“Treme” is perhaps the best drama on TV right now, and last night’s episode was a strong reminder of that fact. Even with Mardi Gras out of the way, there was plenty of story to tell, with several characters being forced to deal with emotional drama that placed tremendous demands on the actors involved. Luckily, the cast of this show is peerless, and as such, we were treated to some stellar performances.
- Director: Ernest R. Dickerson
- Writer: Eric Overmyer, James Yoshimura
- Cast: Steve Zahn, Khandi Alexander, Rob Brown, India Ennenga, Michiel Huisman, Wendell Pierce, Jon Seda, Melissa Leo
Episode Title: “Can I Change My Mind?”
Ladonna faces the prospect of charing the truth about her rape with her husband when she discovers that she has not been infected with HIV. Sonny has made enough progress to return to the band, and Davis takes his new group on stage for the first time. Annie continues to work on her own song, and Toni hires a professional investigator to help her with a case. Sofia gets in trouble with the law, and Janette gets a new job.
- Toni and Sofia: Damn, Melissa Leo can act. In what may be her most intense scene in this entire series, she confronts Sofia for being arrested, only to disocver that her daughter does indeed know that Creighton took his own life. An audience would expect the dynamic of this scene to involve a mother comforting her daughter, but it goes the other way around; Toni has an outburst of anger and grief that prompts Sofia to express her first signs of real affection in this entire season. It was a touching breakthrough for these two characters, and one we’ve been waiting for all season long.
- Sonny: Sonny’s rehabilitation does come across as being a little too easy–getting over drugs isn’t as simple as spending a few days working on a boat–but he’s been one of the least likeable characters throughout this entire series, and it is refreshing to see him get a little bit of redemption. Let’s hope it allows his character to make some genuine progress.
- Antoine: Speaking of progress, it looks like Antoine is finally enjoying his role as a music teacher. The episode is careful to avoid cliche sentimentality–he’s not the typical “inspirational educator”–but it is a step in the right direction.
- Ladonna: Khandi Alexander delivers the finest performance we’ve seen from her this season when she goes through an emotional roller-coaster that few actors could handle. From the relief of learning that she has not been infected with HIV to the struggle of revealing the true nature of her assult to her husband, she handles it all very convincingly.
- Nelson: Nelson has been a fairly under-developed character all seaosn long, but in this episode, he only has a few scenes, which seem like they were worked awkwardly into the narrative just so we would remember that he exists. Given the context of the episode, his presence seemed out of place.
- Delmond and Albert: Delmond has an idea for a record that could involve his father, who, as per usual, is stubborn about the idea. We’re sure that this subplot will take off and go somewhere interesting, but it felt a little rushed this week, as if the writers simply didn’t have enough pages to develop it as fully as they would have liked.
- Janette: Keeping her permanently away from New Orleans has placed Janette in a state of limbo, and with her once again changing jobs, we’re a little confused as to where her character is headed. With everyone else, we at least have an idea of the possible character arc in store for them. With her, it’s unclear.
See how there is no section up there for “The Bad”? That’s because a show like “Treme” rarely has any “bad” elements. Balancing a handful of interesting subplots and showcasing some of the finest writing, acting, and directing to grace our television screens, the series is a gem that hopefully manages to stick around for a couple more seasons. Last night’s episode was terrific, but then again, they all are.
“Treme” airs every Sunday on HBO!
What did you think of last night’s episode?