Friday, June 25, 2010
Treme No. 9: Wish Someone Would Care
By Edward Copeland
I must be getting charitable, not only writing some in this recap about Sonny and Annie but leading with them and using them as the lead photo, but this episode opens with them, and I hope it heralds good things. Annie tells Sonny that as long as he keeps using drugs, she doesn't want to play with him anymore. For some odd reason, she doesn't think this means they should break up, just stop collaborating as musicians. See: this storyline is dull, predictable and nonsensical. A wounded Sonny takes it to the next step and tells her to get her stuff out of the apartment. He's ending it. Let's all hope it's for good. Annie might be an interesting character without him.
On the university campus, a student finds Creighton sitting on a bench and asks his professor if he's going to be late for their class, then hides his cigarette. Creighton assures the youth that not only will he be in attendance that he doesn't care about people smoking if he doesn't, noting that looking at his own physical makeup, "Tobacco would be one more bullet in the chamber." Once both teacher and pupil are in the classroom, one of the other students complains that the book Creighton has assigned them, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, is "so old." The professor tells them despite its 19th century origin, the novel still has relevance today. Another student expresses relief that at least the book is short, but Bernette says that's no reason not to read it with care to appreciate the novel's protagonist's search for truth or some kind of peace. Creighton's also queried as to whether the class discussions will be on the test as well as the book itself and he answers in the affirmative. "Everyone will be tested in life," he responds, "and in the end, everyone will be found to be wanting." When he returns home to again work on the book, his struggles continue as he stares at the blinking cursor. He manages to type, "But the rain still came." He continues, then erases what he's written. Sofia peeks in and says dinner is ready and Creighton says he just wants to finish this paragraph. He types some gobbledygook after she leaves and it's back to the blinking cursor. At his next class session, he's back to a theme he mentioned the previous session that there is no closure in life. One student says she found the novel depressing. Another asks if it could be considered the first women's lib novel, but Creighton says it's too multifaceted to be ghettoized. The book's ending is not an ending, he says, it's a transition. "A rejection of disappointment and failure. She's embracing spiritual freedom," he tells them before deciding to let them leave early for the day.
Even though the mystery of David "Daymo" Brooks' fate has been solved, Toni Bernette remains determined to fill in the blanks as to how such a monumental bureaucratic screwup could have occurred and to answer her own suspicions about Daymo's supposed cause of death. She meets with the family of Daymo's cousin, whose name had been on the list of inmates who died in custody though he is very much alive. Jerome's mother told her about receiving a call telling her that her son was dead and informing the caller that they were mistaken because he was in her house right at the moment. Jerome adds that he's never been jailed ever for any reason, but they never mentioned the odd occurrence to anyone else and, of course, the Department of Corrections didn't follow up on it or correct their records. When Toni meets with LaDonna later, she theorizes that Corrections wanted the body to remain "Jerome Cherry" because something happened to Daymo in custody that they would prefer stay secret. She suggests that Ladonna delay the funeral a couple of days so they can perform an independent autopsy because a fall from a top bunk doesn't really jibe with the injury to the back of his head, which could have come from a blunt instrument. LaDonna turns quite indignant in refusing the request. What different does it make now, she asks, if another inmate or a guard killed him? Should she cause her mother more grief that will take her longer to get over and give her someone to hate? "It's a matter of right and wrong," Toni replies. "It stays wrong us for us no matter what happens." It's a short but pivotal scene performed by two of the series finest actresses, Melissa Leo and Khandi Alexander, at the top of their game. The sparks almost fly off the screen to the point you forget they've been on the same side all season.
Janette shows her folks what's left at the restaurant to be auctioned and promises that she's going to give them any proceeds. They object, asking if she doesn't need the money, but she says she's moved on to her next project as "guerrilla chef" and they should come out tonight and check it out. She won't ever be moving back to Huntsville, Ala., like they'd like and marry some man and start popping out grandkids. She'd rather deepfry her own head. It's not for her. Besides, her new gig has already cleared $1,500 without having to pump up liquor sales. Later, she meets with Jon Cleary and his band to firm up plans to cook at their Bacchanal gig. She expected to make plans to serve 1,000, but Cleary tells her that she better plan for 1,200. The night is turning into a roaring success with the help of some of her old staff until a downpour which wasn't even forecast puts a literal damper on the festivities and Janette's food. She tries to salvage what she can, but when she slips with a tray of food, her vocal frustration indicates that she can't take much more abuse, but there is more to come at home: No electricity and a leaking ceiling.
