“Very few brain stem reflexes…”; yes, Mayor Teddy’s back. Oh hang on, that’s a description of Beverly. But we’ll get to her, because Teddy is indeed back; he’s older, wiser, and hairier, having cultivated the sort of beard grown by out-of-office politicians – which, I suppose, is what he is – and off-season TV personalities. Younger Girl is in trouble at school: she’s been bitch-slapping a mean girl for having the temerity to claim that her daddy might be guilty of something. So Rayna and The Girls hit Teddy up in prison, where he’s awaiting trial. YG is pretty clear that Teddy’s the victim of an over-zealous prosecutor who just doesn’t realise that her father’s innocent. Uh… not so much, concedes Teddy, without going into too much detail about the kickbacks, ho, etc.
Well, The Girls really don’t like that, so after they rip up some old family photo albums Rayna takes them back to prison and, in front of them, tells Teddy what a great husband and father he was and is. Which, given that she was not-so-secretly in love with another man during their marriage, one might think to be the least she owes him. Hugging, learning.
In other dysfunctional family news, Juliette is still on tour and as unreachable as she wants to be, so Avery finally gets fed up and sees an attorney about getting a divorce. But Emily – still on the payroll, now de facto part-time nanny for Cadence, and frankly a more attractive proposition than Juliette at the moment, were Avery to notice – sort-of persuades Avery that Juliette still wants husband and baby, so he shoves the divorce papers in a drawer, unsigned. This isn’t my first rodeo, writers; is Juliette going to stumble across them, do we think?
Meantime Juliette is hanging out with Luke, in his usual Nashville role as male companion to troubled women. At one point I wondered whether they might… but no; they end up in a bar, where in five minutes flat Juliette pulls together a band, a crowd, and an entertainingly raucous ‘Bad Reputation’. Avery, dude: sign the papers. Move on. She has. And Will continues to be underserved by the show: this week his role is to be criticised by one of Kevin’s friends – and then by Kevin himself – for not being sufficiently visible as a gay country artist.
But the bulk of the episode is about Beverly, and since I’m quite happy to see her dead ASAP the storyline doesn’t really move me as much as it should. It turns out that she suffered another and more serious aneurysm at the end of last week’s episode, and Scarlett has to decide whether to turn off life support. This provides tremendous opportunities for two of the men in Scarlett’s life: Deacon can be a great big wounded bear, all macho, blustering, and angry – miracles do happen, after all; and Gunnar can visibly start to calculate the point at which it would be ethically acceptable to leverage Scarlett’s grief into another chance to run his fingers through her extensions.
But it’s Scarlett’s call. Last season she would quite happily have flicked the switch, one suspects, but she’s now deluding herself into thinking that, perhaps, she just didn’t love her mother enough, and sits down in the hospital chapel to write and perform a song. Presumably no-one else needed the chapel for quiet reflection. Actually, like most of the songs given to Scarlett, it’s rather lovely: ‘Speak To Me’, written by Lucy Schwartz, Tofer Brown, and Sarah Siskind. (All three have written for the show before; ‘Black Roses’ in particular, is one of Schwartz’s. Kudos, folks.)
And then Scarlett kills her mother, not before time. There’s a certain amount of chat about harvesting Beverly’s organs, so I hope that Deacon gets dibs and freezes what’s left of her liver in case the bit he’s already got starts to pack up, because by the end of the episode he has the look of a man who might go back to the bottle. Enjoyable enough, but I suspect I’ll like this show more now that Beverly’s out of it.