Treme: s02 e10 – That’s What Lovers Do


Still fitting in

We’re almost at the end of season 2 and this felt like a downturn episode, a low-key affair whose strongest element was the aftermath of Hawley Watt’s killing. Annie T seems to have become, by default, his legatee, responsible for clearing away what little he left, taking on the part-written songs and music with a view to completing it, seeing away most of the rest of it to Goodwill, all with a calm emotionless that worries Davis. And me: it’s all very well for her to protest that everyone’s treating her like a china doll, in need of special handling, that she’s fine, but people rarely are when someone important to them is gunned down in front of them.

Hawley’s death impinges on other branches of this story. Colson’s arrived in Homicide and this is one of the cases that’s not being worked too seriously, what with the complete absence of evidence or leads and the investigating detective at least unconsciously dismissing it as unimportant: only a street musician, shoulda kept his mouth shut.

Toni’s already trying to use him to get the Arbrea case file. Terry’s none too happy about it, a sense that he’s feeling a bit used, especially after last week’s rebuff. He finds a more-than-sanitised file and a prefab full of mixed evidence, left to rot, but he swings by Toni’s to tell her there was no file.

Sofia’s talking to her now, though the attitude’s not left town totally. She’s working as a part-time barista, enjoying it too, fancies the guitar player in the street band outside but, sensibly and reluctantly, turns down the offer to go out backk and smoke some weed.

There’s been an FBI raid at City Hall, over the weekend, with has got Toni worried and excited. Not Councilman Thomas, though.

Sonny’s affected by Hawley’s death too, still using equipment borrowed from him. He wants to return it, talks a little with Annie, keeps the guitar a couple of weeks longer. He’s trying to get a date with the Vietnamese girl from the fish market, Linh, but he has to ask her father first, and he has to approve, and Sonny doesn’t want to have to do that.

Antoine’s show-stealing gets him a mid-stage walkout by his singer Lucinda and the band don’t want him taking over. When he lets Alison fill-in – a young, attractive woman, Toni’s assistant – Desiree kicks off at him, fearing the worst. LaDonna’s kicked off at him too, denouncing him for everything. She’s full of sudden aggression, against salt on the table, underlining her interactions with her therapist, and the failure of an attempt to resume ‘relations’ with Larry: both breaking off thinking the other wasn’t into it. Dark times lie ahead.

Davis’s musical ambitions are slipping away. Lil Calliope’s dance track has to go on the sampler and one of Davis’ two has to make way. Delmond’s shipped everyone, including Doctor John, down to New Orleans at Albert’s insistence, killing any chance of the record ever making royalties: Albert’s happier than we’ve ever seen him, Delmond can’t hear the difference, but everyone else can. Janette’s earned the nickname ‘Gator at the restaurant, and is being encouraged to expand her repertoire. Nelson’s slowly compiling a parcel of land for city redevelopment.

In a week’s time, we’ll see what temporary resting places these stories come to. But we come back to Hawley, in the end as the beginning. From Susan Cowsill leading a funerary rendition of ‘Will the Circle be Unbroken?’ to an unexpected sister arriving to collect the ashes and Hawley’s favourite guitar – This Machine Floats – and spring a gentle laugh on us, blowing Hawley’s pretence at a Texas accent, when they came from Washington…

 

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Deep Space Nine: s07 e09 – Covenant


Does he look any more mad to you?

I usually like Kira-centric episodes, in large part for the entirely shallow reason that I like looking at Nana Visitor. Unfortunately, the unfortunate hair-style she has adopted for the Seventh Season has changed Ms Vistor’s appearance rather more than the traditionally Runyonesque somewhat, and it’s not so much fun.

Neither was this episode, much of the point of which went over my somewhat unfocussed head. After an intense sermon about forgiving one’s enemies, delivered by her old and much-respected teacher, Vedek Fala, Kira is then kidnapped by Fala and beamed to Empok Nor, to be delivered into the hands of the one unforgivable enemy, Gul Dukat.

But Dukat is a changed Cardassian (or is he?) Touched by the hand of the Pah-Wraith that occupied him in the last episode of season 6, Fukat has gotten that old-time religion. He believes that the Pah-Wraiths are the true Gods of Bajor, not the Prophets, and has assembled around himself a cult of fifty Bajorans, which includes Fala, and who belieeeeeeeve.

Unfortunately, they also believe in Dukat, and when Kira gets a gun and the drop on the Big Bad, they positively queue up to shield him with their own bodies.

