Nashville Recap: Tears for Fears

Rayna and Deacon on Nashville. Photo: Mark Levine/ABC
Episode Title
Is the Better Part Over
Editor’s Rating

My favorite thing about the Deacon cancer story line is they didn’t change his appearance, not even one tiny bit.  I imagine they had some sort of closed-door writers’ meeting where they discussed the possible outward symptoms he could manifest from being on death’s door — jaundice, extreme weight loss, heavy bags under the eyes — and then someone in the back of the room tentatively raised their hand and said, “Or, um, we could just keep him super-hot.”

That writer, my friends, is a great American hero.

Somehow, the news of Deacon’s cancer has leaked to the press (somebody must’ve gotten TMZ on the horn), and now he’s basically hearing premature eulogies for himself on the radio. Which is not creepy at all.

Rayna gets an envelope delivered to her office and it’s the check she gave to Bev, dramatically torn into pieces. (Guess Bev doesn’t have a shredder.) Rayna immediately falls apart, so it’s definitely not the best time for her to deal with a rampaging Juliette Barnes, who comes into the Highway 65 offices with a full head of steam.

“I can’t … do this right now,” Rayna says, abruptly leaving the meeting.

“Okay … professional!” Juliette cracks.

Rayna goes home to listen to old Rayna and Deacon albums just to really depress herself, and Deacon walks in on her and she moans, “Why’d you have to get sick?” and then she confesses all about Bev and the ripped-up check, and there are a lot of tears — so, so many tears — and it’s all way too emotional for 20 minutes into the show. You gotta let us pace ourselves, Nashville!

At least we have comic relief in the form of the worst possible choice they could’ve made for the Teddy story line. The minute the DA said, “What do you know about State Senator Richard Stern?” I actually laughed out loud. Yes, this is just what the Teddy story line needs: more backroom political dealings, conversations that evoke Lamar and Tandy (who was, ominously, mentioned twice this episode), and discussion of illegal zoning permits. Way to inject some life into his character! (Also, not for nothing, the guy who plays State Senator Richard Stern looks kind of like Bucky, who, of course, already looks like Glenn. Are they straight-up trolling us at this point?)

Not sure how I feel about the Juliette postpartum depression story, either. First of all, that wailing infant in the background is ruining all these cute Javery moments. (Shut up. Your priorities are out of whack.) Second, even though Juliette’s “doctor” (had we ever even laid eyes on him before?) says that “hyper focus” is one possible symptom of PPD, it just feels like she turned into the worst possible version of herself — selfish, fame-obsessed, casually cruel to those around her. (She doesn’t so much seem depressed as annoyed.) Then again, I honestly don’t know much about PPD, so maybe this is accurate. One thing’s for sure: It’s hard to watch. Oh. and that little intervention was a greeeeat idea, Avery. Because Juliette always responds so well when she’s cornered.

Anyway, Will’s estranged dad is in town, trying to make amends for kicking him out of the house for being gay when he was 17, and it’s hard to tell if dear old Dad’s really had a change of heart or is just drawn to his son’s newfound wealth and fame. (He did seem pretty stoked to be meeting Luke Wheeler.) Clearly, when he says, “I love you, son,” those are the words Will has been longing to hear, but how supportive is he going to be next week, if those vacation photos of Will and Kevin leak?

Is it weird that I’m sort of glad those photos exist? It’s not that I believe in paparazzi stalking celebrities on vacation (much) or celebs being outed against their will (unless they’re, like, super-hypocritical politicians or something), I just really want Will to finally be out of the closet. It’ll be good for him. So don’t screw this up by paying off the tabloids, Luke!

What else? Jeff Fordham is being the worst manager ever — giving Layla horrible advice (start a Twitter feud with Jade St. John!) and totally gaslighting her on the photo he tweeted. (He told her she did it when she was drunk.) “I may be able to get you out of this hole that you dug for yourself,” he says solemnly. Ahh! He’s the worst/best.

The Exes are still doing their thing: bickering about I’m not sure exactly what — like there was ever any doubt they’d sign with Highway 65 — and making sweet, sweet music onstage.

“They’re a train wreck offstage, but they make damn good music when it counts,” Avery observes — which could very well describe every single character on the show.

After wallowing a bit, Deacon and Rayna show up to the Bluebird — better late than never — and sing a duet that has everyone in tears. I mean, everyone. They pan the audience, and there’s Kiley, crying (because we were all wondering how she felt about this), and then they show a bunch of randos in the crowd who are also crying (one extra’s stage direction is clearly just, “Swallow enormous lump in throat”) — and everyone’s a mess. But it’s cathartic for Rayna and Deacon, who are super-cute and cuddly afterward, even writing an impromptu song about saving each other: “You rescue me, I’ll rescue you. No matter what life puts us through.” (I’d totally download that.) They look up, and who’s standing in the door but Bev herself, who’s agreed to give Deacon a part of her liver. This is, like, the best news ever, so group hug, everyone! But what the hell is that satanic death stare she gives Rayna as she embraces her baby bro? Chilling.

Next week … the season finale. (How the hell did that sneak up on us?) And I know everyone’s still on edge what with McDreamy being leveled by a McTruck, but I honestly don’t think Nashville is killing off Deacon. Yeah, yeah, I saw that they were resuscitating him on the operating-room table in the preview, too. But I’m not buying it. Deacon will live! I guarantee it. (This would probably be a good time to point out that I am in no way affiliated with the show, have no clue what’s going to happen next week, and am not authorized to give guarantees.)