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Treme, “Wish Someone Would Care” (1.09)

“There is no closure in real life. Not really.” – Creighton Bernette

A review of the penultimate episode of David Simon‘s new HBO show, written by David Simon & George Pelecanos and directed by Dan Attias after the jump…

I haven’t been reviewing the show regularly all season, but as the first season comes to a close and I’m getting a better sense of the stories its telling, I wanted to give reviewing Treme in this style a trial run, to consider doing fulltime in season two. I love the show, and I’m hoping that giving it some tighter focus will help me examine exactly what draws me in. Here goes.

New Orleans, the show has spent eight episodes telling us, is amazing. Wonderful. The feeling, the food, the music; there’s nowhere else in the world like New Orleans. The joy these characters have experienced in single moments could stand up to some lifetimes. The show’s been pegged by some as a love letter to New Orleans, and after this episode I begin to realise that was the point. Because Treme isn’t about a crew of motley creatives in paradise, but about a relationship between those people and a place. A place that will slowly crush you if you leave yourself completely open to it, if you don’t guard your heart. In this episode we see a lot of characters either on the edge of leaving New Orleans or on the edge of tragedy, and I fear pain is coming.

For LaDonna, she already went through the harrowing experience of her brother being lost and killed inside the New Orleans prison system during the storm. Now, in order to fix the family crypt damaged in the storm, she’s got to go to her husband for money: a move that she herself may lead to her sacrificing the bar and leaving town. The town’s underwater and filled with sharks like the insurance companies and the funeral home director, and LaDonna doesn’t seem 100% sure she wants to keep swimming. Every step just leaves LaDonna more bruised, and it seems like she’s on the edge of giving up on Gigi’s and going ‘back’ to Baton Rouge.

Janette knows the city is amazing, and knows that she loves it. She opened her heart up to New Orleans a long time ago, and even when the storm almost destroyed her dream, she kept fighting. She’s been fighting since, fighting a war she can’t win but can convince herself repeatedly she can. All she’s been doing all season has been slowing her fall, and this is the turning point where she realises that the small lies she’s been telling herself, the excuses she’s made and the things she’s gone without, it’s not enough any more to hang a dream on.

And Creighton… Well, this episode was really his journey. He was the one who defended New Orleans most vociferously, back in the pilot, and he’s the one most crushed in the end. He’s depressed, his novel isn’t moving forward, and the city he hung all of his love on was almost wiped off the map. Every day was a little worse for him, despite having a wife and daughter who love him more than anything. So he has one last good day: he charms his family, mystifies his freshman lit class, pays a pair of buskers handsomely, has a few drags of a smoke… and doesn’t go home after.

The rest of the cast aren’t doing much better. Annie may have escaped Sonny’s orbit, but she’s still hooked into him, and being half-in and half-out might just be the catalyst for the tragedy that’s been set up for them at day one. Antoine’s been working at a loss ever since the storm, paying taxis to get to and from gigs, and now giving away money to his ex when he can’t afford to. If Albert does as planned and marches with the Indians, there’s a good chance he’ll lose his bail. Toni gets no closure with Daymo, having neither a living man nor a chance to fight for justice, and she and her daughter have lost Creighton to his own darkness (or, as he tries to reframe it during his last lit class, “embracing spiritual liberation”). Delmond and Davis may not have any deep tragedies to look forward to yet, but consider the company they are keeping; nobody seems to be having a good go of it as Treme‘s first season comes to a close, even as they’ve managed to tell themselves, and us, that they’ve been enjoying the fall all this time.

As we head into the finale, we’ll finally begin to see what kind of story David Simon is telling here. It will be very interesting to see how these stories tie up for the season. Of course, one must keep in mind Creighton’s quote that seems to sum up the show, up at the top of this post. Everything that happens doesn’t end anything, merely sending ripples throughout everything else. The end of the search for Daymo just leads to grieving for Daymo, which leads to the broken crypt, and it never ends. Because that’s life.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by clay davis, The Signal. The Signal said: Treme, "Wish Someone Would Care" (1.09) review up @ The Signal! http://bit.ly/98Q1Y5 #treme #hbo #thewire […]



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