Sunday, June 26, 2011

 

Treme No. 20: That's What Lovers Do

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


By Edward Copeland
I'm mixing my television series metaphors, but one of the important messages that the Giant delivered to Agent Cooper on Twin Peaks was that "The owls are not what they seem." Now, you probably couldn't find two series more disparate than Treme and Twin Peaks (or two artists with more different sensibilities than the Davids Lynch and Simon), but on the second season's penultimate episode of Treme, we stumble upon several instances of things not being what they had appeared to be. On the other hand, maybe Treme and Twin Peaks aren't as far apart as they would seem as first. Investigations play a big part on both shows and, more importantly, spirits are an essential element in the narrative of both series, only Treme's doesn't have the malevolent spirit like Twin Peaks, it just seeks to represent the spirit of a city where, admittedly, bad things happen sometime. Appearances can be deceiving.


A sizable gathering of musicians from all levels from street performers to more successful artists have gathered at the site of Harley Watt's murder for a makeshift memorial service that Annie has arranged. On the railing of the fence surrounding Washington Square, mementos pile up in remembrance of Harley. "We used to call Snooks Eaglin the Human Jukebox," Slim Jim Lynch says. "Harley must have been Human Jukebox 2.0. There wasn't a folk, country, Celtic, bluegrass, acoustic blues he didn't know. He was a bloody encyclopedia." As the camera circles, we spot the many present including Susan Cowsill and her drummer husband Russ Broussard, Coco Robicheau, Wilson Savoy. "I'd see him around town and say hello for years and then he'd just disappear," Davis tells the crowd, "for weeks or months. Suddenly, he'd be back from New York or the U.K. or Prague or Fiji or somewhere. I don't know how he ever got where he went. He never had any money, right?" The camera never seems to stop twirling so we keep catching sight of more of the mourners such as Ingrid Lucia. Coco Robicheau speaks next. "I was playing at The Apple Barrel one night and this dude was out on the banquette yodelin'," Robicheaux relays as the camera passes Washboard Chaz. Robicheaux says he went out to complain about Harley's style and Watt said he was one to talk, "And we were good friends ever since. A beautiful thing." The Rev. D.L. "Goat" Carson steps up and asks "Sister Annie" to come forward. "Thank you all so much for coming," Annie tells them. For the first time, we see that Sonny is there. "When I realized we all loved Harley and none of us really knew much about him. Where he came from? Who his family was? If he had a family? He would always just shrug off any personal question. He lives in the moment and he lives for music, all day, every day. He was always broke, but never beat. I never saw him down — ever. He would say, 'I'm too blessed to be stressed.' I'd be blue about something and Harley would say, 'Darlin', life is short. Let's play a song.'" With that, that is what the gathered musicians do, building slowly, it's not immediately recognizable, but then it's unmistakable that they're singing "May the Circle Be Unbroken" written by Ada Habershon. As all join in and the camera whirls again, we see more of the musicians gathered at the scene: Kirk Joseph, Doreen and Lawrence Ketchens, Andre Bohren aka Dirty Johnny of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, drummer Mike Voelker, David Leonard and Roselyn Lionheart of Mo'Lasses (Mostly) Women's Brass Band and others who were seen too fleetingly to identify.

In retrospect, the direction of that scene may have seemed obvious, but only in hindsight since the viewer didn't know that the memorial would end with the song "May the Circle Be Unbroken," so the constant circling of the camera was an inspired choice and probably the best way in that setting to catch sight of most of the musicians making cameos. "That's What Lovers Do" seems as if everyone is taking a deep breath after Harley's slaying last week, yet like I mentioned in the previous recap they've put together another fine union of writer and director with Eric Overmyer writing the teleplay and Agnieszka Holland directing. Lots of the usual quick scenes, but the fusion of Overmyer and Holland works to move the episode in such a way that I actually was surprised when the end came because it didn't seem as if an hour had passed. I have to note about Holland, simply because I ran out of time with a piling on of projects that I planned, to do a tribute set for Tuesday on the 20th anniversary of the U.S. release of her great German feature film Europa, Europa. She has made some more features since, but it seems as if she's settled into life primarily as an American television director. She directed three episodes of The Wire including "Corner Boys" and fourthree episodes of Treme: season 1's premiere and finale and this episode. and next week's second season finale. This episode doesn't play like the first half of a two parter, but I wonder if that's how they ended up with the odd number of an 11-episode season instead of a more standard 10, 12 or 13.The information I read incorrectly listed Holland as director of the second season finale. It actually is Ernest Dickerson directing a teleplay by David Simon from a story by Simon and Anthony Bourdain. Also note: The finale will be nearly 30 minutes longer than the usual episode.