Which is doubly unfortunate because, even though Dukat has genuinely become a believer, he’s still Dukat. Benyan and Mika are about to have the cult’s first baby, Dukat having kindly agreed to permit them to set aside the Vow of Abstinence, for reasons that become obvious when the baby proves to be half-Cardassian. It’s a Miracle! shouts the hastily inspired Gul, a sign from the Pah-Wraiths.

Then he tries too drop Mika out of an airlock before she tells anyone else (she escapes explosive decompression and the instant expulsion of all the air by clinging on to the carpet – not one of DS9‘s most sparkling plot points – and despite several minutes of oxygen depravation, will make a complete recovery. Well, ain’t that just soooo Pollyanna?)

Dukat’s next bright idea is for the entire cult to go meet the Pah-Wraiths by slopping down Obsidian Order suicide pills. He’s meant to be part of this pact, which had me recalling the Reverend Jim Jones and the Jamestown Massacre but which was actually inspired by the considerably more contemporary 1997 heaven’s Gate cult mass-suicide. But Dukat, however much he is a believer, is still Dukat, and his pill’s a Parma Violet or something equally innocuous. Kira jumps on him from a balcony, upsets the pill-cart and throws Dukat into a rage as his cultists transform from worshipful and adoring mugs to a howling mob in an instant, demonstrating yet again that the key characteristic of a fanatic is fanaticism and that the actual ‘belief’ is irrelevant.

The whole episode was built around restoring Dukat to his role as Deep Space Nine Big Bad Number One. Repainting him as a true believer is supposed to make him even more dangerous, and it’s apparently foregrounding for the ten episode concluding arc, coming up on this blog in less than two months now. Myself, I was not convinced, by the episode in general, and especially not by Kira’s closing statement that Dukat was now more dangerous. When these things have to be spelled out to the audience in such a paint-by-numbers fashion, it’s a sign that the writers haven’t got their point over half well enough.

As for Colonel Kira and Nana Visitor, and leaving aside shallow concerns, it was not a good episode for either. I’m afraid Dukat brings out the worst in Kira, worst for the audience that is. She goes all one-note, shrill and almost hysterical, losing the point in the determined, monomaniacal insistence on painting Dukat far blacker than the Rolling Stones could ever have imagined, and the fact of it being true has nothing to do with how tedious it quickly becomes.

The fact that we have, now, seven episodes ahead that, by definition, have nothing to do with the endgame sequence, doesn’t thrill me. Rightly or wrongly, it gives the impression that these are unimportant, that they’re just filler until we get to the real story, the grand finale, the completion of the seven-year design. A drag, just waiting for the real stuff. I’m almost tempted to skip them…

But, of course, I won’t. This time next week for the next episode, ok?

 

The Infinite Jukebox: The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s ‘The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land)”


For some inexplicable reason, in the shower one morning, I had ‘The Ironmasters’ by The Men They Couldn’t Hang going through my head. The Men etc. were an early Eighties post punk/folk group who I generally heard on John Peel’s show. ‘The Ironmasters’ was one of only two songs of theirs which really registered with me, and thought of that took me back to their earlier version of Eric Bogle’s ‘The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land)’.
The song, which has been described as the greatest anti-war song ever written (though in my mind it has to jostle with Bogle’s other most famous song, ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’), is a very simple, very plain and very moving story. I’m not even sure if I’ve heard any other version than that of The Men etc., and they take a few minor liberties with the lyrics along the way, but I loved that enough to buy it in the 12″ version, for the extra sonic impact (I don’t believe that song was truncated for the 7″).
The context of the song is set out in its first few lines, now how do you do, young Willie McBride, do you mind if I sit down beside your graveside. The singer has found the grave at the end of a long day’s walking in the sun. The gravestone has very few details: Willie McBride’s name, that he died in 1916, that he was only nineteen. Willie McBride was a soldier killed in the Great War. The singer wonders aloud about who and what Willie McBride was, and who, if anyone, he left behind him.
Did Willie have a young wife or a sweetheart in whose heart he’s still the young man of nineteen forever? Or is he nothing but a faded photo, with no-one to remember?
The band play things straight. The instrumentation is slow, and simple, leaving the major part of the melody to the singer, whose voice is rough, but clearly sympathetic. The song has the feel of the time of day in which it takes place: a long day, an evening dying in hot sunlight.
The third verse breaks away from the musing about Willie to take in the scene and compare it to that which the young McBride might have scene in his last moments.
But it’s at its end that the song achieves its greatest power, and the band let the words come through as they deliberately refuse to inject any greater passion here than in the preceding verses. The singer keeps himself in check, the music is no more dramatic. Because the guy who’s found this gravestone is looking back over more than just years. He’s asking Willie McBride if he and the other fallen who lie here with him know why they died? What were they told that brought them here to these fields to go to the slaughter? All the messages about the war to end wars: did they really believe them?
Because this grave is still No Man’s Land, a field of uncountable white crosses, a silent symbol not of death in honour but of the blind indifference of man to his fellow man, a whole generation butchered and damned.
Because the sorrow and the suffering was all in vain. Because, Willie McBride, it happened again, and in this one last line the song transmutes from regret and sorrow into anger, as the singer rams home that it was again, and again, and again, and again.
I’ve read comments appending to the various YouTube uploads suggesting that this version is filled with more passion than the better known versions that come from the folk field, that give the impression that usually this song is played as more of a cosy singalong. I can’t believe that. I can’t believe that anyone with the merest understanding of English can come to Bogle’s word’s with indifference, or jollity.
I can believe in singers choosing to place no overcooked emotion in their voice, to rely on the words and their simplicity to convey the message, but I’m a long time removed from my interest in the folk scene and the local folk clubs, and the understated anger of The Men They Couldn’t Hang is the response that affects me most.

