Hot damn, that was a good episode! So good, they even managed to make Teddy interesting. (No, I’m not referring to the Natasha stuff. That would be crazy talk.) The scene where Teddy finds out about Deacon’s cancer and gives him “father-to-father advice” gave me feelings.
Ugh, teenagers. The worst, am I right? I mean, Maddie decides to respond to the news of Deacon’s cancer diagnosis by … not speaking to him? Slamming doors? Storming out of a restaurant?
(“I think we should get the check,” deadpans Daphne.)
Later, Deacon makes an ultimatum in front of Maddie’s locked bedroom door: “I’m giving you to three to open this door, young lady. One … two … three …
“Yeah, that counting thing? It only works on little kids,” quips Daphne. (She was on fire last night.)
Finally, thanks to a heart-to-heart with Teddy — who, again, was actually useful in this episode — Maddie finally opens up to Deacon and tells him she’s been avoiding him because she’s angry and scared.
“Yelling, screaming, I can take any of that,” Deacon says. “Just please don’t shut me out.”
So why is Deacon alone with the girls? Because Rayna is having the worst day ever. No, seriously. Worse even than the day that I dropped my brand-new iPhone in the toilet and had to immediately replace it. (Shut up. These things happen.)
It starts out with her getting no sleep because she’s basically been up all night stressing about Deacon’s cancer and Maddie’s reaction. Then she realizes, with horror, that she has to host Juliette’s baby shower. (By the way, isn’t this baby shower a bit late in the whole Industrial Baby Complex calendar? I’ve never been at a baby shower where I worried that the new mom was actually going to go into labor at the party.) Just as she’s trying to wrap her brain around that unpleasant thought, her phone rings: It’s Sadie, with news that she shot Pete.
Can we just talk for a moment about how Rayna immediately slips into nurturing mama-bear mode? Like, her voice gets super-compassionate and comforting and she is 100 percent there for her. I basically want Rayna (read: Connie Britton) in my life to attend to all my personal crises.
So Rayna goes off to help Sadie at the police station, and Juliette, who was already in a mood — “It’s not your special day, is it?” she barks to Emily, as she throws out her giant pink doilies — finds out that Rayna won’t be hosting her shower after all.
“I cannot believe [Sadie] would choose to shoot someone on the day of my shower!” Juliette moans. Oh, Juliette, I’ve missed you.
It only gets worse from there. Juliette finds out that basically no one is coming to her party, so she starts trashing the room, rock-star style. (What is it that the producers of Nashville have against cake?) This all might’ve been a little over the top, but Hayden Panettiere is such a gifted physical comedian, it was a treat. Especially because they put her in that wonderful/horrible red party dress, which looked a bit like a bright red doily itself. The moment of Juliette teetering through her own wreckage, in heels, in that dress, while trying to look dignified, was sheer perfection. Give her all the awards.
Speaking of awards, that showdown between Rayna and Juliette was the best because it kind of shows how two great actresses can take a funny/campy scene and actually imbue it with real feeling.
Yes, Juliette is being a prima donna from hell (although her referring to Rayna’s “stupid, perfect hair” made me snort), and it’s important that Rayna tells her off. But it’s also finally the moment that Rayna actually cracks under the pressure.
“I’m trying very hard to be strong for a lot of people. So I would appreciate it if you would just SHUT UP for one second!” she screams through tears.
“Oh my God,” Juliette says, her eyes widening.
Rayna, who might be an actual saint, is immediately chastened. “You’re right. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have just done that.”
“I think my water just broke!”
Ha ha. A+.
Okay, before we discuss the scene at the hospital, let’s check in with the Triple Exes. Avery and Gunnar are waiting for Scarlett at the bus, and Gunnar is still moping.
Scarlett pulls up in a cab, and you haven’t seen nothin’ till you’ve seen Scarlett’s “cab ride of shame” hair. I didn’t realize Scarlett’s hair could get more unruly. But it could. (Her hair must be like the Bermuda Triangle for combs.)
On the bus, Scarlett and Gunnar keep trying to use Avery as a go-between, and he, wisely, will have none of it. He tells them to talk to each other, which they finally do. I have to say, much as I want Gunnar and Scarlett together, I’m Team Scarlett here. She’s supposed to drop everything just because he’s decided he’s ready to be in a relationship again? Not sure that’s fair. On the other hand, the hunkologist is boring as hell, and Gunnar is the cutest thing going, and that duet they sang sounded like two perfect angels harmonizing together, so … what is she thinking?
My favorite thing that happened on the bus was when they were all watching TV and a news brief came on about Sadie’s shooting with the headline: “Stone Cold Killer?” I guess in Nashville, libel isn’t a thing.
My second-favorite thing that happened on the bus was the screenshot of Avery’s texts from Juliette, who was running baby names past him, stream-of-consciousness style. I didn’t catch all of them, but one line read: “What about Maybel? Nobody is named Maybel.”
Just as Scarlett and Gunnar are duking it out, the bus lurches to a stop (Scarlett, naturally, falls into Gunnar’s arms). “Juliette just went into labor!” Avery gasps, grabbing his gear and hopping off the bus. So a Couple of Exes it is.
At the hospital, Rayna is truly being a full-service record-label owner, as she’s actually in the delivery room with Juliette, telling her to breathe.
“Am I being punished?” Juliette groans.
“No, you’re just having a baby.”
Avery rushes in at the last second, and little baby what’s-its-name is born. (Maybe I’m off-base here, but I think the show has truly overestimated our interest in this baby’s name.) Fun fact: Jonathan Jackson has three kids, which is probably why he looks so comfortable holding the little bundle of joy. But maybe first-time-dad Avery wouldn’t have been quite so chill? Then again, he’s Avery. He’s always chill. (By the way, is anyone else freaked out by parents who just hand their infants over to a television production, willy-nilly? “Gotta start putting money back into the pot, little Chloe. You’re five hours old.”)
Alright, let’s wrap up the Sadie stuff, which was admittedly bananas.
Luke lies and says he witnessed the shooting and the cops are all, “Our bad, Sadie. All charges dropped. Feel free to leave the state immediately!” Not quite sure it works that way. Sadie decides to leave Nashville so she can look at her life, look at her choices. (Poor Luke. He may actually be having a worse day than Rayna.) Of course, just when they’ve managed to integrate Sadie into the main action of the show — with a budding romance with Luke, a thriving musical partnership with Avery, and a deepening friendship with Rayna — they cut her loose. That’s so Nashville.