Toni finally talks with the infamous Officer Billy Wilson (Lucky Johnson), named by George Cotrell's sister as one of the cops who chased Leon Seals into the Iberville apartment where he was shot to death and who also was identified by the intimidated witness as one of the officers rousting people at Robideaux's earlier that same day when Joey Abreu ended up dead. When Toni tells Wilson that both were killed by a .380, the officer, doing his best to charm, says, "It couldn't be us then. We carry Glocks, 40 cal." Toni asks if he's never heard of a throw-down piece. Wilson grins, admitting he knows what a throw-down is, but denying he's ever had cause to use one. Wilson inquires of Toni if any of her sources saw police shoot Seals or Abreu and she has to admit that they didn't. "You at Robideaux's the week after the storm?" she inquires. "Hell yeah — we all were, all week. In and out. Iberville too," he answers. "Faced a few knuckleheads, but we didn't kill 'em, we caught 'em." Toni brings up the incident of Officer O'Dell being fired on in the Robideaux parking lot. Wilson asks if she's positive it was 1st District and her source was reliable, because he doesn't recall hearing that. "Thank you Officer Wilson, you've been a wonderful help," Toni smiles as she shakes his hand and he flashes that big grin again. "To protect and serve. You have a good day, ya hear," Wilson says as he exits. Toni mutters to herself, "Butter would melt in his mouth."

Davis brings Annie a beer at Washington Square Park where the musicians still linger. He asks if she's OK. "I think it was just about perfect, don't you?" Annie says. Davis agrees, though he suggests that perhaps a proper memorial is needed in the evening somewhere — an all-star tribute. Annie doesn't like the idea, reminding McAlary that Harley wasn't "a venue musician. He didn't even like playing in clubs." Davis says she's right, but offers as an alternative that perhaps they should go listen to some music, "Busman's holiday," he proposes. Annie mulls it as Slim Jim comes over and gives her the keys to Harley's apartment. "There's no rush," she tells him. "Isn't the rent paid until the end of the month?" Lynch informs her that he has to fly back to London the next day but "Someone's gotta do something with his stuff."

For the first time, we see Lt. Colson at work in a suit as he's settling in at homicide. The first detective Colson starts asking about a case is a name we've been heard all season but whom we've never met: Detective Dennis Prioleau (John Jabaley). "Anything on that Central City double?" Colson asks Prioleau. "Got a call into narcotics. See what they know about the dead guys," the detective replies. "Think we're losin' the war on drugs, detective? Give me your candid opinion," Colson says. Prioleau tells his new lieutenant that he has a line on a witness, an older woman who called in the slayings. "I'll pass by and talk to her tomorrow night when she gets home from work," he adds. Terry is curious why he can't talk with the woman tonight. Prioleau says he's working a detail. "Prioleau, how many detail hours you work in a week?" Colson asks. "Fifteen, twenty," the detective shrugs as Colson just nods. "Relax Lieutenant, I'll talk to the lady." As Prioleau moves along, Colson requests that Detective Silby join him in his office. Silby heads to his office, but we're going to cut to another scene, a short one, and then return to the Colson-Silby meeting. Why is this necessary? The episode still moves well and overall I enjoyed it, but there's no reason not to run the Colson scenes as a whole.

As Antoine is leaving school for the day, Robert chases him down. Batiste tells him he's progressing well, but the kid wants to know what kind of band he was in when he was his age. "Back then, it was Danny Barker's Fairview Baptist Church Band," Antoine tells Robert. Robert wants to know if he's played on the street and Antoine tells him he's played just about everywhere you could think of — barbecues, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties. "We want to do that — me, Charles and Denard — we want to be on the street like the Baby Boyz. Can you help us?" Antoine cocks his head. That took 55 seconds.

Back in Colson's office, he has a file open and he's looking at a photo of Harley lying dead on the sidewalk. "How do you expect to solve this case if you don't work it?" Terry asks Detective Thomas Silby (J.D. Evermore). I suppose they could have spoken already for part of that 55 seconds — it wouldn't take long for Silby to get to the office as he already was heading that way when we left and it's a very short walk. The question then becomes, "Why is the beginning of Colson's talk about Harley's murder deemed so inconsequential to the viewer?" Do they believe we have the attention spans of gnats? This isn't a case about people we've never heard of — it concerns the killing of a character we've known for two seasons who just got shot to death last week. "I've got 12 other active cases, Lieutenant — with leads," Silby replies. "I'll be honest with you. This one's stalled out a little. He was a street musician." "Your point?" Colson asks. "They were walking in the Marigny late and he said something after he handed over his wallet. Should have kept his mouth shut," Silby tells Colson. "He had it comin' — is that what you're sayin'?" Colson inquires of the detective. "That's not what I'm saying," Silby responds. Terry asks Silby if he works any outside details and Silby tells the lieutenant that he has a couple. "Ever interfere with your police work?" Colson asks. Silby says he doesn't think so. Colson tells him to go talk with that woman again, "Anne Talarico." Yes, Annie Tee is merely the name she performs under. The scene lasts 1:02. Combined with the previous Colson scene, it would have been 1:50 total, maybe a few seconds more to cover Silby's walk to the office. Antoine and Robert's 55 seconds could have waited that long. Truly, all season long, there have been bizarre structuring and editing choices like this being made and I would love Simon or Overmyer to explain why.

DJ Davis & The Brassy Knoll rehearse in McAlary's apartment once again, when a knock on the door interrupts. It happens to be singer-songwriter Alex McMurray who greets Davis. He was driving by with his guitar, heard them and wondered if they would mind if he sat in. None of the other members have any objections and Davis says he doesn't, but once McMurray starts jamming on his instrument revealing what a superior player he is to Davis, McAlary feels usurped again.