Film 2018: Up


The Film 2018 season is about taking Sunday morning to watch one of my fifty-two single film DVDs, in no particular order, and then recording my thoughts about them. It’s about setting a regular time aside, when I can let myself sink into the experience. Some films are ideally suited to it, others less so. Up is ideal for one but not the other.

Because Up is not the kind of film to subject to deep analysis. It’s a film about emotion, that plays on those emotions in a simple, yet moving manner. It’s a film to respond to with the heart and not the head. And it’s a Disney/Pixar animation, a thing of computer creation and voices.

But we already know that Pixar are in the business of telling real stories. That they can involve us as deeply in characters that are nothing but pixels as any character-driven film with the greatest of directors and the most subtle of actors. Because this is animation, it first does so by elementalising the experience, stripping it down to the most basic of stories, allowing a broad-brush approach that would be laughed out of the cinema if tried with actors. And the best of such films then add their own layers of subtlety, especially effective on the caricaturised players, who are not real in any sense of the word but whose possession of real expressions allows the emotions to play through with a focus all of its own.

Ah, look at me there. I’m arguing that Up is not to be deeply analysed but there I am, analysing away like mad. Do I contradict myself?  Very well, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.

But the truth is that Up is to be felt. Everyone calls attention to its opening sequence, which brings to life a life, two lives. Though the film is about Carl Fredrickson (brilliantly voiced by Ed Asner), the beginning of the film is about a joined life, Carl and Ellie, a stocky, shy, mostly silent little boy and a whip-thin, over-active, non-stop chatterer of a girl, in whose presence Carl is silent because she talks so much there’s never any silence for him to fill, but because there’s a lifelong awe to him that she loves him and has chosen to share her life with him.

She is the livewire, he the earth, and the house that flies on balloons, first carrying Carl within it, as if a womb, and then has to be held from floating away by him as he struggles determinedly to get them both to where they want to go is a wonderful metaphor for their life, their marriage, their love, and the terrible, everyday tragedy of one outliving the other, unable and unwilling to forget that life that was two and now is one, forever incomplete.

Everyone says it, and I’m no different, nor are my eyes any drier than yours, but the film’s spare, simple, silent evocation of a plain life made rich by being shared plunges deep inside. This is for the adults in the audience, not the kids, one of those few places where – after those first few, noisy, giddy moments – Pixar abandon one half of their audience to speak to the other alone.

It sets a tone on the film that remains undisturbed, notwithstanding the increasingly fantastic elements that comprise the ‘plot’. It explains why Carl is no grumpy, so isolated, so determined to hang onto his past and die in it. But the visible encroachment of the ‘real’ world around his little old house sparks the leap into fantasy: Carl takes to the sky to go to South America, to Paradise Falls, to where he and Ellie always dreamed of going but never went.

It’s absurd, it’s impossible on every sort of level, yet because we are in animation, and Carl is an unrealistic figure from the start, the film carries us past the rationality that we’d apply to a cast of actors, and we ourselves undergo one mighty bound and are free, heedless of reality.

