Be nice to each other. And we’re out of Bucanero, so don’t ask.
That was by far the hardest episode to watch, because it was so close to the truth. I sobbed for LaDonna and cringed at the outsider money maker living large due to the pain he was capitalizing on,while not lifting a finger. And America? Well, life goes on as it always does. An American city in ruins, and life goes on. I still cannot come to terms with that. Thank you, Treme. All I want is for our truth to be told and you did a great job in this episode.
Character, or lack therof. People getting fucked every which way. Can’t shake this thousand yard stare.
I was collecting a whole bunch of witty things to say in the open thread tonight and that look on Ladonna’s face chased them all out of my head.
Karen Dalton-Beninato (yay!) over at HuffPo (boo!) said it right: “Alexander’s eyes should win in a separate Emmy category.”
I cried for LaDonna as well…
How could any anyone with an ounce of humanity not feel that?
That look she had when her husband says “I’m just glad you’re okay” was heartbreaking. She’s all alone
The people who merit advance copies and can think on this all weekend have weighed in thusly:
and I need to sleep on it before I respond lest I say something really stupid. But this ain’t right.
raynola, I wrote a letter over at Salon but am copying it below because I don’t know if they’ll post it.
“You wanted to see her resist?
“How attentive to nuance are you? You wanted to see more of her resistance to rape? You wanted to see more of her strength and the way she put up a good fight? From what depth of understanding do you comment on rape? Rape is nasty, sudden and brutish. It hurts and it breaks something in you. There is nothing noble about it–there is only surviving. There is nothing that protects any person from a violent man intent on wresting something away from them. He will wreck a life for $200 or just because he can.
“Simon showed this story in LaDonna’s face and in the amazing choreographed team of women–nurses, doctors and police officer– who helped her and, without her saying the words, understood that she wanted to shield her husband from knowledge of the rape. That sequence was masterful and, if anything, far superior to what many real life responses to rape have been in the past.
“I’d watch more of Khandi Alexander as willingly as anyone so I don’t fault you for wanting more emphasis on her character but Simon gave us enough time to see the wounding, loss and brutal injustice she suffered. We know it just got a whole lot harder for her to hold onto the bar her father left her, the house she grew up in, the city she loves or any other part of her identity; more than her body has been savaged. Two anonymous thugs did that.
“This was not an easy episode to watch but I would urge you to look again. You are missing most of what is there. Many other kinds of violation happened in this episode. This is a huge story about massive assaults on many lives, an entire culture and a unique place. Without the wonderful music and comic relief such as Antoine’s flight from the attack of the grade-schoolers in this episode, it would be even more painful to watch the vultures assemble this season.
“What I hoped to find somewhere is comment about the photography in this episode. Light and shadow punctuated the scenes very powerfully.
I also thought Karen Dalton-Beninato’s review was splendid and loved the quote you lifted. I look forward to more here from you on the Salon piece.
Two questions: 1) Because only weak women get raped? and 2) Antwone?
The people who merit advance copies
Hey, brah, we MERIT advance copies, we just don’t GET any.
I just wanted to say “brah” because it was used about 47 times in this episode.
Totally need to get you a “Kenna Brah” t-shirt, Virgo.😉
The first bar scene before Antoine drops by, where LaDonna is shooting the shit with the musicians, one of whom is supposed to be Dinneral Shavers, gave me cold chills and was a good set up to the attack later . It plants the idea of the growing random threat – of how one minute someone could be hanging out and laughing and the next they’re killed/raped/robbed/arrested. Then it happens to LaDonna.
I picked up on ‘Dineral’, but I was still really surprised when it was LaDonna on the receiving end of the ‘something bad’ that was inevitable. It was a slap, and I am sure I was not the only one saying “No, not LaDonna!”…
I remember the first time I had to give the buffet of pills to a sexual assault victim in the ER. I looked at the quantity of one particularly nasty pill and went back to the doctor and said “are you sure?”. And of course he was.
