Sunday, June 19, 2011
Treme No. 19: What Is New Orleans?
BLOGGER'S NOTE: This recap contains spoilers, so if you haven't seen the episode yet, move along.
By Edward Copeland
OK. You all read that note about spoilers, right? I mean it, because this lead is going to give a big hint about something that happened tonight (that's why I picked as generic art as possible). Wallace. Frank Sobotka. Stringer Bell. Sherrod. Snoop. Creighton Bernette. What do these characters — five from The Wire and John Goodman's character from the first season of Treme — have in common? All of these characters were killed off and none peacefully: Four murders, a suicide and an overdose of tainted drugs meant for someone else. More importantly, the episode in which viewers said goodbye to each of these characters on series co-created by David Simon had teleplays written by George Pelecanos. Am I giving too much away by telling you that "What Is New Orleans?" was written by Pelecanos from a story by him and Simon? I think you know what that means. We're gonna be short a character come next week's episode. On the plus side, with Simon contributing to the story and Pelecanos writing the teleplay, we can be reasonably assured that this episode will have some of the series' sharpest writing.
Before I dive into the recap, I feel I owe the makers of Treme an apology. I had a revelation as I watched more musical performances interrupted. It doesn't change my criticism of the awkwardness of the cuts to short scenes or those type of scenes in nonmusical contexts, but I suddenly remembered the audience participation gag from The Rocky Horror Picture Show when Frank starts to lead his guests in singing "Happy Birthday" to Rocky but stops before the song is finished and the audience shouts, "Don't sing the whole thing Janet or we'll have to pay royalties." With as much music as Treme has, it's probably cost prohibitive to sing a song in its entirety and they have to just play part of it at a reduced rate in order not to be held up by the ridiculous demands the music industry makes. That's why the DVD releases of so many shows never happen, end up being "best of" collections or are really expensive because, even though the music industry has been paid originally, they just keep coming back for more like Paul Sorvino's character in Goodfellas when he takes over The Bamboo Lounge "as a favor." Had a bad week? Fuck you. Pay me. No one else involved in the production of movies or TV shows ties up their future release like that. You don't see actors, writers or directors coming back again and again demanding more for the work they've done and preventing the release of the original version of the work (unless they were married to Fred Astaire and will sue if someone tries try to show clips of his films without paying her off, though she will sell his image to pimp vacuum cleaners). It's probably why it took so long to get the complete set of The Larry Sanders Show released on DVD. I've found some very interesting reading if you are so inclined:
Rant over. Back to tonight's episode.
Davis returns to the booth of his former employer, only as a guest of DJ Jeffy Jeff and accompanied by Lil Calliope, to promote "The Road Home" and DJ Davis and the Brassy Knoll. Davis announces the name of his new record label: 58 Mercury Monterey Records (named after that car that Aunt Mimi used to make such good time in from LSU to the French Quarter). "We are taking this whole New Orleans brass-funk-bounce thing to a place it's never been before," Davis proclaims and DJ Jeffy Jeff asks where that might be. "Musical insurrection. DJ Davis and the Brassy Knoll exist as political dissent and we will not rest until the entire Who Dat nation is exactly that because you know what Katrina made clear? I'm no longer from the United States of America," McAlary declares. Much to Davis' surprise (and chagrin), Calliope hands Jeff a CD. Jeff asks if it's another heavy political statement, but Calliope says it's more of a headbanger. Jeff says if they have time, they'll get to it and starts playing "The Road Home," whose sound brings Davis' former boss Darnell bursting into the booth. "What's he doing here?" Darnell demands to know. "I'm the talent," Davis smiles.
