For the video essay assignment I really wanted to do my commentary on episode 11 of season 3 because it is my favorite episode thus far. Stringer is one of the most interesting characters and his attempt to rise above the gangster world and enter the business world and the resulting fall is so sad, yet beautiful to me. He tries to rise above himself and his past, but he does not belong in the business world and ends up being betrayed by Avon, his brother figure.
This episode had so many great scenes that culminated into Stringer’s death and so I chose certain scenes very carefully and then ended with Stringer’s death scene. Below is some written analysis of each scene that I did not get to discuss in the video analysis.
I want to start with the opening scene of the episode with Omar:
I love the opening scene with Omar because we hear what I call Omar’s “fight song” which is usually whistled by him as he goes into battle with a giant gun, but here he is held at gunpoint by the Reverend. Omar is shadowed out in a hallway of sorts, walking with coat tails flapping behind him. There is nothing but darkness and smoke around him.
This scene is really important because it so well parallels Stringer’s death scene at the end of the episode, where Omar and the Reverend work together to murder Stringer. This scene is so Westernized with the pulled guns and constant back and forth of the camera. The camera zooms in and then takes longer shots of the two men as their guns are pulled out at each other.
The next scene I want to discuss is the discussion between Stringer and Avon, which parallels the fight scene between Avon and Stringer from before. Avon is again yelling at Stringer for being too business minded, but this time Stringer realizes he has failed in his endeavors. The camera goes back and forth between the men again and they are positioned the same way, even with the same contrasting white and black clothing.
The scenes in which Stringer and Avon betray each other are very paralleled as well, but I am just going to focus on Stringer’s scene with the Major in the cemetery. The scene is very dark and smoky. It’s extremely dramatic, with the slow movement focusing in on the various headstones and angels. Then the camera jumps back to Stringer selling out Avon to the Major. The whole scene reminds me of a Deep Throat moment, but much creepier as it’s in a graveyard. The flowers beyond the Major make the scene even more dark because of the contrast. I also like that this scene foreshadows what happens to Stringer at the end of the episode.
Stringer and Avon on roof
Stringer attack and running with Omar walking in darkness:
Stringer immediately runs and all we hear is him running and the man crying, who is nothing to Omar. The pigeons fly around prophetically, and much like a church yard scene, as Stringer tries to find a way out. Then Omar in shadow once again walks through the building hallways. This is the parallel I pointed out earlier to the beginning of the episode.
A cool triangle is created with Stringer in the middle and the two guns pointed at him. The light shines behind him as a symbolic light of why this is happening occurs to Stringer. Omar tells him Avon gave Stringer up and Omar is getting back at him for his boyfriend’s death. Stringer is utterly defeated in words and manner, with his face showing his own defeat. Avon’s betrayal ruins his resolve it seems. The two men walk toward Stringer and look at each other after they shoot Stringer before he can get his last words out. The camera then lingers on the sign in the background on the building, which represents Stringer’s hopes for the future. Then a light shines on Stringer’s dead body as the other two walk away.
This scene was the climax of the episode and represents a finish to a great character. Everything in this episode culminated in Stringer’s ultimate demise, which was beautifully created.