And so we come to the finale of the ultimately satisfying second season of Treme. If there was anything that we learned this year (which we should have already known) was that it takes a while for people to accept their losses and then moving on, especially for the citizens of NOLA. Some residents are leaving town. Some residents are returning. Some residents are simply staying put. Change happens all the time, for better or worse. One just has to roll with it.
“Do Watcha Wanna” takes place during the lead up to JazzFest 2007. In that time, both Antoine (Wendell Pierce) and Davis’ (Steve Zahn) dreams of music immortality come to a bitter end when they realize that even though they may be the frontmen for their respective bands, they do not have full control of them. Bandmates quit, new ones are added on. No one is exactly on the same page and will never be, so Antoine begins to focus on his music students while Davis returns to deejay at the local radio station.
Toni (Melissa Leo) and Colson (David Morse) are no longer on speaking terms but they both realize that there is a tremendous cover-up in the NOPD with regards to the Abreu case. They independently go to the Feds with the hopes of getting the Bush Administration of conducting a civil rights-tinted investigation of their own (they won’t because civil rights were never Bush II’s strong suit). The case is still open as the episode comes to a close, so there’ll be more fodder for season three.
In the meantime, Sofia (India Ennenga) experience the loss of a second male role model as Oliver Thomas pleads guilty to corruption. The fall of her mentor is hard on her but it’s not as hard as it’s going to be on Nelson (Jon Seda), whose name is now tainted because of his association with Thomas. His rich Republican friend as shunned him while his clean up business has been blacklisted. He wanted to work in New Orleans, in the old NOLA way. He should have been careful for what he wished for.
Things aren’t all that bad for the rest of our favorite residents of the Treme. Sonny (Michiel Huisman) can finally date his Vietnamese dream girl after working on her family’s shrimp boat for a weekend. (There is foreshadowing, though, of future disasters that will befall New Orleans as Sonny and the boat captain notice a “regular” oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.) Annie, in the meanwhile, is busy finishing one of Harley’s song despite not being able to sleep well since witnesses his murder. She’s coping the best she can –- through music.
Janette (Kim Dickens) is returning home thanks to an offer by a rich NYC investor to help her open her own restaurant. That’s a tremendous plus. The downside, if any, is that she’s going to have to look for a new sous chef since she’s sleeping with her old one (they do seem happy though).
Albert (Clarke Peters) and Del’s (Rob Brown) jazz-meet-Mardi Gras Indian chant band is sounding like a success, killing it during a live performance at JazzFest and recording a sweet sounding album. Del’s plan to tricking his father into accepting $20,000 to fix his house, in the guise of an “advance” on the album sales, works as well, prompting Albert to wanting to record another album. (The joy on Peters’ face after seeing the check was priceless.)
If the season belonged to any character, it would be LaDonna. As played beautifully by Khandi Alexander (who should be nominated for an Emmy come the Fall), she finally gets the justice that she was so looking forward to. After seeing one of her rapists enjoying a beer at a local bar, she flips and calls the cops. During his arrest, LaDonna throws a couple of punches and kicks the animal when he’s down. Even though an officer pulls her off her attacker, it was better than therapy. She balls her eyes out with a mix of joy and frustration. Justice has been served, by her own hands. And soon after the altercation, with the support of her husband Larry, she decides to not sell her bar and finally reopens it to the public.
Of course there is plenty of amazing music sprinkled throughout the season finale. There was also plenty of amazing food. The people were colorful, the rebuilding still being done. Many things are moving upward. Unfortunately, as one of the final shots showed us, another young man was senselessly murdered. The hope is his family buries him peacefully, the police catch the suspect, and everyone can begin the process of moving on. That is the story of New Orleans.