Nashville Recap: Smash Landings

138416_3915 Photo: Mark Levine/ABC
Episode Title
I Can’t Keep Away From You
Editor’s Rating

I’m so glad they started right after the slap-hug combo, aren’t you? I hate when shows let themselves off the hook and don’t show us the Moment After the Awkward Thing. Like, I expected the first scene to be Rayna sitting on Deacon’s couch with a blanket over her shoulders and a cup of tea. But to the show’s everlasting credit, they pick up right where we left off, with Rayna still in Deacon’s arms.

“I’m sorry, baby,” Deacon says.

“I’m sorry I hit you,” Rayna sniffs, somewhat sheepishly.

And then, oh man … did anyone else think they were going to prolong Deacon’s whole “I don’t care about anything; I deserve this” routine over the course of several episodes? Because that would have not been okay. I mean, they keep Deacon and Rayna apart all season, have her come this close to marrying Wheels Up Wheeler, give Deacon freaking terminal liver cancer, only to have Deacon be a total jerk-face when Rayna finally wants to be with him? But luckily for us, Deacon’s tiresome martyr act is just foreplay, if you know what I mean. (I mean they did it!)

Huzzah! Finally some sweet, sweet Rayna and Deacon lovemaking! Yes, they made us suffer for it — not just this entire season, but most of this damn episode. But it was worth it.

Of course, before the sex stuff, the highlight of Deacon’s pity party had to be when he said that nothing mattered anymore.

“Nothing matters?” Rayna said, raising one of Deacon’s precious acoustic guitars over her head. Oh no she wouldn’t.

Bam! went the guitar as Rayna slammed it, Pete Townshend style, on the floor. (Oh yes she did.)

Then she threatened to break another one of his guitars — an electric one this time — and Deacon was all shrug.

She walked up to him. “Do you not believe in us enough?”

He stared back, defiantly, but said nothing.

“Well, if you were trying to break my heart, you just did,” Rayna said, and she stormed out.

This was the show’s version of an April Fools' joke because I actually thought she left for real. But nope. She got as far as … the porch. (Reminds me very much of my version of “running away” when I was 6.)

Finally, she came back in and made her final plea. She told Deacon they needed to embrace whatever joy life brought, no matter how fleeting.

“Please stop fighting me. Fight for us. We screwed this thing up a million times, but we’re not going to do this now. Now we’re going to seize this opportunity to be together and be happy.”

And with that, Deacon seized the opportunity to kiss her.

And I seized the opportunity to rewind this scene 14 times.

Here’s a thing that briefly slipped my mind: There are other characters on this show besides Deacon and Rayna! And I’m contractually obligated to talk about them too.

We’ll start with the Triple Xs. They’re on the tour bus, headed to Chicago to open for Rascal Flatts. Gunnar is suddenly their social-media coordinator and he decides they need a Twitter profile and avatar. (Well, he didn’t use the word avatar, but he’s new to this social-media-coordinatin’ game.)

“We do?” Scarlett says.

“No one takes you seriously if you’re just an egg,” he replies. Truth.

So they take a sun-streaked selfie, on the bus, with Avery looking cool and Scarlett looking spacey and Gunnar looking goofy — so it pretty much captures their essence. (Although, I have to say, a selfie as your avatar is really just one step above an egg.)

Of course, Chicago was the place where Scarlett had her infamous under-the-piano meltdown and she’s thinking about that a lot.

So, apparently, are the Triple Xs' 500 brand-new Twitter followers:

Writes @SallyP43,  “Wonder if the boys in band are shrinks in case Scarlett O’Connor goes crazy again.”

Adds @RedHeadRockyGuy, “It’s going to be the BYOS tour — bring your own straightjacket.”

(People on Twitter: such cards.)

“Why do they want to hurt me? They don’t even know me?” Scarlett moans.

Gunnar and Avery convince Scarlett not to let a few haters upset her and to let her performance do the talking.

(And thus concludes Nashville’s anti-online-harassment PSA).

