Court day for Older Girl vs Her Mommy. Deacon is warned that outbursts might not assist the whole she’s-better-off-with-her parents argument, so he’s obliged to sit and simmer while evidence is being led. And, to start with, it looks as if things are going OK for Rayna. So OG’s lawyer switches to her “alternate strategy”, which isn’t so much a plan B as a plan D: trash Deacon. Which, of course, (a) is pretty obvious; and (b) really doesn’t need a whole lot of imagination to accomplish, as all you need to do is run through a few edited highlights of the Life And Crimes of Deacon Claybourne.
OG is first up. “Can you remember ever being scared by his behaviour?” her attorney asks her. Duh. Then it’s Deacon himself, who is catechised about just a few of the things he’s done: the car crash, Rayna’s black eye, all that good stuff. It turns out, though, that OG’s attorney has obtained her information from Frankie, who was, of course, Deacon’s AA sponsor. I have no idea what the applicable ethics are in this situation; it’s not exactly the seal of the confessional, but surely it’s pretty bad form to grass up your sponsee like that? Of course, it might not have happened had Rayna not threatened Cash, but that’s kind of beside the point, I would have thought, even if the net effect is to make Deacon sound like a violent drunk. “That’s not who I am!” Deacon insists to Rayna. Uh…
Anyway, the judge adjourns overnight. Whereupon Deacon has, perhaps, his very best idea in a whole season of them: he goes to The Jeff to confront Frankie. Not to assault him, oh no. Just to talk. Well, Frankie’s just about had enough of this. “You stole this bar just like you stole your damn dead sister’s liver!” he roars. Ooh, burn. Then he throws a punch or two at Deacon, who “defends himself” with consequences which could very easily have been foreseen before Deacon went to The Jeff: a broken nose and bust rib for Frankie; an arrest and restraining order for Deacon; and the emancipation of OG. Well done, Deacon. Well done.
I’ve said this before but it’s becoming more and more clear with every episode that Rayna should, in fact, have divorced Mayor Teddy, avoided Deacon, and married Luke. The heart wants what the heart wants, of course, but Luke has become Nashville’s most reliably decent and stable character. This week he decides to take the fight to the enemy, and appears on a conservative TV chat show to defend Will. Admittedly the feed cuts out halfway through, which means that the meaning of what he was saying is reversed. Oops.
Meantime, the episode gets off to a great start for Juliette, who’s nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Cline!”. She immediately decides to phone Avery to share the news. Unfortunately, he’s in bed with Layla, a situation which she very quickly deduces, but can’t quite get her head round. She and Avery love each other, so why doesn’t he want to be with her? Maybe she should watch seasons 1-3 of a TV show called Nashville for a clue on that. “She is trying to steal my life!” wails Juliette. (Which is, of course, where the show was going a while ago, until the writers changed direction for reasons which have never been made clear.) Then Juliette realises that Layla knows about Jeff and the rooftop, and is courageous enough to sit down with Layla to talk about it, although – as both concede – it doesn’t really change anything. Personally, I think that Avery can probably do better than both of them, but Layla’s had such a kicking over the past couple of seasons that I can’t begrudge her some happiness.
And it’s the morning after for Scarlett and Gunnar, who have an interview with a journalist from Rolling Stone. To start with they’re still sharing a post-coital glow, and more or less making out in front of the interviewer. However, Ms Rolling Stone has done her research, and is intent on putting The Exes on the spot in respect of their relationship, which means dragging up a few old storylines: Zoey, the marriage proposal, the dead brother, and so on. By the end Scarlett and Gunnar are sitting feet apart, barely able to look at each other. So, wonders the interviewer finally, why does their present-day situation work? “It only works ‘cos we’re The Exes”, spits Scarlett, and Gunnar assents. Oh dear. Once again my Gunnlett ship has been dashed on the rocks, and in a frankly annoying way which kind of sums the episode up: action-packed for sure, but apart from Luke, Will, and (God help us all) Layla, you’d have to conclude that a whole lot of essentially good people are behaving in a whole lot of essentially stupid ways.