The allure of a David Simon series lies in the eventual payoff of what can take perhaps half a season to set up. It looks as though Treme will follow that pattern, as its second episode expanded on the lives of a handful of characters, moving them deliberately from one phase of their new lives to the next.
On the surface, it seems like little actually happened this week; most situations resolved themselves without incident (Albert Lambreaux's violent outburst aside) or not at all. Looking deeper, though, this episode set up several key points that we'll almost certainly refer back to later in the season -- the exposure of Albert's and Antoine Batiste's major character flaws, Creighton Burnette's growing frustration with government response to Katrina, Janette Desautel's mounting financial troubles.
We're beginning to learn that these are people who do for themselves, asking favors only as a very last and reluctant resort. The most literal example of this was Albert who, we're learning, is somewhat of a Big Deal in New Orleans. His tools were stolen before he could start work on a rich client's water-damaged home, only to have them returned by the fence who bought them. It takes more than a respected reputation to have that influence - you've got to be able to frighten the hell out of people. And we saw why, as Albert tracked down the thief by himself and basically kicked the crap out of him. Albert clearly has enough pent-up rage to make him capable of doing some serious damage, but it's also likely that his vigilante-style methods of exacting revenge are going to backfire on him sooner rather than later.
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