Treme Season Finale Review: “Tipitina” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Last week I mused that Treme had far too many plot points too far from any kind of resolution for them to be wrapped up in this single episode. I worried that this episode would skip out on any kind of closure and instead just deliver another stellar episode that advances a plot that never could have delivered any conceivable conclusion. We are following lives, after all. What is the conclusion of a life? It’s the main problem with following a loving a show as all-encompassing as Treme, but also one of it’s chief pleasures. Luckily, this season finale does provide us with some very real forms of resolution, if not complete closure, while also energizing us for the final season of the show, which will be coming next year.

The major through-line of this episode is the burgeoning community effort to get Gigi’s – Ladonna’s recently torched bar – back on its feet. In fact, the opening scene of Ladonna talking to an insurance investigator contains one of the episode’s most chilling images, that of Ladonna standing in the blackened, charred husk of her bar as the light from a window is slowly shut out by a board being nailed over it. This, after she just argued with the insurance agent over some old infractions, and assaulted the blackmailer who still wanted to extort her for money for “noise violations.” The one bright spot is that she finds a picture of Albert in his Indian costume relatively intact.

Antoine, meanwhile, is helping to rally musicians and other local businesses to create a benefit concert to help Ladonna get back on her feet. He goes to tell her about this plan, and gets her gratitude as well a query regarding whether or not Albert will be in attendance. Antoine tells her he will be, but not in a singing capacity, playing as though her interest might be musical, but the look on his face  says that he might have an idea regarding her real interest.

On top of that, Antoine is working to cultivate some of the younger musical talent he sees in his class, creating a special Saturday tutoring session for any interested kids. He claims that he knows that he may have reached the peak of his talent, but he is still interested in making a mark on the musical culture of New Orleans, even if that just means helping to bring the newest generation of great artists into the light. It’s a sign of his maturation, right on the same level as him paying a cab driver with a tip after not arguing over the route.

At the same time, Desiree, Antoine’s wife, is seeing the fruits of her labors as Mayor Nagin is raked over the coals regarding the NOAH program and the massive waste of federal funding. As she said before, they messed with the wrong people, and now they are going to have to pay for it. It’s a good resolution to an arc that has been running all season, one that gave actor Phyllis Montana LeBlanc some great moments of her own outside of being Antoine’s put-upon wife.

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