"Hey LaDonna. Glad I caught you here," Antoine says to his ex as he enters GiGi's. She tells him she had a meeting. He assumes it was with the businessman he saw leaving when he came in so he asks her what he wanted, but then Antoine notices a business card on the bar. "Oh, a realtor. Y'all movin' back home?" he asks. "We're selling the bar," LaDonna says, keeping her eyes focused down and away from Antoine's line of sight. "Why?" Antoine asks with surprise. LaDonna turns, with some anger in her voice. "None of your goddam business." Antoine attempts to calm her down, insisting, "I'm not pryin', but you don't have to bite my head off. I just came by here to make you whole on the child support." He drops some cash on the bar. She sweeps it up, but says nothing. "You're welcome," Antoine says. "Oh, I'm supposed to thank you now for something you owe every damn month," she lashes out at him. "I wasn't expectin' a ticker tape parade, but there it is," he responds. "All the times you was late with it and I let you slide," LaDonna reminds him. "I always paid, didn't I?" Her attitude has begun to rub off on Antoine who is getting a little hot under the collar. "Not as much as me," LaDonna declares. It's so good that they are finally giving Khandi Alexander stuff to do in the final episodes of the season. It's even better that they managed to work in a scene where she can spar with Wendell Pierce. "What's wrong with you?" he asks. "You," she answers. "Me?" Antoine is puzzled. "I should've known. First time I laid eyes on you — shiftless superfucker with a horn and a hat cocked just right," LaDonna proclaims. "Oh, that again," Batiste says as she continues and he asks why she hasn't buried that shit yet. "I did what I could do, LaDonna." "And look what I have to show for it. Shithole of a bar, debts," she rants. Antoine accuses her of being drunk and she says she's fixing to be. "You love this bar," Antoine says. "Can't believe you sellin' it, but I had nothin' to do with this bar. This is your family's. It's been fuckin' people up since before I was born." "Forget about it, Antoine. Just forget it." "And them babies that I gave you — they are our beautiful sons. Now you got a good man. The troubles that we had — our breakup — that led to what you got right now but you can't see that, huh? That's a solid gold silver lining, baby." It's not clear if LaDonna has continued listening to Antoine, because she's shuffling through papers in a file when she finally says, "Shit. Goddam fuckin' musicians." Antoine takes off his cap and rubs and scratches his head. "You are irrational," he manages to say while he's massaging his temples. Now, that is a scene. It only lasts 1:44 (not counting the prologue in the cab), but look how much dramatic energy can be generated when these talented actors get more time to sink their teeth into a scene.

After being the one who encouraged Delmond to make a New Orleans album, his manager James Woodrow informs him that he's not going to make a dime on the recording. "You the one who told me a New Orleans record would sell," Del reminds Woodrow. "Modestly. And that expectation of a razor-thin profit was predicated on four days in the studio, not four weeks," Woodrow says. "Nor picking up and moving everything to New Orleans." Del tries to explain that Albert won't do it anywhere else. Delmond then asks his manager if he can borrow some money to pay Albert and tell him it's an advance on royalties. "I thought I just explained there won't be any royalties. There will never be any royalties. This record will be in the red for fucking ever," Woodrow tells him. "I understand that. That's why I'm asking you. I'm not going to get it from the record company," Del says.

"This is a good idea," Davis says as he and Annie sit st the bar at Chickie Wah Wah awaiting the performance of Jon Cleary. "I'm worried about you," Davis says as he takes Annie's hand. "You're so calm." "I should be hysterical, weepy?" she asks. "No, I just mean you're so stoic. I think you're in shock or denial or something," Davis tells her. "I'm OK," Annie insists. "I'm just all cried out." Cleary shows up and offers his condolences about Harley and asks if he should do something for him or if they had any special requests. "You choose," Annie says. "I'm gonna do a little tune for a special friend of ours. It's called 'Frenchmen Street Blues,'" Cleary tells those at Chickie Wah Wah from the piano before he begins to play and sing. "Sprinkle my tears on Frenchmen Street/Don't be upset at the news/Don't cut me loose with a soulful song/And don't play no Frenchmen Street Blues/ It's been a ride on the river breeze/ With leaves and fields so green/I join the spirits lookin' down on the smilin'/On the back streets of old New Orleans"

At Toni's office, she and her staff go over notes concerning the Seals-Abreu deaths. Anthony reports that Officer Wilson's record is pretty clean without sustained brutality complaints and several commendations. Alison asks if they've made progress on the white cop, but they still haven't tracked him down. He quit after Katrina and left town. "I need to see the homicide files on these cases, see what their story is. What's in there, what's not," Toni says. Alison doesn't follow where her boss is heading. "It's the coverup that does them in," Anthony explains. Toni begins to tutor Alison on how these sort of cases work. "Shootings like these are usually ruled justifiable," she tells her. "In split-second decisions and threats, they're allowed to use lethal force. All they really have to say is, 'I thought he had a gun.'" Anthony joins in as Toni's pseudo-teaching assistant. "But if they try to cover it up, you can get them on perjury, obstruction." Alison asks why they would lie if all they have to do is get their stories straight. "Maybe just because they can," Toni replies. "Bad cops lie all the time just because they can."

