At the staging area of the gymnasium, as the body count builds to seventeen cases, McNulty wanders in, looking for Pearlman to put her A.S.A. signature on case he wants dropped - Bodie's vandalism of the radio car. He's unable to restrain his curiosity about the vacants, firing off questions as Bunk and Freamon taunt him. "If I was a police, I don't think I could hang back on it," Bunk says to Freamon, for McNulty's benefit.
Dukie arrives at his first day of Frederick Douglass High School, but as a group of bigger kids pushes by him aggressively, he loses his nerve, and turns back. Meanwhile back at Edward Tilghman Middle School, Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski presides over his class as they take the statewide test, with some students working away, others indifferent and a few angrily defeated. Ms. Duquette watches as the project class pores over their exams, exhibiting the same range of effort and ability.
Back at the gym, Daniels and Pearlman quiz Freamon, Bunk and Greggs on their progress. They've identified the model of the nail gun. They also report coming up empty on finding the nail Herc fired into the street weeks earlier, though they ordered up a metal detector and searched the block. Freamon is hopeful they'll get lucky in the trace work - hairs, fibers, maybe a blood sample - at the vacants, but all agree the next investigative move is to write search warrants and hope to catch Chris or Snoop with the offending nail gun, a murder weapon or some other evidence. Pearlman wants to know what probable cause she can use for the warrant application. The detectives cite Herc's previous discovery of the nail gun and other tools in their SUV. There is no law against owning power tools, Pearlman notes. Bunk argues that they have a witness that links Chris and Snoop to the murders - a reference to Randy Wagstaff's previous statements. But unwilling to cross Prez on this point, Freamon corrects him, saying they have a source, not a witness - a distinction that means they won't ask the boy to testify in court and therefore can't cite him as backing for the warrant. Frustrated, Bunk asks for an hour and leaves with Greggs behind him.
Colvin pays another visit to Cutty in the hospital, who tells him he was able to get word to Namond's father, who will talk to Colvin. On his way out, Colvin sets the nurse straight on Cutty - he's not a gangster, he got shot trying to pull a kid off a corner.
Greggs and Bunk pay a last visit to Lex's mother, who's distraught that she couldn't even see her son's body because it was so decayed. Bunk points out that they did the best they could with the information they had - a pointed criticism of her unwillingness to help the investigation earlier. Finally she tells them what she's heard that Snoop and Chris killed her boy.
At the D.S.S. child services offices, Carver pleads with a bureaucrat to find a solution for Randy that doesn't involve a group home. In frustration, he offers to become the boy's foster parent himself. But even that won't work - the screening process is three-to-four months and Randt can't be in Carver's custody in the meantime. Randy has to go back in the system, as per the court order that put him there in the first place.
With Chris and Snoop cuffed on the curb, Bunk, Greggs and Freamon - now armed with a good warrant - search the SUV. No nail gun or lyme is found; none of the tools that Herc saw earlier. No weapons either, but unable to believe these two would be "riding tame," Greggs roots around under the dash and finds a wire. Connecting it to the ignition wire, a secret drop box above the glove compartment pops open to reveal a pistol. "Ain't even our car," says Snoop.
Meanwhile, Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos sits between Marlo and Prop Joe, backing Joe and assuring Marlo that the rip off wasn't a set up. Marlo asks Vondas how he can be sure, and Vondas says he talked to his own people - "he looked into his soul," he says of his subordinate, indicating that he tortured the man to be sure. That settles Marlo, who accept Vondas's word, but tells his lieutenant Monk to put a tail on Vondas - not because the supplier is a problem, but to find out more about the man. Marlo tells Joe he'll get the $90,000 for his share to Joe in the morning and will hunt Omar once the heat from the investigation into the vacants calms down. Monk also tells him that Chris and Snoop have been popped on a gun charge and Marlo tells him to get the bail bondsman on it.
McNulty greets Bodie as he emerges from Central Booking, telling him he was the one who got him sprung and offering him lunch. They are glimpsed by Monk, arriving with the bondsman in tow. Vaguely curious, Bodie follows McNulty to his personal car. While Chris and Snoop are required to submit to blood and hair samples, per a court order obtained by Freamon and Greggs, along with the grand jury A.S.A., Bodie and McNulty enjoy lunch in the garden's of Northwest Baltimore's Cylburn Arboretum. Bodie insists he's no snitch, but McNulty gives him room to vent about the current state of his business, and being tired of being "them little bitches on the chessboard." Bodie talks himself into stepping up to put an end to "Marlo an' his kind." McNulty hears him out and acknowledges Bodie's integrity: "You're a soldier." Able to serve up this level informant to Freamon, McNulty will be back in the game.
