Treme Review: “Me Donkey Want Water” (Season 3, Episode 3)

When you set out on a journey, you have to choose a path, make a plan, and know what you’re going to need. Throughout Treme thus far we’ve seen characters picking out their desired paths, and, to some extent, creating plans toward achieving those goals. Tonight, however, we see characters beginning to come to terms with the reality of what their journey will cost them; the sacrifices they will need to make, the people they will need to help them, and the reasons they have to succeed.

This was, in particular, a big episode for Annie and Janette, who have finally found and accepted the aid they will need to make their dreams a reality. In a slight-yet-jarring stylistic move for a series that usually treats scenes and characters independently, the details of Annie and Janette’s contracts are hashed out in a cross-cutting montage of questions and seemingly legitimate answers between the two different pairs.

Janette knows the risks involved in running a restaurant, and she isn’t about to make any promises without knowing the things expected of her. Luckily, her benefactor (whose name I will someday learn) is magnanimous with details, wanting to figure out things as they go along. He’s had enough success that he can take a chance, and in reality it seems like the only one who has something to lose is Janette. We get a sense for why she will ultimately say yes to his deal in one of the episode’s most striking images, though. Janette, in the empty storefront that will be her restaurant, is looking out at the New Orleans street as the reflection of a trolley passes over her. In this moment she knows as well as we do – this is where she belongs. The fact that Jacques is in New Orleans and itching to get in her bed and kitchen doesn’t hurt either.

Annie, meanwhile, is on the verge of signing papers with the “oozy” manager from last week. She’s excited at the idea, especially when he mentions his closeness to Wilco, and band which likes to give the spotlight to new acts by having them open for them, but she’s not stupid enough to sign the papers without a read through. This is good news, considering that Davis gets a small speech out of a veteran musician about the way agents and managers – all the money men – would routinely fleece artists back in the day.

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