Nelson continues his door-to-door homebuying tour. The homeowner asks Nelson how he's doing and Hidalgo tells him the truth that some won't sell. "They fools," the man says. "Anyone can see somethin's up. You aren't buyin' up all this property just to turn around and rent it out again. Not in this neighborhood." Nelson tells the man he looks familiar and he admits he plays and then Nelson recognizes him as a blues guitarist he's seen play. "I've seen you. You're good," Nelson tells him. "I'm not rich, but I get by," Chris Thomas King says. "My life savings — you're lookin' at it." He invites Nelson in to talk about a possible sale.

More than long overdue, LaDonna talks with a counselor. They film the scene in one of the most interesting ways I've seen one set up on Treme with Khandi Alexander's face in profile but hidden completely in shadows, the way you might see someone interviewed on TV when they want to protect their identity. At the same time, while her face has been concealed, behind it hangs a bright white curtain. "Everything's so different since the storm and I know it," LaDonna says. There's a faint sniff and a slight voice crack, as if she has been crying or may be about to start. "Feel like the rain has just eroded under my feet." She emits a half-hearted chuckle as her eyes and her hand agree to meet halfway to touch one another. "I don't know where I am these days," she tells the counselor, who makes a noise for the first time, a sort of "Mmhmm." The camera goes wide now and the room fills with light so we can see Deborah Franks (Tia James), who sits on a couch across from LaDonna, who is leaning forward in a chair. "I think everyone in the city still feels that way. Anxious, displaced," Deborah says. "Not everyone's been this set upon," LaDonna counters, shot in shadows again. When it returns to the counselor's face, you can see LaDonna's tone took Deborah back a little. "It makes sense after what happened," LaDonna says, noticing Deborah's expression. "From his point of view. And it would be entirely understandable if you felt that way too," Deborah tells her. "He only wants what's best for me," LaDonna says. "The bar represents independence, a link to your past, a sense of place," Deborah explains. "It's all I got. It's my family," LaDonna declares. "You resent him for insisting on selling the bar?" Deborah asks. LaDonna stays mum. "Have you resumed relations with your husband?" LaDonna slowly and scowling shakes her head no.

Davis loads his hatchback with some of Harley's belongings while inside Annie continues going through Watt's stuff when Sonny arrives with that guitar he's been borrowing since his audition for Antoine's band. Sonny asks how Annie is doing. "Everyone is treating me like I'm a China doll," she tells her ex. "I am OK." She asks Sonny if he's playing somewhere when he puts the guitar case and the amp down. "Harley loaned me these so I could gig," Sonny says. Annie tells him he should keep them. "That's what Davis said," Sonny replies. "Exactly," Davis says upon entering the room. "Everything's Goodwill bound." Sonny decides he'll keep the guitar for a couple of weeks, but he's bought his own equipment. Davis asks if he's still with Antoine's band and Sonny says he is, but he's been working a job-job too. "A couple times a week. Oyster boat," he tells them. "Oyster boat," Davis says with surprise. "That's like manual labor." Davis takes another load out, leaving the exes alone. After an awkward silence, Annie tells Sonny about the photo of him rescuing the baby she saw at The Ogden Museum when she played with "Tork." "I told you about that," he says. She tells him she knows he did, though her silence seems to say she had thought he was lying at the time. Sonny shrugs. "It's no big deal." "It looked like a deal to me," Annie says. He thanks her and leaves. Annie moves a guitar and the case it was laying on pops open. In the case, she finds lots of sheets of paper.

As young musicians play outside, Sofia gets the hang of her new paid afterschool job at a coffee shop similar to The Sound Cafe. She's brewing a drink for a customer (Renee Yeaton) who thanks her and gives her a tip. Those blue streaks remain in her hair. Sofia gazes through the window at the young guitar player wearing a cap — and he notices.

In New York at The Lucky Peach, it dawns on me that I forgot that last week's episode was another case of Jacquesamnesia. This episode will be as well. Hope they don't completely blank on him until next season since only one episode remains after this. Nick compliments Janette's new creation: rice flour waffles. "Gooch, check this out," Nick calls to another chef (Ned Yousef). "Chicken and waffles, bitches." Sorry, I couldn't help myself but the first thing that popped in my mind was not an unusual culinary combination, but Mildred Pierce — and not the recent miniseries, but the 1945 Joan Crawford version where I first heard of this combination. If I'd read James M. Cain's 1941 novel first, I'd have thought that. Since Melissa Leo played Lucy in the recent miniseries and plays Toni on Treme, if Janette returns home and opens a restaurant that serves chicken and waffles, will Toni have unexplained flashbacks to a previous life when she was married to a truck driver who bootlegged on the side during Prohibition? I'll stop. It's just my fantasies fascinate me much more than this New York storyline does. To summarize the Janette scene, everyone goes wild over her creation and predict Chang will love it.

