Monday, May 09, 2011

 

Treme No. 13: On Your Way Down

BLOGGER'S NOTE: This recap contains spoilers, so if you haven't seen the episode yet, move along.


By Edward Copeland
Whenever I've chosen to recap a series (or a miniseries in the case of Mildred Pierce), be it Treme, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire or nostalgic recaps such as Twin Peaks' second season or the in-progress recaps of The Larry Sanders Show, I've pretty much stuck to the same formula and I've never done what I did with this week's Treme recap: Completely rewrite it when I had almost finished it. Unlike last week's "Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky," which had great lengthy scenes and a couple of nice montages, this week's outing, written by executive producer James Yoshimura (his final outing as an executive producer) and directed by Simon Cellan Jones, consists entirely of short, quick scenes. The longest lasts three minutes. It's not a style that I'm particularly fond of, a style that I think didn't work in my least favorite episode in season 1, "Smoke My Peace Pipe" (which also was directed by Cellan Jones). There are some very important developments this week and the cast performs as well as they always do, but for the most part their talent is undercut by this decision to have very few scenes of length to allow them to get rolling. It plays as if someone keeps starting the car and then slamming on the brakes every foot or so and it's a real disservice to the cast and the series as well, especially when such pivotal events occur. It affects the music as well. With everything cut so short, we don't get much in the way of substantial performance scenes. So this recap will attempt to hit the high points, but I'm going to be more critcal than normal, which is unusual for me when I'm writing about Treme, a show I otherwise love. I had no stopwatch, so my counts come from my DVD player estimates.


This style starts with quick scenes in pre-credits montage featuring nearly all of the show's characters, while a piece for piano and violin plays in the background. The first shot shows that we're in a New York and we briefly see Delmond walking Manhattan streets with his New York girlfriend Jill; the staff at Brulard's works at their usual dizzying pace while Janette tosses Brulard a quick glance and he stares back while tasting something the saucier has handed him; Davis scribbles notes on what appears to be cardboard mounted on the wall of his apartment then returns to his nearby laptop to unpause a video he's watching; Trombone in hand, Antoine asks a cab driver for a ride uptown and gets flipped off in return; an old Heckle and Jeckle cartoon amuses Nelson, clad in one of his hotel's robes, while the blonde lying on the couch, barely covered at all, seems bored; Sonny drops by The Music Exchange and finds that no one has taken a tab on his sheet looking for a job as a keyboardist or a guitarist for a band; LaDonna arrives to open GiGi's, but stops to kick garbage out of the way before unlocking the gate; Robinette and Albert bring a truck to the dumping ground; Toni waits outside what used to be Robideaux's Market, several letters absent from its sign, until a police officer arrives and she introduces herself. Suddenly, it appears as if a cemetery has been flooded again but that quickly changes to an image of the storm followed by one of a shirtless man sitting on his stoop with a rifle. You then realize that these all are photos from an exhibit at a gallery as the camera pulls back and you see patrons viewing the works. It pans to the right and we see that the music we've been listening to throughout this whole opening montage has come from the piano of David Torkanowsky and Annie's violin. Then that familiar theme plays with the opening credits. This style works fine here because there isn't any dialogue involved and it's just setup.

Thankfully, the first post-credit scene we get turns out to be important and is allowed to go on long enough to develop beforet cutting to other scenes. At what used to be Robideaux's Market, Toni interviews Officer James Distel (Marc Menchaca), the cop who found Joey Abreu's body. He tells her no call was made on the incident — they weren't sending people out on calls then. Naturally, Toni inquires how he came to be there. Distel tells her that someone flagged him down on Basin Street and reported a body. "Not my district, but I figured, 'What the hell? Mark the spot for whenever the world comes back online," he explains. Toni asks how many days into the storm's aftermath this was and Distel's best recollection put it at three to five. "The days all blended together, you know," he says. Toni questions what time of day it was and the officer puts it at late morning, around 10 a.m. or so. He pulled up and there were a dozen or so people, black and white, with whiskey, beer and cigarettes and he jumped out at them and they scattered. Toni interrupts, assuming that's when he saw Joey's body outside the market, but Distel corrects her. "No, he was inside, lying over a shelf, which must have gotten pulled down in the looting." Toni and the cop venture inside the abandoned store. Distel surprises her by saying he wrote a report, only since he didn't have the proper forms — he claims the times were so crazy those forms were being used for toilet paper — he grabbed a packet of paper plates he saw and wrote a report on those. Distel shocks Toni even further by telling her that Joey had a gunshot wound to the back of the head and he collected three bullet casings. "But this isn't a homicide, just pending, right?" Toni says sarcastically. "If you say so, above my pay grade," Distel answers. He says he just wrote up what he had and turned it in to his captain along with the bullet casings. "Captain laughed his ass off when I handed him the plates," Distel smiles. Toni tries to, but she's too deep in this case now and thinks it too serious to find humor in it. (Air time: 2:21)

