Once again, HBO On Demand will be showing episodes of The Wire six days before the "regular" showing, and you know I'm not going to wait. If you're really sensitive to such things, there might be spoilers to follow, but I'll be mostly generic.
I had a thought just before we started watching, about how I wanted the series to end. I wanted the last shot to be Bubs doing what he does. I didn't need for everything in his life to somehow turn good ... in fact, that's not what I want at all. But I want him to live, I want him to still be scuffling, keeping on at keeping on. Given how The Wire treats our dreams, he'll probably die.
A note for people who have never seen the show and are wondering if it's too late to start now. It looks like Season Five, like the other seasons, to be honest, will be enough of a standalone that you can tune in on Sunday and be fine. The things you miss will be subtleties ... did you know "subtle" has a "b" in it? ... but otherwise you'll be OK.
I don't have much to say, really, beyond "it's back and good as ever." I confess I like it when McNulty is drinking (and that's a spoiler, I suppose, but it's been part of the ad campaign so I don't feel too bad giving it away), but in the past, the people he hurt tended to be himself, and to a lesser extent his kids and his ex-wife. The kids are OK but we don't see much of them, so I don't think about them much, and his ex was kinda bitchy, albeit with reason, so I didn't worry about her, either (it didn't help that the actress played an even bitchier person on Rescue Me, with the subsequent bleed-over influencing my perceptions of both characters). But this time, it's gonna suck that McNulty's a fuckup again, because in Season Two, and in her brief appearances since then, Amy Ryan has made Beadie Russell one of the most admirable characters on the show, and we don't want to see her get hurt. Not that Amy Ryan is crying ... she may get an Oscar nomination this year, so it's not like her career is faded.
Mostly, it's just good to have the show back, and all the characters on my screen again. Some were just brief ... there was Cheese for one shot, and all I could think of was "they killed my DOG!" And Snoop got a scene, and Clay Davis wasn't there but he's gonna be part of the plot and Isiah Whitlock is in the opening credits so he should get some serious screen time this season. And Marlo is still ominous to the point of scariness. Omar wasn't there, but he never shows up until a few episodes in. And Avon's picture shows up in the opening credits, so it looks like he'll make at least a cameo return. Speaking of the credits, Steve Earle does "Way Down in the Hole" this time, and it's not my fave version so far, but if anyone deserved to get a shot at that song, it's Earle, who has appeared in a few episodes.
Finally, each season's first scene sets the tone for the rest of the season. So it's going to mean something that the epigraph for the episode came from that first scene: Bunk saying "the bigger the lie, the more they believe."
Grade for season premiere: A+, duh.