"The Wire" Season Two: Top 5 Power Rankings
Yes, I was sitting on the dock of the bay, watching season one of The Wire roll away, but not wasting any time. I swiftly set sail alongside McNulty and his somewhat jaded, yet very mustachioed partner, as he takes us to the surrounding rivers of Baltimore where illegal Russian girls get suffocated in storage units.
We also see our familiar street dealers in prison fatigues as D’Angelo starts his 20-year bid and Avon is shacked up for about seven. Both get cut short, but not in the same manner. D’Angelo gets Luca Brasi-ed on Stringer Bell’s signal (goodbye to my last name) and B looks to get boosted by sabotaging a shady prison guard. On top of that, the unit that broke up those Baltimore corners is scattered throughout the entire city until that old codger Valchek wants to squash a beef with Franky Sobotka and his themed church window (that was his window to showcase, dammit! The rectory is for amateurs).
Season two certainly changes its focus as many of your familiar street pushers get pushed out of the limelight in favor of dock worker union debauchery. Daniels and the gang has to deal with dick pics and Greek organized crime. This means a whole new set of rankings. As I type this I’m pretty positive that not one of the previous five made the cut this time. Let’s see if I change my mind…
5. Stan Valchek
This asshole makes the list alright, but not in the “he’s an asshole, but he’s ‘our’ asshole” sort of way that Rawls did in season one. This insecure sawed off prick is at five because you want to punch him right in his Paul Lynde-like kisser (Paul Lynde was Templeton The Rat in the old Charlotte’s Web cartoon, kids). Luckily, Prez does that for us, but he still doesn’t get his just desserts. POS, that Valchek.
4. Beadie Russell
I first knew Beadie as Holly Flax from The Office, but everybody else probably already knew her as Beadie. If you felt as overwhelmed of the inner operations detailing the police work in Baltimore, well so did Beadie. Being Port Police, she was probably just used to shaking down a couple of seagulls or telling the dock workers to put the flasks away, but when she comes across a shipping container of dead chicks, Beadie takes a vested interest. That means she goes into the case “Baptism by fire” style. Long hours in pants suits means that she’s gotta find someone to watch her kids as she looks at the homely details of homicide investigation. Like the majority of the audience, Beadie is new to this game so we can all sympathize.
3. Proposition Joe
We met Prop Joe in season one as a “manager” to a street ball phenom, but we get to know the man’s inner working and styles to the gangster game in Season Two. From the Greek, to Omar, to the Barksdale crew, Joe’s a channel to all the troublesome tributaries in Baltimore and the dude handles it with a savvy worthy of street survival. This big man is a chameleon and he’s worth watching blend in.
2. Frank Sobotka
Dock workers take over season two and Frank Sobotka is a true blue dock worker. The fact that he’s one in a major city comes with an expectation that shady shit is going to get done. And yes, at some point people will die. It’s expected, especially if you handle things via the “see no evil, hear no evil” method that Frank applies for The Greek, but 13 dead foreign women in a storage container kind of sours that whole distribution style. Sobotka is a player’s coach. He’s looking out for the best of his business and his crew brothers, but he still is driven by a moral code with good intent. It’s too damn bad we only get him for this lone (albeit different) season.
1. Omar Little
“The King” claims his rightful spot on the throne with season two. With one episode (heck, one scene) Omar steals the season. Arguably one of, if not the most, iconic characters of The Wire Omar adds to his urban legend when he sits courtside against Bird flaunting his tie and his unorthodox testimony. He goes toe-to-toe with Barksdale lawyer Maury Levy and delivers a killshot line with “I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. It’s all in the game though, right?” Omar is indeed in the game, but he’s self-aware of his role and that forthrightness is what had the jury leaning on the side of the scarred shotgunner.
Brother Mouzone: Harper’s Magazine be damned, hitman Brother Mouzone may have felt like he came right out of the comic books, but he was all about the no-nonsense bullshit. He easily displayed the capability of casually holding a cup of a kenyan blend espresso in one hand while shooting some mope in the chest with a forty-seven magnum (this didn’t actually happen, but you could sure as hell believe it to be true.) The wildcard compliment to Omar in many regards.
Jimmy McNulty: As the lead man, McNulty will always be floating around the top. Even if he is regulated to a boat, you still can’t keep that Catholic-guilt ridden bastard down as the detective in him voluntarily takes interest into the dead girls. Bigger things to come from our boy down the road.
Ziggy & Nicky Sobotka: If season two were to get any flak, Nicky & Ziggy are two solid reasons for that. While Nicky’s level-headed, his cousin is a completely mouthy fool that should have his “Princess” burned to the undercarriage seven times over. A mouthy fuck-up who whips his dick out at will, Ziggy Sobatka falls very far from the Frank Sobotka tree of “keep your shit together” and it doesn’t serve him or anybody well (even mallards learn a hard lesson). Nicky being Frank’s nephew does all he can to look out for his dipshit cousin, but even that effort won’t save Pornstache from being a distraction of season two. (I love Pablo Schreiber, BT-Dubs)
Bunk: Drunk Bunk is a great Bunk. We saw him try to light his clothes on fire in some fling’s bathtub in season one, but he really hits it out of the park as he tries to keep his after-morning shakes together in a serious case conversation with Daniels & Lester. Things do not go well and it’s some of the detective’s best work.