In Baton Rouge, Larry's practicing tough love with LaDonna. "Imagine that," he says. "Get dressed proper in the morning. Strap on your shoes. Off to work. Like most folks." She doesn't say a word. "I'm tellin' you — it's damn near time you start puttin' yourself back together. Sittin' up at night with a bottle does nothin' but kill your next day. Your sons need to see you wide awake and fresh when they get up in the mornin'," Larry tells the still-silent LaDonna. "Now you know how I feel about that goddamn bar, especially after what happened. I hate that fuckin' place, but I hate you on this sofa even more." LaDonna shuts off the TV. "So what you askin'?" Larry's voice has been steadily rising, but it's a full shout now. "I'm tellin'. Either you reopen that bar and you go back to work or we sell that fuckin' thing and you bring your ass back up here and be a part of this family like you should. One or the other but either way I need you up off your ass!" After spending the majority of two seasons almost as an extra, it's really good to see Lance E. Nichols get material that shows what he can do, even if both he and Khandi Alexander were somewhat denied last week what should have been their most pivotal moments of the season. In their first scene of tonight's episode, the behind-the-scenes team at Treme certainly make some amends. LaDonna tells Larry that she has to meet with ADA Baron the day after tomorrow so she'll reopen GiGi's then. "Where the hell you supposed to stay?" he asks. "We close on your mama's house in two weeks. We can't move new furniture back in there." LaDonna suggests above the bar, but Larry vetoes that. "Then I'll get a hotel room — downtown — on Canal Street. Alright?" she says as she walks away.
Toni and Sofia meet with Bob Arnold (Bernard Hocke), the lawyer that Toni hired to represent Sofia on her pending charges. Arnold tells them the good news that they'll be more interested in the kid with the heroin than with Sofia and that the prosecutor they've drawn tends to be reasonable. "If we do everything we're supposed to do, they'll most likely allow us to plead and get probation," Arnold says. "Once you complete your probation, they'll most likely go back and clear your record." Toni asks how soon they'll be in court and Arnold informs her that for juveniles, it's 90 days from date of offense. "It will also give you time to get the blue streaks out of your hair," he tells Sofia. Arnold also wants her to get a paid afterschool job in addition to her internship with Oliver Thomas. "We need to convey the impression that you're a reasonably responsible person who made a mistake that's totally out of character," the lawyer explains. He also tells Sofia he's going to want her to take drug tests and have weekly meetings with a child psychologist. "I'm not mental," Sofia insists. "That's good to know but we still need an expert to say so to the judge," Arnold tells her. Sofia sighs "Fuck" prompting Arnold to ask Toni to leave them alone for a few minutes. Toni doesn't want to, but she complies. "You are about to go to court in Jefferson Parish, not Orleans," he tells Sofia. "You piss someone off, it guarantees you won't be going home to sleep in your own bed. So you're gonna do whatever I say to do when I say it. Understood?" Sofia nods.
An Irish singer is busking with Harley as Annie drops by to listen. The visitor pulls out a tin whistle and begins playing it. Harley introduces him as Slim Jim Lynch (Peter "Spider" Stacy), a street entertainer like himself visiting from London for St. Patrick's Day events. Annie tells him you don't see many of those instruments around New Orleans and Slim Jim says that's probably because there isn't much use for a pennywhistle in a Fats Domino song. Annie asks Harley if he's interested in accompanying her on some street playing — she needs pocket money — but Harley promised to show Jim around during the day and tells Annie he'll meet up with her after dark. By the way, though Lynch sounds Irish, Stacy is an Englishman. In fact, he was one of the founding members of The Pogues and is rumored to be an inspiration for the character Vyvyan on the British comedy The Young Ones.
Colson gets greeted by Capt. John Guidry who just wanted to let Terry know that Deputy Chief Marsden fired one officer and transferred one of his lieutenants. "Good fuckin' job, Terry," Guidry says. "You blamin' me?" Colson responds. Guidry continues to whine about Colson having gone to Marsden, but Colson reminds Guidry that they fucked up the Helen Hill investigation, not him. As he's leaving, Guidry asks Colson if he's been reading the Times-Picayune recently about drug use at Lusher and how one kid OD'd. "I hear the daughter of your lawyer friend caught bracelets," Guidry informs him. "My lawyer friend?" "The one with the red hair. Kid got popped for H. Fuckin' tragedy," Guidry says unconvincingly. "You guys are right for each other. That's another one that likes to get involved in everybody else's business. Pretend their own shit smells like roses." As Colson makes sure Guidry gets out, another cop gives him a message that Marsden wants to see him.
