Among the group of writers with whom I watched the first episode of Treme, a common complaint was that the premier was too much a love letter to New Orleans, and the characters were so seemingly well-intentioned and earnest that we wondered where the conflict was going to brew. Last night's episode blew all of that apart.
There are pasts to be grappled with here, and ugliness beneath the pluck and parades that colored the pilot. Here's where things stand:
LaDonna thinks they've found her brother, but they've tracked the wrong guy, which is almost a relief. The search for Daymo is shaping up to be one of the more suspenseful conflicts in the series so far--no way would it get resolved so quickly. We are introduced to LaDonna's sons and new husband, who is ensconced in Baton Rouge with his dental practice, and intends to stay there. We're not meant to like this guy. (As Josh Levin pointed out at Slate, David Simon's disdain for any character whose feet and heart aren't firmly planted in New Orleans is fast becoming predictable.)
Delmond cancels enough Boston gigs to play a set in his hometown, only to be arrested for smoking a joint outside the club. His dad meanwhile lets loose some startling violence, in a scene that might as well have included David Simon holding a sign that reads, "Yeah, shit's about to get real." Lesson learned: don't cross Clarke Peters.