Maddie matures while Daphne doesn't

By Ruth Kinane
June 22, 2017 at 10:02 PM EDT
Jake Giles Netter/CMT
S5 E15
B
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Welcome, fans o’ the ‘ville! Are you ready for some troubled teens and even more troubled 20-somethings? Hope so, because here we go:

Since Maddie’s confrontation with the cops last week over Clay’s unjust almost-arrest, members of the press have set up camp outside the Jaymes household and are refusing to budge. While the commentary on Maddie’s actions is mixed, mostly negative responses are filtering through to the teen, and she’s understandably upset by the whole ordeal. (Please note my first-time compassion for Maddie, commenters.)

Uneasy seeing Maddie suffer, Deacon and Zach go to see a councilman to ask what they should do. The less-than-helpful dude says they’re still investigating the incident, but they need to send out a message of unity with the police and have Maddie apologize; that’s the only way it’s all going to work out. Something tells me that’s not going to go down so well with Maddie.

Back at the house, Maddie calls Clay to tell him she misses him. He’s pretty pissed about the press situation, especially now that details from his past have started swirling. Maddie tells him she’s been trapped indoors all day, too, and asks if he wants to hang out, because apparently she’s forgotten that Clay just asked for some space. He gets short with her and hangs up abruptly.

Reliable old Buckster is still in the mix, and he stops by to try to comfort Maddie. He brings up the Dixie Chicks getting dropped from every radio station as a result of Natalie Maines criticizing then-President Bush… I think there’s something comforting in here? He points out that there are some areas that are no-fly zones for country music, like police, God, and the military, and warns her that the industry can be pretty unforgiving, especially with young artists. He basically implies she should suck it up and say sorry.

But later, when Maddie sees her would-be mentor, Juliette tells her it’s all going to be okay and she shouldn’t be afraid of a little controversy. Maddie asks if she did anything wrong, and J tells hers she thought she was amazing. I wonder if the feeling will be mutual when Maddie finds out Juliette stole a song destined for her — which she just happens to be recording when Maddie shows up. Maddie is all smiles, nodding along and loving it — for now.

All right, I don’t want to suggest that anyone throw a homeless girl out on the streets again, but Liv is kind of mean! She’s applying a crap-ton of makeup to guileless Daphne when Maddie offers a gentle reminder that Rayna wouldn’t have approved of such things. Liv snaps at Maddie and says she shouldn’t make Daph feel bad. Someone needs to remind Liv that she’s a guest in this fancy mansion and her alternative is a squatting spot on the wrong side of town. If bad manners were Liv’s only shortcoming, I’d let it slide, but later she creates and publishes a GIF of Maddie from the night of the incident with the caption, “White girls matter too.” At first, Daphne protests its publication, but she relents when Liv convinces her no one will see it. Of course, it goes viral, and people get cruel changing up the caption. This sympathy I feel for Maddie is confusing.

Speaking of sympathy, I still feel very little for Scarlett, who finds herself almost repulsed by Gunnar’s advances — but at least that means she’s noticed his existence for a minute. She runs to Deacon for advice and confesses she doesn’t feel attracted to Gunnar even though he’s standing by her and being all steady, which is exactly what she needs right now. She also mentions that Damien is back in England, so that situation has “resolved itself.” Deacon tells her to take the pressure off herself; her feelings might change back. She’s relieved. Am I the only one who thinks Gunnar is being looked at and treated completely unfairly? He’s been pretty consistent in his feelings for Scar; it’s not his fault she keeps changing her mind. (Recap continues on page 2)

Now for some tech talk: Down at Highway 65, Rachel Bilson (Hart of Dixie, The O.C.) has arrived — well, her character, Alyssa Greene, has. She’s a fast-talking Silicon Valley marketing expert who does Ted Talks, saved Twitter back in the day, and has country music-loving friends who’ve told her Deacon is a legend. She also loves a challenge, and apparently saving HW65 is the biggest of challenge of all — so she’s game! Zach wants to give her a three-month trial to see if she can make the label sustainable for years. He calls all the label’s artists (a.k.a. the entire cast) to an introductory meeting with Alyssa. She’s a big believer in radical honesty, so she proceeds to tell them that the music industry is more or less in the toilet. And she’s wearing rimmed glasses and overalls, so you know this hipster knows what she’s talking about.

Alyssa wants to start brand partnerships and jokes that the first one is with toilet paper. Juliette is so unimpressed. Will seems willing to hear them out, and Gunnar is just plain confused. Everyone looks to Deacon for answers, and he says Dylan does it, so why shouldn’t they? Everyone needs to make sacrifices around here. He does seem hella pissed when he says it, though.