The band class at Elie Elementary seems to be coming along and if both the students and my ears were in tune and on the same wavelength, I believe they were practicing "Fever," which was a huge hit for Peggy Lee but originally was recorded by the mostly forgotten '50s R&B singer Little Willie John. The song was written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell (who penned it under the alias John Davenport). LeCouer stops the class and tells them they weren't bad. "Sounded good to me," Denard says. "Actually Denard, you were a half-measure behind," the band director tells him, making Antoine and the rest of the class laugh. Denard argues that he was improvising. LeCouer explains that marching bands are about being in lockstep with the other players. Robert speaks up, telling LeCouer and Antoine that he wants "to be in one of those bands where you can play free." That catches Batiste's attention. "What? Y'all ain't even up on two feet yet." LeCouer informs the class that all the best jazz musicians came out of school bands — that's how you learn. One of the students asks Antoine where he plays now, and Batiste mentions his own band and an upcoming gig. Robert wants to watch, but Antoine says where he plays is for adults.
Colson enters Deputy Chief Marsden's office, not knowing what to expect. He's certainly not prepared for what Marsden tells him: Effective immediately, Terry is being transferred to homicide. The deputy chief says that his criticism of the handling of the Helen Hill murder was on point. "So once there in an official capacity, you can work on things you think are deficient in the unit." Terry asks what he fears he knows the answer to. "Is Captain Guidry going to remain in charge of homicide?" Marsden confirms that he is. This confuses me a bit. In this episode, Guidry was wearing a suit, as those of us familiar with homicide departments only through TV expect, but in previous appearances, Guidry always was in uniform and referred to as 6th District captain. On the episode with the Hill murder, Colson actually spoke with a different homicide detective at the scene. When Guidry first chewed out Colson for going to Marsden, he asked why he was butting in when he wasn't in the 6th District or homicide. "As you can imagine, John Guidry is not entirely enamored of me at this moment," Terry tells Marsden. "I spoke to the captain. He knows that you'll be working together," Marsden says. "Look lieutenant, the department's got problems everywhere, but homicide is where we are truly and deeply fucked. One conviction — one — out of 162 murders last year. Here's your chance to do better. Do the job. You'll be fine."
"So, what do you think Darren?" Antoine asks LeCoeur after the students have departed. "How do you know, as a teacher, which kids will stand out?" Darren replies, "I'm not here to teach one kid. This is about all of them. This is more than music, Antoine." Before the image of this short scene disappears, we can tell where we are going next because though the visual is of Wendell Pierce standing silently, deep in thought in the classroom, we can already hear Clarke Peters as Albert doing some of his tribal calls.
It's a nice touch. I don't know if it came from this week's director Adam Davidson, whose resume includes directing a lot of episodic television and winning the 1990 Oscar for best live action short for The Lunch Date. This episode still has those short scenes that bother me when they aren't balanced with longer ones, but it does show how certain writers produce sharper ones even with limited time. Even though George Pelecanos is inevitably a harbinger of death, he is one as is, of course, David Simon. Lolis Eric Elie and Eric Overmyer have shown their abilities as well. Other times, it falls on the shoulders of the director to try keep the pace flowing past a glut of clunky short ones, but Treme works best when it finds a great union of the two as it does here with Davidson directing Pelecanos' teleplay or Brad Anderson directing the Simon/Overmyer script on "Carnival Time," Alex Zakrzewski directing Elie's teleplay on "Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues?" or Tim Robbins directing Simon's script for "Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky."
As the sounds foretold, Albert's in a studio doing his calls into a microphone, a headset on and shaking a tambourine. "I'm big chief of Guardians of the Flames," he chants before striking the tambourine above his head. As he continues, the musicians begin to join in: Delmond, Donald Harrison Jr., Dr. John, Ron Carter and Carl Allen. You can tell by the look on Albert's face that something is bothering him. He keeps glancing some at Allen on drums but mostly at Carter on bass. Del notices that something's amiss and waves them to shut off the recording. "What the hell?" Del asks in his father's general direction. Harrison complains that it was sounding good. Delmond asks Albert if he's OK or needs water or something. "I don't need no damn water," Albert says. "Ron, you hearin' me?" Albert asks the legendary bass player. "Are you hearing me or you don't want to hear it?" Carter asks back. Expressing that patented Albert Lambreaux indignation, he replies, "I want to feel that rhythm section" before he gets off his stool and stomps over to Carter and starts playing his bass. Del steps in. "Daddy, are you trying to show Ron Carter who has been on about a thousand jazz recordings how to play the bass?" Albert is not deterred. "I'm tryin' to teach him some Indian, son." Carter tells Albert that he thinks he's got that. Dr. John sits at his piano very amused. (PERSONAL NOTE TO DAVID SIMON, ERIC OVERMYER, ET AL: Please make Dr. John a regular in season three. I won't complain about those miniscenes anymore if you do.) "Trying to show Ron Carter something on the bass is like trying to show a whore how to turn a trick — it's an impossible maneuver," Dr. John comments. Albert starts complaining about the sound of the studio. "It don't even smell right," Albert declares. Delmond correctly guesses that he thinks that because it's in New York, but he's reminded by Harrison that they are all musicians and their notes will sound great wherever they are.
