Directed by Anthony Hemingway
Story by Ed Burns & William Zorzi
Teleplay by William Zorzi
"Aw yeah. That Golden Rule." -- Bunk
In his cell, Omar gets help from Donnie and Big Guy, who create a makeshift suit of armor by wrapping books around his midsection with an ace bandage and duct tape. All padded up, the three head out to the food line. A fight breaks out between two men in front of them, and as one drops, Omar takes a shank to the chest. When the weapon bends against his armor, Omar grabs the shocked attacker's arm and twists him into a lock, then slams his face against the wall. "We could'a made a baby," he says demonically, licking the guy's ear before ramming his own weapon up the guy's rectum. The rest of the inmates flinch as the man collapses, screaming in pain.
"How that for a message?" Omar asks Donnie and the Big Guy back at his cell. Not bad, they tell him, except the price on his head is up to five figures. And the man paying the bounty? Some westside player named Marlo. Omar claims he's never heard of him, then asks for a phone to call a police -- a man who owes him a favor.
Still on a rush from his win, Carcetti meets with the ex-mayor for advice. "National party has to take notice, young and pretty as you are," he tells the councilman. Tommy can't hide his excitement at the thought, but he has a burning question -- he wants to know why the old guy didn't run for a second term when it was his for the taking. The ex-mayor tells a tall tale about his first day on the job, about eating silver bowls full of sh*t from the unions, the blacks, and the Polacks. "You sit there eating sh*t, all day long, day after day, year after year." When he realized this, he decided being a downtown lawyer and getting to see his family every night made for a fine life. Carcetti smiles politely.
Spider is working one of Marlo's corners, taking money from two addicts, when Cutty approaches, pressing him on where he's been. "You ain't my f**kin' father," Spider snaps, turning away. Cutty tries to assure him that what happened between his mom and him should have nothing to do with him taking advantage of the gym. "You one of my best, boy. If I thought I was gonna hurt you..." "Man, f**k you," Spider fires back, "ain't nobody gonna hurt me." Cutty looks defeated.
The boys have taken to spending their lunch break in Prez's classroom, playing poker. Prez reminds them he said no gambling, but they try and assure him it's all for peanuts. He decides to use their card game as a math exercise, and gives them tips on figuring out their odds.
Now that the election is over, Greggs and Norris have permission to solve the Braddock case, and they bring in an inmate, Anthony Wardell, for questioning.
After kicking him out, Bubbles goes to the school looking for Sherrod, worried about his whereabouts. Asst Principal Donnelly tells him he hasn't been in class since he last brought him in. "If you see him, tell him he can come home if he wants," Bubbles tells her.
Prez gets the idea use games that the kids understand -- like craps -- to teach them math skills and goes off in search of dice from the school's board games. Donnelly is alarmed at first, worried he's veering from the curriculum, but she gives him the key to a storage room -- where he's stunned to find a treasure trove of newer edition books, videotapes, VCRs, even a brand new computer.
Bunk meets with Omar in jail, who reminds him he's still holding prosecutor Ilene Nathan's card, an IOU for the police gun he helped locate awhile back. But Omar's get-out-of-jail free card was for a small felony or two -- not a "taxpayer murder with an eyeball witness." Omar insists he's been set up, that Bunk knows he's never put a gun to anyone who wasn't in the game. Andre runs a package out of his stores, and resents "folk like me." Bunk reminds him about the other murders he likely did, Stringer Bell among them. "This one gets to court, you can tell a jury how wrong it is." Omar reminds him he's not likely to survive that long in jail. "If I knew I'd be sharin' quarters with all these boys, I might not robbed so many of 'em," he confides. "Aw yeah," Bunk says, "that golden rule." Somebody else took down that delivery woman at Andre's store, Omar insists, and now Bunk's letting him walk. "A man must have a code." Bunk is stopped by his own words thrown back at him.
As Namond works the corner, a rival gang hovers on a corner down the block, staring him down and placing a 9mm gun on a tire. They debate messing with him, but decide they just need to let him know they're taking over his turf. Among their runners is Sherrod, who hangs back.
