Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: 'Nashville' Episode Three

Stepping into something.
On week three of ABC's new drama Nashville, we find the characters all perched on a ledge, facing decisions that involve them stepping into a situation from which there's little chance of stepping out. Life is precarious on the ledge. They all know that one foot forward leads straight down.

To start, there's Deacon, who is still living in Juliette Barnes's crosshairs. He has a hesitance about Juliette. She wants to get him under an exclusive contract to come and play with her. He doesn't quite know how to handle her, but keeps letting himself be further reigned in by answering her call to come and record last week's "Undermine," and then heading back to her place for the night. Deacon's got his toes hanging out there, and that maybe in part because of Rayna. After their emotion-dredging performance at the Bluebird Cafe, Rayna knows that going out on an intimate acoustic tour with Deacon could lead to the situation many a country song has been written about– cheatin'!  The most insight we get on this predicament is a revelation from Rayna's sister Tandy that their mother was involved for a decade with a singer songwriter (which is why Lamar disapproves of Rayna's career). Tandy says of their mother's boyfriend and Lamar, that it was like "the two men together made a whole marriage." Sound familiar much? What's more, Teddy and Rayna are hemorrhaging money and Lamar is willing to shell out a half million attached to a laundry list of career-related stipulations on Rayna's part.

Then there's the ongoing saga of the Bluebird trio. Gunnar and Scarlett go to the studio to record their demo with Watty, and Scarlett flat out chokes. Gunnar tells Avery that he thinks Scarlett might be scared Avery will leave her if she succeeds, so she needs to throw herself into this or face being replaced by another girl.

And finally, Juliette's druggie mom shows up at the studio and later at her house because she's got nowhere else to go. Juliette absolutely does not want to get tangled up with her mother.

It's a mixed bag as far as which characters take the step over the ledge. With some coaxing from Avery via "if not for yourself, do this for me," Scarlett heads back to the studio with Gunnar. Juliette is forced to take in her mother after an incident at the bus depot downtown. But, Rayna and Teddy ignore the check (for now) and Deacon somehow summons the chutzpah to turn down Juliette.... but not after Rayna asks to meet with him. In what was the most cryptically written scene of the show, Rayna basically says she's confused and she should probably be letting Deacon move on with his life. What that means for the tour? It's probably off, but I don't really know. What I do know is that Deacon and music are the same thing, according to Rayna. Whatever that means.

This episode revisited a few songs we've already heard, like "Undermine" and "I Should Have Known Better," but once again knocked it out of the park music-wise with the closing number between Gunnar and Scarlett, "Fade Into You." Gunnar sings to Scarlett and Scarlett sings to Avery who is in the booth chatting up Watty. Whadda dog.

Speaking of dogs, next week expect fallout from Juliette getting caught shoplifting nail polish from a Kroger.

Anyway, I thought this episode was better than last week, mostly in that it moved us along story-wise and fleshed out the characters through action v. exposition. The writing still flirts with cheesy at times (see the paragraph about Deacon being music), but with substance and movement elsewhere, it's less noticeable. We're moving and that's the important thing, folks. Stay tuned!

Stray observations:

+ I have a hard time believing that Avery doesn't have a psycho streak. He had crazy eyes when he found Gunnar and Scarlett (gasp) writing a song in their living room.

+ Teddy is way boring. He stopped by the credit union whose board he sat on and found out that they're being (gasp) audited. Trouble ahead!

+ Teddy and Rayna's kids, also known as the adorable Youtube Stella sisters, performed at a school talent show and killed it.

+ Even through the revelation about Rayna's mom, it's damn near impossible to humanize Lamar because he's so incredibly creepy, working his jaw and starting ominously at people. Yeesh.

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