All that weighs Carl down now (wait till later) is Russell. Russell is a fat little Asian kid (he’s just Asian, in the same way that Carl’s an old man, which is brilliant) who’s a keen and eager Wilderness Explorer (presumably the Boy Scouts wouldn’t give permission). Russell suffers from a neglectful father – the film drops in a single, natural line that establishes his parents are divorced and that Russell’s Dad is taken up with his new wife/girlfriend – and he’s throwing all the energy that would normally go into the father-son bond into becoming a Senior Wilderness Explorer, for which he needs just one more badge: Assisting the Elderly.

Carl doesn’t want assisting or Assisting. He just wants to be left alone. But when his house floats away, it do so with Russell on the porch, so Carl has someone to join in his adventure.

Which leads too a fantastic Lost World plateau in Venezuela, a thirteen foot tall. brightly coloured (female) bird called Kevin, a pack of talking dogs including one dumb one called Dug who adopts Carl, must to his disgust, and an unscrupulous, fanatical, long-lost explorer, Charles Muntz, Carl and Ellie’s hero and the catalyst for bringing hem together in the first place.

Up then plays a second emotional card that in lesser surroundings would come over as manipulation. Carl rejects everybody and everything to drag his dream to Paradise Falls at last. Like all journeys, he hasn’t thought about what comes next: the journey is the goal of itself. Almost immediately, he reads Ellie’s ‘My Adventure Book’, reabsorbing their shared childhood and stopping at the ‘Stuff I’m Going To Do’ page.

Everything after that has always been blank: they never did any of that. But for a first time, Carl notices something beyond the page he’s always regarded as a barred gate. Ellie has filled the book with the adventures she had, that meant most to her, and it’s photos of their life together. At the end is a final message, of thanks for an adventure that’s ended, and an instruction to have a new one.

It’s as if Ellie’s spirit finally animates Carl, their lives becoming the one they always might have been but for practicality. Carl’s been in the fantasy ever since he blew up the first balloon to lift the house, and now he’s given licence to live it instead of ignore it and try to make it leave him alone.

From there to the end, and beyond, Carl pits himself against superior forces and experience and wins, saving the day for everyone. He returns home, adopting Russell as a surrogate grandson, filling the role of the forever absent father, and becoming a Wilderness Explorer leader himself. A last series of photos leads into the credits, showing Carl and Russell in the life Carl and Ellie, childless, never had, and finally one set in, of course, Venezuela, for real.

Meanwhile, the little house sits at Paradise Falls, empty, but at peace.

Look at me. A film for the heart, not the head, and still the head has had twelve hundred words of its say. And there are thoughts I’ve left out, so as not to over-complicate matters, though I really must say that Jordan Nagai was utterly superb as the voice of Russell. Evidence then that Up works on every level you choose to approach it. Pixar at its finest. Sunday mornings and Film 2018 time at its finest.

Advertising 2018


(written at work at 13.40pm)

Over my shoulder, at work, I’ve just caught a commercial for Fixadent. It’s about partial dentures and how Fixadent glues them in place good and proper, so that they don’t rock, or shift or, basically, fail to correctly gnash food like raw carrots.

To illustrate that, the ad shows an attractive woman in early middle age and a trouser suit standing on her real, unpulled teeth as sticks of carrot are bit down upon by the un-Fixadented partial dentures, and an upper set of teeth comes biting down and the dentures rock and she rocks like she’s going to fall off her teeth into the mouth.

What got me giggling hysterically was that, after setting up this visual to cleverly illustrate the ad, the makers then decided they had better add a word of clarify that this was not film of a less than one inch tall woman in peril in a real mouth. They flashed up the word “Dramatisation”!

I worry about the people who needed to be told that. I worry even more about the people who think people need to be told that.

The Infinite Jukebox: Neil Young’s ‘Like a Hurricane’


