WiregreggsmcnultytookI can’t recall hearing a single note of Neil Young in an episode of The Wire over the past five seasons, but after watching the penultimate installment of this epic urban drama, Young’s haunting ballad “Comes a Time” came to mind.

Time is a big theme of this episode, and time obviously is running out on everyone in “The Wire” diaspora. About a third of the way into “Late Editions” — penned by George Pelecanos and David Simon and helmed by Joe Chapelle —  New Centurians of the Baltimore’s corners are on their knees with cuffs on and cell phones surrendered, kingpin Marlo Stanfield included.

The cops and Mayor Carcetti are having a field day with the big bust that draws news coverage, but our anti-hero Jimmy McNulty isn’t partying — even after going so far out on a tightrope to bring about the Stanfield bust. He knows the hellfire is coming, it’s just a matter of time. Doesn’t help that his boss calls him a “genital wart” for his lack of progress on the homeless serial killer case.

McNulty’s main partner in crime, Lester Freamon, is too high on the rush of victory to let reality sink in just yet. He’s bagged his prey, and now they’re gonna pay. The wordless exchange of hard (granite-hard) looks between Freamon and Stanfield at the arrest site throws off enough sparks to start a brushfire, a credit to the acting skills of Clarke Peters (Freamon) and Jamie Hector (Stanfield).

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