On a bench in an abandoned park, Marlo tells Proposition Joe about the train station raid. He was hoping to flush out who was really after him, but no such luck. Joe tells him to steal the camera. If someone makes a stink about it -- it's local. If not, it's the Feds; they can afford to lose one.
Still searching the streets for Sherrod, Bubbles gets shaken down by Fiend again. "Money or pills, I don't care which," the kid says, roughing him up. A cop pulls up, but instead of going after the violent offender, he warns Bubbles that he can't sell on the street without a license, then takes his DVDs, citing copyright infringement. "You gonna rob me too?" Bubbles says helplessly as the cop drives off.
At the gym, Cutty calls a timeout to talk to the boys, apologizes for "welcoming the attentions" of some of their female relatives. He was in jail for a long time, he explains, but "I didn't mean no disrespect." He doesn't want to get in the way of them learning the sport and bettering themselves.
Bunk takes Omar's case to detectives Holley and Crutchfield, and asks them what they ran on the witness, Old Face Andre. Pissed he's getting up in their business, Crutchfield tells him to f**k off.
Outside Cutty's gym, the rival corner boys pull up to wait, snorting a vial as they pull a gun, and hand it to Sherrod. When Namond exits the gym, they send Sherrod to set him straight: "You need to back off that spot," Sherrod says before shoving him. Namond drops his backpack and shoves back. "The f**k you thinkin'?" he says, loud enough for the gym to hear. The two go at it until Sherrod, wild eyed, pins Namond against a dumpster. Cutty steps out and intervenes, sending the rivals away and Namond back to the gym, where he gives him a warning about messing with someone who's high. Namond plays tough, pissed at Cutty for having to come to his defense. Cutty asks Michael what Namond is wrapped up in. He tells him it's not his business.
In Mayor Royce's office, Carcetti and his team meet with their former rival to talk about the transition, and the two share a few laughs about their worst campaign moments, including the witness story and slumlord photo. "I'm halfway glad to get out," Royce says about his mayoral run, offering up Parker to help Carcetti with whatever he needs in the transition. Wilson is taking over for Theresa D'Agostino, who's off to help the DCCC win back the red states. Carcetti assures them she got her win bonus.
In the surveillance van, Herc and Sydnor notice something's awry on the monitors -- close ups of pigeon wings. They check to see if their camera's been moved -- it's gone.
At a downtown law office, a nervous Pearlman meets with her new boss, newly-elected State Attorney Rupert Bond, and congratulates him on his win over Dempner. When Bond brings up the pre-election subpoenas, she begins to explain, apologetically. He interrupts: he wants to put her in charge of all homicide prosecutions. Ilene Nathan is moving up to second deputy. "I admire your courage, if not your loyalty," he tells her. Pearlman can hardly believe it.
Donnelly visits Prez's classroom to let him know Randy is off the hook with the rape charge -- the girl now says it was consensual, and that Randy wasn't involved. As for the police interest, it's out of her hands. The kids in the class are more settled, but only Michael has diligently completed his homework. In another classroom, Colvin's pilot program kids are acting out again -- Namond tells the teacher to "f**k off," and makes fun of another kid, Darnell, for his drinking problem.
In the courthouse, Greggs, Norris and ASA Ilene Nathan watch as a polygraph examiner wires up Anthony Wardell, the young dealer that the murdered Braddock was going to testify against. The man asks the kid a series of questions, and despite pissing him off ("Are you female?"), the machine shows little change. When it's over, the examiner tells Greggs, Norris and Nathan he can "call it like you want it." "F**k kinda science is that?" snaps Greggs. "I'm here for you, detective," the examiner explains. Norris tells her the polygraph is used as leverage -- to bring them in and mess with them. The kid's lawyer knows the game. He lets Wardell explain that Braddock's mom and his mom are like cousins, and he wouldn't have killed him for flipping -- he was only looking at three and a half years. Greggs looks almost convinced.
