It seems like the Nashville writers had a real, “Oh my God! We left the baby on the bus!” moment with Gunnar this week, as it finally occurred to them that they hadn’t bothered to give him a storyline all season. So they contrived an elaborate, “Gunnar has writer’s block” scenario which, if you ask me, had a less than satisfying payoff and actually managed to underscore how poorly Gunnar has been integrated with the rest of the cast. (To wit: Gunnar has not one, but two conversations with his guitar this episode.)
Gunnar is feeling adrift — girlfriendless, bandless, plotless. He tries to write a song but the only lyrics he comes up with are, “I’m a douchebag. Can’t write a thing.” (I think it has potential.) He complains to Will about his blockage and Will is all, “Screw you! I had a heart attack, do you see me bitching?” (JK, he’s as friendly and accommodating as ever.) Will has somehow managed to procure Gunnar tickets to the Steve Earle show, which is apparently “sold out” despite the fact that they could’ve easily crammed 50 more people into that venue, but I digress …
Gunnar is a huge fan of Steve Earle and is super motivated by the show, even more so when Earle recognizes him and invites him out for a beer afterwards. Earle, in case you didn’t know, comes from the kind of intimate singer-songwriter tradition that Gunnar himself once specialized in, so I figured this would be a good opportunity for Gunnar to remember who he is and get back in touch with his inner balladeer. Oops, how wrong I was. For some unknown reason, Earle gives Gunnar the advice you NEVER GIVE: He tells him to channel someone else when he’s writing his song. And, in an unexpected move, Gunnar decides to channel a cross between Sid Vicious and Will Lexington.
But wait, there’s more! There’s an actual scene between Gunnar and Scarlett! The show even introduces it in a sneaky way, first focusing on Gunnar’s (besotted) face and then panning to Scarlett. So, with one more episode to go, it was clearly time for the two of them to reflect on their relationship, reminisce a bit, pledge eternal (if only platonic) love to each other … or for Scarlett to hit Gunnar up to perform at the benefit concert she’s throwing with Sean at the ranch. Dag.
Anyway, more on the benefit concert in a bit. Let’s check in with Maddie. She’s moping in bed and Daphne brings her a coffee, which is just adorable. Maddie takes a sip and says, appreciatively, “Is there vanilla ice cream in this?” It’s meant to be a cute sisterly moment but if anyone put ice cream in my coffee first thing in the morning, there would be hell to pay. Jonah and Twig keep calling Maddie and Maddie keeps letting it go to voicemail. Eventually, Jonah gives up, because that’s the kind of guy he is. But Twig is persistent. She finally picks up and tells him it’s long past time for him to get out from under Jonah’s control. Twig admits he’s scared — that without Jonah he’s nobody.
A few nights later, Jonah’s Euro tour is about to start and the entourage is getting into the car on the way to the airport, with Twig lugging the bags like some kind of sherpa. Twig finally snaps.
“I’m not going to go!” he says to Jonah, dropping the luggage.
“Are you kidding?”
“I’m done being your bitch.”
“Big mistake,” Jonah shouts. “Enjoy working at the Piggy Wiggly.”
And with that, A Boy Called Twig is finally free.
A few more things happen but they are so similar to things that happened over the last few episodes, I basically want to link to old recaps and say, “This.” But, for duty’s sake, a few highlights:
• Alannah continues to flirt in a calculated, withholding way with Brad, and he continues to lap it up. She’s clearly cooking up some sort of sting operation. She even confides her plan to Deacon, although it’s whispered in his ear, Lost in Translation–style. I’m afraid Alannah is going to save the day, people, and we’re all just going to have to suck it up and be grateful. At one point in the show she also seems to break up with Avery: “You’re an incredibly sweet person. And we met at the absolute perfect wrong time.” (In real life, it would’ve taken Avery a few seconds to triangulate that sentence and realize she was dumping him.) But then later she phones him? Girl is a walking pile of contradictions.
