Treme Review: “Don’t You Leave Me Here” (Season 3, Episode 8)

Life doesn’t move at the same pace for any one person anymore than the facts of the world align to create the same impression of what is important, what has happened, or what is coming. One of the things that Treme does better than most television shows is recognize this fact, never making the mistake of bringing everyone to a similar point of conclusion at the same time, and never creating a single, uniform villain for the show to rail against. This week we saw three objectives come to fruition, two adventures just begin, and two agencies of possible malice cast as unlikely heroes. This is complexity and veracity, folks. This is the Treme.

We begin with the “soft opening” of Janette’s restaurant, which goes reasonably well even though we get an early look at the training process for the new waiters. Luckily, Janette has Derek, the server she ran into a Mardi Gras, to pick up the slack and work the room. Anthony Anderson plays a great part here, one which will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever worked the front end of a restaurant. He knows his guests, knows which lines he can cross to be ingratiating, and keeps the chef happy.

Janette’s parents are pleased with the way things have turned out, and even Nelson Hidalgo shows up with the new blond arm candy. Nelson is fantastic at glad-handing and burrowing himself down into the environment, as he proves at another lunch (the man loves the culture) with the man behind the scenes of the new Jazz Center. He even has some intel and some leverage to get back in good after his exile to the wilderness following the Councilman Thomas scandal. This, plus is contacts in Washington which he made last week, put him on a sure footing to be part of the coming boom in construction and renovation.

This new position also puts him into the same sphere as Delmond, who is taken to the site of the proposed Jazz Center in order to gain his input. When he outlines his ideal plans for the Center, drawing inspiration from the Lincoln Center, it’s a brief glimpse at what this place really could be for the community. Time will tell if the reality will sync up with his ideas – community outreach, education, numerous venues to showcase all kinds of styles of music – but for now the men behind the curtain seem amenable, though they would still love to get Del’s father, Albert, in on the game.

This will be difficult, however, as Albert just began his chemo, and already the negative side effects are beginning. He’s still obstinate and proud as ever, though, and is more worried about the coddling of his daughter than the fight for his life. Still, during his first session, he doesn’t shy away from holding her hand, though one gets the sense from his talk with Ladonna the night before that this might be more for his child’s benefit than his own.

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