At the gallery, Annie tells Torkanowsky that they've played all they rehearsed. He tells her they could play it all over again and no one would notice. Annie asks him to go solo while she takes a break and looks at the pictures. That scene actually lasts a whopping 35 seconds, but then it cuts to a New York scene where Delmond gets drinks with his friends that I wasn't going to recap. (Air time: 1:21) Back at the gallery, which depicts scenes of heroism and heartbreak related to Hurricane Katrina, Annie has a drink and takes in the exhibit. She stumbles upon a photo that shows Sonny taking a baby from a woman who is handing the child to him through a hole in the home's roof. The scene has some kind of effect on Annie whose face displays an odd reaction to seeing what her ex-boyfriend did to help his adopted city in the storm's aftermath. That's it for Annie for this episode: A whopping 70 seconds of screen time (not counting the opening montage) in the episode directed by the man who forgot to refill his Ritalin. (Air time: 0:35)

Antoine's burgeoning band begins their first official practice session. It doesn't start out perfectly as Antoine argues with the auditioning tenor saxophonist (Lucius Baston) over what key they are supposed to be playing. Batiste insists it's B flat, but the tenor sax player disagrees. Antoine plays it on his trombone again. "That's B flat motherfucker," he declares. When there's more dissent from other members, Antoine tells them they sound like a high school band. Trumpet player Mario Abney suggests it would be different if they had decent charts. "I would have had Wardell's charts here, but I asked Andrew Lloyd Webber instead," Antoine spits back. "I can tell right now I put together a band with some contrary motherfuckers." The band laughs and Antoine suggests they just use their ears. Then Antoine has to get seated sax player Lance Ellis to get off his cell phone, which he finally does. Eventually, the music gets going again, the tenor sax tryout hits a B flat that satisfies Antoine and he actually begins to sing. (Air time: 1:26)

Albert's amazed looking at the amount of debris at the dump Robinette hauls what he has removed to as part of his new work as one of Nelson Hidalgo's crews. Albert asks if the line of trucks is the same every day. "Some days better than others," Robinette says, "but whatcha gonna do when you got one ashcan to dump half the city into?" Albert wonders why there aren't any other open dumps and Robinette said they were using another one, but they closed it and opened the one they're currently at, which had been closed itself since 1986. "Now they're dumping shit right on top of the claycap. Now tell me that ain't gonna fuck shit up," Robinette explains. "Fools makin' it up as they go along," Albert says. (Air time: 0:41)

"Paper plates. Yeah I remember. How am I gonna forget that?" Capt. Jack Malatesta (Tony Senzamici) tells Toni. So a report was made on Joseph Abreu, Toni says to him. The captain remembers he was the shooting victim from a store. He tells Toni that the body was discovered in the 1st District, so it was their catch and he sent everything to them. (Air time: 0:22)

Albert thanks Robinette for the job as the men shovel out debris. Albert says they gave him the job on the promise he'd haul the old stuff away. Robinette asks him if tomorrow is his appointment with that "Road to Home shit," but Albert corrects him that it's 2 p.m. the day after tomorrow and it's The Road Home, not The Road to Home. Robinette insists that the website is www.roadtohome, but Albert tells him that Robinette can type in roadtohome and he'll type in roadhome they'll see who ends up on which end of the shovel. (Air time: 0:36)

Dinerral Shavers, the snare drummer for the Hot 8 Brass Band, and trombonist Glen David Andrews are having beers at GiGi's as Dinerral tells LaDonna about a certain cop who has been looking for funeral parades without permits just to shut them down. LaDonna says unless the cost of permit fees come back down, they've seen the end of parades. Shavers blames the situation on the shootings back in January. As Dinerral notes the music coming from the jukebox, he starts beating out a rhythm on the bar, reminding LaDonna of when he used to play drums on trash lids. Joining the three is Antoine who gets a loud, full name greeting from the men. "For the next 10 minutes, I don't need none of your bullshit please. I can't even find a tenor sax who knows how to transpose keys in his head," Antoine complains as his ex-wife pours him a drink. The sly Batiste then changes his demeanor and turns to charm mode, telling LaDonna that he's just formed a band and they might be looking for some gigs and he heard a rumor that she was considering adding live music. "I might let you audition," she tells her ex. "Audition?" Antoine laughs. (Air time: 1:13)

Davis drops by Janette's house to check her mail for anything important. While he's there, he notices the front door is ajar and the place has been ransacked. Nervous that burglars might still be there, Davis calls out, pretending he's the police and pointing his cell phone upward toward the second floor as if he's holding a gun before quickly fleeing. (Air time: 1:20) As you can tell by timer counts, there's a definite reason why this episode has such a choppy feel. With the exception of the very first scene between Toni and Officer Distel, no scene has topped two minutes yet. It really is quite annoying and takes you out of the episode a lot because nothing lasts long enough (with a few exceptions) to let you get involved. This will change when we get the centerpiece of the episode, which occurs about 20 minutes into the show, but its aftermath will be undermined by these same bite-size morsels.

