Treme has rarely blown me away in its first season. That’s not a defect; the show’s been consistently engrossing but it’s built on captivating little moments rather than astonishing big ones. But, when it does go for the jugular, it nails it. Hard. Creighton’s suicide tinges nearly every part of “Wish Someone Would Care” with dread. I knew almost immediately how this episode was going to end and it made each scene with Cray harder to watch than the last. What’s more, I found myself holding my breath whenever he wasn’t on screen, waiting for his next step towards the end. As fun and exuberant as the rest of the episode could be, I was always thinking that somewhere else, a man is giving up.
We’ve grown to care about Samantha and Toni over the season and so Creighton’s goodbye to them was particularly painful to watch. He tries to leave them with some fatherly/husbandly love, but they’re never going to be able look back on this day with anything but pain and regret. The devastation these two are going to feel casts Cray’s act in a shameful light without undermining my sympathy for him. This is the kind of complexity that makes Treme (and The Wire before it) so incredible. Watching Creighton try to soak up New Orleans on his last day was simultaneously heart wrenching and infuriating. His descent into depression makes it impossible not to sympathize, but the betrayal is equally impossible to forgive.
As I said, Creighton’s shadow darkens the rest of the episode. Davis’ party for “musicians and hot women” is still fun for both the audience and the attendees, but it’s muted. I found myself wishing that Cray could be there and see how vibrant his city can still be. Annie’s long awaited breakup with Sonny was equally welcome, but equally difficult to enjoy. It was great to see her growing self confidence in busking with someone else, but Cray giving her a twenty was bittersweet. If only he was aware that the validation was worth more than the dollar amount. Janette’s decision to leave New Orleans can’t help but be seen as analogous to the suicide; a fact made more disturbing in that “giving up” may actually be the smart move on her part.
Creighton’s great fault and the way we need to treat his decision might be illuminated in Toni’s conversation with Ladonna. Toni can’t understand why arguments about “right and wrong” are so meaningless in the face of her client’s grief. Ladonna realizes that no amount of “justice” will make her brother’s death any less tragic, and that pursuing it isn’t going to help her or her family move on. Creighton could’ve used that lesson. What happened and continues to happen to his city is tragic, and unjust, and wrong; but focusing on that fact has made it impossible to move on. Anger is no balm for grief and we shouldn’t make the same mistake. Creighton’s suicide may be a damnable act, but he can never be brought to account for it. Blame needs to be set aside in order to move on.
I must apologize for the irregularity of these posts. The top half of the week has been proving pretty hectic for me
So, ample dread/anticipation for seeing the fallout next week.
I’m glad the Texan’s finally serving some purpose on the show, providing another hopeful look at how outsiders can relate to New Orleans. Charity found an appropriate niche in the Japanese jazz fan. Here, the Texan shows what free enterprise can contribute. Who doubts he’ll be running his own crew full time next season?
I’m also dread/anticipating St. Joseph’s Day. We’ll finally get to see Chief Lambreaux in action, but is his refusal to back down going to land him in jail or worse?
David Morse is back as Lieutenant Colson. I really hope to see more of him next season.