As Antoine hands out payment to his band members after their gig at Donna's Bar & Grill, he complains that he's "up to his teeth with their bitchin' and moanin'." Seems he had to rent a high-hat for Herman Jackson at the last minute and when he showed up at the club, Tim Green was the only member of the horn section who was there and didn't have other gigs. Antoine gets on his "straw boss" Thaddeus because he's "supposed to be ridin' herd on these motherfuckers." Batiste is especially pissed, he tells them, because it's coming just as they are coming into a better class of gigs. One of those who did show asks, "Like what?" Antoine tells them that they could be playing The Blue Nile, which had some holes in their schedule and they can have tomorrow night if they want it. As Antoine prepares to pay Sonny, Cornell makes sure to intervene and take the cash and just give Sonny part of it back. "A lot of us have regular gigs," Wanda says. "You don't think I have other responsibilities? I have a day job in addition to this," Antoine informs them to his band members' surprise. "You're lookin' at the assistant bandleader down at Elie." The other musicians all laugh at him for "leading a bunch of kids."
Nelson and C.J. go over the purchases in the Mid-City area, which Nelson puts at more than $18 million in real estate purchases passing through that area Liguori marked on that map, not even counting the building Nelson bought. "At two-and-a-half points, that puts me at half-a-million on this caper alone. I'm over two mil since I got off the plane down here," he tells C.J. Liguori admits he's got more investors lined up than there's property available and they're looking beyond Mid-City as well. "Yours isn't the only umbrella I've got people sheltered under," C.J. admits, "but the window is closing. There is an announcement coming — development zones, Mid-City planning. At this point, we shouldn't just be waiting for auctions and real estate sales, we should be going door-to-door picking up everything we can."
The documentary filmmaker Dana Lyndsey took her work to New York and films Albert and Delmond as they visit The Brooklyn Museum, specifically the West African Treasures section of its Arts of Africa collection. "You'll be amazed when you see it," Dana tells Albert. "The connection is so obvious." Delmond tells his father he knows what he's thinking already. Doing a mocking imitation of Albert's voice, Del says, "We got museums in New Orleans — better museums." Albert shrugs Del off. "Pay my son no mind. He's a little emotional these days." Dana laughs as they enter the exhibition room. Albert spots the piece Dana intended to show him before she can even lead him there, letting out a "Whoa." It's a mask with full head dress full of feathers. Dana explains that the Loma of Liberia used the masks in initiation ceremonies and then only the initiated members could carve a mask. "They say that once a male puts on a mask, he chants all day in spirit," Dana concludes. "Looks familiar, right?" Albert has been inspecting the mask as closely as he can without busting through the glass. "They got that from us," Albert proclaims, stupefying his son. "Look at the way they use them feathers up on that headdress — that's old-time black Indian right there," Albert asserts. "Daddy, we came from Africa, not the other way around. Read the plaque!" Del insists. "I don't have to read the goddamned thing. I got eyes — I can see," his stubborn father says. Delmond reads the plaque out loud anyway, pointing out that it dates back to the late 18th century, 100 years "before Creole Wild West or Yellow Pocahontas even had a great dream about Mardi Gras suits." Albert points part of the mask out to his son. "See them shells? See the way they use them shells? That's my style," Albert proclaims, though his son can't believe he's being serious. "Like you say, I know what I know." As Albert walks away from the display, he gives Dana a wink.
