The Wire, Season 1 Episode 5: The Pager

The Wire, Season 1 Episode 5: The Pager. For all of its complexity, the Wire deals mostly with primal motivations -- greed, lust, envy, sloth, etc. And for a series that has assembled such a rich assortment of characters, the writers offer precious little in backstory for them. We know practically nothing about the characters' childhoods or previously lives. It seems that all that matters is who these profoundly damaged (and damaging) people are and what they do today.

This episode, The Pager, ends chillingly with the off-camera abduction of the stickup boy Brandon by Stringer Bell and his murderous lieutenants. The viewer has no idea what will become of the boy, who is also the lover of rogue Robin Hood Omar Little, but Clark Johnson, a brilliant director who delivers a wonderful performance in Season 5, creates an atmosphere of nearly unbearable dread that will inevitably to lead to another primal motivation -- revenge.

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