Today I find myself kind of hoping that somebody passes a note to Matt Zoller Seitz that reads like the note Mark Zuckerberg’s character received sitting in computer class in ‘The Social Network’. (The one that said ‘u dick’)
It can happen to anybody. Still. Whether there’s been a disaster cutting down on the law enforcement presence or not. And that’s the awful thing.
“On Your Way Down” is a Trombone Shorty song too. I tried to watch a 2nd time to see if I could pick up the tune anywhere in the episode, thinking that it could not be a coincidence, but fell asleep. Damn Eastern Time.
I also found myself cringing, “No, not Ladonna,” as her attack unfolded and feeling her pain and isolation when her husband obliviously said, “I’m just glad you’re alright.”
Yes, even if he doesn’t know she was raped, how can he look at her and think she’s alright? I actually felt sorry for him at that moment because he was a man sooooooo out of his emotional depth and he was trying soooooo hard and the best he can come up with is refills on her Vicodin ‘script.
According to Dave Walker, the song was playing on the jukebox at the bar before she was attacked. I didn’t recognize it but it’s not a tune I’m familiar with.
I do love how Mack the Knife kept floating through the ep too
“On Your Way Down” was written eons ago by Allen Toussaint and the first version I heard of it was by Little Feat. This version was the Elvis Costello/Toussaint version from their post-K collaboration unless, that is, I misheard it.
fyi, ingredients for a Bucanero. Scotch and red wine… good god
1.5 oz. Buchanan’s Deluxe Scotch Whisky (25 oz. per bottle)
2.5 oz. Red Wine
0.5 oz. triple sec
0.5 oz. pineapple juice
1 splash(es) VSOP
1 top off Grand Marnier (25 oz. per bottle)
1 small cherry
1 leave(s) mint
I will watch again tonight. I also felt sorry for our BTR dentist. Haven’t had a chance to read the Salon piece or see Dave Walker’s (assuming at nola.com).
That was a great episode though, heartbreakingly so.
RE: Salon article
“reduced its victim, a complex and steely character, to punching bag status” Don’t we all live in a world, not just post-katrina New Orleans, that can reduce any of us, at any time, to “punching bag status”?
“how un-David Simon-like the handling of this whole subplot seemed”.. Ok. We can move along, this guys is just trolling us.
A brilliant, if crushing, dramatic choice in making LaDonna a victim. With her regal bearing and her obvious emotional and physical strength, she had a long way to fall. For me, she’s the “if anyone is gonna make it, she is” character. I agree a pile of awards is overdue for Ms. Alexander. I thought she had it nailed down last season with her scene outside the trailers storing the dead.
Kind of over-shadowed by the other events, but what about Annie seeing the picture of Sonny on the roof? I guess his stock rose a couple of points.
Christ, if they’d showed more of the ‘attack’, I don’t think I could’ve handled it. The extent to which we had to see those vultures approaching inside the bar was excruciating.
Maybe it was just a bad moon rising for me personally, but most of the episode gave me that ‘I don’t know if I can keep watching the show til I’m a little jollier in my own life’ feeling.
I have to admit I slightly winced at the ‘neatness’ of Annie seeing the photo of Sonny, and him saving a young infant, no less.
Weird, but we may be watching the rehabilitation of Sonny. He loses Annie only to see her doing better without him. He gets ripped off on the street. He looks on with concern as his roommate deals from their crib (they’ll never find it in the sofa!) He loses his instruments in the ensuing bust. But all the while he is searching for a way up. Up, but not Out. He came to NOLA all the way from Hamsterdam and he is staying. He makes multiple references to getting off the street and into something a little more secure. Notice we don’t see him taking any drugs this season. He looks on fondly at Annieplaying with John Boute, and even gets to sit in. Maybe hitching his wagon to the Soul (Apostles) Train will get him on the straight and narrow. Annie might let him get a sympathy fuck.
Or David Simon will crush him, Antoine, and that beginner trumpet player by a piece of falling debris from a demolition site.
