A quick review of tonight's "Tremé" coming up just as soon as I wear Payless to a fine dining establishment...

Midway through "Don't You Leave Me Here," Antoine asks Delmond, "You ever feel like you're doing the same old thing? Tired of the sound of your own voice?" He wants to stretch his limits as a musician, not out of some belief that it might take his marginal career to a new level, but because it might give him some personal satisfaction to do so. Desiree, though, later tells him, "I don't think you're gonna be happy getting good at something you don't love."

And much of this episode, and this season, deals with the people of "Tremé" trying to be more than they were before, and experiencing many bumps along the way.

Janette's place finally opens, and you can see her already beginning to have some doubts about her partnership with Tim, especially when she runs into the restaurateur who made her a similar offer late last season. Annie's career is starting to go places, but she's not comfortable with Marvin's suggestion that she take more credit for songs that Harley largely wrote, and she and Davis are drifting further and further apart. Davis, in turn, finds yet another project not developing to his satisfaction, while Colson's desire to clean up Homicide seems to be leading to a lot of suspicion from his fellow cops. And the closer Toni seems to get to the truth about Abreu, the more trouble blows back on her, eventually resulting in Sofia having to stay with her grandmother in Florida to avoid police harassment.

Some characters seem to be doing well with their new ambitions. Nelson returns from Washington with a much clearer sense of the big financial picture, and impresses Liguori enough to resume their partnership, while a cleaned-up Sonny sells (almost) all of his instruments and uses some of the money to buy an engagement ring for an ecstatic Linh.

In all of this, the most gripping material, unsurprisingly, revolves around LaDonna, who's still being threatened as she prepares for her rapist's trial. Much as I've enjoyed this season's dissection of the creative process, the stakes are inherently much higher in a situation like this than in wondering whether Davis will pull off his opera, if Janette and her partner will get along, or if Antoine can learn to play Delmond's kind of music. For that matter, there's Albert's ongoing health situation, which enters a new stage as he begins the chemo process. And coincidentally or not, these two characters continue their flirtation at LaDonna's bar, and Khandi Alexander and Clarke Peters continue to demonstrate world-class chemistry, even as we might feel bad for Larry that something may be happening between his wife and the big chief.

Only a couple of more episodes to go this season. I watched the whole thing in a rush back in the fall, and the airdate for the finale (which at the time I feared would be the series finale) seemed so far away.

So go read Dave Walker's latest episode explainer at his NOLA blog, and then tell me, what did everybody else think?