The first season of Treme explored the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. It introduced us to Ladonna (Khandi Alexander), Annie (Lucia Micarelli), Big Chief Albert (Clarke Peters), Antoine (Wendell Pierce), Janette (Kim Dickens), Toni (Melissa Leo), and Davis (Steve Zahn) – ordinary people who were trying to make sense of their lives and communities. The season showed us a culture that refused to let itself get beat down by disaster. The music, food and Indian feathers were just as vivacious as they were before the levies broke. Treme Season 2 is less about the disaster, and more about the new, New Orleans. Times have changed, murder rates are up, but the beating heart and spirit of the Jazz homeland can never die.
For the characters, Treme’s second season is all about new experiences – good and bad. Although many viewers loved the first season, some said that they were always waiting for “something big” to happen. Sure enough, season 2 brings several major changes. This season isn’t just about enjoying the music and culture, but also realizing the full emotional drama of the environment. Each character’s story becomes much more compelling and sometimes heartbreaking.
After closing down her restaurant, Janette has moved on to New York to work as a line cook. However, a negative review of New Orleans food by a critic gets her riled up and reminds her just how much she misses her home. It sends her career into a spiral, as she tries to survive in New York’s five-star cooking industry.
Antoine decides its time to move on from being a back up bone player. The musician branches out from the shadow of Kermit and starts his own band. Annie has stepped up from common street musician. She’s built a name for herself and is now on tour. She’s the rock in DJ Davis’ life and the two start individual journeys to broaden their respective musical landscape.
Ladonna’s husband continues to implore her to sell her family’s bar. When crime strikes, her character’s seemingly invulnerable will is finally broken. Her arc is one of the more poignant stories of the season and it keeps you watching from episode to episode.
In addition to Ladonna’s tale, Lieutenant Terry Colson and Toni’s story help to heighten the intrigue of Treme as well as the newly introduced character of Nelson Hidalgo (Jon Seda). Their stories dive deep into the politics surrounding New Orleans and usher along an overarching plot that is compelling to watch episode-to-episode.
Once again, HBO has done a stellar job in presenting several special features that not only go behind-the-scenes into the production of Treme, but also explore the culture of New Orleans. In addition to stellar sound quality that brings alive all the brass instruments, the Blu-ray release has two exclusive bonus features that offer more information on the music of the series and the culture of the city.
Personally, my favorite bonus segment is Behind Treme: Clarke Peters & The Mardis Gras Indians. Chief Albert really steps into his own in Season 2, going through depression while being selected to be in a documentary. However, throughout the series, the importance of the Indians is never truly explained. Outside of their pretty features, it’s hard to grasp their significance. The Behind Treme featurette on the Mardi Gras Indians offers exceptional insight into this unique segment of the culture.
Blu-ray Exclusive Special Features:
– Down in the Treme: A Look at the Music and Culture of New Orleans
– The Music of Treme
– The Art of Treme
– Behind Treme: Food for Thought
– Behind Treme: Clarke Peters & The Mardi Gras Indians
– Audio Commentaries
– Music Commentaries