Critical Thoughts (again, despite David Simon's admonition):
+ The musicians didn't play on the left side of the door as you entered at the Spotted Cat before 2009. At least in my experience, they played on the cramped right side of the door until the past year when new owners took over and changed the interior around a bit. And the place is never ever as well-lighted as it was in the scene - I didn't even recognize it at first (and I like the Spotted Cat a lot).
+ The Urquhart Street sign - it made Gigi's seem like it was downriver somewhere, but I thought I saw the big stucco steeple of a Central City church off in the background...? Not that that's crippling - the Mardi Gras Indian tavern building is actually located in Central City too - not far from Simon Bolivar Avenue.
What I Liked:
+ Coco Robichaux's music - damn, that's good stuff to open with - straight out of The Apple Barrel.
+ The female attorney role - I've worked with Mary Howell, the civil rights lawyer she's based on - she channels Mary Howell quite well.
+ The Steve Zahn character got slightly more tolerable this time around.
+ The arrest on Frenchman was solid - compared to the activity that went unpunished outside Vaughn's in last weeks episode, it seems arbitrary. That's rather accurate as far as NOPD enforcement goes.
+ The show seemed to get in its rut as far as moving forward as a show this time.
+ The references are gradually getting a tad bit more subtle: Finn McCools and Dirty Coast t-shirts, CC's coffee - all nice touches that weren't quite as forced.
+ The flaws in Wendell Pierce's character that promise more complexity.
+ John Goodman's rant about Tulane cutting majors.
What I Didn't Like:
+ Steve Zahn's character was still annoying (and again, almost painful, especially during the Coco chicken sacrifice scene).
+ The overplayed stereotypes in the busker scene with the visitors from Wisconsin (I guess I could have been part of that group in my first visit to the city in 2003) made me cringe a bit. Why did they have to play "Saints Go Marching"...?
+ There still hasn't been a mention about how bad the streets are here - and it's a fact of daily life that permeates everything. They are positively third world in many places.