Two episodes into the HBO drama “Treme”, and the first strands of narrative are starting to reveal themselves. We’re getting a sense of character, witnessing the sprout of personalities and plot lines: Antoine Batiste has a lot of baby mamas, and he’s not too good to either the babies or their mamas. One of the latter, Ladonna Batiste Williams (Khandi Alexander), is being pulled away from New Orleans by her now-husband, living in Baton Rouge with her two sons while she tends bars and searches for her brother, apparently lost within the Louisiana prison system.
Can Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn) ever be able to keep a job and avoid borrowing money from his – it seems -- rich parents? How will series creators Simon and Overmyer harness Creighton Bernette’s rage at the government, and will actor John Goodman’s heart be able to handle it?
But with all this creation going on, we’ve got one particular character, Big Chief Lambreaux, on the brain.
We can’t stop thinking about him. The first episode’s climax was the Chief’s incredible Indian dance, a cocksure, strutting ceremony in a darkened neighborhood. All of a sudden, Lambreaux, who we first met in a car headed back to New Orleans after three months away and who looked to be nothing more than a stubborn burden on his son and daughter, is this otherworldly figure whose character contains multitudes. As we are beginning to learn, his reputation precedes him, and, like a king returning from a period of exile, is known by name if not by face as he roams the city gathering up his scattered tribe.