LaDonna meets with ADA Baron again and though Larry isn't there and no secrets are at risk of being revealed, Baron doesn't have much good news to report. First, it seems that Detective Leroy made a procedural goof when she showed LaDonna the photo sheets to identify her attackers from because instead of putting each one on a different array with five fakes, she handed LaDonna a sheet that had both suspects on it with four others. Baron has made new series of mug shot sheets and LaDonna has to identify her attackers again so there's no question in court. "Besides, that other victim is the one who's pointing them out in court, right?" LaDonna says though by Baron's silence she reiterates. "Ain't that right?" Baron informs LaDonna that there have been "some procedural problems" in the other case. "Procedural problems?" LaDonna asks sharply. "We now feel that perhaps your case is the stronger of the two," the prosecutor tells her. LaDonna demands to know what's going on. "The other victim has declined to testify," Baron says. LaDonna, arms crossed, nods, then asks, "What if I decline too?" Baron lays it out rather clearly: Without LaDonna's testimony, they will have no case.
Davis and Lil Calliope are driving in Davis' car when Calliope gets a call from a friend telling him that a radio station is playing the song right now. McAlary gets excited, assuming he means "The Road Home," but it's a track of Lil Calliope's CD of his own music. The excited young man leans out the window shouting at passers-by that it's him on the radio while Davis looks quite annoyed.
Sofia and Oliver Thomas are eating in his office as Sofia shares her legal travails. "It wasn't mine and the guy said it was his, but I got charged with marijuana though," she tells him. "That was yours?" he asks. "Weed? Sure. It should be legal," Sofia declares. "For 16-year-olds?" Oliver poses. Sofia has to give him that. "No, not for 16-year-olds." Thomas says he guesses her mother isn't as nonchalant about this as she is. Sofia then lists her grievances about what the lawyer is making her do. "The price you pay," he tells her. "I know," Sofia says cheerily. "You'll get elected mayor and then you can make marijuana legal. Not legal, but the kind of thing police just write you a ticket for like parking laws." "I can tell you one thing, young lady. That will not be a campaign promise." She suggests that would win him votes, but Thomas asks if she doesn't think there are bigger problems facing the city. "You'll be a good mayor," she tells him. "I've seen you second line."
We get our first scene with Janette working at The Lucky Peach and David Chang is funny in it, but I'm still tired of this storyline. Later, there's a second scene where a famous chef comes in for a meal and Chang whips up something special specifically for him. Yawn.
Antoine and His Soul Apostles did show up for that Blue Nile gig, but it appears that no one else did as there's hardly an audience member to be found. Antoine tells his bandmates to relax that it's just because of the short notice — by the second set they'll be packed. Thaddeus throws cold water on that idea, noting that Kermit Ruffins is two doors down at Ray's Boom Boom Room. Antoine smiles and tells the band, "Give me 10 and I'll be back." Carrying his trombone with him, Antoine takes the short walk over to Ray's and stands with the crowd as Ruffins sings what I believe is "What Is New Orleans?"
Colson is on the phone outside the trailer where he lives. We get a better look this time and see it is situated between two houses. "I've got to get my sons out of here. Drop 'em at a movie or something," he tells the person on the other end. He wonders if they'd like to meet him for a beer. "I could use one," he says. In the background, we get our first glimpse of a Colson son, who could be anywhere from 11 to 14. Hard to say. "The Columns on St. Charles? Right. See ya then," Terry tells the person as he hangs up. "Turn that shit off," he yells at the boys, "we're goin' out."
