Episode 2 of Treme, “Meet de Boys on the Battlefront”, is a pisser, so I’m not going to bother you with any unnecessary exposition and get right into the action.
The episode opens at Davis’ (Zahn) radio station where he has New Orleans blues legend Coco Robicheaux on as a guest where the guitarist does on air voodoo sacrifice in order to bless the stations new location, Davis is in turn fired as a DJ and has to seek out new employment. He turns to his wealthy parents who secure him a position as a desk clerk at a Bourbon street hotel, where he directs three teenagers from a volunteer group to a club off of Bourbon Street to the “real” New Orleans. Davis is once again fired when the three teenagers don’t return that night.
Albert(Peters) begins to hunt down the members of his band to restart their Sunday practice sessions and takes the viewer through the neighborhoods devastated by hurricane Katrina. Albert also arranges work for himself as a carpenter (where on one site he delivers the best line of the episode: “Tack sheetrock over perfectly good plaster? Sure. People do a lot of dumb shit ’cause it’s easier.” implying the shoddy construction of the levees.)And while on a job, his tools are stolen from the site by one of the hundreds of looters still plaguing the city. Albert tracks down the young thief and beats him with in an inch of his life (I don’t know if it was just me, but the whole scene seemed to point towards darker implications for Albert in coming episodes.) Meanwhile, Albert’s son, Delmond, (Rob Brown)who’s in New Orleans recording with Elvis Costello, is picked up by the NOPD for smoking pot outside of a club.
Ladonna (Alexander) continues the hunt for her missing brother with lawyer, Toni Bernette,(Leo) and for a brief moment, Bernette beliefs they’ve found him, only to have their hopes shattered when the man who his brought to them is another person. Ladonna’s husband is also starting to pressure her to sell her bar, Gigi’s, and move her life entirely to Baton Rouge.
Bernette’s Husband, Creighton,(Goodman) is exasperated by the cuts Tulane University is making to its various departments and contemplates returning to writing his novel about the 1927 flood of New Orleans, but worries that people will think he’s capitalizing on the city’s current condition.
Of course, money troubles are abound for all of Treme’s characters, and Jeanette (Dickens) struggles to keep her restaurant open and has to take $6000 loan from her parents to keep herself afloat and Antoine continues to hunt down gigs and to avoid having to play at Bourbon Street strip club.
Overall episode 2 of Treme more than fulfills the promise of episode 1, and once more builds the complexity of each of its characters. The overall theme of the episode seemed to be the conflicted sentiments of the residents of New Orleans towards outsiders coming to help rebuild the city. However, the variety of music in New Orleans is what seemed to drive the plot. Once again the stand out performance was Clarke Peters. In Albert we see a good, strong man who’s been brought low by the hurricane and irrevocably changed, and the viewer doesn’t know if that change is for the good or the worst.
With HBO being HBO, they’ll play the second episode 8 or 9 times before next Sunday, and I have to say that I’ll watch at least two or three times more with how much I enjoyed it