"Jesus Christ Toni, I'm barely in the door," Terry says. I have to say I agree with Colson here. She knows the viper's pit the department just tossed him into AND how they mock his friendship with her and she's already trying to get him to snoop for her. "I need to see those files, Terry," she persists. He tells her that it's an open investigation so there's no way he can do that and she knows it. "And I know there's nothing going to happen with those investigations. Witnesses have been intimidated, the evidence has disappeared," Toni insists. "Between the 5th District and the 1st, it never made it to homicide," he says. "You sure about that?" she asks. "Detective Prioleau — Abreu was his case. He lied to the family about where their son died and how. He intimidated a witness —" Terry interrupts, "Who won't come forward." "Not til we see how this plays out, Terry." Toni informs Terry of the bullet casings found in the Ibervilles that were the same caliber as those at Robideaux's. Terry asks where they are and if they were turned over to Detective Calderon, who is in charge of that case. "I didn't think that was prudent. I didn't want them to go missing," Toni says. When he refuses to get her the files, she asks if he'll look. "Can you look me in the eye and tell me you think nothing's going on?" "I'm not making any promises," Colson tells her.

In Baton Rouge, the Williams family has gathered for dinner, including Mrs. Brooks. Alcide grimaces at his food. The only sounds being heard are the distinctive clanks of LaDonna's fork as it repeatedly strikes her plate. Alcide asks his grandma to pass the salt, but LaDonna interjects, saying she already salted everything. "You sure?" Larry asks. "Doesn't taste like it." LaDonna says she's sure. "Why'd you put it on the table?" Alcide asks his mother. "I don't know. Habit," LaDonna responds until she spots her mom passing the salt shaker to her oldest son. "Wait a minute. Why'd you hand him that salt? You want him to have hypertension like daddy?" Her mother apologizes and takes the salt back. LaDonna loudly drops her silverware and gets out of her chair and exits the room with the salt and pepper. "See what you did," Randall tells his brother.

Annie plays her violin while Davis smokes some weed. "That's sweet. What comes next?" Davis asks. "I don't know. That's all he wrote," Annie replies referring to the reams of unfinished songs she found in Harley's guitar's case. "Maybe you should finish some of them."

Images I'm not used to seeing on Treme (or any other series for that matter) are a crowded bowling alley where people hit the lanes while nearby others dance to Zydeco. We see that providing the music is Rosie Ledet and her band The Zydeco Playboys. The site of this unusual fusion of music and sport is Rock 'n' Bowl, which started at Mid-City Lanes on South Carrolton in 1993. In 2007, it actually resided at another site on Carrolton, but the scene was filmed at the current location. The reason we're here is that C.J. Liguori and his wife (Susan Gebhardt) have taken Nelson and yet another date (Brittney Alger) to the spot. "She's hot. I like this," Nelson comments about Ledet. "Bowl a little, dance a little. The night is young." Mrs. Liguori tells her husband that a lane has opened up and C.J. tells her to get it and they'll catch up. Nelson informs C.J. that he closed on a couple houses but still has about a half-dozen holdouts. "Not our problem," C.J. tells him. "Let the city and state worry about the refuseniks." Nelson raises the issues of public hearings, concerned citizens, preservationists and the like. "Yeah, that'll come," Liguori says. "And there'll be a fight — a big one." Nelson thought it was already a done deal. "Transparency has its place, but this is for the good of the city."

Despite his hesitation with Toni, Terry looks through homicide's files. It's a 26 second scene and if he found something, found something missing or didn't find anything at all, neither his facial expression nor the camera gives the viewer a hint other than we know he finds a file on Leon Seals and has another file open which might be on Joey Abreu.

If you thought it was hard to catch all the people present at Harley's memorial, this next scene is even more difficult. It takes place at the legendary Dooky Chase's Restaurant which has served New Orleans since 1941. So many characters and real people populate the tables in this scene it's like playing Where's Waldo except everyone is Waldo. In the first shot inside the restaurant, we see seated at a table writer Tom Piazza, who penned this season's "Feels Like Rain," Treme consultant Mary Howell (the inspiration for Toni's character), Lolis Eric Elie, Treme story editor, writer of this season's "Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues?", blogger and my guardian angel for these recaps and Elie's mother. We see C.J. present on his cell phone, though how he can hear over the noise I have no idea. Nelson makes the rounds, patting the emissary who landed him his computer cable contract on the back. "I've been working in New York with John Batiste as a matter of fact," Delmond tells an older gentleman. "We're not related though," the man answers. "People are always thinkin' we're related. That's a misconception. He uses two Ts in his name. I use three Ts in my name," Harold R. Battiste Jr. explains. Albert cracks a wide smile. "Now that that's all settled," says Leah L. Chase, longtime owner of the restaurant, "I'll go get Harold some gumbo. Anybody else?" The table says they are fine, but Albert pulls Mrs. Chase over. "Miss Leah, what do you think? You think they gonna tear down the Lafitte or not?" Albert asks. "I do not talk politics on Holy Thursday, sweetie," she replies. Congress did approve the demolition of the Lafitte housing projects which were damaged by the flood after Katrina. Here is a YouTube video of its destruction.


