A step back from the heights of episode three, although there was a lot to like this week.
Mostly the fallout from last week as the mayor tries to drive out Burrell. No appearance by my favorite bastard, but I like that Stan is Roger Twigg's go-to guy for dirt on the commissioner--that makes perfect sense. The Craftiest this week has got to be Nerese Campbell, who not only corners Carcetti into handing public housing over to her developer pal, who not only gets Burrell to leave quietly without opening his file on Daniels, she walks away with the file! No wit wasted on that woman. Honorable mention to Bond for scheduling the Clay Davis Perp Walk.
Templeton finally gets a little praise from Haynes and a sense of belonging in the newsroom--a few episodes too late, at the very least.
Carver continues to grow into a real police and a real officer, although it means outgrowing his dumbass buddies who've been reared on "the Western District way" of breaking heads first and taking names later. (And speaking of the Western District way... where's Walker?) Nice to see him maturing into leadership material. Probably something we can chalk up to Bunny Colvin, still helping the department long after his shitcanning.
Another upset in the sweepstakes: Herc actually gets a fucking clue. Not only is he not the dumbest guy in the episode, for once he's not even the dumbest guy in the room. That honor goes to Proposition Joe Stewart, the Dumbest Asshole in a season that's been full of them. I guess all those whispers to Slim Charles in the co-op meetings amounted to jack shit--he seemed to have no clue that Marlo was making a move on him, even with his suspicions that Cheese tipped him off to Butchie. I would say that Cheese's reign over the east side will not be a long one, but with everybody thinking Joe's gone into hiding, who knows how long of a grace period he's got? His biggest threat in the immediate run is his new pal Marlo.
Joe dies (oh, uh... spoiler alert!) for the same reason Stringer Bell did, thinking he could organize and regulate a trade that has come to thrive on violence and social devastation. That doesn't make him any less stupid for ignoring all the obvious signs that Marlo was contemplating a move.
Then again, a word from his connect would have helped--I have to wonder what the Greek was thinking. Vondas says no, valuing Joe's discretion and showing him some loyalty. (Just as he did with Nick back in season two... not a bad guy for a drug dealer and body trafficker, that Vondas. And not a bad dancer!) Why does the Greek overrule him? He says it's because he knows Marlo will come back anyway, but he can't be afraid of Marlo, can he? He could just pack up and leave the diner forever and Marlo would have no way of finding him. Does the Greek just want insurance in case Joe screws up again? Or does he assume Marlo is going to take out Joe regardless, and he wants to back the winner early?
In any case, the Greek's assent dooms Joe, replacing his cautious, capable distributor with a stone cold sociopath who barely understands the finer points of his trade. I have to hope that comes back on the Greek--god, I would love to watch Major Crimes work Marlo's organization back to him but I just don't see that happening.
Marlo, of course, is this week's Biggest Asshole, with Cheese a close but thankfully less competent second. It's not just about the killings or the betrayals or even that laugh as he turns his back on Herc. It's that look in his eyes as he watches Joe die. He gets off on it. We've known for a while that he's a sociopath who respects no co-op, no mentor, no code whatsoever, but that look drove it home. Now I'm more desperate than ever, even after the security guard last season, to see Marlo get his due.
Which puts me right where the show wants me, with all my hopes pinned not on Lester Freamon or Jimmy McNulty or even Proposition Joe, but on Omar. The romanticizing of Omar has always troubled me, but damned if I can't wait to see him make his move on Monk.
You know, if the writers really want to mess with our sympathies, they should set Omar after an up-and-coming young soldier named Michael...