Episode 3, “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It Now,” centered on people running away from their responsibilities — Rayna to finishing her album, Deacon to his recovery and ultimately his biological daughter Maddie, and Teddy to stepping up as a father to his imaginary child who will never be born. (Thought I might follow through on my promise to never mention Teddy again? No such luck!)
Deacon fared the best, confronting his emotional and physical pain head-on in some of the most difficult and revealing work we’ve ever seen from him. Charles Esten is a master at conveying resigned, intense disappointment, and tonight’s AA meetings had him hurling a metal folding chair to the floor with his good arm and revealing traumatic childhood memories of his abusive father straight from his heavy yet open-to-love-again heart.
Coleman Carlisle’s announcement that he was moving away from Nashville, plus a heart-to-heart between Deacon and Teddy, motivated Deacon to jump-start his recovery for real. “You have a responsibility here, whether I like it or not,” Teddy told him. “Maddie is never gonna stop watching you. Never. She’s gonna take note of every choice you make.” Instead of getting angry as usual, Deacon had a flicker of recognition that this was all true, and it was now or never. He told Teddy he appreciated the choices Teddy made back then, as a lesser man might have done things differently.
“A lesser man did,” Teddy shot back. BURN! That hurt. More pain meds please.
And as Coleman reminded Deacon, “The only way you’re ever gonna cope with being a father is dealing with what yours did to you.” I worry about our addict agreeing to finally take some pain meds to deal with that arm — but they’re a small price to pay for now as they got Deacon up at the podium, shaking in grief and determination as he told the group about one time — not the first, not the last — his father whipped his mother with a belt.
“He looked over and said ‘When you’re a man, you’re gonna be just like me,'” said Deacon. “Here I am. I’m a drunk.” He wiped away a tear. “Just like him. And I hurt people I love. Just like him. But I’ll tell you something. I ain’t never hurt a child. And I’ll be damned if I ever will.”
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