I think I spotted Jacques Morial greeting Mrs. Chase. I know he's in the end credits, so he's definitely in this episode somewhere. Toni stands to greet Judge Bernard Williams (Vernal Bagneris). He asks who the "lovely young lady" is that's dining with Toni at her table and Toni introduces him to Alison. "She's interning with me while she studies for the Bar," Toni tells the judge. He asks Alison if she's been to the restaurant before, but Toni whispers that she's from California. "Holy Thursday at Dooky Chase. Gumbo z’herbes — one of New Orleans' sacred institutions," the judge tells her. "Seems like you guys have a lot of those," Alison says. "Indeed. This one is particularly auspicious. First since the storm," Judge Williams explains. "Quite a turnout," Toni comments. The judge points out someone who isn't present at the restaurant — Pampy Barre. Toni explains who Williams is referencing. "Businessman, ex-cop," Toni says before the judge picks up the biography. "Bagman to the stars. The Feds have Pampy and he'd flip on his mama if he thought it'd take one day off his sentence." Toni asks who is in the crosshairs. "Everybody. Rumor is they even went in over the weekend and seized a bunch of files from city council," the judge tells her. Toni glances across the room at the city council president. "Oliver?" "No no no. Never heard his name at all. I'd be surprised," Williams replies.

Colson walks with Sgt. Johnson (Edrick Browne) and hands him a list, telling him that these were supposed to have been sent there after another evidence facility was closed. "There was a bunch — 25 to 30 cases. Detectives never came by to pick up the evidence," Jackson says. "You know how it was after the storm." Colson shakes his head. "That's always the default excuse, isn't it? The storm, the storm, the storm." The sergeant tells Terry that he's welcome to take a look and he climbs stairs to what looks like a closet on the side of a trailer. When he opens the door, it still looks like a closet — a disorganized, overstuffed closet. Colson can't believe the mess.

The humbling of Davis McAlary continues as he apologizes to Mimi and Don B. for being late to the studio. He wants to know what's up because he got a call from them telling him it was urgent. "I called you to preapprove the new amps and mics, but it went straight to voicemail. You didn't get the message?" he asks his aunt. "We gonna talk about that AMEX bill later," Mimi says. She then hits him with what is urgent. She and Don have decided they need to delay the sampler's release for two weeks because they want to include Lil Calliope's "The True" on it. Davis think that's a good idea — until he realizes that means cutting one of the two tracks by DJ Davis & The Brassy Knoll. Davis insists they're both brilliant and one could break out, but Don says one has to go. Mimi tells Davis he has to choose.

Turns out that Cornell has been hiding a girlfriend from us — and she's none other than Toni's law intern Alison Myers. The two holds hands and whisper to each other as Cornell wishes Sonny, "Good luck" as the Dutchman goes off to meet with Linh. Sonny brings Linh and himself drinks as he joins her at a picnic bench on the dock. "You should come here me play sometime," he suggests. "Do you ever play New Orleans East?" Linh asks. "No. Uptown. Seventh Ward, Eighth Ward," he replies. "Never happen, huh?" Linh smiles as she shakes her head no. "First things first. How do I date you?" Sonny wants to know. "You don't — unless my father says you can," she replies. Sonny asks Linh if she'll ask her father. "No," she laughs. "You don't want to date me?" "I don't want to ask him. You have to ask him," she explains. "So you do want to date me," Sonny says. "If he says it's OK." Sonny inquires whether her father speaks English and Linh says he does if he feels like it. "And if he doesn't?" "It means he doesn't like you," Linh tells him, "and you don't want that to happen."

Back in New York at Mildred's RestaurantThe Lucky Peach, Chang tells Janette that what she cooked the other day was "insanely delicious. Chinese fried chicken and waffles? Crazy — it was awesome." Janette thanks him and starts to go back to work but he asks her to wait. He says she's really impressed him with her cooking and thought maybe once a week she'd like to try things out for the staff after closing as a late night meal. (Oooh — can I stay after work and do what I do for a living for other people for free and sacrifice what little of my own life I have? Can I? Meanwhile, Jacques tries to communicate telepathically: I have been in jail for four months and you've mentioned me once and sent that crazy Davis in your stead. Help me! At least send me some classic crime novels to read.) "Like Southern food, New Orleans food. Do your own take on it, our own take on it," Chang says. "Make it delicious like that fuckin' fried chicken. Willing to do it?" "Hell yes," Janette answers.

Antoine greets Mario as they head into a gig and Batiste asks his trumpet player if he's ever given lessons to kids. "I've been known to. Why?" Abney asks. Antoine tells Mario about a student he has who has some problems that might need some extra help from a trumpet player. Mario says he'd have to meet him and he gets paid to teach. Antoine tells him he'll get back with him.

Toni's serving Sofia dinner and telling her what she heard about the FBI raid of the city council office. "The FBI? Not Oliver's office," Sofia says. "You never know what happens over the weekend," Toni tells her. "I handled the fucking files all day Monday," the teen says. "Watch your language," her mother warns. Toni asks how her job's going. "I'm almost a fully certified barista. Next stop, Starbucks," Sofia answers. Toni questions her daughter's seriousness about the job because of the tone's she's using, but Sofia insists that she is. "Just because you're an overprivileged kid who goes to a good school —" "White kid. Don't forget that one," Sofia interrupts to remind her. "White kid, yes," Toni adds. "That doesn't mean you can't fuck this up." There's a knock on the door. Toni answers it. Terry says, "I didn't find anything. Sorry." He then leaves without saying anything else.

