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'Treme' - 'Meet De Boys on the Battlefront' Recap

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Apr 19th 2010 1:10AM
(S01E02) The second episode of 'Treme' may not appease the commenters who complained last week about the show's lack of action, but for those who appreciate the series' atmosphere, music, and admittedly slow (but detailed) character development, this was a big step forward.
Once again, music book-ended the episode, but this time instead of brass bands, we got to see New Orleans musician Coco Robicheaux play and subsequently get his voodoo on, thus spectacularly ending Davis' radio gig with his on-air chicken sacrifice. When Davis asks his wealthy parents for a loan, it's clear that one of the night's and the series' main themes is: everyone needs money.

Street musicians Sonny (Michael Huisman) and Annie (Lucia Micarelli) certainly need it, and they're not above poking fun at well-meaning but clueless tourists to get it. If you want to hear 'The Saints,' after mis-pronouncing "New Orleans," then it should cost you 20 bucks. I'm not sure yet if I trust Sonny or appreciate his take on the "burning Eden" that was the storm's immediate aftermath, but I still want to see more of him and Annie.

Money problems also led to the night's funniest exchange, when Desiree and Antoine bicker over his inability to get a job versus a gig, and then debate the origins of Antoine's unique scent after playing with Kermit. Desiree isn't exactly likable, but she's right -- Antoine needs to take work where he can get it -- even if it's on Bourbon Street.

Khandi Alexander shines again as LaDonna. Should she sell the bar and relocate permanently to Baton Rouge, or keep the crumbling inheritance her Daddy passed down to her? The scene where she and her Mama discover that the David Brooks Terri has tracked down isn't her brother (yes, that was Anwan Glover aka Slim Charles from 'The Wire') was heartbreaking. Here's hoping he's found (alive) soon.

My favorite plot-line of the night belonged to the contrasting father and son Albert and Delmond. I know many viewers will prefer the Madison, Wisconsin tourists' foray into the real New Orleans courtesy of Davis' brief stint at a Bourbon Street inn, but that was just comic relief, as was Antoine's obvious, ongoing embarrassment at having to play that Bourbon Street gig.

Delmond looks almost awkwardly out of his element, despite being a native son. He can play his horn for the Elvis Costello recordings (a recreation of his 'River in Reverse' album with Allen Toussaint), but he seems out of place when he's summoned to do an improv set, not to mention bitter and angry toward "this City" after his ridiculous "drug" arrest.

Meanwhile, the Chief reveals himself to be a man of many contradictions (like all of Simon's best characters). The Chief uses his hands to repair and rebuild -- not just damaged structures, but also his tribe -- but he doesn't hesitate to smash in a petty thief's face for stealing his tools and being openly unrepentant.

This is the same man who tenderly caresses a double bass and closes the episode playing the tambourine with the one tribe member who shows up for Indian's practice. I can't wait for the rest of his tribe to come home.

Best quotes of the episode:

"You don't get good ancestor vibe up here. It's all tourists and T-shirts" -- Coco Robicheaux before his voodoo ceremony

"It's all about identity. Let's not learn how to actually do anything, let's just sit and contemplate the glory of me in all my complexities. Who am I? I am black Jewish woman, hear me roar!" -- Creighton, complaining about the University's cuts

Antoine and Desiree's entire dialogue about Kermit's barbecue smell -- which I'm a bit too goodie-goodie to reprint in its entirety.

"The thought of teaching Intro Lit to a bunch of freshman who haven't read anything more challenging than Harry f--ckin' Potter makes me wanna puke." -- Creighton, contemplating his future

"Actively and OPD, isn't that an oxymoron?" -- Davis about NOLA's finest

"I can build a house from scratch, roof to foundation, what can you do -- tear it down? That's easy." -- Chief Albert to the crook who stole his tools

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i loved the first ep and loved the 2nd.

April 20 2010 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So I hated the first episode. I liked this one, the writing was sharp and the pacing was just right. I'm still not sure what "the point" of all of this is, I guess it will just chronicle these peoples live post Katrina. But I'm in for a whole season now.

April 19 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shadowracer's comment

Right there with you. This one felt more.... alive?

April 21 2010 at 4:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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