Nashville s4 ep 18

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.

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2 thoughts on “Nashville s4 ep 18

  1. CJ Cregg December 31, 2016 / 12:07 am

    Tbh, I don’t think the writers really have changed course with Layla. Her plan was something along the lines of “Juliet took the man I loved, I’ll take the man she loves as payback” and I think she’s followed through with that. Granted, having spent some time with him, she does like Avery – who wouldn’t? – but I think she’s still just as manipulative as Juliette is, albeit shrewder about it because she’s worked out that he’s looking for the Anti-Juliette just now and so she’s playing that angle to the hilt. The whole “here, join my tour tonight, let me get you away from your nasty Ex!” and “Let me kit out my bedroom ostensibly for you and your baby so you can see how selfless I am but let me set up a studio in it so I’ve always got an excuse to get nice and close with you in it,” all seems very calculated and “see how I’m REALLY not like your nasty ex” to me. And my sister and I turned to each other after the “Hey, I like you so much and I’m so selfless I don’t want to complicate your life” conversation in this ep and both said something along the lines of “I can’t believe Avery fell for that.”

    The one thing that has changed, I think, is that Layla was expecting to have some sort of big triumphant “Ha! I know what you did and I’ve destroyed you!” type scene with Juliette at some point later and she thought it would feel like some massive victory, and all the pain and grief from Jeff’s death would be gone. Instead what’s happened is Juliette has fessed up on her own, and has clearly been in a fair amount of pain and grief herself, and it hasn’t given Layla anything like the satisfaction she hoped it would.

    In other news, I may have devoted far too much time to thinking about this.

    Re Deacon: I despise him, and he absolutely had it all coming, but it was still really horrible to watch him being destroyed on the stand like that. I didn’t enjoy it at all – so much so I actually felt really sorry for him. Then of course he decided to go to the Beverly and behave like himself, so I lost all sympathy for him again. I agree with you about Frankie too, obv. Him spilling the beans on his sponsee like that was an appalling thing to do, and even more so because, no matter what Rayna said, what Frankie did wasn’t remotely motivated by paternal protective instinct, it was obviously because his nose was still out of joint over Deacon making a success of the stupid bar. This storyline would have worked better I think, though, if Frankie and Cash were less thoroughly objectionable themselves – if they were genuinely decent folk, trying to protect OG but going about it in a ham-fisted fashion, rather than just awful, selfish people trying to use her to make up for their own mistakes, and if OG herself wasn’t so awful, the storyline might be a lot less annoying.

    Three cheers for Luke, who is great again.

  2. Jed Bartlet January 3, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    I suppose it depends on whether you think Layla’s “it’s OK, let’s just be friends” was genuine or calculated. I thought it was genuine, but I may be wrong. It does seem to me, though, that when she first came up with the plan she was (a) crazy and (b) determined to avenge Jeff. I’m not sure either of those still apply. Time will tell. (Although I do think that St Avery deserves someone a little lower-maintenance than either of them.)

    I know what you mean about Deacon on the stand: he seemed diminished. I’d have felt sorrier for him if everything being brought up had been from the distant past, though, rather than it being pretty much an unbroken course of conduct which he then continued by heading out to “talk” to Frankie, even if Frankie completely deserved what he got. Assuming that there isn’t something we’ve yet to find out about Cash, in fact, I’m now actually finding her more sympathetic than Frankie, which I know isn’t saying much.

    Anyway. Wanted to get that down before watching the next episode, which I’m now about to do…

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