Bunk tells Ilene Nathan about the Omar situation, showing her the card she gave him. Omar claims he's being set up on this one, and is worried he'll be killed in prison. Nathan agrees to move him to a protective custody detention center, but her debt has been paid.
At Police Headquarters, Major Daniels presents crime statistics to the department's top brass, pointing out that while murders are down, all other violent crime is up. When Carcetti shows up to observe, they all stand at attention, then let Daniels continue. He outlines a new plan: his officers have spent too many years chasing stats, and not enough of them are sufficiently trained to investigate violent crimes properly. Burrell takes offense, but Daniels presses on as Carcetti takes it in.
Herc pleads with Carver to help him recover his camera -- he's worried Marimow is gonna burn him for losing something worth more than four grand. He's certain Marlo has it, but they combed the Westside looking for every pigeon coop. Carver suddenly remembers debriefing a kid who knew about a murder Marlo's people did. He meant to call Bunk on it -- he had a warrant on the guy who supposedly got killed. If Herc brings his boss a murder, Marimow will probably forgive the camera. Carver calls Bunk but gets Crutchfield, who crumples the message. "F**k the Bunk."
When Herc finally questions Randy, the boy tells him about passing along the message from Little Kevin to Lex, and later being told by Kevin that Chris and Snoop killed Lex. He heard they turn people into zombies for Marlo. "This is bulls**t," Herc says, trying to get Randy to say he saw the murder. Randy insists he didn't. They drop the boy off a block from his house, as he requests, so no one sees him with police, and Herc decides they need to go right at Marlo.
Carcetti decides to do a ridealong with a squad car, just in time to witness a fresh crime scene -- two men shot by police, one body to the hospital, the other on the street. Carcetti watches as Daniels arrives and takes over -- impressed with his command.
Still troubled by the fact no one heard a bullet in the Braddock murder, Greggs heads to the scene by herself, and using crime photos, she reenacts the possible bullet trajectories. Tracing their origins, she winds up deep in an alley, landing on Chlorox bottles set up for target practice near a row house, and a dresser riddled with bullet holes. From one hole, she plucks a .38 caliber slug. Hearing voices inside the nearest row house, she knocks on the back door, gun drawn: "Baltimore Police."
When Asst. Principal Donnelly tells Cutty and his truancy round-up partner she needs kids for their October day, Cutty tells her the work is not for him. He'd be open to something where he'd be working with the kids, he tells her, but this elicits nothing but an exasperated look.
In a time-out room, an angry Namond sits, arms folded, as a social worker takes notes. Colvin tries to talk to him, but the boy lashes out, repeating "f**k you" as fiercely as he can. Colvin lets him know he's not going back with the others until he learns to behave, and he's not going home either -- there's no more suspension for him. He leaves to pay a visit to Parenti in the pilot program classroom, and as another student lashes out, he whispers, "This might be harder than we thought." "Fascinating, though," Parenti responds. "Clinically speaking, I mean."
Prez's kids are tame by comparison, playing dice with monopoly money. Dukie is working at the new computer, smiling even, as Randy catches up on what he missed. When Grace Sampson appears in the doorway to observe the games, Prez explains: "You trick 'em into thinking they aren't learning, and they do."
Bubbles finally finds Sherrod on his corner, scratching his skin and wiping his nose, eyelids heavy from the drugs wearing off. "Been lookin' all over for you," Bubbles tells him, before trying to apologize. He warns him that the corner is going to run him down fast, and urges Sherrod to come home as soon as he gets paid: "I'll see you in a few."
Greggs brings her find back to Norris: the .38 slug that matches the one found in the autopsy. "You veteran crime fighters got a name for this here, right? Murder weapon or some s**t like that?" She tells him where she found it. "Our guy's dead from a stray?" he says, incredulous. "And this f**k Carcetti gets to be the mayor behind the stupidity. I f**king love this town."
Opening the door to his squatter's lair, Bubbles calls out hopefully for Sherrod. He looks around at the emptiness, then collapses on his own bedroll, realizing his surrogate son's not coming home.