Up until now, Deacon and Jessie’s relationship has featured a series of false starts and misdirections. But tonight, for the first time, it seems to have featured an actual body snatching.
It starts out harmlessly enough. Deacon and Jessie are bellied up to a bar enjoying burgers and fries because it turns out they are but plain folk with simple needs. Then they play out a scene from Literally Every Rom-Com Ever, where Jessie gets a tiny smidge of ketchup on her mouth and Deacon wipes it off, marveling at the smidgy adorableness of it all.
From there, we move on to more of a teen rom-com situation, where Deacon and Jessie get hot and heavy in the car, then decide to go back to Jessie’s place, but neither has protection so they have to take a rain check. They are not adulting particularly well at this point.
The next day, Deacon goes to the drug store to buy some condoms and he’s all self-conscious and clumsy. Again, Deacon, may I remind you that you are a grown-ass man?
The plan is for Deacon and Jessie to spend the night together when Jake is staying with his father, Maddie is out with Jonah, and Daphne has a sleepover. Except then Daphne’s sleepover gets cancelled, because, again, false starts.
But then … Daphne’s sleepover gets uncancelled and Deacon and Jessie are back on! Misdirections! (And five more minutes of my life I’ll never get back.) Deacon puts on a nice shirt, considers cologne, nervously knocks over some bottles, and — big mistake — looks at an old picture of Rayna and the girls on the wall. So he gets to Jessie’s house and after some awkward small talk, they start to hook up. But then, suddenly, Deacon starts crying. He can’t go through with it. (Once again, kudos to Charles Esten, a seriously great actor. When Deacon cries, we all cry.)
Here’s where the body-snatching part comes in: Jessie is absolutely perfect in this moment. She comforts him, doesn’t let him leave, tells him it’s okay to talk about Rayna. They end up fallings asleep in each other’s arms on the rug next to the couch. It’s beautiful.
The next morning, Deacon gets up early, but presumably he has to get home before the girls do. And Jessie … well, there’s no other way to put it, HAS A COW. Seriously, I don’t recognize this woman from the patient, loving, understanding human we saw the night before.
“Rayna is a helluva act to follow,” she barks at him. “I know that I’m not her. And I’m never going to be her. She was larger than life and I can’t compete with that.”
Upon hearing this, Deacon doesn’t say: “Dude, who ARE you?” Instead, he says, “Please don’t give up me.”
And with that, Jessie softens and they kiss. My head is spinning.
But Jessie and Deacon are just one of many confusing couples on Nashville this week.
Let’s move on to Maddie and Jonah. Since we last saw her, Maddie has apparently turned into some sort of domestic goddess, baking casseroles for dinner and driving Daphne to school. Huh. It’s while they’re waiting in the interminable carpool line that Daphne discovers a video uploaded by pop star Mia Foster, who is Jonah’s ex. Now let me tell you, this video is hilarious. Generally speaking, when pop stars want to shade each other in songs, they use clues, leaving a trail that pop savvy sleuths can easily detect. Not our Mia. Her song is called “Can’t Have Him” and she starts it by ripping up a photo of Maddie and Jonah. Subtle. Then her song literally includes the lyric, “Maddie James, you’re in the way.” Will we ever crack the code?!
This upsets Maddie and she suddenly decides she’s not talking to Jonah, or at least she wants him to beg — which he dutifully does, showing up at her house to plead his case. Here’s the confusing part: I thought these two crazy kids were just Netflix and chilling or Hulu and hanging or whatever. But suddenly, Jonah breaks down and says that he needs Maddie and feels like he can only truly be himself around her. That escalated quickly. Maddie agrees to give him a second (third?) chance. Suffice it to say, I have my doubts about these two.
Anyway, remember when I was bitching that Avery and Juliette don’t seem to have any romance in their lives anymore? They sort of rectify that this episode, but it turns out it’s a bait and switch.
As usual, Juliette is completely preoccupied by Darius Enright and his “teachings.” His latest bit of hooey is that Juliette needs to go to Bolivia and work with underprivileged children. Nope, not random at all. Oh yeah, and he’s already made the arrangements and Juliette is leaving in a few days.
So Juliette goes back home and tells Avery and they have a huge fight. Cadence is there the whole time, just twirling her spaghetti like a baby boss. (An aside: Do you ever worry about child actors who have to witness upsetting scenes like their TV parents fighting? I mean, I’m sure there are social workers or whatever on set, but I don’t want the poor twins who play Cadence to have spaghetti ruined for them for life.) Avery’s other big fear is that Juliette is so deep into the Center of Coherent Philosophy — and so focused on rejecting her past life choices — that she no longer needs him. That night, she finds him sleeping on the couch and assures him that he is the most important person in her life. They have sex, finally! But it’s a short-lived reunion. When Avery wakes up — still on the couch (that’s cold!) — Juliette is nowhere to be found. Bolivia bound, I guess.
All of this leads to the continuing adventures of Gunnar, Avery, and Will’s “boy band.” They’re at home, rehearsing a new song. Gunnar’s voice cracks on a high note — he sounds like Justin Guarini’s Li’l Sweet in those Dr Pepper ads — and he asks why he has to sing all the “high girly parts.” “Because you’re the one with the high girly voice,” Will replies. Makes sense. Then they decide that the answer to their problems is an actual “girl” and repeat the word “girl” over and over again, like they’ve never heard of such a novel concept.
And so they roam the open-mic nights of Nashville looking for a talented, unheralded singer. The first girl they listen to is actually pretty good (or am I high?), but maybe she’s a little too Lilith Fair for them. The next girl is all “rawr!” “rock!” and scares them. The third girl is all bashful and apologetic and keeps forgetting the words. The three bandmates dejectedly make their way through an empty lot of some sort.
“This isn’t working,” Avery says. And then — I swear this actually happened — from the distance, they hear the voice of an angel. Okay, maybe not an angel, but a total babe with dyed-pink hair and a good voice named Ilana, who’s singing at a bar. They invite her to join their band and she accepts.
Here’s the thing: They’re clearly setting it up that Gunnar is smitten with Ilana — there’s even a scene where he moons over her onstage in a borderline sketchy way — but I predict that Avery and Ilana will be the ones with the connection. (If your response to this is, “No doy, Max, it was in the previews for next week’s episode,” please note that my advance screener had no coming attractions.) As the saying goes, when the cat is being controlled by a cult and sneaks out in the middle of the night to go to Bolivia, the mouse will play with his backup singer.