The Wire

Season 1 Episode 5

The Pager

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 30, 2002 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
244 votes
  • Wow, the complexity of the storylines in this series is awe-inspiring. I think I'm finally getting over the fact that this is not The Shield and no longer waiting for a visceral impact- this is a totally different approach, and I'm starting to like it.

    Several events happen in this episode that look like they will have implications for the future: Avon promotes Stinkum to open up a new territory- that's sure to hurt Dee's feelings, since he should have been next in line. Speaking of Dee, Stringer Bell warns him that he suspects a snitch may be in his crew. He suggests a sneaky strategy to expose the snitch- hold back his crew's pay until they are hard up for money; the one who doesn't ask him for money is probably the guilty one. The cops get their cloned pager operation underway, but they are stymied because Barksdale's crew is using a sophisticated code. Shockingly, the supposedly scatterbrained Prez cracks the code, and the intel starts to pour in. We find out more about McNulty's strained relationship with his ex-wife as he and Kima stake out Omar's van, hoping to get intel about Barksdale from him. They unexpectedly get a tip from him that may link Avon to the murder of the man who testified against Dee in the pilot episode. Bunk gets a break in his murder investigation when the shell casing he found at the old murder scene matches up with two other unsolved killings. And Barksdale exacts revenge on Omar's crew for ripping off his stash. This episode represents a masterful piece of storytelling, and moves the narrative along at a crisp pace without sacrificing believeability or dramatic tone. Nothing else on television is like this series; it's going to be interesting to see whether they can keep up this level of excellence. Great stuff!
  • Brutally human.

    Brutally human.

    This one was simply eloquent.
    After the wire hits the town, no one can pinpoint what the numbers really mean. Yet the code should not (and is not) complex. An unlikely source provided the answer, and it was rather welcome to see him get into this case in a meaningful manner.

    The dead girl is finally chased up – after more than a year in waiting. And it seemingly cracks the case wide open. It will be fascinating to see how the police take this angle forward, given that the furniture-making Phoenix pointed out that the wire is still not enough to nail this case to the wall.

    D plays quite the conscientious young man in this episode. Although he orders a "hit", it is for family, and he looks very, very aware of what he is helping. He never really seems to fit the "character" of a cold blooded killer – primarily because he is a fuzzy warm teddy bear inside ... with claws. A brilliant character to add to the rest.

    McNulty's torrid time on the home front is in wonderful contrast with his rising professional one. The IKEA beds were a genius touch, and the emptiness of his children's rooms spoke volumes about him. This thing really does need to be resolved with a talking to with his still angry wife (who is justified, since he did cheat on her). But is it fair to drag the kids into it as well?

    The hospital scene epitomised how terrifying the life of a gangster really is. Despite being at the top of the heap, Avon Barksdale still says: "... never be slow. Never be late. It's life ... and it scares me".

    But who are we kidding? The real star of this episode was Omar – our gay black Robin Hood oozing class like a Belgian waffle dripping with maple syrup on a summer morning. He whistles while he robs drug dealers with his shot gun, does not snitch or judge too quickly. He remained calm when approached by the cops, and did not flinch when he first heard about his friend being shot dead. How will he react when his finds that the love of his life was also taken down by the Barksdales?
  • 105

    Another solid installment of The Wire. Since this show has started, we got some well-done scenes and some good moments, but I just don't get why everyone loves this show as much as they do. I mean I understand The Wire is building up for something big, maybe a huge payoff, but that doesn't mean every episode deserves an outstanding rating.

    Some takeaway scenes on tonight's episode is the detective group finally doing something. With the newbie decoding the pager number to the confrontation between Omar & Mccnulty. I guess that was something to write home about, all things considered.

    I'm guessing the next episode will be the actual climax of the season, where they put the wire, it only makes sense, especially after they've tapped the phones and pagers. Overall, good, but not superb by any standard.
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