The previous episode of Treme was the most well made and fully realized of the season so far (Patrick and Josh break it down, as always, at A Blog Supreme). It’s taken four episodes for this season to lay out its materials, and they are finally starting to come together.
The best moments of the series have, sadly, been the ones that surround death, especially the gripping, beautiful and extraordinarily melancholy and hopeful conclusion to the first season:
(which matched the final moments of the finale of season four of The Wire for complexity, poetry and mystery:
the only equals to the final sequence of Antonioni’s L’Eclisse):
In Treme, death means music, means the musicians and the culture, and, in what seems to be working out as a long-range structure, means individual cops and lawyers (Terry and Toni). It also means incipient exploitation and corruption, and that’s also burgeoning.
Musically, two thoughts. One is that I hope that the producers make Delmon more interesting musically. Now that we see his journey, the kind of rote stuff they’re sticking us with isn’t bearing the weight of the story. He’s like an opera character, and the music needs to make us know and believe what’s happening inside him. The brand of modern jazz he’s playing is irritatingly stuck in the Woody Shaw model, great as it is but also too out of date to be contemporary. That he pulls out some Jelly Roll Morton hints at where he’s going (the episode before, Delmon was talking about Morton’s Library of Congress recordings, but never gives us a hint of how beautifully, spectacularly vulgar they are – and by the way, $19.98 is epic value for these!) , but compared to the brief power of Mississippi Fred McDowell we get over his stereo, he’s a baby trying to be a man.
Annie’s musical/personal journey, so often secondary to the plot, is actually much more interesting and realized than most everything else on the show. Her interest in getting further in her career, and her stab at writing a song, are so well done that anyone watching will appreciate that it’s probably harder to write a song than a sonata.