Antoine finishes singing "Me and Mrs. Jones," the 1972 Billy Paul hit whose version you can hear here, but he doesn't realize that something far bigger than a little thing is about to go on. "Now ladies and gentlemen, we are about to feature the vocal stylings of the legendary Wanda Rouzan," Antoine tells the audience. Wanda begins to sing the much-covered multi-genre classic "Misty Blue." "Oh, it's been such a long, long time," Wanda sings but Antoine seems to want to make it a duet adding, "probably too long, baby" as she tries to ignore him. "Looked like I’d get you off of my mind/But I can’t." "No you can't. No you can't," he grins at her side as she begins to look annoyed. "just the thought of you/" "Bets you needs me, huh?" "Turns my whole world misty blue" "I know it do. I know it do." "Oh honey, just the mention of your name" "Antoine Batiste" "Turns the flicker to a flame" "Burn baby burn." "Listen to me good, baby" "I'm listenin'. What you got to say?" "I think of the things we used to do" "All night long." "And my whole world turns misty blue" "Come on baby, you can do it," Antoine says as he starts doing pelvic thrusts as Wands belts some oh's. She picks up the song again. "Oh baby, I should forget you" "You ain't never gonna forget this." "Heaven knows I’ve tried" "You ain't tryin' hard enough." The audience laughs on that line. Wanda repeats "Baby" about three times in a row with Antoine following each one with a "What?" She returns to the song. "when I said I'm glad we’re through." Wanda then turns to Antoine and she isn't singing anymore. "I said you ain't nothin' but a scene stealin', connivin' no-playin', no-singin' pussy-faced, pious motherfucker!" She jumps off the stage and into the crowd. "Where do you think you're goin'?" Antoine asks. "I quit!" "In the middle of a gig? I'm gonna fire your ass," Antoine shouts back. As Wanda's voice grows fainter, we hear her say, "Yeah, you do that." Cornell looks at him. "Now what man?" Antoine tells him to play that intro again. One of the other members ask if he's going to sing "Misty Blue." "Please don't," Cornell begs (though many men have sung it before). Thaddeus suggests they let him and then fine him for every wrong note. Antoine starts singing the song again and screws up the lyrics almost immediately. It's not been a good day for Antoine with women in bars.

Since Terry can't very well call Toni out for a candid talk and a beer, he turns to Percy Bechet, his sergeant when he was shift commander. "The files are sanitized like they barely worked the cases," Terry tells her. "No forensics, no ballistics, not even evidence or admission slips to the morgue." Percy says, "Then homicide." Terry lets Bechet in on his trip to temporary central evidence and what he found there. "All of Seals' stuff. All of Abreu's. Everything in heaps and piles — a mess. The clothes they were wearing, the bullets that killed them — just rotting away," Terry reports. "Devil's advocate, Terry. If this is a coverup —" Percy can't finish her thought before Terry interrupts her, "I'm not saying that it was." You know, there sure seems to be an abundance of overlapping dialogue in tonight's episode. Watching Treme as closely as I do, I've never noticed any writer do that much before, certainly not Overmyer. "Why didn't the detectives go to the morgue, pick up their evidence and make it go missing like the Abreu casings?" Percy asks. "Because autopsies were on St. Gabriel after the storm. Maybe they just didn't bother to drive all the way out there. With everything that was going on, all the confusion who's to know?" Terry says. "Exactly," Percy responds. "They blew 'em off, wrote some half-assed reports and closed the cases." Terry agrees. "You're right. That's probably how it went down."

Antoine asks the band if anyone knows any female singers who might want to fill in for Wanda, even for one night. Now, even though LeToya Luckett was hired to play Toni's law intern Alison did anyone think it was likely that a former member of Destiny's Child would be cast and NOT end up singing, especially when she suddenly turns out to be Cornell's girlfriend tonight? "My new girlfriend sings a little," Cornell tells Antoine. "Would she be interested?" Antoine wants to know. "Maybe a couple of gigs. She's kind of a serious student. A lawyer," Cornell says.

What looks like it could be a Jack Russell terrier (Oliver) lies down next to a couch while in an adjoining room of Piety Street Studios, Delmond's musicians have reassembled in New Orleans to work on his money-losing project. Dana Lyndsey sits on a couch in the recording studio and watches while her cameraman films the session. Albert seems happy with the take and the gathered musicians have added Alfred "Uganda" Roberts to their ranks. "Now that's what I'm talkin' about," Albert cheers. "Sounded good, daddy" Del says. The voice of Mark Bingham on an intercom asks, "Ready to move on?" Dana has walked over from the couch and joined Albert who says, "Give me a minute." Albert and Dana head for another room, but not before he tells the cameraman to turn that camera off. "He's happy?" Donald Harrison declares with surprise. "Didn't that sound the same as what we cut in New York?" Del asks. "I hate to disagree with your ass, but I'm with your pa on that shit," Dr. John declares. "How else you gonna get the legendary Uganda Roberts playin' on your session?" Del says he wanted to bring Uganda up to New York. "New Orleans infect music. It reconstitutionalates it. I'm not tryin' to be some jivenocity sucker, but it makesmatter a difference. Can you dig it?" (To order a copy of my new English to Dr. John translation dictionary, please send a check or money order for $5.95 plus $2.95 shipping and handling to Edward Copeland) "Amen to that," Harrison says. "I'm outnumbered," Del admits. Dana and Albert return and Albert tells everyone, "Let's do this."