Just before they go onstage, Gunnar tells Scarlett, “If you need me up there, give me a look. I’ll be right beside you.” She sings her triumphant new song (that they just wrote 15 minutes ago in the hotel room, apparently) and it’s an unqualified success. Then she and Gunnar are about to have another tender, possibly even romantic moment, when ... Will’s writing partner shows up? Oh no wait, that’s Caleb, the hunkologist. It’s really hard to keep all these generic white boys straight sometimes.

Does anyone else think it was a little aggressive for Caleb to fly to Chicago after one date? Sad Gunnar does. But Scarlett leaps into Caleb’s arms (and later into his hotel room). Sorry, Sad Gunnar. You snooze, you lose.

Speaking of Will’s writing partner (whose name is Kevin), he senses Will’s discomfort with him — it’s not hard to sense; Will pretty much recoils any time he touches him — and calls off their partnership. So Will tries writing on his own, and we have that classic scene of a writer throwing balled-up pieces of paper in the trash can. (No writer actually does that, but okay … ) He goes to Layla, to ask for her help and apologize for the way he treated her. He says he wanted to love her but just couldn’t. Then he admits he’s never been in love.

“Then you shouldn’t write about it,” she says.

This, I guess, is something of a revelation for Will: He’ll never be able to write a real love song if he doesn’t allow himself to experience love. So he goes back to Kevin and asks him to take him back.

“I think you might understand something I’m going through,” Will says as Kevin nods knowingly. Baby steps.

Layla’s talk to Will also gave her some clarity. You see, after figuring out that Jeff slept with his slick middle-aged lady blogger friend (no blogger actually looks like that, but okay … ), she realizes that he’s basically a manwhore incapable of deep connection.

“I told you, I want to try this,” Jeff protests.

“But that’s the thing. You shouldn’t have to try to love someone,” Layla replies.

(There’s always a bit of cognitive dissonance when Layla is the voice of reason in an episode.)

Meanwhile, at the studio, Sadie and Luke keep having these uncomfortable encounters. First they talk about Sadie’s bombshell appearance on GMA, then they talk about Luke’s wedding falling apart, then she interrupts Luke during a recording session (totally disrupting his flow), then she joins him in the recording booth, then they have an intimate coffee together where he spills his guts about Rayna, all while chewing on a toothpick (keep it classy, Luke), then he offers to walk her to her car. “You probably shouldn’t,” Sadie says, because every walk to the car will automatically lead to sex. Also, because Pete, the evil ex-husband, is waiting for her in the garage and they didn’t show us that scene where she buys a gun in the “previously on Nashville” for nothing. Yep, Pete gets all threatening, and Sadie pulls out her gun, and he lunges for it, and a shot goes off, and Pete crumples to the ground. Luke, who must’ve heard the shot, pulls up in the Cake Smashinator.

“Sadie! What happened?!”

The gun in Sadie’s hand and Pete dead on the ground pretty much tell the whole story, but Luke is slow. Anyway, boy howdy. That escalated quickly.

Other things …

Teddy is still dealing with the fallout from the feds wiretapping Natasha, but I can’t even with that story line. (I also still can’t believe that the soccer mom/hooker’s name is Natasha. I mean, if you’re going to call her Natasha, at least give her a Russian accent and a leather catsuit or something.)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the cuteness that is Avery singing to Juliette’s belly and tearing up. (Did Hayden have her baby during the filming hiatus? She looks less … water-retention-y.) Those crazy kids!

The show ends with Sadie shooting Pete, but let’s end this recap with Rayna and Deacon heading home.

They call the girls and Maddie immediately zeroes in on their clasped hands, like the little Deyna stalker that she is.

“Are you guys together? Like together together? Oh my God! No way!”

She rushes into their arms, but Daphne hangs back, as a million thoughts swim through her tween head: “Am I an outsider in my own family? Do I have to call Deacon dad now? Does anyone else find this awkward? How come I never get any good story lines?” — until she finally joins the group hug.

Then Deacon says, “Listen, there’s some other stuff we need to talk about, too, all right?” — meaning his cancer.

I mean, for God’s sake, couldn’t they have waited a bit? Couldn’t they have let Maddie be happy just for a few hours? Is that too much to ask? Apparently so. This is Nashville, where no one’s happy unless everyone’s miserable.