S4: Provides satisfactory closure without rushing or losing the sense of culture and community it has done so well
It wasn't a huge surprise when it was announced that Treme was coming to a close and indeed in some ways it was good news that they would get a handful of episodes to close it out. When I heard this I initially heard it would be 2 x two hour episodes but finally it was 5 episodes to bring it to an end. This it does in typical fashion with a season that builds towards Mardi Gras as is the way it does and, along the way displays all manner of lives and relationships. Not too much has changed in terms of tone and content; we keep the same full flavor of music and culture while following the same group of characters through changes, opportunities, tragedy and mistakes. Although the season is very short it is to the writer's credit that it never feels rushed or hurried but still retains the same amble that it has had for the previous three seasons. While this rather unfocused sense of wandering is perhaps part of the reason it never really captured a mass audience, it is also part of its appeal and I am very glad that it didn't lose it while also trying to bring everything to a close in a comparatively short period of time.
The various stories are all brought to some sort of closure while also showing us that life moves on and doesn't end because the show does. It does this for the characters but also the city of New Orleans itself and this is seen throughout the season as well as in the nicely understated final shot of the final episode one that recognised the realities while also showing why, ultimately, the city will and should carry on. This season continues to have plenty of great music to it and unless you actively dislike jazz and blues then you will find much to enjoy, with names involved ranging from those that you'll be Googling to get more information through to ones even a layman like me will have heard of. Although there are some big names here, I liked that they fit into the community as part of it rather than someone coming for a guest spot who stands out as such.
The ensemble cast continues to do good work despite some of them having very little time when you look at it. Pierce, Alexander, Peters and Brown do well and have time and space, while Dickens also has plenty and involves a significantly less annoying Zahn too. Leo and Morse have good scenes while Micarelli is engaging. Huisman has almost no time here but in fairness his character was more or less seen to be settling out in the previous season, so his time here is just to confirm that and link back to other characters. Seda is a bit more likable this season and I like what they did with his character. These are the main ones that stick in my mind as I write, but there are plenty of good performances here and I'll miss Phyllis Montana LeBlanc, who I have liked ever since I saw her in the Spike Lee documentary.
I'm not overly upset to see Treme finish as it was not really a show with a lot of forward energy and there are only so many stories to tell. This season brings things to a close in a very satisfying manner, covering a lot of different aspects of the place and people some good, some bad, some hopeless, some hopeful. It will provide a sense of closure to the viewer, which is important since the strength of the show was always that it was about the people, the community and the culture. I've read people say that Treme makes them want to visit NO themselves but for me it did more than that it made me feel like I had experienced the place (good and bad) in a way that simply visiting it wouldn't have given me. I've never been to NO, but thanks to Treme I will miss it now that I've left.
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