As I mentioned earlier, it has the same director, Simon Cellan Jones, who helmed the first season's weakest episode which also came across in this ADD style. He also directed "The Emerald City" episode of Boardwalk Empire which, when I re-read my recap, I found differed from that show's usual style in the same way with quick, short scenes. It must be the only way Cellan Jones knows or prefers to direct, but it does a real disservice to the actors, the writers and the series in general. It also leads to choppy pacing, actually slowing the episode down since there's so little variety. Compare that to last week's superb and superbly paced Treme episode, which contained scenes which the viewer could get involved in such Lt. Colson's "Let Bourbon Street be Bourbon Street" address to his cops; Toni reluctantly at first listening to Mr. Abreu's story about his son but then slowly being drawn in; Janette's reading of and anger at the GQ article; the entire Bullet's club scene which had time for Nelson and Arnie, two numbers with Kermit Ruffins and Antoine and a campaign speech by "Rep. William Jefferson"; Enrico Brulard's brilliant eulogy to the salmon as he dresses down Janette's technique; and after dinner at the McAlary house where Annie and Davis' mom bond and Davis ends up at a bounce club with the wonderful Aunt Mimi. None of these were quick, microwavable nuggets. These were juicy scenes that were allowed to marinate. To paraphrase part of Brulard's speech from last week, I say to Cellan Jones, "You rushed every scene to the pan, squeezing out proteins, flavor, everything — the life substance that makes Treme what it is." I don't know if this man fears that viewers will be bored if scenes go on longer or if he gets bored if scenes go on longer, but someone stop him before he directs again, or at least stop him from directing shows I love.

At her office, Toni shows her friend Andrea Cazayoux (Jen Kober) Sofia's latest YouTube rant, which concerns wetlands and oil companies. She says the day before Sofia was complaining that the Humane Society spent more money relocating animals than Nagin spends to restore people's electricity. Toni also admits she's bothered by the profanity, but Andrea says it sounds as if she's just using Creighton's voice. Toni tells her friend that the more she lets Sofia run with it, the more Sofia seems to turn on her. The friend suggests a change of venue, maybe at the zoo or in politics. Andrea says that Sofia's school, Lusher Charter School (which used to be Alcee Fortier High School the public school where Desiree's friend Linda worked), has a volunteer requirement, why not try to get her an internship? It gives Toni the idea to call City Council President Oliver Thomas. (Air time: 1:04)

While Antoine unloads groceries, Desiree once again gets on his case about getting a real job, only this time she's actually set up an interview for him to be an assistant band leader at an elemetary school. Antoine has next-to-no interest, even with the $24,000-a-year salary that would come with the job, telling Desiree he could make that much in half that time once the band started getting gigs. The always skeptical Desiree says, "If this band happens, you might get gigs." She also emphasizes that would be off-the-book money and he needs a real salary to show the bank that between their two salaries they qualify for a home loan. Then she asks if he wants to live in that "dump" forever. Under his breath, Antoine mutters, "Dump your ass?" (Air time: 0:40)


Thankfully, we get a good Kim Dickens-Victor Slezak scene to compensate for this episode's direction, even if it's as short as the rest. This pair can do so much with even limited screen time. Later that night, we find Davis back hanging outside Janette's place as the police finally have arrived. He phones Janette in New York where she's at Brulard's and tells her he can't really tell what's missing. Janette says she'll try to get down there tomorrow. She ends the call and contemplates the long march toward Brulard to ask for the time off. You can tell by her hesitation that it's a conversation she'd much rather avoid, but she knows it must be done. Brulard leans over a table, jotting something down when she gets to him. "Chef, I have a problem in New Orleans. My house was broken into. I have to take tomorrow off, fly down there and deal. I can be back the day after tomorrow," Janette gets it all out in one breath. Someone places a dish in front of Brulard, but he waves it away before he lifts his head to look at Janette. "You made a commitment to be here," he says, waving the pen in circles in the air. "More important, you made a personal commitment to me and the people you work with to be here." "Chef, everything I own — " Brulard stands fully erect now and doesn't let Janette complete her sentence. "Do I have a life?" he asks, presumably rhetorically. "This is my life. Commitment. That's all I ask." Brulard turns his back on Janette to write something on the board on the wall. Janette tries again to explain what she has to do. "I have to file a report with the police. The insurance — " Again, Brulard isn't interested in what she has to say. I don't know how long Victor Slezak will be sticking around on Treme, but I will miss him when he's gone. He continues his character's arrogrant oration with his back to the camera and he's just as compelling. "You know, I can teach skills. I can teach people how to cook," Brulard turns his head around for the clincher. "Character. That I can't teach. Go. Go to New Orleans. Do your — whatever it is." It's easy to play an asshole, but it takes solid acting chops to create an asshole as interesting as Enrico Brulard. Janette thanks him and tells him she'll be back Friday. Who knows if he hears her or even cares? (Air time: 1:17)

Crime certainly has been prevalent in the second season of Treme, but for the most part the most violent incidents have occurred to strangers such as the woman found in the street at the end of the first episode or the victims of the bar shooting in that same outing. A man told Antoine he'd been robbed at gunpoint, but aside from the burglary of Janette's house, the major characters have been untouched so far.

