Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nashville 1.21: "I'll Never Get out of This World Alive"

“I need you to tell me that it's not true. Tell me that you haven't been lying to me every moment of the last thirteen years.”

The season finale of “Nashville” was pretty much exactly what you would expect from the show. There was plenty of crazy drama and some rather ridiculous cliffhangers to make us come back for season 2. While I would prefer, on balance, for the show to be a little less blatantly soapy, the music will keep me coming back for sure. This one featured some gorgeous tunes, although nothing quite up to the standard of the best Gunnar and Scarlett tunes. Speaking of Gunnar and Scarlett, there are definitely some interesting developments on that front, which could either bode really well or really poorly for our chances of getting more of their beautiful music next season. There were also some pretty crazy Rayna and Deacon related events, too, and I have no clue where that’s going to go next season, either. And just last week they seemed so happy. Such is life on a nighttime soap, I suppose.

The Rayna and Deacon drama is really the main focus of this episode, although the episode as a whole was kind of ten pounds of plot shoved in a five pound bag. Rayna’s having a discussion about Deacon with Maddie and Daphne. She lets them know that they’re dating, and she wants to know if they’re okay with Deacon going with her to the CMA Awards. Maddie tells Dahpne that Rayna and Deacon used to date back in the day, which really wasn’t appropriate at all. She’s acting out because of her discovery in the last episode, and her comment to Daphne isn’t the half of it. She then shows up at Deacon’s house and tells a very confused Deacon that she thinks she’s probably his daughter. Needless to say, Deacon doesn’t take this well at all, not because he doesn’t like Maddie, but because he’s pissed that Rayna never told him the truth.
Deacon and Rayna were supposed to walk the CMA red carpet together, but Deacon doesn’t show up until the last minute. Then he still looks really out of it while playing guitar for a Rayna/Brad Paisley duet performance for the telecast. Afterwards, he confronts Rayna about what Maddie told him, and when Rayna doesn’t deny it, Deacon completely flies off the handle. He ends up at a bar where, surprise surprise, he falls off the wagon. Multiple times. It’s so bad that he wakes up at the bar the next morning, where, once he’s kicked out, he proceeds to go find Teddy and try to start a fight. Deacon eventually makes his way back to his house, where poor hapless Gunnar shows up to ask for some advice on Scarlett. He finds a very drunk and surly Deacon, and he immediately calls Scarlett. Scarlett and Cole come over immediately, and there’s a huge knock-down-drag-out fight between Deacon and Cole. Cole eventually offers to stay with Deacon while he sobers up.

Meanwhile, Teddy has obviously found out that Maddie knows about her paternity thanks to Deacon punching him in the face. There’s a huge Conrad/Jaymes family row where Maddie says she wants to live with Teddy now. Teddy and Rayna actually have a mature discussion where Rayna explains that Maddie found out the truth by snooping, not by anything Rayna did. Teddy asks Rayna to trust him to not do anything to ruin her and Maddie’s relationship, just like Rayna asked him to trust her. Rayna ends up having a heart-to-heart with Maddie, and they seem to reconcile somewhat. It’s a good thing, because Teddy has other fish to fry. He gets a heads up call from a US Attorney friend that there may be a federal indictment coming his way about the Cumberland deal. He’s concerned that Peggy might divulge more information about the deal in exchange for immunity, but Peggy swears up way and down the other that she won’t. When pressed for why, Peggy says that she’s pregnant. Peggy’s so nuts I don’t know whether to believe this or not.

Juliette, meanwhile, spends the episode trying to deal with the tragedy of her mother’s death. She stays fairly stoic at the funeral (which Rayna attends but Deacon bails on to go be drunk). Juliette is determined to attend the CMAs, even though everyone is telling her that she needs to go mourn her mother. Juliette does end up leaving the awards show early, and she goes to sing to her mother’s casket at the funeral home. The next morning, her ex-manager Glen stops by to give Juliette her CMA trophy (she won Best Female Vocalist) and a hug, and it’s really a very touching moment. What finally gives Juliette some peace is a letter from her mother, which explains how her mother was trying to protect her from the whole sex tape scandal. Juliette ends up having a little memorial for her mom at the Bluebird, where she sings what has become my favorite non-Gunnar and Scarlett song on Nashville. It’s called “Nothing in This World Can Ever Break My Heart Again,” and it’s a really gorgeous, powerful song. I’d definitely recommend checking out the “On The Record” video about the song on ABC’s Nashville website.

In less important news, Gunnar and Scarlett are still broken up, and Scarlett meets up with Avery for lunch to thank him for giving her that whisk before her Opry debut. Avery tells her about a concert he’s playing, and Scarlett agrees to stop by. When she’s good on her word, Avery invites Scarlett on stage to sing with him. Will happens to be at the club, and he sees all this go down. Will’s having an interesting time himself in this episode. We see him sleep with a woman and waive off a man who has been flirting with him. Will explains to Gunnar that hiding his sexuality is what he needs to do to advance his career, which I think is really sad. I hope it’s an issue the creative team tackles seriously next season. Will also tells Gunnar about seeing Scarlett and Avery singing together. It’s a great example of how on Nashville, creating and performing music is seen as sort of the very most intimate act two people can do together, even more so than actual sex. Understandably, this upsets Gunnar, and he responds by spontaneously proposing to Scarlett. This could either portend great things for getting more Gunnar and Scarlett music next season, or it could implode horribly. I’d say the latter would make more sense story-wise, but then I see where all the Gunnar and Scarlett songs fall in the iTunes rankings and wonder how the creative team could throw that away.

So if a pregnancy, a proposal, a paternity reveal, and the aftermath of a murder/suicide weren’t enough for one episode, there’s one final twist in the Rayna/Deacon story. Deacon does show up to the Bluebird memorial, but he shows up plastered, despite telling Cole that he was going to get himself back to an AA meeting and back on the wagon. When Rayna sees this, she drags Deacon out of the Bluebird and says she’ll drive him home. They spend the whole drive arguing, and at one point, the argument starts to get a little violent, with Rayna trying to physically pull a liquor bottle out of Deacon’s hand. At that moment, the vehicle drifts, and Rayna has to swerve to avoid oncoming traffic. The SUV they’re in does a series of rather spectacular rolls before coming to a stop, and while we know the show isn’t going to kill off its two leads, we’re wondering what condition they’ll be in next season.

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