Jailbirds, songbirds, and at least one chicken. There was much *fowl* play on Nashville this week as everyone struggled to leave their past behind…
We started out with Gunnar in a motel with a strange man. Instead of being what you think it is, it’s his brother, who just got sprung from the pokey. The idea is to make Gunnar more than just the guy who pines after Scarlett, and though it worried me at first, I’m coming around. But more on that later; for now, they sing! The two harmonize so sweetly together, and you so rarely get to hear a nice double-male duet. The song is some jailbird tune or other, and if I’m supposed to know it, oh well.
In a nod to the fans, we come upon Rayna getting her hair did! As if a normal curling iron made that magic. The man I refer to in my notes as “her hip young producer” (actual character name: Liam McGuinnis) has a ridiculous conversation with her in which he actually spells out the already glaringly obvious subtext for us: Rayna is trying to make him over to be the new Deacon. Isn’t there an old rule about storytelling that says show, don’t tell? Anyway, all this makes me think of is Cersei Lannister sleeping with Lancel as a pale imitation while Jaime’s away; I guess you take what you can get.
Meanwhile in Hotlanta: I discover that Wyclef’s character isn’t actually Wyclef, but I can’t care enough to take note of his name. I mean, it’s still Wyclef, obvs. Avery is showing us the selling-out side of “making it” in Nashville, and there’s something so archetypal about his storyline that I can’t care about this wooden character. The most intriguing thought I had watching Avery was that people in movies never have to adjust their mirrors or seats when they get into a new car. Honestly, I have to rejigger the whole setup from when I drive to work in the morning to when I go home at night. Whatever.
Deacon is back and noticeably sans-journalist-squeeze. Scarlett is visiting to see him play with his new squeaky-clean band… but it seems they’re not quite as pure as they purport. This is what I like to call the “Ew Interlude.” First off: Ew, is Deacon’s bandmate creeping on his niece? Then: EW, this guy is totally trying to acquaintance-rape Scarlett! Which is quickly followed by: DEACON IS TOTALLY QUITTING THE BAND. Until: Oh no they didn’t try to keep Deacon out of the room so his bandmate could sleaze on his niece. It comes to blows, as it should, and Scarlett’s white-dress reputation remains intact (seriously, girl wears a lot of white dresses.) Now Deacon is pretty much out in the cold, and Liam is living the lifestyle he essentially turned down twice, playing with Rayna AND with Juliet. Oops, poor life choices.
In the land of Barnes, young Juliet’s quickie-husband wants an annulment in place of a divorce. I do feel bad for the boy; that bitch essentially tricked him just to steal his virginity! Juliet is like a heartless frat boy. But with a heart of gold…?
And speaking of her heart, PREDICTION! Rayna’s hip young producer is going to be Juliet’s next conquest. This is past “maybe” territory. It is one hundred percent going to happen. I’ve been watching TV for a lot of years, and when two young, attractive characters with nothing to do together narratively suddenly share a scene that centers on some biting dialogue, I don’t think, I know they are destined for one another. Guys, he challenges her! And they hate each other for no reason, so that hate can be easily dispatched when they realize it’s really LOVE! You heard it here first.
Shocking no one, Gunnar’s brother is next seen violating his parole three ways from Sunday. He has a gun. He hocked his little brother’s guitar (cold!) And he’s leaving on the lam! We learn how he wound up in the clink in the first place: as youths, the older brother robbed a store while 16-year-old Gunnar waited in the car; when shit got real, little bro ran. (Were this The Wire, that would be an unforgivable offense; but in reality it seems like the smarter course of action. Good boy.) So the brother is the screw-up and Gunnar is the kid brother done right. The beauty of siblings is that it’s so easy to see one in the other; so each of these is what the other may have become had he acted differently, and that’s hard for both of them. They share an angry, then resigned/loving hug, and Gunnar lets his brother choose his own fate: out into the night. So sad! Write a song about it, Gun!
Praise Dolly, it’s the fabled joint tour! Songs we’ve already heard from both ladies: the one Rayna wrote with Liam when they got tanked that one time and Juliet’s infectious break-up tune from the show’s premiere; it’s clear the big stuff is being stashed away for later, and I’m fine with that. During Rayna’s set, is it just me or do I sense some sexual tension between her and Liam? He really is the new Deacon!
It’s not all glitter and Taylor-Swift-curls for Juliet though, who’s next seen across a table from her “husband” (it is even worth calling him that when the thing lasted like a minute?) admitting that she fraudulently lured him into marriage. Okay, I know Juliet is ostensibly a bitch, but it’s still hard seeing this girl who’s had such a tough life chastened like this. And then all prior goodwill for her now-ex dissipates as he throws this in her face: “You once told me that if I got to know you I wouldn’t like you very much. You were right.” I mean, OUCH. And at this, the usually unflappable Juliet wells up tears. Seeing this character broken down is gripping, and promising of the day when we get to watch her built up.
In the political arena, tomorrow is the mayoral election. Does anyone really care about this subplot? It seems to just be stealing screen-time from our leading ladies, but that’s only one girl’s opinion. Spoiler alert: Teddy wins. Duh, because why else create this plotline? Rayna flew home to attend, but is kind of blasé about the result. Her father and sister stand in the wings practically mustache-twirling, and Rayna poses with the family wearing the least convincing fake smile ever smiled. Maybe Juliet can give her lessons on how to plaster that ear-to-ear grin on like you mean it. Former Mayor Coleman gives a great sour-grapes concession speech in which he digs at Teddy with an overture to his loving wife, while we’re treated to a shot of Rayna and Teddy shifting uncomfortably away from each other on the hotel couch.
The last moments bring the return of Teddy’s mistress, her eyes disappointingly un-crazy as she insists the pills she overdosed on weren’t meant to off herself. Now, of course, the chick is redoubling efforts to woo the man now cloaked in power. As Rayna’s dad put it (ew), women do love a powerful man.
And then it’s over. Somewhat abruptly? Or maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention. Either way.
There’s a contrasting couplet of scenes the night before the election that show Coleman in bed with his loving and supportive wife, then Teddy all alone in his big lonely bed, so sad. What’s notable is this: Why does Teddy’s bed appear to have a heavy red stage curtain above it?! What?
It’s sweet that Scarlett and Gunnar’s relationship is repairing, evinced by the small act of him coming to the hotel to help her home with her luggage.
Are you guys aware that the actor who plays Gunnar is British? It’s very disconcerting.
Catch up on with last week’s recap: Time to Move On, Time to Get Going
And join me next week for, hopefully, tons more eagerly-awaited bitchy exchanges between Rayna and Juliet!