I was glad we got some confirmation of that. It always kind of bugged me the people last season who suggested Sonny was making all that shit up, just because he couldn’t remember all the details and all the faces. Like, he’s an addict so obviously he must be lying. As a one-time addict myself, it bugged me that he was assumed to be 100% irredeemable because of it.
a side comment on effective story-telling. I’ve always thought it was more chilling when you saw a thug slowly approach than the quick “jump from behind the door and the battle starts” and this episode proved that. [Hitchcock talked about how if the viewers knew a bomb was under a table and people were sitting at it just chatting, it was a lot more disturbing than out of the blue, a bomb the viewer doesn’t know about goes off]. In an episode of The Sopranos, Lorraine Bracco was also raped in one of the seasons, and while it was more graphic and included the entire act and was of course very very disturbing, somehow the scene in Treme was more chilling because it gave the viewer more of the dread.
Now that I’ve read the article, the immediate thing that really annoyed the shit out of me was when he said that the scene “diminished” LaDonna- seemingly cause she was facing two dangerous men and ‘only’ picked up a bat to defend herself? “The real LaDonna wouldn’t have used a bat- she would’ve clawed their eyes out”, I guess the writer decided. Well, shit, I would’ve loved it if LaDonna had two six shooters and a holster and could’ve blown their heads off, but in the real world, most people don’t and most know to avoid getting too close to the perps and using what they can to defend themselves, and a bat is not an insignificant defense tool (and commonly used by bar-owners, too).
I do agree it was somewhat jarring moving from one scene to another, but I guess it was a reminder that in life, different things are happening at any one time. You may be jumping on a bar doing the hokey pokey at the same time someone else might be getting the crap beaten out of them.
re “I just am glad you’re alright”- again, this reflects to me the reality that regular folks don’t always say the right thing when faced when blind-sided by tragedy, but it doesn’t mean their intentions are wrong. He likely meant “I’m just glad you’re alive”. He’s not a moron- he can see that she’s been hurt physically and emotionally.
I WILL say that it was jarring going from LaDonna’s face at the end of the episode to Louie’s “Mack the Knife” on the closing credits.
good catch by a poster on HuffPo that 2006 was a little too early for someone to mention Facebook as a national marketing tool. It was closed to the general public still then. (MySpace still ruled then, particularly for musicians).
there were other reasons Sonny seemed kinda squirrely back then. It probably started with him for suggesting “Saints” to the tourists and then immediately mocking them for agreeing.
Brueso, whether the character or their intentions are “bad” or “good” or he’s a moron, I don’t have a stake in it other than how it serves the story. He is what he is, and like Simon said once in an interview, not all the characters can be winning or good. I would argue that whatever his real intention or understanding, his actions serve to confirm that LaDonna was (in her mind) right not to expose him to the total extent of the crime. Like I said, he’s out of his depth, she can’t or doesn’t trust him enough to give up contol and lean on him completely.
Yeah, but see, that’s the thing. He’s an addict and an asshole, therefore he’s incapable of good? People are more complex than that. Some of our most loved citizens are addicts and assholes.
Anybody else notice/think was significant that the camera showed her taking all of the STD pills but not the Plan B?
good points, and I agree, he seems to be out of his depth.
I am surprised the Salon reviewer didn’t notice the buildup toward LaDonna’s assault, the building blocks of the crime story (which is going to be more about the failures of the police, who get more screen time and which would be consistent with Simon’s view about the failure of current institu tions to address current problems). I didn’t see it as disconnected, but as a careful build-up toward painful climax. And yes I agree the Salon critic is trolling for notoriety, and we should not encourage them to much.
I didn’t find the rest of the episode as disconnected as that reviewer did. There were clearly to uber-storylines unfolding: crime, and the slow but determined claw back up from the disaster. Both Sonny’s move toward a better life than busking and Antoine’s appearance in his coat and tie for the interview.
This is a core part of the overarching story of the last five plus years: even as institutions failed us and things seemed to get worse instead of better, even as the hustler’s skimmed off the recovery money, the people in the street did what they could to “come back better” as I believe our disesteemed recovery czar suggested the city should, even if it were in spite of people like him.
