Scarlett gets all sparkly, Deacon faces his pain head-on, and Rayna has a secret
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.”
NEXT: Scarlett sings like Cinderella even in music biz-proper Sexy Lady wear For all his efforts, Deacon reaped his rewards: a supportive shoulder rub, an “I’m proud of you,” and the promise of abandonment from his sponsor. He’s in a better place now — and if his roomie Scarlett keeps it up with the tough love, maybe Deacon can join her in the sweet-tea-sticky land of rainbows and doilies after all. At least the tea part.
Scarlett had a rude awakening of her own when a stylist grabbed hold of her floral-patterned, tragically covered shoulders, waved her magic wand, and produced a sparkly corset and sexy red poufy skirt ensemble for Scarlett to wear to the Stockholders Showcase. And it’s a good thing she could walk or at least stand ‘n’ sway in those Mary Jane stilettos, because Rayna thrust Scarlett onstage as her replacement at the showcase. (With advance warning, of course. Rayna has manners.)
So now Scarlett knows Rayna’s big secret. Get this. RAYNA CAN’T SING.
But oh, boy, Scarlett sure can. What’s better than sweet, twangy Scarlett? Haunting, twangy Scarlett! I loved her careful, sultry, at times whispery drawl on a slightly-slowed-down cover of Caitlin Rose’s “Waitin’.” (Check out the rest of “Waitin'” here — it’s got a great rock swell at the end, sort of what I imagine as “the Liam McGuinnis touch.”) Gunnar gazed up at Scarlett throughout all this hammering home about “waiting on a broken heart” — but now it was a gaze of jealousy instead of mere romantic longing.
In his sheepish, barely-wounded animal way, Gunnar envies the spotlight provided to his buds Scarlett and Will — a spotlight which, especially in Will’s case tonight, Gunnar helped to provide himself. Will, whose makeover was much less profound than Scarlett’s (when isn’t he wearing a black cowboy hat?), performed a Gunnar Scott original, something Gunnar had just whipped up in the living room during this newly inspired phase of his life of wishin’ and dreamin’. “What if you wanted to feel alive? What if you wanted somebody to love you right?” Good stuff. And okay, I guess to a lesser extent: “What if you’re wearing a sundress?”
Will doesn’t understand Gunnar’s hesitation to let him use his songs. Shouldn’t this be what Gunnar wants, as a songwriter with a publishing deal?
For now, Gunnar just wants some company. What if… he and Zoey were the last two non-recording artists in a sea of stockholders? Boom! That settles it; they leave the party together. “That’s the best offer I’ve heard all night,” said Zooey. I think she left out “only.” Come on, that had to be the first time someone had spoken to her all day.
Liam McGuinnis is back, which you may have noticed from all the “St. Lucia” name-drops during the hour. It’s like he’s the sole representative of the island. I keep expecting a Sandals commercial featuring him and Rayna to pop up during each break. Nashville, sponsored by St. Lucia.
After a rousing discussion of how in retrospect Rayna probably should have just traveled to St. Lucia with Liam instead of headfirst into a country road with Deacon, Liam St. Lucia agrees to get back to work on Rayna’s next album — which might be her last. “I’m an excellent producer,” he marveled after listening to their tracks again. “I’m very sorry,” Rayna throatily croaked out, “that I did not go with you to St. Lucia.”
NEXT: Why Rayna’s really sorry
Rayna confided in Liam that her vocal chords just aren’t the same since the accident — “Never let anyone stick a plastic tube down your throat” — and he agreed to play the role of obnoxious producer to buy her time with new Edgehill head Jeff Fordham. “Aren’t you going to ask what I want in return?” he wondered. And just when you expected a sudden cut to the pair sharing magical voice-saving serum with an umbrella in it on a sandy shore of St. Lucia — it turned out what Liam wanted wasn’t tropical at all. He just wanted to make out.
So they start kissing on her bed, as a framed poster of Rayna with a sexy, knowing look watches over them and asks “Self, are you sure this is wise?”
Carpe diem, okay? He looked hot in her bed, post-sex. His hair and beard took up the whole pillow. Just because you’re starting over, all by yourself, doesn’t mean the personification of a luxury island isn’t allowed to share your bed.
Juliette spent the episode over in Maryland — “I’ll send you some crabs!” she promised Jeff — putting on a private, one-night-only concert for Juliette’s biggest fan and “the world’s greatest husband,” Olivia and Charles Wentworth. Both were pretty one-note and awful, so naturally Juliette hooked up with playboy Charles at the end of the night.
The real story here was Avery’s flare-up at Juliette after he heard her tell Charles that Avery was “not my boyfriend — he’s just on my payroll.” Sure, she could’ve said “He’s just my friend,” but the fact is that Avery is on her payroll and they are not dating. Avery’s reaction to the diss means he must have feelings for Juliette (or zero friends in the world with zero promise of ever making a single friend again). He did light up big-time when Juliette, upon learning of how Avery had walked away from a six-figure contract in defiance, said “You know, I knew there was a reason why I liked you.”
Avery got all jealous-boyfriend on Juliette when she accused him of being too sensitive. “Yeah, put it on me. I’m the problem. Couldn’t possibly be that you don’t TRUST anybody enough to actually be your friend. The sad thing is, it’s your choice. You choose to live this way, unattached to anyone but yourself.” Okay, overreaction man. That’s a lot of emotional drama emitting from one tiny soul patch. Just because she wants to hook up with billionaires doesn’t mean Juliette doesn’t want to be Avery’s friend.
I still think Avery and Juliette could make a decent couple, but she can’t be strong-armed into attachment against her will. Still, I’m sure she’ll show up on his doorstep, just wanting to talk,” before too long. (A.k.a. next week.)
The pair did have my two favorite facial expressions of the evening — Avery’s “Aw, man, rich people get all the good guitars” eye bug and Juliette’s sickly sweet smile toward Layla: “I’d imagine it takes some of the pressure off, singing somebody else’s hits. It’s kind of like… karaoke!”
Oh, and Rayna and Teddy finally signed their divorce papers. Plus, Peggy Kenter is gonna raise this fake baby of theirs right. “I just have this feeling that it’s a boy. I’m thinking of naming him Theodore.” Agggghh! Terrible!
Do you regret not going to St. Lucia? Did Avery come on too strong, or did Juliette need to hear it? Was this the best Deacon episode ever?
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