Wiring Mirror Scenes


It’s time to do some assignments for , so I dreamed up a new one called “Wiring Mirror Scenes.” One of the things that came up again and again during our discussions of The Wire over the last month is how the show is constantly paralleling and mirroring scenes. One of the most obvious example is the mirroring of courtroom scenes in the first and last episodes. Below is a comparison of a number of shots from the two episodes to suggest how much they’re mirroring each other.

And while the compositions are almost identical, it’s interesting how much the body language and expressions become so defeated by the end of Season 1. What was an intense, hungry Jimmy McNulty in episode 1, becomes a dejected “what the f**k have I done?” McNulty by the end of the season. You can see a similar transformation in D’Angelo, and even Stringer Bell. The toll the detail has taken on everyone is readily apparent, yet they still find themselves literally in the same positions when they started. A sense of futility permeates the final episode’s mirroring of the first—and this idea of not escaping one’s self is abstracted to the institution. Looking into the mirror that will be placed in front of other characters and institutions in the coming episodes

How I did It
I took the screen shots on my Mac with the Command+Shift-4 keys simultaneously. From there I created a 2400 pixels by 1100 pixels canvas use File–>Create. I then imported the twelve images of the two different scenes in as layers. From there I arranged each layer in the order you see with the layer move tool. And added text up top to denote which row was episode 1, and which was episode 13. I’ll do a quick screencast tutorial to start getting folks comfortable with GIMP.

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4 Responses to Wiring Mirror Scenes

  1. Pingback: Wire 106: S01E13 “Sentencing” | bavatuesdays

  2. I SO enjoyed the conversation we had about this at the #ds106 lunch today. So glad you put this post together! I had remembered similarities, but its super cool to see them side by side. And I agree– expressions are hardened for sure. Defeated is such a great word to describe that.

    • Reverend says:

      I agree, but this was a softball. I’d like folks to find some more subtle parallels between episodes and seasons. Starting to read laterally across the series would be very fun.

  3. Alison Thoet says:

    I love seeing this after we all talked about it at lunch! There were even some parallels I did not even see.

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