What I need to do is watch more critically and try to put aside my own knowledge of the backstory and think: are people outside of the story getting what is unfolding on the screen and why. I want to think, yes, Season 2 is succeeding at this, but I guess its fair to want to step back and look more critically with outside eyes.
True dat. When I’ve thought of Sonny though, ‘drug addict’ wasn’t something that particularly came to mind for me. The main thing that came to mind has been “jealous of his more talented (ex) girlfriend”.
I think Simon’s established in his other work (especially The Corner, but also The Wire) that he doesn’t automatically equate drug addict/abuser with ‘bad person’.
I thought that too, but Facebook opened up in September 2006:
Still, it does seem a little early for it to be the way to promote your music. That was, and probably still is, Myspace.
Ya’ll ust keep in mind that Sonny’s possible recovery doesn’t equal Sonny-Annie reuniting.
That seems way too trope-y
Albert’s meeting with the Road Home person seems like a set-up for more disappointment. She told him “You’re all set”, and then a few minutes later, as he started tearing up with gratitude, she told him “you’re all set to get your picture and fingerprints done”.
Road Home contractors fingerprinted applicants under the assumption that Louisianians are all corrupt and there would be massive fraud, so better to treat all applicants like criminals from the get-go.
If he thinks that just because he’s at the fingerprinting stage that the money is already on its way, he’s probably got a whole world of new and unimaginable shit to go though first:
“The Chipanellis told ABC News that they have been subject to endless delays and forced to jump through dozens of bureaucratic hoops to get the Road Home grant money. Brenda Chipanelli said she faced 60 steps required by Road Home, including having her photograph and fingerprints taken – which many call insulting. Under pressure from critics, the program has reduced the number of procedural steps applicants must take to 42.”
I second that emotion!
Yes and yes. I thought perhaps it served the story because it would add nothing but provocation and offense to some people to show it while it added suspense to the narrative and depth to the character not to show it. We don’t know now if there will be a pregnancy, if there is some reason LaDonna doesn’t need or doesn’t want to take the pills–is there something else her husband doesn’t know– and, as this thread is not neatly tied off, our concern continues. Maybe Simon and company are just not going to open that discussion or maybe they just did.
I noticed the Plan B thing as well. It could be explained by Catholicism but I don’t remember her religious views if any.
She’s Catholic. Which would explain it, I suppose. It’s too far along for there to be yet-another-little-Antoine that she’s thinking about. Catholic enough to want to keep a rapist’s baby? Man, I don’t know, that’s a whole world of humanity that I can’t really comprehend.
Thanks for the reminder. I keep wanting to say to the detractors that they are just not watching carefully enough but you remind me that as much as I know of the backstory, I still have to watch each episode many times to catch all that I missed the first time. I am very motivated to do this. I don’t know how motivated others would be.
Perhaps I’ll find out something when I start watching The Wire for the first time this summer. Right now, I know nothing about Baltimore and barely understand a word that is spoken on most of the clips I’ve seen. I’m retired and have the luxury of watching and reading as much as I like and plan to spend a lot of time on The Wire. Maybe I’ll find I just don’t care enough to work at it. Maybe I’ll feel it ought to be more entertaining and less challenging.
Or maybe some reviewers of Treme are just careless and not very good at what they do.
Thought Albert was going to get it right as soon as that Road Home smile blossomed all over his face. Between “Ok, he/she’s going to die right now” and “Take the damned pill, LaDonna,” I think we all sounded like broken records playing across the nation last night. At the very end, I felt our beautiful, strong LaDonna is now going to become a pill-popper. Sad death/move to BR or healing in the welcoming arms of Antoine? My money’s on the latter.
The real tragedy that Salon boy didn’t want to pick up on is the number of women across the country, forget New Orleans, who report suspicious activity that gets dismissed as a non-emergency, only to get (sexually) assaulted shortly thereafter.
