Hold up. Hold up. Deacon kept his house? Among the many sad and depressing things about last night’s Nashville — and lord knows there were lots to choose from (again) — the saddest of all was the fact that Deacon still has his old place. Generally, when couples get married, they sell one of their homes because, you know, they don’t need it anymore. But I guess Deacon kept his in case he really pissed Rayna off and/or fell off the wagon and/or got into a bar fight, went to jail, further jeopardized Rayna’s chances of keeping her daughter, and was let out of prison on a work-release program. Come to think of it, it was probably a wise investment.
“I don’t even know what life looks like without Maddie in it,” Rayna tells him over the phone, “or what our relationship looks like.”
I had no idea that Maddie was the glue keeping Deacon and Rayna together. That’s kind of creepy, actually.
So, yeah, if you’re a major Deacon/Rayna shipper (and who isn’t?), last night was a big ol’ bummer, mostly because Rayna seemed way more concerned with making sure Maddie — that’s Maddie Jaymes now, by the way — didn’t sign with Lennox Hill than keeping her marriage intact. She basically grounded Deacon — except instead of telling him to go to his room, she told him to go to his house. (Yes, the fact that Rayna is the mother and Deacon is the child in this analogy is not lost on me.) Anyway, at least one good thing came out of this mess: Deacon looked awfully cute in his little orange work-release vest.
So Tandy is back, sporting her umpteenth new hairstyle (this one was so different, I briefly didn’t recognize her), and basically on hand to look after Daphne as Rayna goes into Mama-Bear mode. (As Emily is to Cadence, Tandy is to Daphne.) Daphne has finally gone from pining away for Maddie to being pissed at her (yes, Daphne, own your anger!), but she’s feeling a bit neglected by Rayna (she and Deacon should form a support group). Then, the worst thing ever happens: Aunt Tandy starts telling Daphne a story about another sister who got left behind when her sister left home to start a music career and how sad the left-behind sister was, and suddenly I realized, with mounting dread: She’s making Daphne the Tandy in this scenario! You never want to be the Tandy! Run away, Daphne! You’re better than that!
Meanwhile, Deacon gets a bracing dose of Deacon’s Man Wisdom™ from an unexpected source: Scarlett. (Is Scarlett’s Lady Wisdom™ now a thing? Hmm.) She tells Deacon that “if you want people to believe that you’re sorry, you better start by being sorry,” which honestly seemed like really good advice at the time. Of course, it backfires spectacularly when Deacon tries to apologize to Frankie, and not only does Frankie flat-out reject his apology, he threatens to buy out The Beverly out from under Deacon and change its name. So … that went well. (By the way, you guys were on fire in the comments section last week — and your white-hot anger nourished me — but didn’t somebody float a theory that Frankie and Beverly may’ve had an affair? And that Cash is possibly Deacon’s … niece? Works for me.)
One of the best parts of this episode is when Juliette meets with Maddie — first encouraging her to go home (“it’s not too late”) and then, when that fails, deploying her secret weapon: Glenn! Is there anything more comforting than a Glenn sighting in the Nashville world? It says, “Hey, everybody, the show’s literal only grown-up has arrived.” (Alas, even the calming, steady presence of Glenn does not stop Cash from convincing Maddie to sign with Lennox Hill in New York. Cash is the worst.)
Of course, Juliette has more on her mind than helping Maddie. The paparazzi just happened to catch Avery and Layla kissing (yeah, Glenn’s not buying it — and neither am I) after Avery’s gig, and now it’s all over the tabloids. Juliette needs a hot date to her Oscar nomination party — suddenly Glenn won’t do (even though he wanted to coordinate their outfits!). So Glenn and Emily find some random mouth-breather to go with Juliette to the party — and Kesha is there and Derek Hough, too, and it’s like this really weird dream I had one time. Except of course, Derek Hough isn’t Derek Hough, he’s Famous Serious Actor Noah. (You know he’s serious because he has a pencil mustache.) So the mouth-breather wanders off, and it was like Kesha was never there (honestly, I may’ve actually dreamed that part), and now Noah and Juliette are dancing (oh, how I wish they were doing the quickstep or the mambo, but they’re just slow dancing … I guess Famous Serious Actor Noah is not a world-class ballroom dancer like Derek Hough). And then Juliette whispers to him, “I have a hotel room and I know how to use it” — or something like that — and they go off and do it. Sigh.
Moving right along … I need to give credit where credit is due and give Chris Carmack some sort of Special Achievement in Making Me Care About Randomly Tacked-on Filler Material award. I mean, did we even know that Will had a mother? Well, now she’s dead. And Will has to go home to his sad little ramshackle hillbilly home, where his dad wants no part of him — and actually blames Will for his mother’s death (“you broke her heart” —by being gay, presumably). But Will sticks around anyway and sits in his mom’s comfy chair and picks up her Bible and discovers she has a poorly photoshopped picture of the two of them tucked in its pages — except it’s probably not supposed to be photoshopped, it’s supposed to be, like, an actual photo of them sharing a tender mother-son moment on vacation, and it makes Will happy/sad. The next day, he goes to the funeral and gives a four-word eulogy, “I love you, Mom!” — and even though I only discovered that Will had a mother approximately 40 minutes ago and even though, “I love you, Mom!” has to be the dumbest eulogy ever, I cried. Yes, Chris Carmack is just that good. The best (and by “best,” I mean “most ridiculous”) part of this is when Will starts to head home and some random guest yells, “Later, homo!” And Will’s dad retorts, “Hey, that’s my son you’re talking to. He deserves better than that.” (Shades of “I love my dead gay son!” — Google it.)
The show ends with the specter of Deacon falling off the wagon — he literally uncorks the bottle — but he is saved by his guardian angel, Rayna, who calls just in the nick of time. I guess she finally remembered that he exists.
• Gunnar and Scarlett had to have had the shortest reconciliation in the history of television. Luckily, Autumn Chase is around to make everything much worse!
• Dug Avery’s song and his badass girl guitarists — but there’s still nothing that amuses me more than the well-rehearsed backup bands that everyone on Nashville seems to have at the ready.
• Okay, show, we give up! We like Luke now. You can stop making him the most woke cowboy on the planet.
• Rayna sniping at Cash is probably not a wise move, but I do love it. For example:
Cash: You know I never was good at math. How far is 100 feet again?
Rayna: Well, you know I just couldn’t miss a performance by my daughter.
Cash: She’s not your daughter.
Rayna: Oh, so you’re not good at biology, either.
Game, set, and match, Rayna.
• Can someone please interpret this bit of dialogue for me:
Layla (to Avery): “Let’s face it, you are Juliette Barnes’ Baby Daddy. And I’m the, ‘How do robots make voices girl?’”
What the what? I swear to God, sometimes this show makes me feel like I’m high.