Music, and how you respond to it, is an ever-changing process, though sometimes, and in some people, the changes are very slow and next to impossible to see. But how you react to something when you are eighteen, and how you react when you are, for instance, sixty, are likely to be very different things. Sometimes, the difference between twenty-three and thirty-five can be just as big a gulf.
At the back end of 1976, and increasingly through 1977, I found myself unexpectedly enthused about Punk and New Wave. It was difficult to get to hear much of it, since it was not exactly espoused enthusiastically by Piccadilly Radio. My lack of awareness of what was around me was a massive factor in me only becoming belatedly aware, in early 1978, that I could actually get to hear this stuff by listening to John Peel, five nights a week between 10.00pm and midnight. A more than satisfying discovery.
It was a timely move since, at the end of March that year, I moved to Nottingham for the next two years. Quite early on, I made two unwelcome musical discoveries. One was that a clear and listenable 247metres MW connection to Radio 1 was practically non-existent (when the station moved to the split frequencies of 275 and 285m, later that year, it wasn’t much better), throwing me on the mercies of Radio Trent, and the other was that whereas Manchester had been a punk city, Nottingham firmly wasn’t.
If it weren’t for Peely…
Those were the halcyon days when Uncle John was on five nights a week. Unfortunately, that only lasted to the back end of summer 1979, when the BBC decided to take Friday night away and hand it to Tommy Vance, for what became the Friday Night Rock Show.
It wasn’t immediately apparent what music we were to get, not in advance, so come the first Friday night, I tuned in as usual, ready to be impressed, if that we possible. I lasted about twenty minutes.
By far and away the best six minutes of that period was the playing of Neil Young’s ‘Like a Hurricane’. I was not particularly familiar with Neil Young in those days, apart from ‘Heart of Gold’, and when it started, I liked the sound. I liked the guitars, I liked Young’s voice, and of course the yearning chorus is great.
But then the solo started. And went on. And on. And on. And on (this is maybe up to about the three to four minute mark). It just lasted forever, and by the time it ended, I’d gotten bored with it. Not like Punk and New Wave, which got in, made its mark, and got out before you had time to get tired of it. Shame, really. I turned 24, later that year.
Move on now to 1990, in which year I turned 35. Still, in my eyes, a young man. Still at heart besotted with the short, fast song that didn’t hang around long enough to get tedious. That year, after an apparent creative slump that had lasted most of the Eighties, Young came back with the album ‘Ragged Glory’, with Crazy Horse.
I can’t remember what first attracted it to me, but the plain fact was that I bought the CD and, despite it having more than the one song that lasted in the region of ten minutes, most of it guitar solo, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it kick-started a Neil Young phase that, over the next five years or so, saw me gradually accumulate all his albums, which I enjoyed to various degrees.
One of the earliest of those albums to follow ‘Ragged Glory’ was the 1991 2CD live album ‘Weld’ (but not the limited edition ‘Arc-Weld’ with the additional 25 minute disc of compiled and collected guitar feedback!) I’ve disposed of all but a handful of Young’s albums now, but ‘Weld’ is amongst those I’ve kept, and principally it’s for the version of ‘Like a Hurricane’ on Disc 2.
We’re years on from Punk and New Wave. We were a decade or so beyond it when I bought ‘Weld’, but my favourite band was still R.E.M., whose reputation was made and back then still rested on the lineament of the classic song: bass, jangly guitar and drums, and three-part harmony choruses. I was still a very long way from even tolerating the polyphonic sonic sprees of the Prog Rock Seventies.
But the Eighties was also the decade when I first began seriously listening to classical music, the decade when I began educating myself towards enjoying pieces of music that lasted longer than three to four minutes. I don’t know if that was the fact that began to bend my mind back towards tolerating, and then enjoying longer pieces of rock music. But something did.
Some of it was that Young is still both an utterly passionate musician, still a creative powerhouse, and still at heart a simple, out-and-out rocker. His longer tracks don’t invite me to go through the artificial structures of Prog, the self-conscious virtuosity. It’s rock, Jim, exactly as I know it. It just goes on a bit longer and it no longer makes me feel time is passing in unforgivably large chunks.
Either way, the difference is in me, and it’s the difference between finding the six minute studio version of ‘Like a Hurricane’ to be too long in 1979, and deciding in 1991 that my favourite Neil Young track is the 14 minute live version from ‘Weld’…

Treme: s02 e09 – What is New Orleans?


You know I do my best to avoid spoilers. Each week, as I watch any of the regular series I comment on, I approach each episode as if it were being freshly broadcast for the first time, on schedule, as television used to be. Only afterwards do I go on-line, to read, research or check what I need in which to write my posts. And sometimes, despite my efforts, I catch glimpses, little mentions, of things that are going to happen, that I’d rather not know.

That’s how I knew, in season 1, that Creighton Bernette would commit suicide. Then it was just a case of waiting for it to happen, and it duly came in episode 9. This season, I knew that Hawley, Annie T’s street mentor, played by the versatile Steve Earle, was going to die.  This too was episode 9, though I didn’t make the connection before hand. But, just as in season 1, somebody we knew, somebody we had come to care about, was lost to us, and it dominates my response to another busy, full episode.

