The Fall of D’Angelo Barksdale

Season 2, Episodes 5-8

(courtsey of The Wire Wiki)

SPOILER: If you have not watched through episode 7 of the second season, this will reveal information that important to the story but contains the fate of D’Angelo Barksdale.

Throughout the first and second season before his death, we see a change in D’Angelo as a character. We are first introduced to him while he sits in the defendant’s chair in a Baltimore courtroom. The initial impression is that “D” is just like the rest of Barksdale’s crew of drug dealers.

Yet once the witness that testified against him in court is killed, believed to be by the Barksdale crew, we start to see a change in D. Throughout the first season, there is a struggle in D on whether he wants to continue to in the family business as he is Avon’s nephew. Yet it is noticeable that he wants sees the rest of the world outside the Barksdale organization. Once the trial ended, D expected to get his old life back because of his family relation. But that changed in a second and he finds himself in the low rises running the pit. Yet he is well taken care by Avon, as he has the money to wear nice clothes and a nice place that he shares with his girlfriend and son.

But as we see at the end of season one, D finds himself right back in the police’s interrogation room where he is forced into helping give up his fellow crew members yet is sentenced to over twenty years in DOC with Avon and Wee-Bay. Yet, D struggles more with being locked up than Avon and Wee-Bay. He turns to using and shuts out the advice of his mother and Avon. When several of inmates fall to a bad batch of cocaine, we see D just sink further, knowing that Avon had a part of that.

The most interesting scene we see with D is the following video clip when he speaks about the Great Gatsby.

[youtube http://youtu.be/1M2AUYYKfxk]

We really hear from a deep part of D where he understands how the book relates to him. He says “The past is always with us. Where we come from, what we go through, how we go through it, all this shit matters….boats and tides and all, you can change up right? You can say you are somebody, give yourself a whole new story. But what came first, is who you really are. And what happened before is what really happened. And it don’t matter what the fool say is different, what makes you different is what you really do, what you really go through. ”

I think this is huge what D said, as it relates to him and relates to a lot of the people in this show. The past may be the past but the past is who you really are. We can not just start over by saying we are somebody different and nothing in the past “never happened.” I think D had a lot happen to him and the people around him, but he can not that easily just start over. It doesn’t work that way. And he has to carry the burden the rest of his life, even if he did get out of Avon’s crew. He would still have the past to deal with because it is really who he was.

According to an article written on the Guardian, (see here), it says the following that I think is completely dead on about D and the Great Gatsby “Fitzgerald’s book celebrates the beauty inherent in Americans’ attempts to remake themselves in a new image, even when that doesn’t succeed, perhaps especially when it doesn’t succeed. ‘So we beat on, boats against the current … ‘But D’Angelo sees in Jay Gatsby’s failure to successfully reinvent himself his own failure to transcend his family, his upbringing, and all the other malign forces arrayed against him, a failure that has led him to the prison he finds himself in now. I don’t think he sees much beauty in that, and I don’t think The Wire does either.


About Amanda

I'm a senior at American University majoring in Broadcast Journalism with minors in Marketing and Multimedia Art. I am an avid sports fan and have worked for the Washington Wizards/Mystics, ESPN 980 Radio, the Lexington Legends, iHigh.com and as a sports reporter for a local Washington, D.C. newspaper. I look to pursue a career in Sports Journalism production for both television and the web.


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