Later, Zach tries to persuade Will to get on board, but Will stands his ground — well, for a minute anyway. At first, he tells Zach he doesn’t feel like he can be himself as a musician, be with him, and be loyal to his friends all at once. Zach’s all, I love everything about you; I don’t want to change you. He then not-so-subtly drops a comment that Alyssa got a call about Will today from Budweiser; they want Will, and it would be historic. Will’s all, Damnnnnn! Friends, shmends.

HW65 may be in financial strife, but that doesn’t mean they’re opposed to bringing on another unknown artist. Well, “unknown” isn’t entirely true; Hallie did feature on Juliette’s flop of a gospel album. Jules sets up a gig for her friend at the Blue Bird, and everyone is floored by her performance. Deacon makes his impressed face, and Avery can “hear the whole album in his head.” He wants to produce it. I wonder how long Juliette will be happy for her savior if she starts outshining her.

When Deacon calls Hallie to tell her he wants to sign her boyfriend, George (have we met him before???), who is also on the band, she’s put out when it appears the label is less interested in her backup musicians. Boyfriend also still lives with his wife — although they’re separated — with whom he has two kids. Hallie mentions it’ll be easier once he’s moved out, but George brings up problems with the children and then leaves pretty abruptly with a “Brandy will throw a fit.” Points to Hallie for having a more interesting home life than I imagined. Points deducted for being with a married man who doesn’t seem in a hurry to move out of the marital home.

The next night, everyone gets together for dinner at the Jaymes household to celebrate Hallie’s potential signing. Avery pitches himself as a producer for her music, and Hallie is super excited until she realizes he means to replace her band with better musicians. Hallie comes home to find George on her porch telling her that Brandy freaked out when he said he was moving out and threatened to take the kids. One has to ponder how such a devout Christian as Hallie got herself into such a messy position.

Nonetheless, Hallie stays loyal to her band and BF and almost tells Juliette she won’t sign a deal without them. Juliette is flabbergasted and tries to talk some sense into her friend, but Hallie contends that she feels safe on stage when he’s there. J is all, “Girl, safety is the enemy. Take risks or go back to your day job.” Luckily, Avery is on hand to put out the fires, and he convinces Hals to stop by the studio and hear some more seasoned musicians play her music. She joins in for a sing-along, and it seems she can’t even believe how good they all sound together. Looks like it’s boy, bye for George. (Recap continues on page 3)

Let’s get back to the Maddie show. After a few attempts are made at getting Maddie to smooth things over — Alyssa suggests that she pretend she’s apologizing to her husband and just say it without meaning it — Maddie refuses to sign a statement that basically says she’s a teenager and was merely reacting as a teenager would. Deacon is proud of her for standing up for herself, but he also wants the situation resolved so his daughter can get her life back. It’s a no from Maddie regardless, and she storms off to work, where a journalist pops up to tell her that he’s on her side and that she’s an ally to people of color. So many conflicting opinions! What’s a girl to think?

Meanwhile, Clay is working out his feelings on every instrument in his apartment, angrily slamming on the piano keys, a drum set, and his guitar. Maddie shows up at his place later to discover he hasn’t slept in three days. She realizes she can’t help him, and they break up. “We were never really girlfriend and boyfriend because there was never a place for us,” says Clay. He lets her know he cares about her so much and that he let himself really feel for her. They hug and cry, and Maddie heads home to Deacon, master of comforting, while Clay packs up and heads out of town. Guess that’s the last we’ll see of him. Sob. Maddie apologizes to her dad for being stubborn, and he tells her whatever she wants to do, he has her back. She just needs to say something in her own words and let everyone know who she is.

And so Maddie enlists Daphne’s help to make a video. She apologizes for using bad language against a police officer and acknowledges that he did his best in a tense situation, and she’s sorry she caused it to escalate. She adds that she’s not sorry for trying to help her friend and that a lot of terrible things have been said about him, which she wants to clear up: He’s not her boyfriend. He’s just an incredible artist and one of the kindest, most sensitive people she’s ever met, and she’s sorry her actions caused him pain. She then bring in Daphne, and they sing a song together, because what’s an apology video without an attempt to get a song on the radio — kidding! It was very heartfelt, and I’m proud of Maddie’s maturity.

While Maddie seems at peace and hugs her little sis with an “I love you,” Daph looks all kinds of guilty. We’ll be back next week to see if Daphne comes clean about the GIF — and to see how Will looks swigging beer and strumming his guitar for a Budweiser commercial.

Episode Recaps

Legendary music icon Rayna Jaymes struggles to maintain her place in the spotlight while dealing with the ambitious rising pop vixen Juliette Barnes.
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