Back at Ray's, Ruffins finishes his number as Antoine remains in the crowd. Now, that it dawned on me why they can't play songs in their entirety, this entire sequence that's coming, though still fun, would have been even more so if the Colson scene hadn't awkwardly been placed in the middle of it. Granted, I'm not usually an advocate of more Sonny, but we have and Cornell as well as the other band members two doors down at the Blue Nile twiddling their thumbs waiting on Antoine, so it would have made more logical sense and for better flow to cut to them. The Colson scene could have been placed before the first Blue Nile scene. As this funny sequence goes on, they also cut to a 25-second shot of a nervous LaDonna in her motel room and that could have been saved until after all of this was over. For a great show that revels in smooth jazz, it often cuts itself in the most haphazard out-of-tune ways. From the audience, Antoine sounds his trombone and catches Kermit's attention, who does exactly what Batiste expected him to do — invites him on stage. Antoine starts singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" but they can't have him sing the entire song because of the evil motherfuckers who control publishing rights in the music industry, so that's when they have to cut somewhere else and we get the don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it LaDonna scene, as if there were only 25 seconds left in "Let's Stay Together" to sing. That gives Antoine the chance he's been waiting for though. He tells Kermit's audience to pick up their drinks while Ruffins takes a break and follow him over to The Blue Nile where he and His Soul Apostles are playing. Kermit sees he's been had and is pissed but Antoine marches the crowd to the other club like The Pied Piper. He gets another surprise when he finds Robert at the door wanting to come watch. The bouncer (Raion Y. Hill) doesn't want to let the kid in, but Antoine lies and says Robert is his son. With the crowd pouring in, the Apostles look as if someone just shook them awake and start playing. Antoine dances a little twirl with Wanda, leading her to the microphone where she starts singing Jean Knight's gigantic 1971 hit "Mr. Big Stuff."
Music industry greed waits for no one so we have to leave Wanda mid-song and land in the middle of another song, this one, the 1934 standard "Stars Fell on Alabama," sung by Ingrid Lucia in The Victorian Lounge of The Commons Hotel. It's where Terry has met the person on the other end of that call for a beer and it is, of course, Toni. "Good pick on the bar," he tells her. "I doubt we'll run in to anyone I work with — or for." Toni asks if that would be a problem if they did. "Well, in my world you are a bit of a pariah," Terry informs her. Toni laughs. "And there's been stationhouse talk," he adds. "About?" she wonders. "That we're friendly," Terry replies. Toni realizes it's not a matter to be taken lightly for him. "You've been catchin' hell, huh?" He tells Toni about going to Marsden about homicide screwing up the Helen Hill investigation. "You know what happens next? I'm transferred to homicide. They give me a shift and they drop me right under the captain that I pissed off," Terry shares. "Why would they do that?" Toni asks. "Either I get the goods on Guidry and they get rid of him or," before Terry can finish the thought Toni does it for him. "Or Guidry finds a way to do you." Terry nods. "Either way the bosses figure the problem takes care of itself." Toni just shakes her head in disbelief. "So much for reform," Terry says. "Is it any wonder no one in this town ever gets up on their hind legs?"
Wanda is still singing "Mr. Big Stuff" when we return to The Blue Nile, but she's reaching the end and so might be their crowd because Kermit Ruffins has made his way through the door holding his trumpet in the air as Antoine shakes his head no.
Terry walks Toni to her car outside the Commons Hotel and in a nicely acted and choreographed bit between David Morse and Melissa Leo where few words are said yet everything is understood, Terry tries to broach the subject of taking their relationship beyond friendship. "It's me. Still pretty raw," Toni tells him.
At The Blue Nile, Kermit about blows Antoine's ear out on stage with his trumpet as Antoine just stands there and takes it. Ruffins tells the crowd that they're ready for the next set at the Boom Boom Room and to follow him. As he hops off the stage, he looks at Antoine and says, "You sure make me smile." As the audience empties out of the club, Cornell goes up to Batiste. "Swell old plan, dude."
Nelson takes Arnie along on his door-to-door homebuying trip. The first homeowner got insurance money that covered nothing and waited on government aid that never came. In the meantime, his wife died. Nelson gives him his card and tells him whatever they assessed the value at, he'll better it and if he doesn't hear from him, he'll drop back by. The second homeowner isn't interested in selling at any price. "I'm not selling, not ever. Not after what I've been through," he tells Nelson. The third house they go to, no one's home, but it's a roof that Arnie just fixed, so he's sort of put off that he wants to buy it to tear it down. "It should last 10, 15 years," Arnie tells his cousin.
A depressed Davis tells Annie about Lil Calliope's sudden success with his own track, which he admits is catchy. Annie tries to convince him that the exposure will rub off on Davis' band and Davis tries to sound convincing when he says he's happy for him, but Annie just laughs and McAlary can't keep a straight face either.
