This week the characters have to deal with their choices.

Photo from Treme

This week's episode does what Treme was made to do - illuminate a fundamental drama that most of us face.If things go according to plan, most of us will not have to survive a zombie apocalypse and track down a devious computer hacker/killer? More likely: How badly do you want your dream, and what deals will you make to achieve it? Annie (Lucia Micarelli) approaches manager Marvin Frey (Michael Cerveris) and asks, "Where do I sign?" and the scene could only have played more Faustian if it was shot in brimstone smell-o-vision. In the same episode, Restauranteur Tim Feeny (Sam Robards) courts Janette (Kim Dickens), trying to get her to open a restaurant with him in New Orleans. David Chang - who's great on camera - compares a partnership to a marriage, and when Feeny woos her, he does so by taking her out to dinner.

Neither Annie nor Janette go into these relationships blindly. Wariness shows on Janette's face, and when Davis asks Annie if Marvin hit or her or not, she says sort of, and refers to him as "Oozy." She's willing to put up with a lecherous manager to advance her career because she thinks she can handle it, and as an attractive young woman, she likely has for much of her life. Janette's not so sure.

These are the choices that wake people up at three in the morning. Did I do the right thing? Why am I doing this? What if it fails? Sonny has to decide if a Vietnamese girlfriend is worth blue balls and a tag-along dad. LaDonna decides free shelter at English Turn isn't worth the price of putting up with condescending sister-in-law, Victorine (Valarie Pettiford), and Antoine (Wendell Pierce) discovers the joy of his job job when he's able to share traditional New Orleans music with a young student. 

The characters will likely survive these choices. Some will work out; some will go badly south and do a little damage, but they aren't life and death decisions. They're just life.

Other Stuff

- John Boutte tells Davis about recording a new album on Treme. In 2007, his next album would be Good Neighbor, one of the projects that helped bring Threadhead Records into existence. Earlier this year, Boutte released his first new album since the start of the show, All About Everything. This release was produced by Treme Music Supervisor Blake Leyh. 

- More echoes: Clint Maedgen led the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in a performance of Danny Barker's "Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing." On the Hall band's album, Preservation, that song was sung by Tom Waits - a coup for the band and a personal thrill for Maedgen who's such a Waits fan that some of his material with The New Orleans Bingo! Show owes an obvious debt to Waits. On Treme and on the band's new album, St. Peter & 57th Street, Maedgen gets to step into Waits' shoes.

- Annie Tee's Bayou Cadillacs and the Red Stick Ramblers, and the song they performed with her at One Eyed Jacks was the title track from their 2007 album, Made in the Shade.

- The speed with which Annie's career moves forward always strains credibility for me, but Sonny's seems about right. Admittedly, she has been presented as the greater talent from the start, but Sonny finding his way into Batiste's Soul Apostles as a serviceable-at-best guitarist made sense, as does getting a regular gig as the keyboard player for Guitar Lightning Lee.

- Last week I wondered if we'd see a zoning-related story attached to LaDonna's attempt to put live music in Gigi's. I had to rewind and jack the volume to hear her bar-back tell her that the guy at the end of the bar demanded, "$20 or he calls the city about the noise." Sounds like that story's starting sooner than we thought.

- Again, the live footage was not only musically compelling but visually engaging as well. The sequence with Quintron and Miss Pussycat looked genuinely strange and magical, and director Jim McKay caught the vibe and theater of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

- Most accurate line of the episode: Janette telling David Chang that she felt like she's "putting off getting on with my life." After Katrina, she wasn't alone.