When you’re a fan of a show, the worst feeling in the world is that they’re making it up as they go along, arbitrarily throwing things on the wall to see what might stick. Certainly Nashville, with its ever-rotating cast of randos, has been guiltier of this than most. That’s why I have to give credit where credit is due: The Maddie-fears-Deacon shtick is actually playing out in a meaningful way. (Yes, it only reared its head in earnest about six episodes ago, but hey, that’s, like, four seasons in Nashville years.)
We all know that the real reason Maddie ran away had more to do with Cash whispering “Follow me to freedom!” in her ear than Deacon’s rage bomb at Skulls last week, but Deacon doesn’t know that. And neither does Rayna, who might end up blaming her hubbie (“Good lord, Deacon, why’d you have to blow up on her like that last night?” she blurts out at one point). More importantly, there’s hard proof of Deacon’s anger on Cash’s phone. I mocked Cash’s Ken Burns routine last week as a stupid thing to do — one doesn’t generally document a kidnapping — but now it just might be evidence in Maddie’s emancipation trial, assuming it actually goes that far.
Also, in keeping with last week’s theme of bad parenting, didn’t you think Rayna gave up looking for Maddie at Cash’s place a little too easily? She’s all, “Hey, crazy adult lady who is Single White Female-ing my teenage daughter, is Maddie here?” And Cash is all, “Nope.” And instead of saying, “You sure she’s not in that shed that is conveniently located in your backyard?” Rayna’s like, “Thank you for your honesty” and leaves. I mean, I guess ransacking Cash’s house wasn’t really an option, but not since six-year-old me “ran away” to the closet in my bedroom has a hiding place been more obvious. Luckily, Deacon is slightly more suspicious and stakes out the front of Cash’s house — although it’s not totally clear if he’s there looking for Maddie or because he’s considering apologizing to Cash for last night’s blow up. (He does seem awfully surprised when Maddie materializes at Cash’s door.) What a mess. And am I a monster for loving the moment when Deacon and Rayna sob in each other’s arms on Cash’s steps? Them being united in grief is hot. (Also loved Rayna and Juliette having their moment. Although mature, fuzzy-white-sweater Juliette is still taking some getting used to.)
Speaking of grief, this is yet another thing for the Saddest Tween in the World ™ to be sad about. Of course, Daphne blames herself for Maddie’s disappearance. And did you read her sad little texts/found poetry? Here’s what she wrote:
Where are you?
Are you okay?
Everyone is worried
Call me or text
The final “please” is the real killer.
Anyway, if I gave credit to the show for follow-through on Deacon’s anger issues, still not entirely sure why Riff even exists (existed?). Was his whole presence just an excuse to get Juliette on Luke’s tour? Seems an indirect route. Or was the show having Law and Order envy and want to do a “ripped from the headlines” story of their own? Because that whole “Riff was found passed out with an escort, alcohol, pain pills, sexual performance enhancers, resulting in a stroke” has Lamar Odom written all over it. Odd, to say the least.
(Also, hilariously, Thomas Rhett, the real-life musician who temporarily filled in, looks exactly like Riff. They literally could’ve had him play Riff’s set and answer to Riff’s name and no one would’ve been the wiser.)
Of course we all saw the Juliette-joins-the-tour thing coming from a mile away, but that doesn’t make it any less juicy. First Avery and Juliette have a very distinct moment when they’re passing Cadence back and forth — enough to send Avery onto Layla’s tour to escape all the feels he’s feeling. Then Juliette sees Layla “grinding up on Avery” on stage and gets jealous. (To be honest, it was less “grinding up” on him and more “singing a duet” with him, but grinding is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.) My favorite part of last night’s Layla-Avery-Juliette love triangle is when Layla gives up the master bedroom of her tour bus to Avery and Cadence, and Avery is so moved by this act of kindness, he has to take a moment. Dude, get a grip. Poor Avery. If he sees Layla as some sort of saintly alternative to Juliette, he’s denser than I thought. (Oh, and why was Emily suddenly so reluctant to join Avery and Cadence on tour? Her face looked weird, right? I didn’t imagine that? Do we possibly have the rare love square here?)
Even less lucky in love, it seems, is Will, whose story line this week was all kinds of ridiculous. In the morning, he emerges from his bedroom exhausted, hair askew, because he says he was up all night “looking into online dating.” (I don’t think that means what he thinks it means.) Then he goes to the studio where this cute backup singer is totally mooning over him. Later he hears the backup singer discussing his breakup with “Riley.” Diabolically gender-neutral name, Nashville! “How can you tell a guy’s gay?” Will asks Avery over the phone, because … well, nope, there’s actually no reason he would ask Avery that. Avery gives him somewhat sketchy advice: “If you want to know if he’s gay, ask him out.” The correct answer is: “Ask somebody else who knows him” or, if you’re really desperate, “Get Autumn Chase on the case.” Instead, Will commits the classic rookie mistake: He asks cute backup boy for a beer. Straight boys go for beers, too, Will! “I’m so glad you agreed to go out with me,” Will says, with a relieved grin. “I was nervous about asking you out.” “Wait, you think this is a date?” backup boy replies. “I’m straight.” Oh God, cringe. Thanks Avery, thanks a lot.
Speaking of Autumn Chase, what is her damage? If I didn’t know better, I’d almost says that she’s not so much a fully formed human being with a believable inner life, but just a foil character introduced to drive a wedge between Gunnar and Scarlett. But Nashville would never do that, would they? (Sigh.) First she hits on Gunnar so hard she leaves a mark (and she was totally lying about James Taylor being her neighbor, right?), then she cozies up to Scarlett at a spa, then she’s sure to leave just enough lipstick on Gunnar’s cheek to make it look suspicious when Scarlett sees him leaving her hotel room. If only this woman would use her powers for good — like helping Will find a date.
Anyway, next week, tour love triangles (or possibly squares) a-go-go. Can’t wait!