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September 2, 2014

'Treme' - 'Right Place, Wrong Time' Recap

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Apr 26th 2010 10:02AM
(S01E03) 'Treme' delved deeper into the injustices big and small faced by each of the characters in this episode. I saw it twice and liked it much more the second viewing. It wasn't as gripping (or funny) as the previous episode, but there were several moments that beautifully captured each of the main character's chief post-Katrina struggles.

The most startling plot line of the night belonged to Chief Albert again, as he discovers his Wild Man's body under a row boat. It's the first time we've seen a dead body on the show, and I fear it's not the last. Will the Chief ever get his tribe back? The fact that Delmond can't pick up his father's call, because he's back in New York for a charity concert, was telling about his love-hate relationship with New Orleans... and his dad.

LaDonna's continued search for her brother needs to resolve soon (although it could be one of those season-wide mysteries), but in the meantime it's giving Khandi Alexander some amazing material. Her faux-sweet voice talking to her brother-in-law was pitch-perfect, and I was intrigued by her comment that her light-skinned in-laws treat their "7th Ward Creole" heritage as something to lord over her.

I rolled my eyes at Antoine calling his "instrument" (both musical and sexual) a "bone," and definitely didn't feel sorry for him having to, um, play again with a suspicious Desiree when he returned home. Antoine was comic relief for most of the episode until he's beat up and arrested for no reason. No wonder Toni the civil-rights attorney is so busy.

As always, music continues to be a key element to the series. The two New Orleans musicians we're introduced to this week were zydeco/blues master Dr. John (pictured) and ragtime/jazz pianist Tom McDermott. I loved Dr. John's rehearsal of 'My Indian Red' for a Katrina charity concert (which, by the way, Wynton Marsalis really did organize in New York City back in September, 2005). This line was hilarious: "It might cause some confusementalism amongst the Lincoln Center set." Apparently, he really speaks that way.

Although the Scott Joplin ragtime pieces Annie and Tom played for that rather posh shindig were fantastic, that particular subplot felt a bit flat. Sonny jabbered on again about the horrors he witnessed after the Storm, and while he seems to love Annie, he was obviously jealous and annoyed as she dueted with Tom. Still not sure if they're good together or not.

My favorite scene of the episode is the delicious awkwardness between Davis and Creighton, after Davis shows up to give Sophia her bartered piano lesson. That the show's two wittiest, quotable characters should circle around each other that way was a genius moment from the writer's room. Creighton clearly emerged the superior orator, as Davis stumbled over his words and couldn't form a coherent sentence. I hope to see more scenes between these two.

Ending the show with the interrupted funeral performance by the Indians was a brilliant move. Just as the audience begins reveling in the almost sacred-seeming ceremony, that ridiculous "Hurricane Katrina Tour" bus rolls up with cameras flashing. "Drive away from here, sir," cries out the Big Chief, and it instantly reminded me of how it felt to see all the tourists asking how to get to Ground Zero after 9/11. At least the driver was appropriately shamed and drove away.

Was the third time a charm? Are you digging in yet?

Best quotes of the episode:


"Raise your children in the way they should go" -- Creighton, thrilled his daughter Sophia showed her NOLA pride on You Tube

"I don't care if you're gay... Cosmically speaking, the more cocks that get sucked in the world, the better for all of humanity," -- Davis, to his wealthy, gentrifying neighbors

"Forget everything you need to know about Jesus, Buddha, Allah, because there is only one God, and his name is Professor Longhair." -- Davis, prefacing his piano instruction of 'Tipa Tina'

"People like us -- my mother, me, my brother -- we're just folks from around the way; we get shit done to us," -- LaDonna, feeling invisible as she searches for her missing brother

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