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Nashville Recap: I Will Unfollow

NASHVILLE - "Your Wild Life's Gonna Get You Down"

What does Nashville have against social media? Last night’s show played a bit like one of those PSAs I used to see in school about the evils of drugs, except in this case, the drug was Twitter (or “the Twitters,” as Deacon calls it) and some mysterious place where you put up your “profile.” All this social media chatter came about because Rayna was doing a “live-stream”, i.e., the only form of social media she finds acceptable. (Technically, is a live-stream even considered social media? It’s not like she did a Reddit chat.) So we have Luke’s son Colt (A+ name, show) under suspicion, not because of his backwards animal-print baseball cap, his oversize red headphones, or his love of “Skillrex,” “EDM,” and “sick beats,” but because he has 20,000 followers of his “profile.” (And further proof that Luke may not be the great guy he pretends to be? His “profile” has 5 million followers! A Vogue cover might even be in his future.) And we have Maddie recklessly using social media to promote her music — and telling the world she’s Deacon Claybourne’s daughter. We live in dangerous, dangerous times, people.

Last night, we finally got a Maddie and Daphne duet, and it was magical and it involved … cups! I don’t know when cups became the new cowbell, but I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Maddie and Daphne cup songs. (But I can live without the “sick beats” Colt added later.) 

Anyway, the best thing about this Colt development is there is another brother named Sage who can’t come to Daddy’s concert because he’s at a “recital” (why not just name the kids Goofus and Gallant while they’re at it?). I’m envisioning a Maddie/Colt/Sage love triangle (please!) and I am already so Team Sage.

About that whole Teddy-taking-away-Maddie’s-music thing. Look, I get that she’s rebelling and coming down with a “bad case of teenager” and he feels a need to control her, but taking away her music is way harsh. The arts are important, Teddy! Next Teddy is going to ban dancing, and there will be songs and town hall meetings and long dance sequences in warehouses with bad body doubles, and it’ll be a whole thing.

So Deacon is giving Maddie a guitar lesson, at which point she casually drops the D-word (“Dad”) and he’s all adorably touched and abashed about it. And then an “angry mailman” bangs on the door — but no, it’s just Teddy, coming to collect Maddie, remind her she’s grounded for life, and tell her there’s no way she’s going to Deacon’s concert. This leads to one of my favorite scenes of the whole show, where Deacon is railing against Teddy and Megan tries to calm him down by saying “let’s not talk about him” and he says, “Yeah, screw Teddy!” and they do this dramatic close-up of her face — I mean, this is Dramatic Chipmunk stuff — which we’re supposed to read as panic because SHE ALREADY DID.

Speaking of love triangles (that literally could be the segue into any scene of the show), not sure it was the best idea for Avery to tag along on Juliette and Scarlett’s tour as Scarlett’s “producer.” Oh, who am I trying to kid? It was a great idea because it made Juliette jealous, which brought out Bad Juliette, which is Juliette’s best self. (Juliette making fun of Scarlett’s whiny baby voice is everything I never knew I needed.) But Scarlett’s not going down without a fight, especially while on speed. (The show keeps falling into a somewhat dubious trap of making Scarlett more appealing while she’s on drugs.) She gets onstage, first telling the audience that she comes to them from “Nashville, Tennessee, by way of Natchez.” (“What is this, a geography lesson?” Juliette grumbles.) Then she steps up the piano, bathed in a beautiful golden light, and says: “Miss Juliette Barnes wants me to come out and make a lot of noise for you, but I’m the kind of artist who prefers to whisper. So this one’s for you, Juliette.” Oh, no Scarlett didnt. The greatest thing about this moment of, dare I say, Juliette Barnes–esque rebellion was that it worked. The show cleverly focused on Juliette’s face as Scarlett sang and she clearly gained some grudging respect for her. It didn’t hurt that the song was gorgeous.

Not sure I was quite as big a fan of the trio sung by Deacon, Luke, and Will. It seemed a bit on the clunky and obvious side, compared to most of the sublime music the show manages to routinely crank out. But I did love the fact that they sang right after Luke found out that Deacon was Maddie’s father. (I feel like there’s a Star Wars joke there, just beyond my grasp ...) Anyway, Deacon has a hilarious track record of being onstage with people who secretly hate his guts, so he innocently went for a bro hug with Luke after the set, but Luke wanted no part of it.

Meanwhile, Jeff Fordham was also taking in the set and grilling Gunnar for answers about Will’s sexuality. “I’m no homophobe”—starts the sentence of every homophobe ever — “but I can’t invest in a heartthrob who’s going to be arrested in some bathroom,” Jeff says. (Arrested in some bathroom? That’s some serious gay panic right there.) And even though Gunnar and Will had fought about Will’s impending nuptials, and even though Gunnar had essentially kicked Will out, he still had his buddy’s back: “I lived with the guy,” Gunnar assures Jeff. “That boy’s caught more tail than a damn rabbit hunter.” This was a brilliant lie, because it wasn’t a lie at all. First of all, Will did sleep with a lot of “honeys” on his massive, doomed-to-fail, “trying to cure myself of gayness through straight sex” campaign. And also, “tail” is kinda gender-neutral, huh? Well played, Gunnar. (As a tribute to him, I am now writing this recap while eating cereal in a towel and walking about my kitchen aimlessly.) Poor, poor Will. His story is really turning into the saddest one of all, huh? Although Layla soon might be vying for that title, bless her clueless heart. Why didn’t she listen to her parents?!?

Someone who finally did decide to listen to her parents is Maddie. After an emotional encounter with her mother backstage, she agrees to take down her Maddie Claybourne YouTube video, before “it gets out of control.” Well, that settles that, because there is no social media footprint and once we take things off YouTube they’re gone for good! ... Wait.

Backstage at the concert, Teddy is turning into creepy stalker guy with Megan, definitely not taking the hint that she is a woman with ovaries and therefore has chosen Deacon over him. “It can’t happen again,” Megan tells him. “It was a terrible, awful mistake.” “What was a mistake?” asks Deacon, who (of course) overheard. And then Deacon’s face contorts into a mask of man-rage and he slams Teddy against the wall but, instead of hitting him, punches the brick. (Deacon, no! Your hand!) And then he storms off.

Of course, I’m glad that this seems to be the end of Deacon and Megan, but I hate to see my boy so upset. Also, I hate the fact that Megan is the one to make him this upset. (He’s supposed to reserve those emotional outbursts for Rayna, dammit!) Worse still, Rayna seems to think that Deacon is her past and Luke is her “present … and hopefully my future.” But Rayna, he has 5 million social media followers! Run away, girl! Run away!

Photo: Mark Levine/ABC