I thought LaDonna seemed to back up when her husband mentioned he could re-fill all the prescriptions she needed. Who knows what other decisions she’ll make: certainly she’s less likely to feel safe at the bar then she ever has.
If anyone hasn’t seen “The Corner”, Khandi did really strong work in it as an addicted mom.
She could have taken it. We don’t have to know that. She could have an IUD, or a hysterectomy. It’s her business, Simon says.
Sorry – no comment on LaDonna (agreeing with Brueso on this)…way too emotional to rethink that scene.
I understand the next episode will focus back on Chief Lambreaux and the Indians (hey, things are looking up) with an outsider looking to dig into the tradition.
Seeing Sonny getting a spark of inspiration / re-evaluation (since the episode with the 9-year old) is really encouraging. I figured he’d have to find a way out from being on keyboards (because in season 1 the recurring theme was that his chops just weren’t good enough to gig in the city). I’ve heard people (from the introduction of Sonny) make the allusion of Sonny being the Anders Osborne incarnate for the series, which would be an interesting perspective (so watch him develop as he finds himself through the seasons). I doubt he’ll be with the ‘Soul Apostles’ for long, just enough to launch him into his next arch.
It is just GREAT to see Antwone (and PM LeBlanc) featured again and see the leadership parallels Simon and Co are painting with his character (contrasted against Big Chief, Davis, and Jon Seda’s character). In season one, every chance he had, Antwone was bucking against the direction / head, now that he’s at the top – the shoe is on the other foot. Ah, the burden of leadership – its a bitch.
Its crystal CLEAR that Simon ‘gets’ New Orleans…..but sometimes I really wonder what/how outsiders see this series (if they can continue to tune in)?
as a side note, what is the over/under on when Lance Reddick makes an appearance in “Treme”, lol ?
Anita, watch “The Wire” for many good reasons. You will love Antoine as “The Bunk”. Perhaps my favorite TV character of all time.
Brueso, 10-4 on Khandi as an addict. Also, reference “Bubbles” in “The Wire”. To me, one of the few morally righteous characters in the show.
Wire fans, who didn’t love “Presbo” getting fired last night? Old times!
Anita — What you wrote was brilliant and right.
This guy complained there was too much music in the show last season and it was boring.
I can’t even.
From the first ep of season 2 it felt as though LaDonna was at the end of her last nerve.
She’s been so strong, so handling, for everybody, so caretaking of everyone. She isn’t allowing even anyone who wants to try to take care of her. She’s got it all bottled up inside. I feared there would be a blow. But I thought the shattering would come from the inside, but instead it came from the unknown enemy that lurks in all the shadows around us.
Gods, it hurts. And this is how good she and the writers are: I’ve been there with this very up close and personal more than once. But the hurt here I am feeling for LaDonna is not from that, or at least, not just from that.
I found The Wire before I got to know Baltimore, which this year we have, in depth, with the generous and enthusiastic of local guidance and support. I didn’t need to know Baltimore to love The Wire and be in awe of what it accomplished.
Just sayin’ that to say about Treme, the location and many of the people we know well, some of the people very well indeed, we knew it before the team put together Treme. Treme this season is knocking me on my ass as much as the second season of The Wire did — still the best season, it feels to me.
Of course, unlike the salon dude, I like music, and listen to it as an essential part of life, not wallpaper, or signatures of hipness degrees.
My goodness, Treme has really hit its’ stride now. It is a rolling, bumptuous heartbreaking, sometimes joyful trolley car careening at break neck speed. Amazing stuff these last two weeks. The minute it ends I want more.
Agreed. I would add though that it’s clear he is not seeing, understanding her pain. I, too, was glad she was alive, was hoping we got to keep her in the story, didn’t want her to be gone, but she was already struggling within the relationship with feeling not understood, or seen by her man, something that can slowly poison the best of relationships, much less those bending or cracking under burdens such as theirs.
On a different topic, I really liked that the 1st District NOPD captain that Toni once sued for racial profiling…was black. Race and New Orleans, man, you just can’t ever assume a damn thing.
