A moment of silence for the dearly departed on Nashville. The departed was always controversial, both beloved and hated in equal measure. But now that it’s gone, I actually think I’m going to miss it.
I’m talking, of course, about Scarlett’s hair. I mean, I’ll give this to the girl: She doesn’t do anything halfway. She went from having the most hair on TV, to quite possibly the least. I think I … like it? It’s very gamine, very Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. But I am wondering about the logistics of how they delivered that enormous mop of hers to Locks of Love. Do you think it involved a crane?
I confess I was a little surprised that Caleb liked it so much. He’s such a normcore kind of guy, I thought he would recoil in horror and say, “But … that’s a boy’s haircut!” Instead, he said, “I did not think that you could be any more beautiful.” (Come to think of it, that language is sufficiently vague: “I did not think that you could be any more beautiful … and I was right.”) As for Gunnar? He seemed more surprised and befuddled than anything else. But then again, that’s his default state. (If you want to find out the real reason why actress Clare Bowen cut her hair, read this. Bring hankies.)
Of course, there was another, some might say equally important, death on the show. Here’s the thing about Nashville: They are usually very good at killing off people we don’t really care about: Lamar, Peggy, Aunt Bev, Juliette’s mom, various and sundry sober coaches. But this one hurt. I liked Jeff Fordham — and, what’s more, I liked questioning my life choices whenever I was attracted to him. Plus, he was the show’s only true villain. I am wondering if his horrible, horrible sister (from — gasp! — New York) might step up to the plate, fulfilling all of our Nashville villain needs. “The funeral is for family only,” she sniffs at poor Layla.
It was definitely the worst of times for Layla. Basically, her boyfriend just kicked the bucket and people were either:
1. lying to her about what really happened,
2. not totally convinced she and Jeff had been serious,
3. convinced she and Jeff had been serious, but completely grossed out about it.
(That last one is actually fair.)
And then there’s the awkward fact that most people didn’t actually like Jeff.
“I know that you hated Jeff,” Layla says to Rayna, when she comes to console her.
“Uh, none of that matters,” Rayna replies diplomatically. “All that matters is you and how I can support you through all this.”
(I’m totally stealing that line next time a friend of mine breaks up with a creep.)
At least Will was there for her. I love Will and Layla’s post-sham-of-a-marriage relationship. There’s still actually a lot of affection and shared history there. Will stepped up to the plate for her — spending the night and cleaning her apartment — and later stepped up for Avery, finally giving him a safe space to break down and grieve for his broken marriage. (But seeing Avery cry: It hurts! It hurts!) Of course, Will’s breakup with Kevin kind of got the short end of the tragedy stick last night. It’s a bit hard to whine about your recent breakup when one friend is now raising his baby daughter on his own and another friend just lost her lover. But Will definitely sealed his status as the Nicest Guy in Nashville. And the lullaby he and Avery sang to Cadence was all kinds of adorable, except for the unfortunate line: “I’ll be there when you pee in the pool.” (I rewound twice. That was the actual line.) Never change, Will!
Luke Wheeler, on the other hand … I’m starting to think that guy is the devil. He seems all charming and nice, filled with back slaps, hokey catchphrases, and Southern bonhomie, but he’s the absolute worst, right? How is it that his first instinct regarding Jeff is to do damage control? And how does he not believe his own son — who tells him, point blank, that Juliette tried to jump off that roof? I blame the brand manager.
Which brings us to Juliette. I spent most of the show thinking she had completely lost her soul. I just couldn’t believe that she was so indifferent to Jeff’s death, particularly considering that he had died saving her life. It seemed impossibly cold, even in her depressed, addled state. So was I the only one who didn’t realize that, thanks to a potent cocktail of booze and drugs, she had actually forgotten the whole thing? It was only when she was about to go onstage and found herself confronted with the image from that billboard on the roof that it all came flooding back to her.
“I need help!” she moaned to Luke backstage. “I tried to kill myself and Jeff saved me.” (So there’s hope for our favorite country diva just yet.) Once again, Luke’s first instinct is to cover things up. Although he apologizes to Colt for not believing him, he still doesn’t tell Layla the truth (horrible!) and he ushers Juliette to some sort of rehab program (the right thing for the wrong reasons!). I’m sure this is the last we hear of Juliette Barnes, Jeff Fordham, and the roof. (As if.)
Finally, there’s Deacon. Someone needs to tell that boy that when you tell your girlfriend you have a big surprise for her and make her close her eyes, it needs to be something good, like jewelry or a car or some fun sex thing. Not a bar that you just bought into when you’re a freaking alcoholic. Rayna tries to act happy for him, but she just can’t fake it. “I’m not sure I can set foot in that bar,” she admits. The funny thing is that Deacon’s new partner, Frankie Gray, spends half the episode telling him it’s not too late to back out of the deal. I think he was just being considerate, but if I didn’t know better, I’d say he was having misgivings himself. Anyway, by the end, Rayna does show up for Deacon’s little musical happy hour and they are all cuddly and cute, so that was nice. Theirs is obviously a tenuous truce, built on a foundation of mistrust, fraught with potential for heartache. But it’s been a misery platter on Nashville lately, so we’ll take it.