Nashville s4 ep 21

Rayna and Deacon are in New York City for the benefit concert she promised to do a few episodes ago, although Vita, the car-dwelling thief who inspired it, has just disappeared from the show’s collective memory. Rather like poor old Riff, it’s like she didn’t ever exist. But then Rayna finds out that Older Girl is working with Big Name Producer, who is also a big sexual predator; he tried to force himself on Rayna years ago when she was young and vulnerable.

Rayna can’t get hold of OG, so manages to persuade The Huffington Post to publish an open letter which calls BNP out by name. This all seems to happen unrealistically quickly, but what the hell, it’s the last episode of the season. Then, unable to bear the thought of what might be happening to his daughter, Deacon disappears, which generally means that someone’s going to have to be hosed off a wall. He gets there, though, in time to stop BNP; and, for once, manages not to hit someone – although, paradoxically, it’s someone who deserves a beating – and he and OG get the hell out of there.

The most entertaining and moving storyline of the week, however, belongs to Juliette, who’s in LA for the Oscars. She invites Avery and Cadence – and, as it happens, Layla – to join her, which of course puts Layla’s pert little nose out of joint. Juliette then discovers that someone – *ahem* Layla *ahem* – has leaked details of Jeff’s rooftop plunge to the press, and Jeff’s sister sues her. She settles out of court – again, this all happens unrealistically quickly, but what the hell etc. – then gives an interview during which she admits everything, thus finally giving herself a chance to move on.

But does Layla get away with it? Well, no. Glenn finds out what she’s been doing, and sacks her as a client; then Avery finds out too, and sacks her as a girlfriend (“You’re crazy, and we’re done!” – great line), before more or less reconciling with Juliette by phone. I do feel kind of sorry for Layla, who’s had a rough couple of seasons. Which all started with her gay husband, Will. This week he manages to get himself on the Cynthia Davis show after launching a sort of country music protest outside her studio. (The song that he and Luke do, incidentally, is something like the best thing Luke’s ever done on the show.) Kevin watches approvingly. Luke matchmakes a little, then gets out of the way. What a season Luke has had.

The news isn’t so good for The Exes, though, and therefore not for me. Scarlett decides that she needs to tell Gunnar how she feels, but at the precise moment when she’s doing so Autumn dashes into the room and proprietorially coils herself around Gunnar. At that precise moment. My note on this scene is simply “OFFS”. A subsequent conversation doesn’t sort things out, and so Scarlett and Gunnar decide that it’s time to pursue solo careers, much to the horror of their manager dude (who, it should be said, displays the patience of a saint throughout, combined with tact, and with genuine affection for his charges. Rather like Glenn and Bucky, as CJ has already observed).

So The Exes – still on tour – hit the stage for the last time, faces grim; not for the first time, it’s very Civil Wars. But as they unfurl another of their lovely, angsty songs, they make eye contact, the onstage chemistry reasserts itself, Gunnar FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY realises what time it is, and they make out. On stage. On effing stage. As a very longstanding, and intense, Gunnlett shipper I tried manfully to underreact, but let’s be honest; I squee’d my head off. I suppose all that leaves is a nagging sense that I never quite worked out what Autumn’s game was, and that Alicia Witt, an interesting actor, was somewhat underserved. Still, Gunnlett!

And then… well, at the time the episode was being written and filmed, it looked as if it was going to be the Nashville series finale, so just about everyone else gets a happy ending as well. OG comes back to Rayna and Deacon, who kiss. Will and Kevin kiss. Luke realises that his ex-wife might just have been the love of his life, and calls her. (Whoever she might be. We haven’t seen her yet.) Juliette decides that the Academy Awards can get on just fine without her, so boards a plane to go home to Avery and Cadence. As it happens, though, the writers and producers had time to pull the happy Julvery reunion scene which had been filmed, and instead insert one in which a distress signal is received from Juliette’s plane, in order to give us a cliffhanger for a possible fifth season; then, after being cancelled by ABC, Nashville unexpectedly did indeed find itself a new home on cable channel CMT.

There’s no word yet whether UK viewers will get to see that fifth season, which has just started in America. Still, I will totally be there if we do. The advance word on season 4 was that it was something of a letdown. But despite the welter of annoying characters (e.g. Deacon) and annoying storylines (e.g. anything with Deacon) I generally loved it, and this was a terrific way to round the season off.

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3 thoughts on “Nashville s4 ep 21

  1. e January 18, 2017 / 11:44 pm

    “for once, manages not to hit someone – although, paradoxically, it’s someone who deserves a beating”

    *applause*

  2. Bill January 19, 2017 / 11:51 am

    I have to say that I was disappointed this season. I don’t think there was a new character introduced that I liked, and some I very much did not. I appreciate that Frankie and Cash were brought in for big storylines, but I remain perplexed about their motivations. Frankie wanted Deacon out of his pub, and Cash wanted to live vicariously through 16 year old Maddie. Really? Rubbish. The storylines about Riff and Vita just didn’t go anywhere at all, and I wonder if the original intention was to develop these characters further, but there just wasn’t the appetite for it. I shall refrain from commenting on Autumn, but she was a seriously annoying character.

    Gunnar and Scarlett figured it out though, finally! As did Will and Kevin! Deacon and Rayna, meh. But Avery sacked Layla, actually, everyone sacked Layla, and he and Juliette seemed like they would have a happy ever after moment. Until they didn’t. For me, Luke has come on leaps and bounds and wins the Best Improved award this season. I kind of also feel like Layla played me as well.

  3. CJ Cregg January 23, 2017 / 11:34 pm

    I agree with Bill on the new characters – they were all pretty bad, with the exception of Vita who I thought could have been good if she’d been around for more than five minutes. In fairness, some of the old characters were truly awful too – mainly Deacon, of course, but Gunnar and Scarlett and Maddie were all appalling for big chunks of the season. And Rayna just seemed lost throughout. The show really sang (sorry) when Juliette was around though, and weirdly when Luke came into his own and got all woke. I know we said it last week, but I can’t believe how awesome Luke has become. Remember how much we disliked him before? Now he’s brilliant! And yep, his song with Will was tremendous.

    I should say I also think the show was at its best when it focussed on all the characters’ friendships rather than their romantic entanglements. So Luke and Will, Luke and Juliette, Avery and Will and Gunnar – all great together.

    I did really enjoy this finale, though. As well as Luke being ace, Gunnar and Scarlett got a grip of themselves (and each other) at last. Thank God. And Julvery made up! SQUEEE. Had I not known there was another season coming and had I not already been spoiled for this one, I would have lost my mind about Juliette’s plane going down (I read online that Patsy Cline’s plane also crashed 90 miles outside of Nashville and, if that’s true, the ending was a particularly cruel piece of writing on every level) but up to then, I thought it was the best episode of the season.

    I loved Layla finally getting called out on her manipulations and lies – I don’t feel remotely sorry for her any more. Her default has always been conniving and selfish: when we first met her in season 2, she was doing her best to manipulate and undermine Scarlett and, I think, Juliette, so it’s not like this type of behaviour is atypical for her. On the contrary, I felt like every time something terrible happened to her, she improved a bit, before regressing to her baseline deceitfulness when she felt a bit stronger. I felt awful for her (and me) when Jeff died, but even if he’d survived, she’d have eventually tried to destroy Juliette anyway since Juliette was taking up most of Jeff’s attention. She’s a strange character but in her own way, I guess she got a happyish ending of sorts too – she’s lost Avery and Glen, but she’s got a hit album and she’s going to be a superstar.

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