LaDonna counts the evening's totals and zips up the take as she prepares to close GiGi's for the night as a loud banging can be heard on the iron gate outside its door. She yells to the young man that they are closed, but he says he is looking for a place called Sydney's. LaDonna gives him the directions, but tells him that Sydney's would be closed then as well. The young man, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, tells LaDonna that he's supposed to meet his family there to hear a band that's supposed to play for his birthday. LaDonna tells him that she doesn't think Sydney's has live music on Wednesdays and the man asks if he can use her phone, to which she immediately responds no, claiming she doesn't have one. He asks if she has a cell phone and you can feel LaDonna's suspicions heightening. Khandi Alexander was one of my MVPs for season one, but she hasn't had much to do yet this season. That's about to change. "What's your name?" LaDonna asks. The kid says Mike, but LaDonna wants to know his family name. He plays dumb and acts as if she's asking for his dad's first name and claims it's Mike, same as his. "Tell you what," LaDonna says as she gets her cell out. "I'm gonna call NOPD. Get them to come out and help you out, alright." Mike says that's alright and walks away. LaDonna talks to 911 and asks for someone to come out, telling the dispatcher she needs a cop to come out because there is someone who doesn't look right. Apparently, the dispatcher gives LaDonna static because she says, "Yes, I know the number for nonemergencies." LaDonna disconnects from 911 and retreats further into GiGi's before she swings her head in a motion that seems to say, "This is crap" and makes for the door. She spots two figures across the street walking away and thinks one of them is "Mike." As she shuts the door, Mike reappears at the corner. "You said St. Claude and what now?" She repeats the directions, an annoyed tone in her voice. Suddenly, another man appears on the other side of LaDonna. She rushes back into GiGi's and tries to lock it, but the duo pushes their way in. "What the fuck you doing?" LaDonna screams. "Get out!" she yells repeatedly as the pair continues to approach. She tosses her purse at them and tells them to take everything, including the $200, and leave. She then grabs a baseball bat and starts swinging wildly. The scene has been built up for so much tension — no one would want to pull away from it, would they? They do, for a short, completely extraneous scene of Sonny at The Spotted Car. Did I mention how poorly directed this episode was or was this bad editing? (LaDonna's scene: 2:01. Sonny's scene: 1:21)

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we needed to see the attack on LaDonna, but they could have ended with something more substantial than LaDonna swinging a bat wildly and then cuttng to a short and ultimately pointless Sonny scene before we return to GiGi's. If they needed to depict a passage of time, why not a short fade to black? It would have been more effective than leaving LaDonna where it did and breaking the tension with the Sonny scene. Back at GiGi's, a young man (Dominic "Taz" Alexander) wanders by and notices the bar's door is wide open. Cautiously, he looks in and as he gets closer he sees legs protruding from behind the bar and lying immobile on the floor. About a foot beyond the legs, a bat also lies on the floor. We next see the young man carrying an unconscious LaDonna and running her into the emergency room. "I need help. Someone help me. This woman's hurt." the young man shouts into the crowded ER. A nurse (Robinicole Kindrick) asks him what happened and he related finding the door to the bar open and LaDonna unconscious inside. The nurse asks LaDonna the same question, but she's still out. The nurse asks for a wheelchair and then apologizes to the young man for asking, "But do you know if she's carrying insurance?" The young man looks dumbfounded at the stupidity of the nurse expecting him to know the answer to that question. (Air time: 0:53)

Sonny takes a leisurely walk home when he nearly gets run down by a speeding car. He jumps to the sidewalk across the street as that car quickly is followed by a police car. Sonny hides behind a fence as he hears one of the officers yell, "Police! Search warrant!" The law enforcement team then smash their way through the front door of Sonny's apartment. Before too long, they've brought his roomies out in handcuffs and slammed one face down over the rear of the car. Sonny keeps watching from the shadows, but his dope-dealing roommate lifts his head long enough as he is being put in the squad car that he spots Sonny. (Air time: 0:51)


Another ER nurse (Nora Newbrough) has placed ice on LaDonna's neck, but tells her she can't give her anything for the pain until she receives doctor's orders. At that moment, Larry walks in. "LaDonna, what the hell?" The nurse tells him he can't be in there. Larry tells her that he's her husband and she shuts up. Larry demands to know how long LaDonna has been like that and the worker says she came in very disoriented and they called as soon as she could give them a contact number. Another woman (Monny McElroy) comes in with X-rays and starts to give results that nothing's broken but stops to ask who Larry is. He again identifies himself as her spouse. "Good, you're here with your wife," she says. "But for the moment, I'm going to have to ask you to step outside." Larry tells her he's staying right there. "Sir, I need you — " Larry interrupts, "Dammit! I'm not moving!" A weak, battered and bruised LaDonna meekly waves for Larry to go and mouths, "Please." Larry leaves and then the woman with the X-rays asks LaDonna for permission to examine her for sexual assault. (Air time: 1:34)

