I am saddened that Treme will end in five more episodes because I have really enjoyed this Big Easy adventure over the last three years. The evolution of each character has been interesting and full of surprises. I’ll talk a little about each in the order of the publicity poster. Overall, the music and food references in the show continued to make me painfully miss New Orleans because it was all of the highest quality with cameo artist appearances of John Bouté, Trombone Shorty, Marcia Ball, and many others. Many have critiqued the show because they felt that a show couldn’t just be about food and music. I tend to disagree because besides the 12 primary characters with intermingled lives, Nawlins itself is a character and she expresses herself in sound, flavors, and odors. She weeps for her losses and for the corruption of her supposed protectors, the police and city hall, but she rises triumphant with her spirit of diversity and creativity. Let’s look at some of the characters now.
Hidalgo manage to fleece the city out of the FEMA money and sleep with all the hottest women frequenting the many bars. How, he could be seen merely as a vulture – which he is – but there is more depth to him than that. He has this contradictory attitude towards New Orleans – perhaps a consumer attitude? – where he actually loves the culture and bathes in it. I wanted to hate him for manipulating the system and destroying some of the old historic row houses, but I still felt that there was some sincerity behind his attempts to help the Cultural Center and he certainly connected with nearly all the artistic characters on the show. I wonder whether he will be in S04 at all because it seemed that he was moving on to the “big money” in DC towards the end.
The happiest ending on the show is certainly Sonny’s. His relationship with Linh becomes more than he can handle and he slips back into the partying crowd for a while. Once again, his friend Cornell kicks him in the ass and happily he goes back to Linh and wins her hand in marriage. It was well-played by Michiel Huisman as a romantic sub-plot without dipping into the tear-jerker realm too much. The situation was believable – if not predictable – but we can also be happy that he decides at the end of the episode to go back to music while resisting his previous vices.
Jeannette struggles to open and manage her restaurant under the heavy-handed Sam Robard’s control of Desautel’s. The price of fame is her loss of control over the menu, event scheduling, hiring and firing…and it takes a toll on her. She has a nice tumble with Davis and with Annie gone, that leaves the possibility for a happy ending for those too in S04…but I suspect they will not end up together.
Big Chief suffers through his chemo but only AFTER doing yet another mardi gras with his Indians. Honestly, I thought that this season would feature the death of another major character (S01 was John Goodman’s turn, S02 was Steve Earle’s), but there I was wrong as the chief is a strong old bird. Always there for both his son and LaDonna as well, he is a rock on the show. Perhaps my favorite character overall.
Terry is revealed to be a loveable loser with lots of integrity wasted on fruitless efforts to reform the hopeless NOPD. He has a bittersweet finish being with Toni but losing his job. I regret that we didn’t learn more about him and that we won’t see any progress at all in the FBI investigations…but then who knows what they will give us for those last 5 episodes last year. I suppose we all knew that he and Toni would eventually become a couple and it was nice to see that in the season finale. Not a passionate love affair but more like two pieces of a big puzzle finally fitting back together.
Delmond Lambreaux took a back seat in the main show this year. It was awesome to watch him play and all, but his story was overwhelmed by that of his father’s cancer. I hope that he gets a bigger part in the short S04 next year. A side note on the music, I loved the jazz this year. It seems there was not much zydeco and little cajun but mostly jazz and rock-n-roll. Again, my S04 wishlist would include more roots music from the Big Easy.
Davis was entertaining as always with yet another Fuck song that I loved. His story does turn tragic though – as Sonny’s star rises, Davis’s falls into the Pontchartrain as Annie moves on to a traveling musician’s life and Davis is left with the ideas but without the spotlight. Steve Zahn’s performance was, as always, outstanding. I think one of my favorite pieces was his tour of historic New Orleans where I learned a lot and was entertained. I can’t wait to go there next year – I’ll re-watch those mid-season episodes before I leave.
LaDonna has perhaps the most difficult role to play as she confronts (helas, unsuccessfully) her rapists and their (carried out) threats. Khandi Alexander delivers another riveting performance as this sexy middle-aged bar-owner and mother who refuses to be a victim and who fights for her dignity. The benefit for her bar was a fantastic finish to the season. It was heartbreaking to see the bad guys get off, but then after The Wire, what would we really have expected?
Annie continues her rise to fame in the aftermath of S02’s death of Harley. She drifts away from the dazed and confused Davis and settles for a vagrant life on the road with CDs and a lover-manager to boot. One friend of mine doesn’t like her singing voice. I actually like it as well as I love her fiddle playing. The various cameos of the likes of Sonny Landreth and others were incredible. That is one of the enduring pieces of this show – the music, the music and even the music.
Antoine Baptiste continues to prove that he can do a softer, more sober Bunk in Season 3. His character also gets a little bit pushed out of the spotlight, but I greatly appreciated his coaching of various children from the school and loved his girlfriend’s crusade against Hidalgo and his ilk. It was also moving how Antoine decides to stick to what he knows and loves best in trombone playing rather than try to become someone he is not. Another piece of invaluable advice from Desiree that he takes to heart.
Toni almost succeeds to corner the NOPD this time around. Her daughter Sophie continues to bloom into an intelligent and beautiful girl almost unscathed by her father’s suicide. I though it was pretty funny how she thought LP was hot on her until he put her in her place by pointing out their age difference – and then later we saw that he was actually gay. As for Toni herself, her character doesn’t evolve all that much this season although she does finally make the correct conclusions about Terry. I wonder whether her cases will get some feet in S04.
The newcomer in S03, LP Everett was played by Chris Coy and breathed a bit of new air into the cast. As mentioned above, he had a sort of ambiguous relationship with Sophie before abruptly sending her packing. I felt almost scared for him several times during his investigation into the police. I imagine that the lurking police cars as he shares his successfully published article with various victims of police violence will have some repercussions in S04 but that remains to be seen. I just hope we see at least a little of LP again because I liked the way he stood with his beliefs and tastes despite what others wanted him to think or feel throughout the season. I suppose you could say that he also had a happy ending since he was able to close out his article and get closure before heading back north.
Sorry it took so long to finish this article (almost 10 days due to traveling and such). I owe you season wrap-ups for Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, Homeland, and Walking Dead as well as thoughts as I re-watch all of Breaking Bad…