I've been away for a couple of weeks and have just caught up with "Don't You Leave Me Here" a couple of days late. I am thoroughly enjoying the third season of Treme and finding that the show is starting to hold together as a complete piece rather than a series of disparate stories as it progresses, I think due more to the cumulative effect of the show than any improvement in the craft. The writing has always been great but this show is not like any other; the pacing is deliberate in stark contrast to other successful cable dramas like
I loved the heartbreaking contrast between LaDonna and Toni's families, both living in fear of reprisals for merely trying to stand up against rampant criminality in their city. While Toni lives in fear of the corrupt police department and feels forced to send her daughter away, LaDonna is inadequately protected as the same institution haltingly processes the case against her rapist. It was distressing to see Toni's mistrust in Colson given their one time friendship and I worry that he is surrounding himself with enemies within and around the homicide unit - that the department will not protect him against accusations of deliberately losing evidence if they need a scapegoat.
The familiarity breeding contempt adage is proving false for this group of characters. I have grown to care about some of the flawed people that I initially found off putting. Davis McAlary remains self obsessed but his passion about music produced by others is endearing. Sonny's proposal was a moving scene and was wonderfully shot by veteran Treme director Ernest Dickerson. Antoine's philandering is offset this year by his new commitment to his teaching role and it was joyful to see the seed of change planted by his interactions with his students begin to grow this week.
I read and like the book Why New Orleans Matters by this episode's writer Tom Piazza, which I checked out when I read he had been hired to the Treme staff. I felt that his affection for the city and its cuisine permeated the Desautel's opening scenes in the episode. I am thoroughly enjoying Anthony Anderson's growing role as Derek, the actor and expert waiter. I hope the people of New Orleans can forgive his involvement with the mediocre cop drama K-Ville! I hope he remains part of the cast for the upcoming fourth and final season.
As usual with this show there are elements that I know are going over my head and connections I am not quite able to make after a single viewing. This week I did not recognize the guest at Desautel's who expressed regret over her not working with him, I am sure he was in season 2 but I could not place him. As ever I look forward to seeing this episode again and also checking out the writings of better informed commentators like Dave Walker at the New Orleans Times Picayune, whose Treme Explained column is always enlightening. I am going to try and write about the next two episodes after they air and will be updating the wiki again too. Please let me know if there is anything else you would like to see here.