Treme, Season 3, Episode 8, “Don’t You Leave Me Here”
Grumble. It is getting more difficult to separate the good from the bad. If it wasn’t for Albert and Antoine and the worlds that surround them, I’d be out.
-The show’s secondary characters got the opportunity to shine tonight, which was nice given what we’ll be getting to in The Bad:
-Aunt Mimi’s thorough rebuke of Davis (after yet another one of his inexplicable hissy fits) seemed right on. I didn’t have a word to quibble with, especially when she swore that she was taking her drunk ass home. If overexposed, somebody like Aunt Mimi could go from precocious to overexposed, but that hasn’t happened yet. And as long as she is allowed to chastise Davis’s worst qualities whilst simultaneously embracing his best, her appearances will always be worth the price of admission.
-Mimi’s words of wisdom pale through when compared to Desiree’s. While Antoine is continuing his struggle to find himself professionally (repeatedly bouncing from to teacher, to musician, to teacher/musician), he gets it in his head that he needs to be playing newer jazz. Desiree’s confused and says as much as Antoine tries to teach himself. “I don’t think you’re gonna be happy getting good at something you don’t love.” Truer words have never been spoken. Desiree’s rabble-rousing though isn’t just occurring at home; she confronts Robinette, wondering why he was first fixing a home and then fixing to tear it down. Robinette pleas ignorance, saying he’s just trying to earn a living, but Desiree photographs his work and says it’s all going on a website (presumably the one owned by the community activist we met in the demolition of Desiree’s family home aftermath).
-Delmond’s sister also gets more screen time, this time as she accompanies Albert to the hospital as he begins his chemo. It predictably wrecks him physically -- because their family home isn’t yet repaired, there aren’t walls, meaning Albert’s loud vomiting echoes through the place. She holds his hand as the treatment begin and pays attention to what’s needed, both by her father and by Delmond. Albert, predictably, is bitter about being made to take the treatment, but occasionally cracks long enough to let us know that he’s afraid. He has a conversation early in the episode with LaDonna at Gigi’s, telling her to project fearlessness. She says that’s easy advice and he corrects her, saying it isn’t. Later, as Delmond leaves for a gig, he reminds him to make it swing. He seems downright fatherly.
-Speaking of LaDonna: the harrassment at her bar continues, both from the men who will report the bar for various regulatory crimes (Libertarians, are you listening, outraged?) and more insidiously, by friends of her rapist. Not settling for visiting Gigi’s itself, LaDonna is called and later visited at home. Her husband Larry demands that the police be involved; taking Albert’s advice, LaDonna refuses until after dinner, but later attempts to tell her lawyer, a woman who says that without further evidence, nothing can be done.
-Toni, L.P. (J.P.?), and Terry are on a collision course about Officer Wilson, and the bodies of Glover and Abreau. Toni knows Colson might be complicit in at least some of the cover-up. Colson knows his days in his current unit are cooked, given his conversation with the FBI (and a collection of coworkers who now openly despise him). Sofia’s caught in the crossfire, again busted by New Orleans Police Department officers looking to scare Toni into submission. Toni’s plan (sending Sofia to Florida) reeks of a commitment to her cause. Sofia’s response to her mother’s plan (furious disgust) hints at a relationship that’s again deteriorating.
-Here’s a quick recap of Sonny’s life. Three episodes ago, he was stone cold sober, working on the fishing boat and hanging out with the boss’s daughter at night. Two episodes ago, he was on a raging bender that ended with him awkwardly having sex with a hooker inexplicably taken with what Sonny had to offer (a bit of cocaine). One episode ago, he was sitting at meetings and getting sober again before showing us how sober he is by being the first to work the day after Mardi Gras. And tonight, he was selling most of his music equipment, buying an engagement ring, and asking the boss’s daughter to marry him. Sure. Whatever.
-Davis throws the mother of all hissy fits about his album -- which he wanted to be a triple disc and feature extensive liner notes -- not being released to his exacting specifications. His pouting produces Mimi’s explosion, discussed above; maybe that’s a reason to praise him? He also sticks his lower lip out about Annie’s burgeoning career, sad-dogging it when Annie isn’t at his beck-and-call at every imaginable moment, conveniently forgetting that she had long ago explained her inability to attend.
-Speaking of Annie, she plays music, which is boring, and is encouraged by her sleazy producer to take a song-writing credit on “This City”, a song that is almost certainly not hers. She makes anime eyes about the possibility of doing so. I’m going to go ahead and bet that we’re about to endure some drama when she does take credit for the song and is then shunned by some of her musical companions who know better about its origins. Also, I don’t care. It’s not a particularly interesting or compelling song, and in a show awash with music that is captivating, yet another guy’s lonely lament doesn’t hold my attention. Those are my biases talking, specifically the bias I have about a bad character pursuing a transparent storyline whose outcome nobody cares about.
-Janette’s restaurant opens, and wouldn’t you know it, but Anthony Bourdain finds all the time in the world to: praise the cooking community (a table of New Orleans’s best chefs show up on Janette’s soft-open), praise the waitstaff (Anthony Anderson has been introduced as a sort of Templar Knight of table service), slag off the food-blogging community (they’re cheapskates with bad shoes), and the restaurant’s owner (he drinks too much and is dismissive of staff concerns about the restaurant’s preparedness). Got it.
-I can’t emphasize enough how disappointing this season has been. One bit of evidence toward this claim. In an opening scene, a chef in Janette’s restaurant badly cuts himself, requiring a trip to the hospital. The owner comes in full of bluster, wondering what’s happened, then saying that the injury isn’t evidence that they can’t open on time. This brings a wry smile from Jacque.
My living room’s response, “Open on time? When has that ever been an issue? None of this makes any sense.”
Things just happen in the show. They’re not built up to. They’re not wound down. They’re just things.
Update: I edited the title to reflect the correct episode number. I am an idiot.