Annie shows up at a musician friend's place and asks to stay for a couple of days and the scene provides probably the only worthwhile line that storyline has had and one of the best in the series. As she explains the situation (that she just wanted to stop playing with Sonny, not end the romance), the friend tells her, "Fucking is fucking, but music is serious."
At Poke's both of Albert's children seem to have had change of hearts as Delmond and Davina help with the sewing of the tribe's suits, though the members express regrets that so much of what they will be wearing for St. Joseph's will be a repeat from last year because of Katrina. Young Darius complains that he doesn't even have one to work on, but Delmond sympathizes with the lad, telling him that he felt the same way at his age, eager to join in the festivities while Albert told him he wasn't ready to mask yet. Later, Albert gets a visit from the community relations cop he met in the projects and the shift lieutenant we met a few episodes back played by David Morse. Apparently, there has been long-running conflicts between the tribe and the police and the lieutenant doesn't want to see a repeat of last year's violence, especially in light of the recent incident at the projects where he says Albert punched a cop. Albert insists he did no such thing that they beat on him and asks if he's warning them that the cops are looking for a chance for free shots. He also asks if he's giving his officers the same warning, to which the lieutenant replies he is. Later, Darius, still looking to score points, is invited by Albert to help them gather some building supplies for money. They take them to the projects, which are guarded now by soldiers as well as the police. "Sometimes the most important battles are the ones you know you are going to lose," Albert tells the boy.
Davis' CD has sold so well that he decides that it's time for a party to celebrate: only musicians and hot women welcome. So he makes the rounds, handing out fliers to anyone and everyone, from Antoine whom he catches at a gig caring for his baby girl because Desiree is late picking her up, to Annie, to three buxom strippers he sees leaning over a balcony in his neighborhood, prompting him to declare that it must be heaven. When the party begins, someone requests Irma Phillips' "Wish Someone Would Care" and one of the stripper obliges with a vocals-only rendition of the song. His gay neighbors also are in attendance and one admits that he was the one who once called the police on his loud music but Davis is prepared to let bygones be bygones, but the man's partner is shocked because he knew nothing about it and finds it outrageous that he'd call the police about loud music in the Treme. Much later, as the party has wound down and most of the guests have departed, Janette arrives, slightly hurt that Davis didn't invite her. He feels like a clod for having forgotten. She spends the night anyway and sighs to McAlary that the city has beaten her and she can't take anymore and she's thinking of trying her luck in New York with the big boys. Davis can't believe she'd want to swap second lines for Macy's floats, but Janette seems as if her mind has been made up.
LaDonna and her mother pay a visit to the family crypt to find it in a state of horrible damage stemming from the flood. The cemetery manager claims he sent several letters to Mrs. Brooks, but LaDonna tells him that their mail service still isn't being delivered correctly. When she suggests that she was under the impression that their perpetual care package would cover such things, the man begins to sound like an insurance agent and says it does not include acts of God and it would require money and time to have it repaired in time for her brother to be laid to rest. Antoine visits LaDonna at Gigi's and learns she's short of what she needs for the repairs and asks why she doesn't just ask her husband for help, but she fears that Larry will use it as an excuse to force her to close the saloon and move to Baton Rouge permanently. Then a surprise walks in Gigi's. Arnie, the bouncer Sonny dragged back from Texas, tells LaDonna that he has the materials and can fix her roof in two days. She suspects a scam, but Arnie wants no money She tells him that it's not his responsibility, but he says he knows it, but he feels bad about the way the contractor treated her. He's from Texas, he tells her, they need to learn about the work ethic.
Sofia asks her dad to drive her to school since he says he's taking a sick day, but he says he can't. Creighton spends an odd but busy day though. He gets some lunch and a snack, sees Annie playing with a pianist who isn't Sonny and drops $20 in he violin case to her shock and he parks his truck on the ferry. Despite his early indication that he's not a smoker, he bums a cigarette off a ferry passenger and goes to the edge to the smoke. The other smoker turns around. Creighton watches as another man nearby walks away as well. When the smoker turns back, Creighton is gone. Later, Toni tries to get Creighton on his cell, but there's no response. Night has fallen and his truck sits alone and silently on the ferry. I hope this isn't why John Goodman was never in the main credits of the show. I'd hate to lose his character, but it's certainly been leaning that way of late.