At the visiting room at Jessup, Colvin talks to Wee-Bey. After reminiscing about their old adversarial roles as corner boy and patrolman, Colvin gets to the point of his visit: he cares about Namond and thinks he has real potential, and he wants Wee-Bey to let him go so he can have the opportunity to go places and do things neither one of them could. The corners have changed; the old codes have fallen. Namond will not last on those corners nowadays. "You askin' too much," says Wee-Bey. "Yeah, but I'm asking," counters Colvin.
Monk tells Marlo and Chris that he saw Bodie getting into a car with a white guy when he got out of Central Booking. Assuming it's police, Marlo orders Chris to have his "pup" take care of it, "get him started." Chris objects that Michael worked for Bodie, "First time, best be someone he ain't know." Marlo agrees. He tells Chris that Omar, having stolen the shipment, is now selling it back to Proposition Joe at thirty cents on the dollar â€" indicating that, unknown to Marlo, Joe is making an additional ten cents on the dollar above Omar's price.
Colvin returns to Tilghman, where Miss Duquette and Professor David Parenti have been waiting with Namond. He sends Namond outside and tells his colleagues that he suspects Wee-Bey will refuse to let Namond go, but they'll know tomorrow. Parenti informs him that tomorrow is a big day all-around: State Delegate Odell Watkins got them a half hour at the Mayor's office.
On his corner, Bodie's having a slow night, along with Poot and Spider, who is now working the corner. When Poot alerts him to Chris approaching, Bodie refuses to leave. "This is my corner. I ain' runnin'." He fires at the cars Snoop and Chris are ducking behind, as Poot pleads with him to run. Unable to convince Bodie to flee, Poot finally runs for cover, passing a young hooded boy - O-Dog, one of Snoop and Chris's trainees - who creeps up to Bodie and shoots him in the head. Bodie falls to the ground and is finished with a second shot to the head. He lays there dead, as O-Dog jogs off to join his mentors.
Working late, Carver puts a jacket over Randy, who has fallen asleep on the bench reading a comic book.
At City Hall, Colvin gets nervous waiting, having second thoughts about being in the meeting with Parenti, given his involvement in the failed drug legalization project the previous year - a project that Carcetti condemned publicly to gain attention and position himself for his mayoral run. When Colvin offers to excuse himself from the meeting, the secretary informs him the Mayor won't be in their meeting anyway, he's in Annapolis - the first indication that they are already being marginalized.
Chris, Snoop and Marlo pay a visit to Michael in his new crib - which the Stanfield organization has clearly provided. Marlo suddenly recognizes the ring around Michael's neck - the one he last saw when he relinquished it to Omar during the robbery of the card game. Marlo asks where he got it. "Took if from a nigga," says Michael, asking if he wants it, but Marlo, amused and fascinated, tells him to keep it. Marlo informs Michael they're giving him Bodie's corner, and that there's one "other thing" they have for him to do. Seeing Dukie getting Bug ready for school, Snoop asks Michael who it was they dropped for him. "Bug's daddy," Michael says, coolly. Bug shows no reaction.
Carver spots McNulty in the hall at Western District, asking if he heard about Bodie - shot dead on his corner. McNulty rushes to confirm it on the 24-hour reports, as Carver gets called back into the drug enforcement unit offices by an angry Lt. Dennis Mello, the shift commander, who has discovered that despite his insistence, Randy has not yet been remanded to D.S.S. custody. Mello orders the sergeant to do so immediately, then stalks out. Citing the money he keeps in the schoolbook binding, Randy offers his $230 in cash to Carver, suggesting maybe they can pay someone for a foster spot. But Carver realizes they are out of options.
