Nashville Recap: This Is Not a Love Song


Stop the World (and Let Me Off)
Season 4 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating 2 stars


Stop the World (and Let Me Off)
Season 4 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating 2 stars
Rayna pushes back on Layla’s romantic relationship with Jeff, and Markus pushes back on his producer, Avery — which does not go well. Maddie joins Colt on Luke’s tour, giving the teens opportunities for more freedom than Maddie can handle. She turns to Juliette for advice and shocks Luke with the results. Meanwhile, Deacon and Scarlett head to Natchez despite their falling-out, and Gunnar enlists Kevin and Will’s help as “wingmen” in an effort to pick up a new woman. Photo: Mark Levine/ABC

Since it’s always good to remind Nashville of such things, a brief list of people we don’t care about:

1. Glowy, out-of-focus Memory!Bev.

2. Luke’s brand manager (or whatever), who keeps talking about the Luke Wheeler Experience (which sounds like the worst Disney ride ever).

3. Random roadie girl with the nose ring (oooh, edgy!), who man-handled Gunnar.

4. Colt (sorry).

5. Juliette’s waste of space hanger-on who obviously reads way too much Us Weekly.

6. Kevin (I mean, he seems nice and all, but … zzzzz).

7. Caleb (okay, he wasn’t even on last night’s show, but this kind of reinforcement is necessary).

You’ll notice I didn’t say Markus Keen. Yes, he’s a new character — and a big ol’ jerkface — but he’s also been well integrated into the show. His character was given a backstory and a purpose and actually feels organic to the action. More like this, please, Nashville.

Anyway, last night’s show was weird because lots of things I wanted to see happen (Scarlett tells Deacon off! Juliette sees the error of her ways! Avery confronts Juliette!) happened, but they didn’t quite happen in the way I wanted them to happen.

Why, for example, does Juliette suddenly flush her pills down the toilet? (And did you see those pills? They were the size of a small island nation). Juliette has been partying like a rock star for weeks and it always ends the same way: with her staring in a mirror with some combination of self-loathing and dread, and then saying, “More pills, please!” and moving on. So why on this particular occasion does she flush the pills and really seem to get her act together? How does she go from calling Emily “a gold-digging, backstabbing whore” (I’m going to try to work that quote into every recap from now on) to saying, “What was I thinking? Emily and Avery wouldn’t do that to me.” (At which point her hanger-on chimes in with, “I was reading this article about body language. The way their faces are turned means they’re having sex.” Not helping!)

So, yeah, it was satisfying when Juliette told her hanger-on she was “fired” (“But I don’t work for you!”), and I was relieved when Gunnar told Juliette about Cadence’s brush with a 24-hour plot device (I mean, uh, ear infection). But I wish I understood why Juliette went from Numb, Self-Destructive, Strung-Out Juliette to Good Juliette overnight. What’s more, I’m with Avery. Can we really trust that Good Juliette is here to stay? (That being said, my heart broke a little when Avery said, “I can’t have [Cadence] growing up thinking she can depend on her mother when we both know she can’t.” Ouch.)

Another person who had a reversal I didn’t quite see coming? Deacon. For the last two episodes, he’s been blaming Scarlett for Bev’s death (unfairly) and ignoring her (cruelly), despite Rayna’s gentle disapproval. And now, suddenly, he’s joining Scarlett in Mississippi to help clean out Bev’s house? Granted, things were rather tense between them, but since when are they even talking?

Also, help me interpret this exchange, people:

Scarlett [indicating her three piles]: Keep, donate, throw away.
Deacon: Keep pile ain’t too big.
Scarlett: I’m not in the habit of saving things that don’t need savin’.
Max: ?

What was that a reference to? Pulling the plug on Bev? Standing by Deacon through tough times? Throwing out expired milk? I honestly haven’t a clue.

Still, it was good that Scarlett told off Deacon (“Stop acting like you’re the only one who lost her!”), and it was even better that Deacon finally apologized and acknowledged that Scarlett did the right thing, but I do have one more question: How was Bev heating up a microwave dinner on Christmas alone part of Deacon’s memory of her? Hmmm.

