Nashville Recap: 99 Problems


Pick Yourself Up
Season 6 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Mark Levine/CMT

Be careful what you wish for you, Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans. Signed, Nashville fans.

Oh, how I envy Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans with their enthusiasm, their sense of accomplishment, their optimism for the future of their saved show. We were like that once, right? Full of plucky hope and dreams. Gazing hopefully into the horizon. And then CMT KILLED RAYNA and everything just went to hell.

But here we are. Down the homestretch, but for real this time. A weird thing about these final episodes of Nashville is that I don’t even know what I want anymore. I consider this a flaw with the show, not some personal deficiency. I am a person who generally wants things. But honestly, what do I want here? Okay, sure, for these characters that I’ve grown to care about to be happy — but that’s not exactly a formula for OMG drama. Beyond that, I’m not craving anything specific. For example, there’s not a single romantic relationship that I’m truly invested in. (In case you missed my last recap, Javery is dead to me.) I guess they have eight episodes to get me reinvested. Good luck, Nashville writers!

We pick up right where we left off, shortly after the “talent down!” episode on The Chew. Everyone thinks Will had a heart attack, but it’s actually the fancy-sounding mitochondrial infection. We learn this because Will’s improbably shaggy-haired, bearded doctor tells us, making me think — spinoff? Is CMT about to drop Nashville M.D.? (By day, they operate on hearts, by night they break them on the stages of Nashville’s hippest music venues!)

Gunnar goes off on Will for taking steroids and putting his life in danger — an appropriate reaction, in my opinion. But beyond that, Will’s bandmates seem much more concerned about his physical state than his mental one. They’re all, “Your heart will mend and you’ll be back up on that stage in no time, buckaroo!” — without addressing the underlying reason his heart nearly ’sploded. At least Scarlett sees through Will’s cheerful, unbothered demeanor. But her solution is that Will should write songs. Huh. I suppose there’s some therapeutic value in that.

There’s another surprise on the Will front: Zach shows up, which actually made me gasp — again, not because I was particularly invested in the Zach/Will romance, but because I assumed Cameron Scoggins’s contract had expired. The two ex-lovers have the world’s shortest, least consequential conversation, and Zach says he’ll “check in” with Will again before he goes back to the West Coast. (By the way, wasn’t he running for, like, Congress at some point? I guess he lost in the primary.)

Next, we move on to Deacon and Jessie, and because my advance review screener didn’t contain a “Previously on Nashville,” I spent the first few minutes of their conversation trying to crack the code. Deacon is apologizing for some apparent bad behavior. And Jessie is all, “I get why you did what you did.” And Deacon’s like, “Yeah, but I shouldn’t have done what I did.” WHAT THE HELL DID HE DO?! And then it all came back to me in a rush: Stupid Brad breaking down Jake’s door and pulling him off the bed. Impulsive Deacon slamming Brad up against a wall. Brad twirling his mustache and sneering, “Did you just assault me?” Oh yeah. That.

Anyway, back in present time, there’s a knock at the door and it’s some guy serving Jessie with a subpoena. (Unfortunate aside: I just Googled to see if there was a name for a person who serves a subpoena — there isn’t — and one of Google’s drop-down of frequently asked questions was, “What’s a sopena?”) Of course, Brad has chosen to weaponize Deacon’s justifiable “assault” and is now suing for full custody of Jake. That Deacon has a history of arrests for drunk and disorderly conduct is not helping matters.

Deacon and Jessie meet with a lawyer, who makes it seem like Brad has a very strong case, which is nonsense. First of all, dude broke down a door. That seems like a prelude to violence. Second of all, just look at him. No court in the world is going to give full custody to a guy who looks like a Bond villain over a woman who looks like a mom in a Subaru ad. Deacon magnanimously offers to sacrifice the relationship to end all of this custody drama, but Jessie wants to fight. Good for her!

My free suggestion to the beleaguered couple: Hire a private detective. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that Brad has a boatload of shady stuff in his past. (Also, I just like saying dollars to doughnuts.)

Meanwhile, Deacon has to fix his own damn house before trying to save Jessie’s. Daphne is pissed at him about the whole Jake/Brad thing, and Maddie is becoming a bit of a wild child. Jonah has been encouraging her to go to clubs and drink and stay out late and … play ice hockey? (Okay, that last one is pretty wholesome.) If this weren’t bad enough, he’s also two-timing her, unless the Mia who keeps blowing up his phone is his sister. (It’s not his sister.) And poor, adorable Twig has to watch the whole thing play out in front of him, pining for Maddie, but not wanting to betray his friendship with Jonah.

After a night out with Jonah, Maddie stumbles to breakfast, takes a big swig of water, and tells Deacon she must’ve eaten something that disagreed with her because she’s not hungry. He pulls her aside. “You think I don’t know what a hangover looks like?” he barks. (Lol nice try trying to play the playah, Maddie.) She makes some excuse, but he’s not having it. Then she threatens to move out, which completely freaks out Daphne, who moans that she can’t lose her mother and her sister. Maddie insists that she’ll never really leave her, but Daphne says it won’t be the same if they’re not living together. All of this leads to a final scene in Daphne’s room, where Deacon consoles a crying Daphne and Maddie jumps onto the bed and says she’s staying (“What if I can’t leave you guys?”). There is a family hug and it’s super emotional and I refuse to be moved by this manipulative crap. (JK, cried like a baby.)

Finally, let’s get real about the whole Gunnar-Avery-Alannah situation because I have some gripes. We have eight episodes left and they’re focusing on this rando? Look, I’m sorry. I’m sure that Rainee Blake, the actress who plays Alannah, is lovely and talented, and perhaps given more time with her, I’d care about Alannah and her past romantic woes and the fact that men always look at her like she’s something they “want to possess.” But right now, I couldn’t care less about her little fling with Gunnar — even if she did turn him on to the magic of dry toaster waffles in bed — and I’m certainly not interested in the fact that she’s falling for Avery. What’s more, I was not amused by Gunnar’s little caveman act when he found out that Alannah had spent the night — platonically — at Avery’s house. He wanted to start a fight with Avery? Over her? What show am I watching? C’mon, Nashville. Fix this stuff. The clock is ticking.

Nashville Recap: 99 Problems