Well after the police have left his apartment, Sonny returns and discovers that on top of the mess made by the raid, since the cops left the door open, thieves helped themselves to anything that looked like it might be valuable. His keyboards look in bad shape and his guitar has disappeared completely. It's getting old and annoying, especially to keep interrupting interesting things for Sonny. (Air time: 0:36)

Back at the ER and a story we care about. (Keep in mind that other than LaDonna, Sonny is the only other character we've seen for nearly seven minutes. No Albert. No Antoine. No Toni. No Davis. No Lt. Colson. No Janette. Not even Delmond.) While LaDonna stares at the ceiling, another woman (Kesha Bullard) arrives to administer the rape test. She places on gloves and tells LaDonna she'll feel a little pressure inside. She then tells her to take slow, deep breaths and begins the exam. (Air time: 0:40)

I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that the next scene doesn't involve Sonny. The bad news: We get Jon Seda as Nelson Hidalgo instead. Nelson meets up with Robinette, amazed that he has reached his quota already while the other crews are still a week away from finishing. Hidalgo is so pleased that he tells Robinette that he has a bigger proposition for him. Robinette is ready to listen right then, but Nelson suggests they do it over drinks at his hotel around 7. He also asks Robinette not to be late because he has dinner plans. (Air time: 0:43)

Colson apologizes to Toni for keeping her waiting in his office. She fills Terry in on what she's learned about Joey Abreu, namely that he wasn't found on a street but in a store, he was shot to death, the officer wrote a report and collected casings and turned it over to the 1st District. Colson asks Toni if she checked with the 1st District, but she says she hasn't since she's not that popular over there after suing the 1st District captain a few years back for profiling on traffic stops. "Of course, you did," Colson semi-laughs. "He told the family he was found on the street, never mentions the bullet," Toni says. Colson suggest that perhaps they were trying to spare the family. "You should have seen that father's face. Nobody spared him anything," Toni tells Colson. (Air time: 1:05)

Larry rubs his wife's arm soothingly as she begins to speak about how they stole everything: her purse, her phone, her keys. Larry kisses her hand and tries to get her to quiet down when his phone goes off. He tells her he has to take it and gets up and leaves the room. You can hear him tell whoever it is not to tell LaDonna's mother or the boys — he'll have to talk to them. While Larry's in the hall, a woman in a suit knocks on the door. She introduces herself as Detective Leroy (Dana Gourrier) and says she's going to need to talk to LaDonna. She asks LaDonna if she's ready to do that, but LaDonna shakes her head no. "Not now," LaDonna says. Detective Leroy explains that the sooner she can get her statement, the better the chance they have to catch her attackers. "I can't. Not now," LaDonna insists. The detective says she'll come back in a little while and Larry returns to her side. (Air time: 1:03)

Free from Enrico Brulard's Manhattan stare, Janette Desautel climbs her New Orleans stairs to her second floor to get a sense of what belongings she left behind when she moved to New York have now been removed illegally. The thieves only gave her a ransacked mess as a souvenir — what little she had of value appears to have been taken. Janette does spot a large blue notebook with many papers inside it and that's all she removes when she comes back out the front door where Davis sits on the stoop. She tells him they really "tore through my shit good." "They had plenty of time, considering how long it took the cops to get here," Davis says as the ex-lovers lean against his car. Davis asks if there is anything he can do but Janette just looks at him and doesn't say a word. (Air time: 1:05)

"On a plate? Come on," 1st District police Capt. Marcus Grayson (John Eyez) says to Lt. Colson. "5D officer wrote it up on a paper plate — something you'd remember," Colson responds. "Came over to you guys from Malatesta in 5D." "I got nothing on it," Grayson insists. "Prioleau in Homicide has the file now. It's not a homicide. He marked pending." Grayson suggests that Colson should talk to Prioleau then. Colson tells the 1st District captain that the homicide detective received no report on it, no bullet casings, nothing. Colson tells Grayson that Prioleau never received anything on Joey Breau from the 1st District. The first call the detective received concerned a decomposing body. Grayson rolls his eyes. "This is fabulous. This is for that bitch, ain't it," he says, referring to Toni. "She fuckin' sued me, ya know. She's a scab puller. Whatever fits into her grand conspiracy, that's all she want to know," Grayson says as he walks past Grayson into his office and sits behind his desk. "She says we got a report and casings." Colson confirms. "She still thinks Kennedy was whacked by the Marcellos and LBJ and you're going to carry water for her? Shame on you, Terry." (Air time: 0:55)

