if you are worried about being spoiled about anything, don’t be. I’m not in the business to do that.
This is just a goodbye to the most realistic show I’ve ever seen. A farewell to the characters and stories that I’ll always remember. An adios to the greatest modern folk tale ever conceived.
The last episode aired on yesterday, March 9. I sat down at six o’clock last night and watched six episodes straight through. I woke up this morning and took in the last four. Ten hours of my life the last two days. All worth it.
You see, The Wire has taught me about life. This world isn’t just or fair. Sure, yes, there are times where good people are rewarded and bad people are justly punished. But that’s just not enough in this world. There are those who use the system, twist it unjustly, find the right leverage, and savagely take over at the top. There are those who cry foul at the injustices and faults of the institution, and they find themselves buried and in a position where they don’t have a voice anymore.
More than anything, David Simon teaches us viewers that individuals can succeed or fail, and they can fix themselves. Institutions, however, are constant. There is some level of corruption that can never be fixed. There is no remedy for the faults of the institution.
The realistic portrayal of inner-city Baltimore is probably the most jarring trait of the series. From the drug trade to the education system, a middle-class white boy can really grow to learn a lot from what he sees watching the show. I have such a better understanding of what it entails to get out of that shitshow, and why the drug war works the way it does. The only way I would know more would probably be getting a first hand experience of it myself.
So there is no more Omar, Avon, Prop Joe, or Marlo to look forward too. No more McNulty, Daniels, Valchek, or Bunk to witness. As “The Wire” teaches, the world moves on, even if the pawns of the game are removed and replaced.
If anyone reading this has not had the chance to watch it or is questioning whether they should give it another chance, DO IT. Yes, it’s a show you can’t even whisper through. It’s plot is tightly wound and intricate. But you’ll be better for it. It’s one of only three series that I would recommend as absolute must-see viewing (the others being LOST and The Office).
This show is not for the faint of heart. You will be depressed. But it represents life. Not every ending is happy. Hardly any endings actually end up happy, really. But that’s something that can’t be helped. The world keeps revolving, and if you can’t do your job, someone else will.
So farewell, West Side, and thank you David Simon. All good things must come to an end. Because, as Tommy Carcetti so fittingly said, “This is Baltimore. No one lives forever.”