• Deacon and Gideon continue to have different memories of Deacon’s childhood (this time involving Deacon getting hurt at the county fair). Really enjoying that continued plotline! On a tangential note: Am I the only one who balked and went through a whole Nashville family tree when Scarlett showed up with hot chicken and Gideon called her his “lovely granddaughter”? (Beverly is Deacon’s sister and Gideon is Deacon’s father, therefore he is also Beverly’s father, therefore he is Scarlett’s grandpappy. Whoa. Checks out.)
• Juliette is still gunning for the Movement for Coherent Philosophy. Somehow, she has managed to exfiltrate Rosa and her young son from Bolivia. She’s like freaking Amnesty International.
• No one on this godforsaken show seems to know how to use a thermometer. First, Juliette and Avery keep “wondering” if Cadence has a fever, like it’s a Zen koan and not the kind of information that can be EASILY OBTAINED. Then when they finally do take her temperature, they put the thermometer under her tongue. She’s a TODDLER, for Pete’s sake.
I am getting exasperated.
Okay, let’s finish this thing: Cadence is burning up! Avery and Juliette take her to the hospital. But it’s no big deal, just a touch of the baby pneumonia. (Seriously, they seem very chill about the whole thing.) Sitting vigil at Cadence’s bedside, Avery and Juliette hold hands and touch heads.
“We’ve been through a lot, haven’t we?” Avery says.
“Ya think so?” Juliette teases.
Avery shakes his head: “Why is it that when you smile at me at that way, all the pain disappears?”
You guys! Please note the title of the episode: “I Don’t Want to Lose You Yet.” Avery doesn’t want to lose Juliette! This is HAPPENING! (Shut up, I know I once said I didn’t want Javery to be endgame. People change.) And then, just at the absolute perfect worst time (to quote Alannah), Avery’s phone buzzes: It’s Alannah. Avery doesn’t pick up, but the tender spell is broken.
At long last, we get to the benefit for the ranch. I feel like Nashville used to do this more often back in the good old days — stage big parties or concerts where lots of the main players could interact. I’d say more of this, please, except there’s only — Waaaaaa! — one more episode to go. (Speaking of pile of contradictions: All I do is complain about this show but I’m genuinely distraught that it’s about to end. Alannah and I should totally hang.)
I thought Scarlett and Gunnar were going to sing a duet, but instead Sean and Scarlett sing. Yes, their voices harmonize beautifully together, but you know who else’s voices harmonize beautifully together? The OG harmonizers, Scarlett and Gunnar!
As for Gunnar, oy. His platinum hair, his outfit — a tattered and patched denim vest — and his “RAWK!” song are a world of wrong. But I think we’re supposed to like them? The mind reels.
Angela gets very jealous of Scarlett again — even though she’s wearing one of her patented performance shmatas. But this time Angela has good reason. Sean goes backstage after the duet and declares his undying love for Scarlett. For the first time, it’s clear that Scarlett likes him back, but she would never have an affair with a married man with a baby.
“It’s easy to fall in love with someone brand new,” she says. (Scarlett spitting truth bombs, as per.) She points to Angela, who is leaving: “She’s real and she’s the love of your life. Go get her.”
Then they exchange a wistful, “I’ll never forget you” kiss and Sean runs after Angela.
But not all romance ends in sorrow. Twig shows up and tells Maddie he quit his job with Jonah. They hug — and then kiss! It’s a brief, tentative kiss, but afterward they seem all hand-holdy and couple-y, so I think they’re officially a thing. (I’ve already forgiven Twig for last week’s indiscretion. I can’t stay mad at my little shrubbery for long.)
Finally, Deacon, Gideon, and the girls leave the concert.
“Hey Daph, you want to ride with granddad?” Deacon asks. But Gideon hems and haws in such a way that it’s clear that he’s hiding something. Deacon grabs the keys and begins to ransack Gideon’s car — looking under the seats, opening the glove compartment — until he finally finds a bottle of bourbon in the armrest and hurls it across the parking lot.
“I knew it. You lying son of a bitch,” he says, grabbing his father by the lapels. “Get out of my sight … You are not my father.”
And on this note — a “Reverse–Darth Vader,” if you will — we conclude the penultimate episode of Nashville.