LaDonna pulls her car up in front of GiGi's and John comes to her vehicle to meet her. "Ready to open?" he asks. She doesn't respond, just keeps looking straight ahead. "Miss La-D," John says, trying to get her attention. She turns and tells him, "I gotta go. Sorry" before restarting the engine and driving away.
As Del and Albert walk Manhattan, the elder Lambreaux continues to have problems with "what he's trying to do" and again criticizes Ron Carter and Carl Allen, suggesting names such as Earl Palmer or Herman Ernest. (While they could have used Palmer or Ernest in 2007, don't expect either to pop up on the show. Palmer died in 2008 and Ernest died in March this year.) He even suggests putting Uganda Roberts on percussion, the same suggestion that Dr. John made last week. Most of all, Albert insists that he can't record in New York and that they have to move the sessions to New Orleans. Del has about all of his father that he can take. "Always the last damn word, huh Daddy? Always the last fuckin' word. Always me. Always want. Always have to have it, huh Daddy?" an angry Delmond says. Albert simply replies, "No" and storms off from his son.
Toni and Anthony revisit George Cotrell's sister Lynette Beaulieu (Tenaj Jackson) and tell her that George gave them the name of the officer and they just want her to confirm it. "If George told you a name, it's on him," Lynette says. "I don't want police knowing we spoke. Toni pledges that she has their word. "Police aren't gonna do shit anyhow," George's sister declares. "They won't if you don't step up. Can't argue with that," Anthony tells her. The woman says she can't help them — she has to live there — and shuts the door on them again.
Sonny and Cornell step off Don's boat after another day of oystering when Sonny suggests they go to Chalmette for seafood. "I know why you want to drag my ass up there," Cornell says. "The meal's on me," Sonny promises, "or it will be if you peel some more of those bills off my money roll." Later, when they arrive in Chalmette, Sonny catches sight of Linh immediately. "You don't got a prayer, son," Cornell tells him. "The Vietnamese stick to themselves." She sees him and he smiles and she smiles back. Her father (Lee Nguyen) doesn't look as friendly. Cornell recommends that they grab a beer and get Sonny some "liquid courage."
Toni returns to the witness she spoke with who was in Robideaux's, taking Anthony with her this time, though he's as reluctant as ever to talk specifics. The witness looks at Anthony's clothes. "Homicide or plainclothes?" assuming he's a cop, but King tells him he's neither and the witness tells Toni that she's smart to bring a bodyguard. Anthony asks him if Billy Wilson was one of the cops who caused the trouble at Robideaux's. They inform the witness that Wilson was seen chasing someone into the Iberville the same day who ended up shot dead by the same type of weapon. Anthony says he understands if the man is intimidated because that's what they count on. "Motherfucker, I ain't afraid, alright. I ain't afraid of no one," the witness shouts. "Yet no one says a damn word," Anthony responds. The witness admits he gave his name and his number. He called 911 and told them he saw a boy get shot and about two weeks later, a detective called him. The detective told him he could take him downtown and make a statement but first he'd need his name and date of birth as well as the name and date of birth of his mother and everyone living in her house and everyone he hangs with. "He says he finds anything on me or any of my people, they all going to jail," the witness admits. "Now you see why a man not remember a damn thing." The witness confirms Wilson and IDs the white cop as Harvey. Toni asks if he remembers the detective's name and he says it was something French. "Prioleau?" Toni asks. The witness repeats, "Prioleau." Later, as Toni and Anthony walk to the car discussing things, they agree that it all goes back to homicide. "You know anybody up there?" Anthony asks. Toni doesn't say anything, she just smiles since she does now.
Oliver Thomas calls Sofia into his office and for the second time recently, an adult male talks straight to the troubled teen. "Yesterday I let you talk and I didn't say too much about what you told me, but now I'm gonna talk. OK then. Your people didn't raise you to get into cars with kids you knew were the no account kind. Young lady, your mother has it hard right now. Your dad's gone and what she's got left is you —" Sofia interrupts him. "My father fuckin' killed himself — " Thomas breaks in right back, "I can't speak to what your father was thinkin' or feelin' but maybe he was hurtin' like a lot of people around here hurt but what you have to ask is 'Are you gonna add to that hurt?' Is that who you are?"