Antoine and his band are rehearsing again and it seems to be going well (though some of the faces have changed. I thought I had noticed this, but Treme story editor and Inside Treme blogger Lolis Eric Elie confirmed it when helping me again this week. Thanks Lolis!) until Antoine stops them, objecting to the sound being produced by trumpet player Abney. Antoine tries to imitate what he's after using his mouth and Abney insists that is what he's playing. Antoine clearly disagrees. Drummer Raymond Weber to make the sound with his mouth and Abney tries again, but he doesn't seem to be getting where Antoine wants him to go, so he asks Weber to show him what he means. Weber hasn't struck too many times until Antoine is waving his hands. "No no no no no. Hold up. That shit ain't right either," Antoine says. Bass player Cornell Williams asks with surprise, "I know you didn't just tell Raymond Weber that he dropped the beat, did you?" "Yeah, I did," Antoine replies. "Ray, when was the last fucking time you dropped the beat?" Williams asks. "Me? '83," Weber responds. Keyboard player Thaddeus Richard chimes in that everyone who is right sounds wrong. "We need a guitar. That Phillips is old." Weber laments that he misses his snare drum. "I don't know where to find no guitar player," Antoine says. "I know horn men and rhythm and all, but Scully and Detroit, they all have gigs and the rest are just white boys with bad hair playing cowboy keys." Antoine advises that they just try to pick up where they left off. After they're going for a few minutes, he stops them again, saying someone's still not with it to which one of the members responds, "Yeah — you." (Air time: 1:45)

Colson meets Toni at a restaurant to tell her what he's learned, but his demeanors has most decidedly changed after his meeting with Captain Grayson. "You're right — Grayson's got no love for you," Terry tells her. "I'm shocked," Toni says between bites. "Regardless, he's got no memories of reports, casings or paper plates," Colson continues. "And I checked with Homicide. Nothing made it to them either. "So Malatesta and the 5D cop are crazy or they're lying — those are my choices?" Toni asks. "I don't know what to tell you, but I took this as far as I'm gonna," Terry informs her. "Terry, I'm not looking for a thank you, just a couple of answers." Terry tells her he's done what he can, then abruptly gets up, saying he has to run. (Air time: 0:27)

An ER clerk (Han Soto) comes in LaDonna's room and asks Larry to come with him to sign her discharge papers. LaDonna sits up in a wheelchair and urges him to go. Once he leaves, the ER worker who conducted the exam sits beside her and gives her pills to help prevent STDs and HIV and gives her the option for taking Plan B which she cna take to prevent any pregancy but she must take an additional pill 12 hours later. LaDonna dutifully swallows all the pills when Detective Leroy returns, seeing if she's ready to talk. LaDonna indicates she doesn't want to talk in front of Larry amd the detective says she understands, but asks if she can identify her attackers. LaDonna stares at the floor. The detective tells her to take her time and LaDonna raises her head. (Air time: 2:30)

As the hotel band plays an instrumental version of "Mack the Knife," Nelson tries to charm yet a different woman from the one who was in his hotel room earlier. Right on time, Robinette arrives, asking Hidalgo if he has something for him and Nelson whisks out a manilla envelope containing Robinette's $25,000. "I appreciate personal intiative. How'd you like to be the new associate vice president for demolition and debris removal for Hidalgo and Hidalgo Limited of Dallas, Texas?" Nelson asks. Robinette asks what he means. Nelson tells Robinette he would handle all his demolition contracts from now on, divide the works, take whatever Robinette can get and give the rest to whoever can get the job done. Hidalgo adds that Robinette would handle all the paperwork that goes back to the Florida contractor, because he's not interested in details. "For this I get what?" Robinette asks. "Five percent on all of it. So say I get a quarter million in work orders, you take $12,500 off, not to mention how much of the actual contract you want to cover," Nelson explains. "What's in it for you?" Robinette inquires. "Me? Fifty percent. No shame in my game. I'm making it rain, right?" Robinette taps his envelope on the table and stands up. Nelson asks if he's gonna have a drink. "I've got much better company," Robinette says and walks away. We cut back in on the band, where the lead trombonist has begun the song's vocals, "Lies a body/Just oozing life." (Air time: 1:57)


In New York, Delmond plays a well-received set at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and takes a break after playing the title cut from Walkup. He introduces John Batiste on piano and Tony Jarvis on sax and promises the audience they'll be back as he steps to the bar and finds the club's manager (Gregory Jbara). "It's the best thing I've ever recorded, but it just ain't moving," Delmond tells the manager, who advises him that the old ways don't work anymore. "If I want to fill this room, if you've got music you want to move, it's a brave new world," Dizzy's manager tells him. Delmond needs elaboration. "We're getting enough hits on the website. I'm not sure the club listings even matter. What's your site saying?" the manager asks, who is then surprised to learned Delmond has no website or Facebook page. Not even MySpace. "Del, who the fuck is your manager?" the club manager asks. "It's a whole Internet thing." He explains that a kid in Idaho sees him on Facebook, a minute later is buying him off iTunes. "Ka-ching." (Air time: 2:18) and it allowed for one of the rare times in this episode that a sizable chunk of music got to be played.

