The previous two episodes were clever, but often failed to be gripping. They were more about telling us how much life in New Orleans after Katrina sucked than showing us, and when they did show us it often felt like emotional manipulation. This episode, while still being clever (maybe even more so than the previous two), shifted gears cleanly into showing, and when it did manipulate us emotionally, it did so effectively. It also had some of the subtle touches and surprising interconnectedness that made the Wire so great, although so far most of the interconnectedness seems to rest on the fact that Toni is everyone's lawyer.
My favorite characters so far are Albert and Ladonna, but I think in both cases the actors have something to do with that. Khandi Alexander is really expressive and plays Ladonna's range well, and Clarke Peters is, well, Lester Freamon, baby. Lucia Micarelli is also really impressive as Annie--I'm assuming she's actually doing the violin-playing, because they certainly do enough close-up shots of her while she's at it, and so far the casting director seems to have gone out of her way to get actual musicians on the show.
Anyway, that's it for me and Western TV for now. Just Treme every Sunday. Anime is another story--I'll be finally watching Evangelion soon. Wish me luck in picking my brain back up.