Harley, Annie and Slim Jim entertain crowds on a street corner and Jim offers making for a stew in exchange for donation in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
Davis almost misses the call for The Brassy Knoll's next set because he's enjoying his beer so much, but when he hops on stage, the crowd shouts for Lil Calliope to play the track from his album. Davis is annoyed, but another member of his band tells him you have to give the people what they want and before he knows it, Calliope has started in on his number and Don B. has leaped on stage and stolen Davis' microphone to join in while McAlary looks lost.
On the TV set above the bar at The Touche Bar, Oliver Thomas is announcing what Liguori predicted: 73 redevelopment teams to start to work across New Orleans. The newscaster adds that the city plans to focus on redeveloping 17 targeted areas across the city. A clip of Mayor Ray Nagin shows him saying he believes the targeted zones will spur investment. The bartender (Jake Moran) laments that he doesn't have any extra cash to buy up property in those areas. Nelson, who is sitting at the end of the bar jotting notes, puts down his drink and says to himself, "You're a little late on that one, son." Once again, they do that nice segue where we hear the sounds of the next scene before we see it, so we recognize a violin and even a pennywhistle.
Sure enough, we're back on the corner where Harley is finishing up the song "The Galway Girl" (click the link and you'll hear Steve Earle sing the whole thing) while Annie and Slim Jim accompany him on their instruments. A woman in a green shirt leaves a donation and Jim thanks her and the two keep eyeing one another through the end of the song. "Thank you very much," Harley says to the crowd. "We will see you on another street corner, probably right over there tomorrow night. Good night." Jim asks them if they want to go for a beer, but Annie promised Davis she'd catch his late set. The visiting musician asks Harley but he tells him, "I'm gonna walk her back up to St. Claude" as he counts the night's earnings and divides the take. "See you back at the club," Jim says, patting Harley on the back. "Been a pleasure." Slim Jim then heads to the woman in the green shirt to inquire about her name. Annie laughs as she watches the two walk off together.
Despite his dislike of the location, Albert has returned to the recording studio and they've managed to get through a track without stopping. Delmond flashes a thumbs-up sign to the booth and the man inside gives one back. "That might be a winner right there," Del says. "Does that feel like a take to you or what, Big Chief?" Dr. John asks. "Yeah, if that's what y'all want," Albert says as he walks away.
In Baton Rouge, Larry and LaDonna sit at the table together. The camera moves slowly past LaDonna and toward her husband. "So we sellin' it?" Larry asks. The camera moves back to LaDonna who silently nod yes. Larry gets up and almost touches her on the shoulder, but thinks twice about it and places his hand on the back of her chair instead. He's standing, so you can't see his face, you only hear his voice. "I'll call the realtor tomorrow. Get it on the market by the end of the week." It's a short scene, but it doesn't need to be any longer to get its point across and it resembles a chamberpiece of beauty in the simplicity of its acting, writing and direction.
Harley and Annie chat as they walk up the dark street. "The pennywhistle — it's a real instrument in Ireland whether you believe it or not," Harley insists. Annie just laughs as Harley goes on about Slim Jim's music maker as they turn a corner onto another street. A figure leaps out in front of them. "Drop that shit in your hand," the mugger says, pointing a gun on them while a partner appears behind them. Harley and Annie put their instrument cases on the sidewalk. Harley hands over his cash. "Go on, take it," he says. "Damn right I'm gonna take it," the gunman replies as he and his partner start to take off up the street as Harley stands with his arms in the air. "You're making a bad choice, son," Harley tells them. The robbers stop and one starts coming back. "I ain't your motherfuckin' son," he says as he shoots Harley point blank in the head. Annie screams. Yes, the Pellecanos curse has added the name of Harley Watt to his list of victims. Blood has splattered on Annie's arm as she shielded herself and she leans over Harley's body yelling for help.
Antoine and Sonny stand on a corner outside a club trying to hail a cab as a group of drunken St. Patrick's Day revelers pass by singing "I'm Walkin'." Sonny comments, "That's New Orleans." Several police cars, sirens wailing, come speeding by. "That's New Orleans too," Antoine says.