The Wire seems to have fallen into a pattern where it rocks you to sleep almost for the first 40 minutes, then has you on the edge of your seat for the last 5. The last 5 will be what I comment on today. The young man who plays Chris the hitman, the brilliant Gbenga Akinnagbe, to me earned an Emmy tonight for his performance, whether he even gets nominated or not. Michael, we learn, has definitely been abused by his stepfather. But we learn this not in words. Michael's facial expression when Chris and Snoop when they ask why he wants this man dead, speaks volumes. The facial expression Chris returns says he understands, and perhaps better than Michael realizes, based on what happens later.
Chris communicates with his marks in a tone so soft it is almost weirdly soothing, like a doctor delivering news of a terminal illness. When Chris and Snoop intercept the stepfather coming out of a corner store, and "walk him down an alley" Chris asks if he's an abuser (I'm paraphrasing since this is a G-rated blog). The stepdad in so many words admits he is and says "You understand?" and Chris replies softly "Yeah. I do." and proceeds to put a pistol-whipping and stomping-to-death on him more heinous than anything you've seen on the Sopranos. Interesting to note this is the first victim we do not see Chris shoot to death or take "inside the vacants(rowhouses) first" as his partner Snoop observes. Does he have some twisted bit of compassion in his heart for Michael? Or was he a victim himself as a child? They don't tell us, but it is hanging there thick in the air for the viewer to ponder.
EDITOR's NOTE: Interesting to note that although he plays an assasin, Mr. Akinnagbe is a learned scholar, graduating of Bucknell University with a dual degree in political science and English.
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