Monday, February 25, 2013

Nashville 1.13: "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight"

“Fathers let their kids grow up.”

This particular episode was kind of a filler episode of “Nashville.” Some big things happened, like Rayna and Teddy officially telling their kids they’re getting a divorce and Juliette firing Glenn, but those big moments were a long time coming. I didn’t feel a big paradigm shift with this one. That’s okay for this time of year, though. Things need to simmer for a little while before everything combusts again at the end of the season. 22-ish episode U.S. television seasons are a marathon, not a sprint. I actually prefer that sort of slow burn storytelling that lets the viewer really inhabit the world of the show. It’s especially effective for shows like Nashville where building a sense of place is essential. The tour has kind of taken away from that sense of place for the past few episodes, but with the tour on a little hiatus, I’m hoping we’ll be back to exploring Nashville to the fullest for a little while, at least.

Anyway, the early part of the episode really focuses in on Rayna’s emotional fallout from Teddy asking her for a divorce. It’s really thrown her off her game. She’s backstage before the show in Atlanta, and all she can really hear in her head is Teddy asking her for the divorce. To make things even more awkward, Liam is in town to produce another band’s record. They have a conversation before Rayna goes on stage, and she’s so thrown off by the tailspin her life has become that she misses her cue multiple times before she finally jumps in and sings the opening song. Deacon’s reaction shows us just how big a deal this is. According to him, Rayna has never, ever missed a cue before. Deacon tries to talk to Rayna after the show, because he knows something is seriously wrong, but Rayna says she’s not ready to talk to him about it yet. Liam has a better suggestion for Rayna. He suggests drinking.

Juliette, meanwhile, is taking the success of her impromptu acoustic “Consider Me” performance in Chicago and running with it. She says she wants to take control of her part of the show (as opposed to Glenn being in control), and she wants an entire set to be acoustic. She’s desperately trying to mature her sound so her career with withstand her own aging, while Glenn seems to want to just milk the cash cow for as long as possible before throwing aside Juliette for the next country tween queen. Juliette does a sort of impromptu pump-up session with her crew, telling them what a success “Consider Me” was and that she wants them to do more work like that going forward. This really pisses Glenn off, and later he asks Juliette what she thought she was doing by not running a decision like this by him first.

In better news, Gunnar and Scarlett are bantering around the house (with Gunnar fresh out of the shower and in a towel…can’t complain about that, for sure) when Scarlett gets a very exciting phone call. It’s Watty White, and he wants to tell Gunnar and Scarlett that Rayna is very interested in signing them to her new label. They embrace, and Gunnar almost has a wardrobe malfunction, and the whole thing is quite adorable as only Gunnar and Scarlett can be. The happiness is going to be short-lived, though. Avery, who is having some serious money troubles thanks to Domenic’s nefariousness, is being pursued by none other than Hayley for a publishing deal with Gunnar and Scarlett’s publishing house. To make things even more stressful, Gunnar’s fugitive brother Jason shows up at the Bluebird.

Elsewhere in Nashville, Teddy’s recent cheating ways are starting to catch up with him. Tandy is giving him the usual hard time about mayor-type stuff when Teddy’s phone rings. Tandy most definitely sees Peggy’s name come up on the Caller ID. Later, Peggy tries calling Teddy again, this time when he’s at home. He goes into another room to take the call, and his older daughter (Maddie, I think? We’ll call her Maddie) hears some choice bits of the conversation. Mostly a bit about Teddy wanting to be with Peggy. And this, folks, is why you should never “stay together for the kids.” The kids know. They always know. Even if there isn’t cheating going on, which as we can see here makes things even more obvious, kids know when their parents are really unhappy. And it makes them pretty darn miserable, too. We’ll get back to this more in a bit.

There’s all kinds of bad decisions going on in this episode. First in the parade of bad decisions, Glenn holds a second meeting with Juliette’s crew, and this time Juliette is the one left out. Oh and Deacon is too, since Glenn seems to think he’s partially responsible for Juliette going off book. Glenn tries to undermine (heh…pun not intended, really) Juliette by telling the crew not to make the changes she has suggested. Rayna, for her part in the parade of bad decisions, goes out drinking with Liam. They make out a bit, and Rayna ends up in Liam’s hotel room. There’s no hanky panky going on, though. Rayna actually ends up having a good cry in Liam’s bathroom, which is pretty much as unsexy as it gets. Rayna lets Liam into the bathroom for a talk, even though, as she puts it, she “doesn’t cry pretty.”

Back in Nashville, cooler heads are prevailing, but as per usual, that won’t last for long. Marilyn is not happy with Avery considering a publishing deal. Avery, however, seems to be convinced by a lunch with Hayley where she says that signing him would be good for her career. I guess he liked her honesty? Across town at the Bluebird, Scarlett has realized who Jason is and that he’s lurking around, and she calls Gunnar on it. She says that under no circumstances will he be sleeping on their couch. I like that she says it’s their couch. As I said, though, the good sense doesn’t last for long. After Gunnar tells the whole story about how he was getaway driver for Jason’s caper and left him to the police, Scarlett eventually agrees to let Jason stay at their house for one night.

In Atlanta, Deacon and Juliette are working on some song writing, and Deacon mentions the second meeting Glenn had with the crew, and Juliette completely flips out. She calls Glenn on his crap, and Glenn quits. I was very happy that he quit, because that drama’s just not compelling. Elsewhere in Atlanta at Liam’s hotel room, Rayna says that maybe she should stay for the kids afterall, and Liam finally says what I’ve been saying all along. Staying together when you’re that unhappy sucks for the kids too. Liam says how looking back on it, the day his mom left his dad was one of the best days of his life. It hurt at the time, but long run, it was a really good thing because he wasn’t around the toxicity of their mutual loathing anymore.

In Nashville, Gunnar and Avery bring Jason home, and Scarlett is cold to him. She’s just barely tolerating him, really. As Jason makes eggs and toast for Gunnar and tells Scarlett more about their life when they were kids (how they had a grandmother who didn’t really do much to take care of them), Scarlett starts to warm up to Jason a bit. Gunnar and Scarlett start working on a song, and Jason joins in. It seems so natural and happy that Scarlett says Jason can stay at their house for a few more days if he needs to. Jason goes into the next room to change his shirt, and we see that he still has that gun he bought a couple episodes back. Because that will end well.

Before everybody on the tour leaves Atlanta to head back to Nashville, Deacon gives Juliette a bit of a talking-to, and warns her to treat her crew well. And really just treat other people well in general. The conversation is cut short, though, when Deacon sees Liam and Rayna looking kind of cozy. He confronts Rayna, and Rayna says that Liam is just a friend. Deacon still continues to fly off the handle and tells Rayna he doesn’t want anything from her. When she gets back to Nashville, Juliette tries to take Deacon’s advice to heart. She lets her assistant go home for the day instead of working her until late hours, and she calls her mom and offers to let her move in for a little while after rehab. Rayna, meanwhile, is so happy to see her girls that she wants to put off having the divorce talk with them a little longer. They do eventually have the talk, though, and it’s quite painful. Later Maddie tells Rayna about the phone call with Peggy that she heard. I can bet we’ll see the fallout from that in the next episode. See? I told you kids are smart!

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