Hawley has been a gentle, nurturing presence, advising, guiding, encouraging Annie. He’s versatile, philosophical, contented. A calming, warming presence. This week, he was entertaining a London street musician, penny-whistle player James ‘Slim Jim’ Lynch, played by Spider Stacey of the Pogues. All good fun,as they say, until someone loses an eye, and I expect David Simon and George Pelecanos had that bleak and bitterly comic line in mind when, after a successful three-handed street performance, Hawley walks Annie over to catch the end of Davis’s set. The pair are stopped by two young muggers, with a gun. They surrender the money. As the kids ran off, Hawley said, without heat or anger, “You’re making a bad choice, son.”

The moment the kid stopped and turned back, I knew what was coming. I’d have known already, even without foreknowledge. The kid walks up to Harley, who still has his hands upraised. “I ain’t your son,” he says, and shoots Harley in the face. As Annie screams for help over Harley’s massive body, we fleetingly see he has been shot through the eye.

Tellingly, the episode cuts to Antoine’s band, slipping away after a semi-successful gig at the prestigious Blue Nile Club, about which a good comic business over stealing audiences was played earlier. Sonny, who’s eyeing up a Vietnamese girl he met last week at the Seafood Market, is next to last to leave, leaving only Antoine and his ‘bone, looking in vain for a taxi.

So much emphasis on a minor, a supporting character, not even a member of the cast. Yet though there are twelve named cast members in Treme‘s second season, this is not a show about them, any more than any other ensemble series, especially not a David Simon helmed show. Annie has spent more screen time with Hawley than she has with Davis this season, vastly more so, and he has been of greater assistance to her. Davis has his own preoccupations, his fervent but ultimately ridiculous commitment to insurrection in political and musical terms, this week pushed so easily aside by his far more talented protege, Lil Calliope. Hawley may only have the same faith in Annie as her self-centred boyfriend, but he’s the one who’s encouraged her.

And he’s shot dead on a New Orleans street, in front of her, in an utterly pointless act of hatred. Wonder why we Britains think America is mad for its embracement of gun culture? You look at scenes like this, where someone thinks that a gun gives him the power, almost the right, to execute someone for anything perceived as disrespect.

I fear for the effect on Annie. We’ve already seen how LaDonna has been broken, and whilst I understand where husband Larry is coming from, part selfishness, part tough love, I question how helpful he’s being in ranting at her to get her ass, sorry, I mean her act together. Sitting up with a bottle all night, detached from her family, her kids. Shape up woman, and either get your bar re-opened or (and we know which option he prefers), sell the thing and come back to Baton Rouge to become a mother and a housewife.

But this kind of ‘shock therapy’ doesn’t do well, in fact it doesn’t do shit. The DA admits that the case against LaDonna’s rapists isn’t going well. The victim in the other case has declined to testify, meaning they’re reliant on her, and if she declines there ain’t no case at all, and they walk. From there, LaDonna goes to the bar, only she can’t even get out of her car. Sale it is, much to Larry’s satisfaction, though he covers it up. He goes to put a hand on her shoulder, to squeeze it, butat the last moment grips the chair instead. I fear for Annie.

The rest, though continuing to mix the stories, was overshadowed by the ending. Despite the presence of real-life, ultra-top-notch musicians, Albert is being as cussedly awkward as you could expect in New York, pissing Delmond seriously off with his insistence on moving everything to New Orleans.

Terry Colson’s reward for going back channel, bypassing Homicide and seriously pissing off its Captain, is a lateral ‘promotion’ into Homicide. They’re already speculating around the station about his friendship with Toni, which puts into his head the idea of asking her out for a beer. He explains the logic of this seriously unpleasant move inflicted on him: either he gets the goods on Captain Gidry that enables the NOPD to get rid of him, or Gidry fucks Terry over and they get rid of him. Either way, the problem’s ‘solved’. Terry enjoys Toni’s company. She’s enjoyed it too, but a more regular thing? Not ready yet, she says, but the panicked look on her face invites us to think a bit deeper.

Then again she has her case of the Police shooting, in which more potentially incriminating evidence is secured, and Sofia, who’s only gone and picked the worst possible place to be tried on heroin possession charges. The girl’s still playing the resentful teenager card, but separate talkings-to by her specialist lawyer, and Councilman Thomas provide a plausible platform on which to build a revaluation of her attitudes.

And Nelson Hidalgo’s getting into actively trying to buy properties for redevelopment, in a move that feels like setting a platform for season 3.

I’ve got the boxset for that standing by. There are only two more episodes of season 2 left. But there is still a long way to go.