Back at the Mayor's office, Colvin and Parenti meet with the Mayor's Chief of Staff and mayoral aide Jerilee Bennett, who see their project as "tracking, plain and simple" and are concerned they aren't teaching the curriculum, thereby leaving some of the kids behind. "As it is, we're leave 'em all behind. We just don't admit it," Colvin blurts out. When the meeting adjourns quickly - and it's clear that the pilot program is now doomed - Colvin is despondent, concerned he proved himself a liability in the meeting. "Seems like every time I open my mouth in this town, I'm telling people what they don't wanna know." Parenti assures him it wasn't him, it's the process. And this time, they didn't listen. But he's still optimistic about the great research they did and the attention it will get from academics. "Academics? What, they gonna study your study?" Colvin asks incredulously. "When do the s**t change?"
At Jessup, Wee-Bey meets with De'Londa to tell her he wants her to let Namond go. She balks at first, but Wee-Bey reminds her of his own status and what he can have done to her, even from prison. He then says, with some pride: "Man came down here to say my son can be anything he damn please." "Except a soldier," she retorts. Wee-Bey, doing life without parole, asks her to look around at the Jessup visiting room: "Who the f**k would wanna be that if they could be anything else, De'Londa?" he demands. He'll stick with her, he tells her, but she has to let go of the boy.
Omar meets Renaldo and Butchie in a garage with a duffel bag of cash, and pays some out to Butchie for his pains. Butchie asks if Omar was followed, but Omar tells him Joe had to play it clean - and agree to giving up the money before getting back his drugs. Joe had to admit that Omar's word was better than his own, Omar muses. They lock up the garage with the stolen drugs inside, in the back of a van, and Omar dials, leaving word with Joe of the address. As they all depart, leaving the shipment to be picked up, Butchie warns Omar that when you steal this much, "it ain't over."
Carcetti and Wilson burst into the office late night, back from Annapolis. Carcetti didn't take the money, he couldn't stand being made to beg for it - the Governor was going to call a press conference, showing Carcetti as a beggared supplicant. The Chief of Staff is pleased, but Wilson, thinking of the school system, is decidedly unhappy and leaves angrily.
McNulty grabs Poot on Bodie's corner, and making sure no one's watching, demands to know who killed Bodie. "Y'all did," Poot says. Word was he'd been seen talking to police. Not wanting the same fate, Poot tells McNulty to boot him off the corner and McNulty, feeling both guilty and angry, does.
Outside Tilghman Middle, Dukie waits for Prez before school, and presents him with a gift - a desk set. When Prez asks where his book bag is, Dukie lies that he's stopping home to get it before he goes to class. Sensing the lie, Prez tells the boy to stop by anytime, let him know how things are. In the project class, Miss Duquette informs her charges that the program is over and they'll be returning to regular class. Zenobia doesn't want to return, others are of mixed emotions. Colvin asks Namond how he feels. "This was alright...but maybe it's time," he says.
Beatrice "Beadie" Russell awakens to find McNulty up and thinking - even though he worked a late shift. He wants in on the investigation of the bodies in the vacants, he admits. He feels that he owes it to someone. She asks who and he references a kid who got killed. One of those in the vacants? No, they shot him down in street. McNulty thinks he may be different this time, he's changed - no more drinking and whoring. "You are different," she confirms, as they make love.
Feeling like a failure, Carver delivers Randy to a group home. The boy assures Carver it's OK: "You tried." But as he walks Randy inside and up the stairs to a room with bunk beds and older, feral looking kids, Carver feels even worse. He returns to his car and throws a tantrum born of frustration.
McNulty assures Col. Daniels he can handle returning to Major Crimes: "I think I can do this and keep myself away from myself, if that makes sense." Reversing the language of their first argument four years earlier, when the detail was forming to work the Barksdale case, Daniels tells him they aren't going to get Marlo Stanfield on street rips, it'll be "Either a wired C.I. or a Title Three." When McNulty starts to contradict him, Daniels shuts him down, throwing McNulty's words back at him. McNulty acquiesces: "Chain of command, Colonel."
Reviewing preliminary results from the state exam, Prez is in disbelief that his classes could have improved on math and reading, with a significant percentage showing themselves to be proficient with the material. Grace explains that "proficient" means at least two grades below their level, and "advanced" means at or a year below grade-level - that's how the scoring shows they've made progress. Prez is embarrassed at his naivete, but Grace assures him he's doing fine. In his class, he welcomes Zenobia, Albert and Namond back and when the returning Albert starts the day with a wisecrack, Zenobia and Namond ignore him, and Prez - with a look that no first-year teacher can manage - shames Albert into better behavior. Clearly, Prez is becoming a teacher.