Prior to Delmond's scene, we get to see Janette reunite with her former chef at Desautel's, Jacques (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine), who she's staying with overnight before she flies back to New York. She asks how Susan is treating him and I imagine we are to assume he got a job at the restaurant run by chef Susan Spicer, one of two New Orleans chefs singled out in the infamous Alan Richman GQ article. The scene immediately after Delmond's has another member of Albert's tribe asking if he's done sewing for the night because he hasn't made a stitch for more than an hour and Albert looks as if he's almost asleep. Next, Antoine brushes his teeth, spots the suit Desiree has laid out for him and hears her berate him again that he's going to get a job that day. (Total air time of those three scenes: 1:30)

Up next, we see the crowded office of The Road Home where Janette comes in with a blue accordion file, presumably containing the papers she removed from her place. She takes a number and grabs a seat which puts her next to Albert, which I believe is the first time in the history of the series that Kim Dickens and Clarke Peters have shared a scene together. "Goddamn," Janette says looking around at the throngs of people, "I'm not going to make my flight." They witness a couple being told they don't have all their paperwork and being sent away. "Down the rabbit hole," Janette says. Albert hums affirmatively. (Air time: 0:57). Because we might as well keep all of The Road Home stuff together, I'm going to summarize it all in one section. Janette strikes up a conversation with Albert, telling him that the first floor of her house got hit the worse and asking him if he got much damage. Albert just nods. She then tells him about moving to New York and getting the call about the burglary and how she hopes she can get in to talk to someone. The Road Home people gave her an appointment for Jan. 3, but she can't make that date. "I had to beg my boss for time to check on my house," Janette tells this man whom viewers know but is a stranger to her. It clicks what she's saying and Albert turns and looks at her. "So you here today without a scheduled appointment?" he asks, just to be clear. She nods yes, but he doesn't really say anything, just shakes his head and quietly goes, "Hmm hmm hmm." (Air time that time: 0:47). When we return to the final Road Home scenes, Janette and Albert will be with separate case workers, so I will do those separately when they come up.

"Joey was shot? In a store?" Vincent Abreu says to Toni with disbelief. "Who do they think did it?" Toni tells the surprised father that the police don't know. "There's a question as to whether evidence was recovered or reports exist on this at all," she tells him. "You see the police work after storm was — what it was." Mr. Abreu asks Toni what happens now because he can't stay in New Orleans any longer than he already has. "I'm out of comp days," he tells her. Toni suggests that Mr. Breau return home. "I'll learn what I can," Toni says, "and call you." (Air time: 0:38)

Nelson pays a visit to City Council President Oliver Thomas in his City Hall office, though Thomas doesn't immediately remember meeting Hidalgo at the Thanksgiving races until Nelson provides some details and Thomas finally recalls that Hidalgo was the one from Dallas. Thomas reads Nelson's card which identifies him as a "consultant" and tells him that "around here consultant is just another word for unindicted co-conspirator." Nelson laughs uneasily, but promotes his firm's infrastructure work in Waco, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas — all over Texas. "Let me tell you," Nelson says, "even without the storm, this town needs an upgrade or two." This time, it's Thomas doing the laughing. "Mr. Hidalgo, we appreciate all help from out of state," Thomas says. "But to quote standard wisdom, 'All politics is local.'" Nelson asks what he means and Thomas says he means he wants to know who he's working with, who brought him to New Orleans. "I'm no carpetbagger, Councillor," Nelson says before spreading his big lie, "I'm just a good vote Democrat here to do some good." Thomas isn't geting the answer he wants. "Don't take this personally but over the past year we've been inundated with people making money that's supposed to go to our recovery," Thomas tells him. "So I will ask you again: Who in this town are you working with?" The supposedly "good vote Democrat" realizes he has to cough up a name now so he does tell Thomas, "C.J. Liguori's a friend" which prompts Thomas to laugh again. "Not exactly a good vote Democrat," Thomas laughs. Nelson tells the city council president he's comfortable on either side of that aisle and then tries to turn to flattery, saying the long view has Thomas running for mayor, especially since everyone's so down on Nagin. "For now, I'm just taking it one day to the next," Thomas responds. "Lost my house. Lost my brother recently. I'm just living in the here and now," Thomas says as he stands up. Nelson rises as well. "If tomorrow comes, remember me councillor. I brought Texas rain for Karen Carter's campaign last month, I'll bring that same rain for you," Nelson promises, referring to the woman who made it to the congressional runoff against Rep. William Jefferson. "You couldn't help Karen in that race," Thomas says as he hands Nelson back his card and walks away. As the two leave Thomas' office together, his receptionist (Gwendolyne Foxworth) gives him messages including one from Toni saying that Sofia is coming that afternoon about that internship. Nelson shakes his hand and says he's sorry for his loss. (Air time: 2:03)

We get an outside shot of City Hall, a large, rather ordinary-looking glass office building that would only be identified as the seat of city government because of the large red capital letters that read CITY HALL across the top of it. We also hear a helicopter overhead. As the camera comes down to ground level, we can see two TV trucks. Sofia and Toni's assistant Alison approach the building and Sofia tells Alison that she doesn't have to walk her inside. "Your mom's the boss. I do as I'm told," Alison tells the teen who responds, "Whatever." Alison is curious about the TV crews so she asks a man what is going on and he tells her that there is going to be a press conference. Mayor Nagin will be naming a new recovery czar. As they go in City Hall, they pass Hidalgo coming out. (Air time: 0:31)

