You put the "b" in "subtle"

The first episode of the last season of The Wire, "More with Less," aired last night. As usual, the first episode doesn't provide a lot of action as it's used to set up what comes later. The biggest addition to the storyline this season is the crew of the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

Every institution that's portrayed has someone principled to some degree.

: McNulty, Freamon, Greggs, Colvin

Drug dealers
: DeAngelo, Wallace, Cutty

: Carcetti (at least at the beginning, though no longer)

: pretty much all of them, but especially Randy

: Prez, Grace Sampson

: Nick

: Bubs, Omar

These people do their best to fight the system but ultimately can't stand up to the machine's inertia. Some merely battle fruitlessly; others become it's victims. Now that I'm watching the 5th season of this show, a few predictable ploys are apparent even this early in the season. The main theme is going to be irresponsibility in the media. The Sun's principled warrior is going to be desk editor Gus Haynes. He'll fight for truth and transparency against the corrupt out-of-touch higher-ups like execute editor James Whiting. His good minions will include Alma Gutierrez. Thorn-in-his-side minions will include Scott Templeton. In the end, as with all past seasons, Haynes will lose, and the people at the top will remain untouchable. There are no happy endings in David Simon's world.

Obviousness not really a criticism because it's hard to remain unpredictable after making fifty hours of television. After 13 seasons of Whedonism, I pretty much know what sorts of themes and archetypes to expect, yet I still find it entertaining. I'm gonna savor this last season of The Wire.

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