At The Lucky Peach, Janette presents her latest creation, shrimp and grits, to Chang. As far as I know, that dish did not figure in the plot of any 1940s crime melodramas or film noirs, though I've heard rumors that it was considered as a title for Scarlet Street starring Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett until Fritz Lang thought better of it. "Try that Gooch," Chang says. "It's delicious." Gooch agrees.

Antoine takes the stage for the first time with Alison at his side and they sing the Al Green classic "Love and Happiness." Antoine may be about to have a third bad experience with a woman in a bar. Desiree is in the audience and doesn't look pleased.

Back to Lucky Peach. A customer gets Janette's attention. It turns out to be "one of my heroes," she says — Chef Donald Link owner of the New Orleans restaurant Cochon in the Central Business District. "Good to see you. Great work," Link says. "We miss you in New Orleans." (As does Jacques. Can't you hear his cries?) Janette thanks him and looks wistful.

Back at the club, Desiree lays into Antoine. "You just haven't been able to tell me why Wanda quit and you replace her with some honey with a big booty," Desiree yells. "Her booty had nothin' to do with it. She works with Toni Bernette. She's a law student, Cornell's girlfriend," Antoine tells her. He tries to explain it was an emergency for one night and not for a regular gig, but Desiree remains livid. "How come all you sing is cheatin' songs?" Desiree asks. "You gotta give the public what they want. What you call a stage persona," he explains. Desiree asks if he's running around on her again, but Antoine swears only on stage.

The same group of young musicians have taken their place in front of the coffee shop and Sofia listens as she fetches their empty mugs. She tells them they sound great and the guitar player Scottie (Scottie Swears) follows her inside. He asks if it's OK if they leave their instruments in the shop for a few minutes. Sofia says it's fine. "We were gonna go out back and smoke some weed if you'd like to join us," Scottie offers. "What about your stuff?" Sofia asks. He proposes sticking a sign on the door that says be back in five. Sofia contemplates it, but she decides to be the good girl for a change.

There have been a few cases of what I promised at the beginning, with deceptive appearances, but the main one has been saved for the second-to-last scene. "This machine floats," the woman reads off one of Harley's guitars. "That's so Harley. Pete and Woody were his heroes. I liked The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary. I used to play 'Leavin' on a Jet Plane' just to annoy him." The sudden appearance of Harley's sister Lucinda (Meg Gibson) has left Annie pretty much speechless. Lucinda strums a little on the guitar, prompting Annie to say, "I hope you'll take that." "You don't mind?" Lucinda asks. "Well of course not. We gave most of his things to Goodwill," Annie tells her. "If I'd known you were coming —" "If you had known I existed you mean," Lucinda says. "Harley never talked about his family," Annie admits. "Yeah, that would be me at this point," his sister says. "I apologize again for droppin' in like this. The detective, he gave me your address. He was never much for biography or possessions. Surprised he had a roof over his head. I should go. I've got a busy day tomorrow — cremation in the morning, flying on the red eye. I hope I don't have trouble getting his ashes through security. Sounds like one of his songs," Lucinda finishes. "You know, there were a few other things," Annie tells her, but Lucinda tells her to keep them. "It may be up to you next year, Mardi Gras, official year. He wanted his ashes scattered on the Mississippi. Some parade," Lucinda says. "Saint Anne," Annie tells her. "He was a tremendous songwriter. I learned so much from him." His sister admits, "Honestly though, I couldn't stand his singing. That phony Texas twang." Annie asks what she means. "Oh, what did he tell you? That he was from Austin or Lubbock or San Antonio?" Lucinda asks as she's tearing up. "Waco," Annie responds. "Complete affectation. We grew up in Bellingham, Washington."

LaDonna and Larry lie in bed after attempting to make love for the first time since the rape. "Why did you stop?" she asks him. "I thought you wanted to," he says. "Thought you did," she responds. "You didn't seem like you was really into it," Larry tells her. LaDonna turns her back to him. "We just out of practice, that's all," she says as she stares.


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Comments:
Dr. John actually said, "it matters a difference, can you dig it"?

Nina Hansen
 
Excellent recap of the episode. A couple of small corrections on the dialogue: (1) CJ's line to Nelson is "Transparency has its place, but this is for the good of the city."; (2) Wanda Rouzan calls Antoine a "scene stealer," not a "chain stealer".

I'm just guessing, but maybe the creators are setting up a point about immigration detention? They'll go back to Jacques next season, and we will realize that he's been sitting in detention all this time while everyone else has been going on with their lives.

Jonathan Clarke
 
You are probably right about Wanda's line. I thought scene stealer made more sense but it didn't sound like that's what she was saying, but I was watching a screener without captions or final sound. I played it back several times and finally settled on that, thinking maybe she was referring to what he did to Kermit last week. I was a little punchy getting this week's done (as you probably can tell from all the odd little asides in it) because I didn't get the episode until late Wednesday and then I lost most of a day when I had to stop working on it to do Peter Falk's obit. The Jacques thing though bothers me just that what started as such an urgent emergency seems to not be a concern for Janette anymore except for that one call to Davis. Even if that is a storyline they are setting up, I would think she still would have time to express concern for her friend or call about updates. Seems out of Janette's character.
 
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