By the end of the third episode of Treme, we're starting to get a little wary. While the show continues to be visually stunning and engaging, when it comes to laying out the saints and sinners in New Orleans, Simon's painting with an awfully broad brush.
A recurring theme throughout the episode was the insensitivity and the incompetence of the post-Katrina law enforcement. In the course of the hour, officers lock up Davis for an open container, hassle Annie and Sonny, refuse to acknowledge custody of Daymo, and beat up a drunk Antoine after he accidentally knocks a patrol car with his trombone, which they kick into the street. (Both Davis and Antoine are bailed out by Toni, who is seemingly being paid only in piano lessons. Are there no other lawyers with a soft spot for musicians around?) After The Wire's ability to delve into the complexities and personalities of the Baltimore police, the narrow treatment of cops here feels too easy.
The tension around who belongs and who doesn't continues as well, although thankfully with a bit more complexity. Davis finally has it out with his gay neighbors, who he accuses of being gentrifying carpetbaggers, only to find out they're NOLA natives who know as much of the neighborhood's musical history as he does. And Delmond, in New York for a Lincoln Center Katrina benefit, wryly observes, "In New Orleans, they hype the music, but they don't love the musicians. Just look how folks got to leave to get their due." Delmond is fast being set up as an outsider who's choosing to reject the New Orleans culture his father holds so dear, but he serves to show that sometimes the tradition isn't enough.