This short scene is the kind of scene where its brevity works for comic effect. It probably would be even funnier if there weren't so many scenes of this length in this episode. We see a bunch of rambunctious, uniformed schoolchildren running out of the school building and toward buses, as the school day has presumably ended. They're laughing and making all sorts of noise. A cab pulls up in front of the school steps and Antoine Batiste, looking sharp in his suit, tie and a cap gets out. He surveys the scene, sees one of the adults trying to control a student and even gets bumped by two of the kids. He climbs back in the cab and has it drive away again. Desiree will be mad, but there's no way he's going in there for that job interview. (Air time: 0:31)

Sonny drops by The Music Exchange and describes his stolen guitar, in case it should turn up by someone trying to sell it. He also checks his bulletin board posting and takes a tab for Antoine's band seeking a guitarist. (Air time: 0:23)

Back at the office of The Road Home, Albert and Janette both happen to get clerks at the same time. The case worker (John Chambers) helping Janette isn't helping much at all, even when she explains her situation, telling her that he can only deal with people who have been scheduled for that day. The woman (Shannon Rockweiler) serving Albert has better news for him, telling Albert that all his papers seem to be in order. "Really?" Albert says, sounding surprised. "Yes, sir. You're set," she tells him. Janette continues to try to get through to the man, telling him how she lives in New York now. He repeats the same line and Janette tells him she can't come back next month. It was hell getting there today. Back in Albert's cubicle, his caseworker, holds up the folder of his insurance company. "State Farm? They screwed me too," she says. Janette continues to get nowhere with her automatron. "Can you cut me a break?" she pleads. "If I cut you one, I have to cut everyone else one, then where would we be?" the man asks. "I don't know. We'd all get a break then? Wouldn't that be a nightmare?" Janette replies sarcastically. Albert's clerk tells him he's good to go for his photo ID and fingerprints and he smiles, for what seems like the first time in a long time, and thanks her. (Air time: 0:53)

After leaving countless messages, Delmond's manager James Woodrow (Jim True-Frost) finally shows up to see him at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Delmond wants to know why they aren't pursuing web promotion, but Woodrow more or less pisses on that idea. "Delmond, you put out a modern jazz collection, a good one, but it sells what it sells," Woodrow tells his client. Del fires him. (Air time: 1:06)

Wanda Rouzan joins Antoine's band for this rehearsal, singing her heart out on "Got to Get You Off My Mind," and this time Antoine doesn't seem to have compaints with anyone's playing. "Lord have mercy," Antoine proclains, "we finally got one down." Wanda tells him, "Now all we need is eight or nine more baby and you got yourself a set." Randall Weber says, "That's rich. We should be in the clubs by summer." Antoine shakes his head. "I'm tired of you all complaining, for real. Come on, now" Terrell tells him that's part of his job since he's the bandleader. "You know what, I paid for this room until 6 o'clock," Antoine tells his group, "and I was going to say, 'Let's move on to that other thing' but now I'm going to say, 'Fuck you all, I'm gonna go get a drink or two.'" Antoine grabs his favorite mode of transportation, the taxi, and has it take him to GiGi's. He's surprised to find it all locked up and closed. He peers in the window, but sees that no one is there. (Air time (including trip to GiGi's): 3:01, the longest scene of the entire episode).

Nelson sits at a bar and watches TV as Ray Nagin's pick for recovery czar, Edward Blakely, speaks. Turns out he helped recovery efforts in New York after 9/11 and San Francisco after the 1989 quake. Hidalgo is livid. They call him a carpetbagger and say they try to keep it local? To drown his sorrows with something other than alcohol, he hits on the woman down the bar from him. (Air time: 0:41)

Sonny finds himself in a quandary: He finally has an audition for an R&B band but he doesn't have a guitar. He runs into Harley Watt (Steve Earle) on the street and begs to borrow one. Harley's hesitant, but he agrees if Sonny promises not to pawn his stuff. Sonny tries to get Harley to loan him his best electric, but Watt offers a lesser: Take it or leave it. (Air time: 1:53)

LaDonna finally rests in her own bed. Larry tells her that the doctor said she can take a Vicodin as often as she needs it and she wants one then. "I'm just so damn glad you're OK," he tells her. He asks if she needs another pillow. He reminds her that he can write refills since he's a dentist as well. LaDonna asks for a pillow. When Larry leaves, LaDonna closes her eyes as if she's going to go to sleep, but then she reopens them and just looks scared. (Air time: 1:23) As the credits roll, "Mack the Knife" returns, this time sung by Louis Armstrong.

Special thanks to fellow tweeter L"TL"M who gave me the name of a musician and thanks again to Lolis Eric Elie for taking time out of his busy schedule to help me with character and actor names and other details.



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Comments:
Great review...but actually Robinette said 'SHE's much better company.'
 
Thanks. I'm sure there are more mistakes in there because I didn't get a chance to give it a final read because I got hospitalized without Internet access last weekend and had to take my chances and have a friend post it as was.
 
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