This post is a little more spoilery than the one for season 1, so proceed at your own risk, but this season was a decade ago.
My understanding of the popular consensus regarding season 2 of The Wire is that it’s the weakest of the bunch. It is an important part of the overall canon, but as far as entertainment value goes, it’s just OK. I still have three seasons to go, so it’s hard for me to say at this point where it will ultimately end up, but I didn’t think it was all that appreciably different than season 1.
Season 2 picks up where the very nicely wrapped up season 1 finale left off. Most people were on to new/different things, some good, some bad. The way season 1 ended, and the way that people have told me that each season is kind of it’s own thing, I actually thought we might have seen the last of lot of the characters in season 1, but that was not at all the case. Season two picks up on the docks, and mostly focuses on a storyline there, but the rest of the dealers from season one are around enough to keep them in the story.
The detour to the docks feels like the kind of thing that most shows would do in like a 3rd or later season, so it was cool to see David Simon go down that road so early on. The story in The Wire so far has lived up to the billing, just spectacular. The pacing and evolution of arcs is continually done in a way that seems to be unmatched. Breaking Bad is ridiculously exciting, but at times get’s crazy. Mad Men has gone off the rails a few times, and especially lately it seems like that show is slipping. It’s too soon to compare it to The Sopranos, but it’s very good.
“That guy” Chris Bauer shows up during season 2, and has a major role. I do not know if they could have find a more perfect guy to play the character he did. Paul Ben-Victor from two of my favorites Entourage and In Plain Sight shows up as well. As does Amy Ryan who had a stint on The Office and Michael Scott’s (presumed) wife. They are all really solid characters and offer up a nice change of pace of the regular cast, most all of whom returned.
Jimmy McNulty continues to basically be the main character of this series, and while he seems to fit a number of typical TV cop stereotypes1, he is supposedly based on a real person. It’s going to be really interesting to see how his story turns out.
The prison scenes are great, and it surprised me a bit that the story continued to follow Avon and D’Angelo Barksdale because it seemed like when they went away that might be it for them. The appearance of Brother Mouzone was interesting, as he is a strange and wild character. He doesn’t hang around long, so I assume we haven’t seen the last of him either.
Overall, I really enjoyed season 2, and didn’t think it was as lame as most people make it out to be.
- Alcohol, separated, married to his work and always trying hard to do what’s "right [↩]