At the gym, the body count is up to twenty two. Daniels and Freamon update Pearlman: there are no ballistics matches to link the weapons seized from Chris' truck to the murders, no prints on the weapons. They're in for the long haul, says Freamon, already worrying about how they can get back up on a wiretap or some other proactive means of investigating the Stanfield crew. Freamon asks Daniels why he chose to stage the body recovery operation out of the Lemel Middle School gym and Daniels replied that he knew the school was in the area and not being used, having been closed earlier. Daniels remarks that he went to school here. "Got a pretty good education, now that I think on it." He and Pearlman exit, leaving Freamon amid the bodies and a case that he will likely need months to bring home.
Having finally heard the news about Bubbles, Greggs brings Walon, Bubs' one-time N.A. sponsor, to Bayview Hospital to visit. He hasn't spoken to Bubs in a couple of years - since he was last on the wagon. "But if he's up in D-Ward, he's clean as a motherf**k right now," he notes. They head inside, but Greggs isn't up for a one-on-one visit. She watches through the window as Walon enters the ward and Bubbles, ashamed and in pain, collapses in tears in his sponsor's arms.
Over drinks with Coleman Parker, Wilson confides he can't believe Carcetti's political ambition wouldn't allow him to take the state money for the sake of the schools and the kids. Parker chastises him for being so naive: "They always disappoint," he says of politicians, before discussing what campaign he might sign up with next.
Walking up to a crowded drug corner, Michael takes down his first slinger with a gunshot straight to the forehead as Chris and Monk watch from the SUV. When he jumps in the car and they pull off, Chris knowingly tells him, "You can look 'em in the eye now. No matter who he is or what he done - you look 'em in the eye."
As Paul Weller's version of Dr. John's classic "Walk On Gilded Splinters" plays, the coming days and weeks and months play out. Wee Bey says goodbye to Namond in the visiting room and hands him off to Colvin. McNulty returns to Major Crimes and goes to the board to contemplate the photograph of Marlo Stanfield. Herc stoically attends his I.I.D. hearing and listens to the charges arrayed against him. Marlo and Chris stake out Vondas and Proposition Joe, beginning to learn whatever they can about the source of Baltimore's best heroin and cocaine. A weary and disgusted Colvin leaves Professor Parenti's well-attended research presentation early. Saddled with nearly two dozen open murders, Bunk reviews evidence with Det. Michael Crutchfield and Norris while Landsman observes the growing list of red names on the board. Ever closer to the seat of power, Pearlman and Daniels lunch with Carcetti as State Sen. Clayton "Clay" Davis and Burrell - now ever more the political outsiders - look on. Prez sits in his car, watching Dukie working a corner with Poot, as Michael - now the man in charge - drives off in an SUV. Prez himself is forced to drive away when he is offered drugs by Kenard - now also working the corner for Michael, and no doubt unlikely to cheat Michael as he did Namond, given the beating he received. At the group home, Randy returns to his room to find graffiti marking him as a snitch on his bunk, as well as the binding of his textbook ripped open, the money gone. The older boys stalk in and glare at him and Randy resolves to get in at least one good punch before being beaten. Cutty, on crutches, is back to coaching at his boxing gym - with the hospital nurse now fully charmed and by his side. Carcetti wearies of budget meetings, where - without the state bailout - the dollars do not add up. Carver lectures ever younger kids outside the abandoned factory hangout before running them off, then spots the graffiti on the wall as he leaves: Namond, Michael, Randy, Dukie, Donut, Kenard and others, with the mockingly false phrase: "Fayette Mafia Crew 4evah." In his new crib, Michael works on homework with Bug in a quiet, placid moment as, suddenly, we return to Michael being awakened from this dream-like reverie in the back of Chris's SUV - time to dump the gun. He hands if off to Monk, who opens the door and drops it into a storm drain before they drive off into night.
Early morning, on the Colvins' porch, Namond finishes both his breakfast and his homework assignment before school as Mrs. Colvin warns him he's going to be late. He goes inside and is told to go back out and retrieve his plate. As he does, an SUV rolls by, music blaring as the driver slows. Namond nods at Donut, who nods back before accelerating down the street, nearly getting broadsided as he runs a stop sign. Namond watches the SUV roll away, leaving behind a quiet Baltimore neighorhood that is his new home, in a new life.