Monday, April 8, 2013

Nashville 1.16: "I Saw the Light"

“They can be like anything they want. They just have to grow up first.”

This episode seemed like a brief respite before everything in the world of “Nashville” once again explodes. Gunnar and Scarlett make positive steps in their relationship, Rayna and Deacon are civil to each other, and Juliette makes career progress (even if it does stem from jealousy of Rayna). All this positive progress can’t possibly last on this show. If there’s a lesson to be taken from “I Saw the Light,” it’s that lies and evasion will rarely get you where you want to go. I guess that’s a fitting lesson considering the episode’s title. One thing that made this episode a bit different was that much of it took place in New York City. Now I do love New York, and I’m kind of craving a visit at the moment, but that’s not what I watch “Nashville” for. I watch “Nashville” to see how it depicts that particular city and its rhythms. One thing I think we can all agree on though? Lennon and Maisy Stella (Maddie and Daphne) are freaking amazing.

As I already mentioned, the bulk of this episode takes place in New York City, the latest stop on the Red Lips/White Lies tour. Rayna and Juliette are going to be playing the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, but for some reason they seem to be staying at a hotel in Times Square. Either way, there’s a massive billboard with Rayna’s face on it. Rayna and her daughters think the billboard is pretty cool, but it drives Juliette nuts. She decides that she needs to see herself on a billboard, too. It’s the way in which she decides to go about achieving that goal that is problematic. Apparently, before Dante was in the sober companion business, he was a business man, so Juliette really leans on him to make this happen, to her mother’s detriment. Juliette even convinces Dante to come to a pitch meeting with a cell phone company, and Juliette gets the deal. As I predicted several weeks ago, Juliette and Dante celebrate the success with some sex, which isn’t going to complicate Juliette’s relationship with her mother at all. Of course not.

Back in Nashville, Scarlett and Gunnar meet their new neighbor, Will. He’s rather attractive in a trying too hard to be like a cowboy kind of way, which leads me to make a new prediction. Scarlett will probably sleep with him at some point. Or at least come close to sleeping with him. Because they’re good Southern neighbors, Scarlett and Gunnar invite Will over for dinner. There’s some weirdness between Scarlett and Gunnar, though, because Scarlett got her contract from Edgehill in the mail and Gunnar saw it. Gunnar’s pissed that Scarlett didn’t tell him this was in the works, but she interprets it as jealousy (being used to Avery’s stupidity and all). Will arrives for dinner in the middle of the residual awkwardness, and he and Gunnar end up jamming outside instead of eating the dinner that Scarlett cooked. Scarlett does join in the conversation, but when she excuses herself to go to bed, Will is clued in on the awkwardness. Gunnar explains that his not being in on the recording deal was his own fault, though. Gunnar and Scarlett finally have a much needed talk where Gunnar tells Scarlett she’d better take the record deal, and all seems to be well between them for now.

Also in Nashville, Avery is being his usual sad sack self. He tries to get some publishing work out of Hayley, but after what he pulled, she doesn’t want anything to do with him. Avery can’t even get a gig at the club where he used to play regularly, because Marilyn has put out the word that Avery is to be blacklisted throughout Nashville. At his lowest point, Avery runs into J.C. Instead of engaging in some schadenfreude, J.C. has sympathy. He’s going home to Ohio himself, giving up music to go work with his dad. He wonders if Avery should possibly do the same thing. I’m wondering what ever happened with the idea that Scarlett and Gunnar could front Avery’s old band. They all sounded pretty awesome on “One Works Better.” Anyway, when Avery says he’s not ready to pack it in, J.C. gives him a tip on a roadie gig. For Juliette. Clearly some sparks are going to be flying in that direction sooner rather than later.

There is also political intrigue continuing to happen in Nashville, but I still find that to be the weakest aspect of the show. Lamar still really wants his baseball stadium, and he’s trying to up his manipulation to get it. First he tries to use Coleman, but that doesn’t work. Then he goes to Peggy and lets her know that he has figured out she’s the one who leaked the news of Rayna and Teddy’s divorce to the tabloids. He threatens to tell Teddy and Rayna if she doesn’t try to influence Teddy to go with Lamar’s stadium site. Peggy caves to the pressure and makes the suggestion to Teddy, but Teddy doesn’t bite. He still wants nothing to do with anything that would benefit Lamar. The one sensible thing that man has done in this entire series, really.

In New York, Rayna’s got both family and romantic drama going on. On the family side, Maddie starts really pushing to be allowed to sing professionally. The guitar Rayna gave her in the last episode seems to have been the catalyst, and it seems to be Maddie’s way of acting out over her divorce frustrations. Rayna explains to Tandy that she’s concerned because her daughters truly are incredibly musically talented, and she wants them to have a real childhood before going on to inevitable musical success. Rayna is eventually convinced that if she does nothing differently, her girls are just going to resent her, even if Rayna is just trying to protect them. So she comes up with a pretty good compromise. She lets the girls perform “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers during sound check. The crew all thinks they are incredible, and getting to perform on the Barclay Center stage is a dream come true for the girls.

On the romantic side, the drama comes from Deacon bringing his new girlfriend, Stacey the veterinarian, on tour. Rayna is gracious but a little shaken about how Deacon with a serious girlfriend makes her feel a little regretful. Everybody seems to like Stacey well enough, including Rayna, Maddie, and Daphne, but Stacey doesn’t really feel comfortable. She’s a little taken aback that Deacon has romantic history with both Rayna and Juliette, and she’s daunted by the length of Rayna and Deacon’s history. Rayna gives her blessing to the relationship, though, and it encourages Deacon to make a grand gesture. Deacon tells Stacey that he’s ready to stop touring for her, because there’s plenty of work for him in Nashville. Stacey doesn’t want him to stop touring just for her, but Deacon seems to think it’s genuinely a good idea. Something tells me this change won’t last long. The moment where Deacon hugged Maddie (his biological daughter) as they watched Rayna perform was just too good to waste.

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