To my surprise and pleasure, this episode took it’s title directly from Shawn Colvin’s track, ‘The Neon Light of the Saints’ from her 2011 album, All Fall Down, which played over the credits. This was doubly apt in that Shawn’s manager from the episode in which she guested last season reappeared, to take Annie T and The Apostles on as a client, and that much of the music in this episode was trad jazz, which I and most of those ignorant of jazz will always instinctively link with that hoary old classic (here being a word meaning, song you wish you could never hear again), ‘When the Saints Go Marchin’ In’.
Besides, it was the only music in the episode that I could properly appreciate!
I’m not knocking the music, which I’m enjoying immensely as both an integral part of the series and for the undoubted life and energy it brings to everything, but I neither know nor understand it, it represents a culture of which I am ignorant and which would take a lifetime to absorb, and underneath it all I am wedded to the sound of the guitar, not horns.
What of the drama? I was taken aback when the scene in which Delmond Lambreaux, in the bar, raised an Indian chant for Albert, who has been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cut into the credits as I had no idea 55 minutes had already gone by. Once again we faced the Treme kaleidoscope and, as in episode 1, there was little sense of the season’s themes beginning to develop.
Little things: Albert’s condition. Antoine finding out his sons don’t want to learn music but a couple of his girl pupils are getting into the trad. LaDonna walking out on living with her in-laws after Virina ‘forgets’ to put Antoine’s name on the list of permitted visitors at the gatehouse. Davis putting together his ambitious but we-can-all-see-this-coming, futile Opera.
And more medium-sized things, from which the early signs of stories can be seen. Annie beginning her ascent to the success that awaits her. Terry Colson opening up the first signs of a r’approchement with Toni, bringing her the news personally that a friend she knows has been brutally beaten to death instead of her learning it from the news.
Nelson gets himself back into the game by trailing our successful Florida developer, Loretta Mortensen, finding what a piss-poor job she’s doing and getting the spin-offs that he and his contractor partner Robinette will do properly.
Sonny badly wants to screw Linh’s brains out and the feeling’s mutual but they can never get far enough away, or for long enough, from Mr Tranh to so much as get her knickers down. Now he’s got a gig again.
Janette is in demand, with the chance to run her own place again, back in New Orleans, with a partner to keep the bullshit (i.e., the administration) off her shoulders. David Chang reckons she’ll go.
L.P. Everett is pursuing a case of Police brutality, murder or negligent homicide, criminal damage and destruction of evidence, or so the possibilities seem to stack up from what we see. At the moment, he’s acting independently of Toni Bernette and/or Terry Colson, but let’s see.
No Sofia Bernette this week.
But let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is a David Simon project, with all due respect to Eric Overmyer, and these are invariably structured as novels: you don’t get climaxes in chapter 2, you’re dealing with strands, lines, things slowly being set in motion and, in the case of an ongoing TV series, and a slice-of-life, not even necessarily in episodes 9 or 10.
Let’s continue to roll.