As I’ve said many times, I long ago lost the ability to distinguish a good episode of Nashville from a bad one. So when I say that I enjoyed this, I’m not making any claims in respect of quality; in fact, it could reasonably be argued that most of this week’s storylines were calibrated to annoy me. But let’s get started.
First up is Deacon, who is front and centre in one of my least-favourite kinds of plot: the parent who appears out of the blue. When it’s a mom-who-turns-up it generally means passive-aggression; when it’s a dad-who-turns-up, on the other hand, as it is here, it’s quite often about actual aggression. So we get flashbacks to when Deac was a boy, getting thrashed by his appalling father, a “drunk with a mean streak a mile wide”. There really is no good reason whatsoever why Deacon should offer the tiniest concession to this dreadful human being, and for most of the episode he seems to share that point of view. But then Maddie jumps in, and the upshot is that Deacon’s violent father will be staying with him and his granddaughters. Me, I think I’d have taken out a restraining order to keep him away.
On the subject of people interfering: Sean is still Scarlett’s pet project, and she drags him along to the Bluebird to perform, even inviting Mrs Sean along. But when Sean gets up on stage, he starts by thanking the one person without whom this wouldn’t be possible – inevitably, Ms Scarlett O’Connor, not Mrs Sean – then insists that Scarlett accompany him. Unsurprisingly, Sean’s wife is less than happy at these developments, and walks out. But Scarlett isn’t done: she tells Sean’s wife that she’s not after her husband, which is true as far as we know – although we also know that Sean is into Scarlett – and manages to broker a visit home by Sean. Which, predictably, ends badly when Sean sees something online about a former colleague killing himself, starts headbutting his shed, then locks himself in the bathroom with a gun. Well done, Scarlett; well done, the horses. There’s a kind of happy-ish ending to this, but maybe Scarlett should leave well alone for a while?
While all of this is going on, it looks as if Alannah has left – left Fleetwood Nash, at any rate, if not Avery. There’s a bit of soul-searching among the boys about this, but they all concede that in various ways they screwed up: Will might not have tapped that, but he was thoroughly hostile to her while in the grip of his steroidal madness. She, meantime, is over at the offices of Brad Records, which has a silly name that I didn’t note and can’t recall; and I’m not going to waste time looking it up. Brad has a proposition to put to her: do you, he asks her, like The Lumineers? “Are you kidding?!” she replies, which oddly enough would be my reply to that question as well, for very different reasons.
Anyway, Brad – hey! – thinks he can swing Alannah a support slot – ho! – on The Lumineers’ next tour. Great, thinks Alannah… except that when she goes for a drink with Brad to discuss it, he comes onto her in a way which, as she rightly tells Avery afterwards, is finely judged to stop just short of actual, provable harassment: there’s nothing remarkable about what he says, but there’s no doubt about what he means. And what he means is “let’s have sex”. She confronts Brad about it; he feigns confusion; then, all of a sudden, the support slot with The Lumineers has melted away.
Which means that Alannah has time on her hands and confidence to be repaired. Now, we’ve been squabbling about Alannah recently on Unpopcult: my position remains that she’s essentially not a bad person. Maybe one or two of her relationship decisions have been less than optimal, but who among us can say otherwise? However, when what remains of Fleetwood Nash want to have a writing session, and Avery has to admit that he’s already committed to writing with Alannah that evening, Will’s reproachful face offers Avery a fitting rebuke.
Still, the writing goes well, as does everything else, and Alannah is astride Avery having whipped her top off… just as Juliette walks into the house, having escaped Bolivia. I’d like to think that next week Avery will tell Juliette that their marriage has been over for months, if not years, and that he’d sooner be with someone who behaves as if she likes him and is nice to him. No, I don’t think that’s going to happen either.