And, for the record, I have been where he was. Thankfully nothing as violent ever happened to my ex, but during her cancer and the susequent, very fucking aggressive, treatment, I had countless out of my depth moments where my actions were driven more by my fear of losing the person at the center of my life than by what she needed at the moment. Us humans can be so weak sometimes.
And of course, much of the characters in the show are going through some of the most heart-wrenching, blind-siding, final-nerve-stomping, didn’t-see-that-coming experiences that can happen. Flood yr city, get ignored by the ones who are supposed to take care, lose loved ones with no one able to explain it (LaDonna’s brother, and more recently on the show, the Massachusetts man), see yr spouse/loved ones throw in the towel, find yr brother in a refrigerated trailer morgue?! LaDonna had powered through so much of that misery, and then this.
Backing up a bit- one of the things that made LaDonna’s experience even more harrowing to watch is there were people half a block away who waved to her just a moment earlier, but then they were gone and the two thugs sidled up. In the blink of an eye.
This sounds uncommonly disgusting.
I steeled myself for what was about to happen and got through the show alright…I wonder if this is the last straw and LaDonna has had enough of the bar biz.
The scene I could have done without was Sonny-On-The-Roof, the hero Sonny shining, not the all-fucked-up-junkie-asshole Sonny we have grown to view with contempt…at least I have.
Annie is too good for Sonny and really, Davis is way to spacey for anyone right now or forever, I suppose.
And hey! Antoine! Pounding triple Jameson’s ain’t no route to happiness!
I think you nailed it. In much of the rest of the world, music is wallpaper or a signature of hipness rather than a part of the fabric of life as it is here.
I don’t think Annie goes back to Sonny. I think the real story here is the contrast between Sonny being more than we all thought and Antoine getting back in that cab. The whole episode was a study in contrasts (more on that later this week I think).
so much sorrow this week
The character development this season has been heartwrenchingly REAL, and I have really enjoyed the subtle attention to detail (like the plastic over the window on Davis’ car, the handling of LaDonna’s medical attention at the hospital, etc.).
This was the best episode of the season, bar none. Also? The most haunting since the season finale.
I have to agree, Cait. Best, but hardest.
Thank all of you for being here. I’d hate to be watching this alone, unable to hear all of you and have this discussion. This is the best community of its kind online (thanks, Maitri) and it’s so New Orleans that I can almost taste the food.
This hasn’t been commented on anywhere else that I’ve seen, and I guess I thought it was so obvious that it didn’t need comment, but I am seeing references elsewhere to the “mysterious” death of the Abreu kid.
This whole subplot reminds me of the controversy over the NOPD shooting of Connecticut native Matt McDonald:
His body was found on Burgundy Street. His family was given the runaround, fiction after fiction after fiction regarding the circumstances of his death. Eventually partial truth emerged: he was shot by police, and the shooting was covered-up.
My prediction is that the Abreu plot will be used to dramatize police misconduct and subsequent coverups after the storm, as a way of addressing situations like the Danziger shootings and Henry Glover shootings by showing a fictional cover-up based on a slightly lesser-known true story.
I think it will also show the run up to the Federal investigation of all this. The FBI actually came to my house about the McDonald shooting, just about 9 months ago, because I had lived on St. Anthony and Burgundy although not immediately after the storm. I asked the agent if he was part of the Federal investigations, and he said yes. I thanked him. It was clear they were taking this very seriously. I wondered if the Abreu sub-plot might be the McDonald case, but as you said, it seems obvious to those of us here.
I commented over on Watching Treme earlier about that, the detail about the caliber of the ammo wasn’t by accident of course. I have no idea what NOPD carries but I wondered when I heard that if the police did the shooting and attempted a cover up.
9 mil is pretty standard cop ammo-often Glock 22, but not always.
Thought you might enjoy this: http://nolaslate.blogspot.com/2011/05/drinking-with-real-davis.html. I surely did.
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