Elsewhere, Luke is about to debut Will Lexington’s song on the tour, so everyone comes to the show: Will, Kevin, horndog Gunnar, Maddie, and Colt. It’s Luke’s job to look after Maddie and Colt, and it’s kind of ironic that Luke and Rayna still have to deal with each other because their kids may or may not be doing it. (More on that in a sec.) The whole “let’s get Gunnar laid” plotline was so contrived and filler-ish, I’m not even going to mention it here, but I did love the moment when Will admitted that he doesn’t want to be the songwriter, he wants to be the star. I always thought that Luke “graciously” offering to perform Will’s songs — right after dumping him from his label for being too gay for the Luke Wheeler Experience — was kind of a dick move, and I’m glad Will finally sees it that way, too.

So, yeah, Maddie had sex with Colt (I think?), and it’s all Juliette’s fault (inadvertently!). Something about Maddie always brings out Juliette’s nurturing side, although Luke wasn’t totally off-base when he said, “Don’t go trying to play cool mom with somebody else’s kid just because you abandoned your own.” (The Luke Wheeler Experience is rough, y’all.) Juliette did what she thought was the right thing — inviting Maddie onstage to perform with her — but was actually the wrong thing, ‘cause Maddie is underage and Rayna would so not approve.

“You know how pissed Rayna’s gonna be when she finds out this happened on my watch?” Luke protests.

“Rayna’s always pissed,” Juliette replies. (Heh.)

So Maddie gets offstage — she’s wearing this highly inappropriate dress that I finally figured out was slightly less inappropriate because the flesh part was actually flesh-colored fabric (whew!) — and Colt has to roll his tongue back in his mouth, cartoon-dog-style, and they go onto the tour bus and maybe, possibly, but probably not (right?) do it. To be continued …

The highlight of the show, music-wise, at least, is the duet between Layla and Rayna. At first it seems like Layla is going to be a total brat, rejecting Rayna’s advice, both of the musical and romantic variety. But then Layla comes to her senses, sees Rayna as the maternal figure she truly is, and they sing about Layla’s complicated, addictive feelings for Jeff Fordham. (I just realized that when you think about it, Rayna just sang a love song to Jeff Fordham. Awkward!)

Before I get to poor Avery, can I take a moment to discuss poor Emily? The woman was living the glamorous life of a personal assistant to an international country-music star, and now she’s a glorified babysitter. Not even glorified, to be honest. Avery comes downstairs, hands the baby off to her, and says, “I’ll be home late.” And she doesn’t bat an eyelash. Lean in, Emily! Lean in!

Man, Avery can’t catch a break, can he? I was actually surprised when Markus Keen uttered the phrase, “How’s the baby?” (he remembered that Avery had a baby, who was sick?), but that moment of human decency was short-lived. Basically, Markus wants a producer who worships him — and also who doesn’t actually produce. Avery is not about that life, so Markus fires him. Then we have another one of our “why did that character do that?” moments. When Avery comes home after being fired by Markus, he has a little tantrum, and Emily says, “Is this about Markus or Juliette?”

“Can you watch the baby for me?” Avery asks.

“I’m a highly paid, highly educated professional woman, and not your freaking nanny!” Emily replies, storming off. (Not really. She says, “Sure.”)

So Avery goes off with a head of steam to meet up with Juliette and tell her that he wants a divorce and full custody. Once again, I’m not sure how Emily asking if Avery’s tantrum was Juliette-based led to him flying out to meet Juliette on tour, but so be it.

“You have 24 hours!” Avery tells a heartbroken Juliette.

(To do what, exactly? Sign the divorce papers? And why only 24 hours? Maybe he saw it in a movie or something.)

Anyway, if you’re holding out any hope that the show’s new All Misery, All the Time mode is coming to an end soon, do not watch “Next Week on Nashville.” No. Seriously. This is your last warning. I’m not even joking here. It will destroy you … You watched, didn’t you? Sigh. Don’t worry, friends. We’ll get through this together.

Nashville Recap: This Is Not a Love Song