And all of a sudden, the season that had no endings in sight pulled a shitload of them out of its back pocket and spread them round like there was nothing to it, and we rolled through an extended eighty minute finale of ups and downs and a sideways or two, and the ground is free and clear for another base to be laid in season 3. Sometimes it’s like magic, but what it really is is art.
I really didn’t think you could have done it. There have been twelve named cast members in season 2 whose mixings have often, over the past eleven weeks, seemed to be following no particular route, just bouncing off what I’m trying desperately to avoid calling the vicissitudes of life, but that’s been the effect David Simon and Eric Overmyer have been concentrating upon.
But one after another carpets started to get rolled up under certain people’s feet, and in both satisfaction and disappointment, things rolled round to places not unadjacent to where they began. Take Antoine Batiste in a memorable open: after Wanda’s walkout on stage last week, the rest of the band, or at least too many follow her out of the door. In no time at all, there’s no band and no point and a massive fuck you from the man with the ‘bone, who don’t need this shit.
And Davis sees his precious band slide out from under him by the most basic law of talent: when everybody’s a Mississippi river width better than you, you’re looking at the door. Praise the lad for growing up a little, stepping out on stage making fun of himself and embracing his white privileged background on a truly non-funky ‘Sex Machine’, immaculately swallowing the ‘ess’ word.
Delmond gives up his New York apartment, and his New York girlfriend to fund his share of the fake royalties that can pay for Albert to fix up the house.
And Nelson has the rug spectacularly pulled out from under him, in a manner he still doesn’t quite understand. He’s played the game, taken the opportunities vouchsafed to him and now he’s been cut off. ‘For now’. Because the FBI are investigating Councilman Thomas, who’s rolling over and resigning, and Nelson’s fed the jukebox in that corner so he’s no longer Mr Anonymous through whom the big boys can weave their nets. And his cousin’s asking him what is it he actually does, and Nelson doesn’t have a real answer for him. He makes deals. He makes money. He makes, in actual fact, nothing. Ever heard of a President like that?
But they’re the obvious losers, though Desiree gets what she wants, she and Antoine moving into a house of their own, and he’s leading a new bad, the more talented kids from school, setting up on the streets.
Others have a more equivocal time of it. Janette flies down to N’Awlins for Jacques’ bail hearing and helps him get loose. Later, they go to the Jazz Festival, and later than that they shag each other’s brains out. This is a bad move, because you never, never, never sleep with your sous-chef, and this guy’s setting up an offer to finance a new restaurant for the fair Ms Desautel, back in New Orleans, and she#’s wavering.
And Terry turns up at Toni’s, demanding the shell-casings so the Arbrea case can be properly matched in ballistics. He tells his Captain they could have a match, two linked Police shootings, and, guess what? A casing goes missing. Colson’s had enough. He’s taken it to the FBI, wants the Department swept clean in the Augean manner. Toni’s taken Arbrea to the politicians, but there’s an Election coming up. Sofia’s taking things seriously, hurt enough again over Councilman Thomas to talk about her Dad. As one door begins to swing open, the one between Toni and Terry is now firmly shut.
But others fare better. Sonny gets traded to Linh’s Dad’s shrimp boat for the weekend, an ordeal that results in his being given permission to pursue his suit with her. Though the collapse of Antoine’s band leaves him hocking his guitar.
And Annie’s starting to work on Hawley’s music.
But best of all is LaDonna, LaDonna who drops into a bar five blocks from her own and finds one of her rapists sitting there drinking beer. Who demands the Police in to haul him back, and then taunts the bastard and starts kicking him. Who unloads an expletive laden tirade at the DA over the technical cock-up that let him out, who’s breathing fire and flame out of every nostril, and Larry follows her out with this quiet little grin on his face and says they ain’t selling that goddamned bar, instead they’re moving back to New Orleans, because maybe he hates that goddamned bar but it’s a part of LaDonna, and she’s who he fell for again, nd she looks at him like she’s shell-shocked and as the lift doors slide shut, we catch this glimpse of her going to him and hugging him, and she is back and man is it glorious!
In the end, Davis can’t sleep. He’s back at the radio station, playing a little slow something old and mournful, that’s New Orleans to the core and the soul, and maybe it’s not what it used to be or what it ought to be but where else would they go and who else would have them, and that’s David Simon saying that through him, and the last is an apology for dead air, because that kinda got Davis there, and it did anyone.
Next week, we go into season 3. Maybe I ought to slow down, space them put, make it last, but you know I won’t be able to. Down in the Treme, down with the Treme. And the music goes round and round.