Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: 'Nashville' Episode 10

At the end of most episodes of Nashville, I usually find myself wondering where the hour went. Stuff is always happening, but change in the plot is typically marginal at best. I think it has to do with something a writer at the A.V. Club pointed out a few months ago– the characters on the show hardly ever cross paths. Most plot lines run parallel and therefore, don't touch. I think it's because there are so many to keep up with that there's just not enough time in an episode to move any one of them forward significantly. It's so much more efficient and satisfying when they do. That said, let's get to the rundown.

Dateline San Diego: We open on a press conference for Rayna and Juliette's Red Lips and White Lies tour. Reporters hurl questions on Juliette's non-wedding and Deacon's absence. Astute Nashvillians will notice local yocal talk show hosts Crook and Chase in the press gaggle. Later on Rayna Facetimes her girls from the arena in San Diego. Things remain strained with Teddy. Also strained? Her relationship with the new guitarist. He doesn't sing right or play right or make her feel like she's playing in a unit and YOU KNOW WHAT SCREW IT. Dude tells her she's hard to please and quits. Good thing the mischievous sprite and truth teller we call Liam shows up. He won't play anymore than three shows with Rayna, though. What he will do, though, is chase Juliette off the stage when she goes 15 minutes too long on the sound check. She gets pissed and tells her manager "Just get my damn jet!" I hope to say that one day myself, coincidentally. More on that later. Rayna buys Liam some sweet and no doubt expensive as hell cowboy boots as a thank you for playing, but Liam doesn't look thrilled. When Rayna asks him about the boots later on, he tells her that he's not Deacon and that he thinks she's scared to go out there without Deacon and blah blah blah she's never going to find another Deacon. I mean, it's totally true. Liam is either is an honest Puck for saying so, or a really lame expository device crested by the writers. You decide.  However, that doesn't stop her from playing off him during the show. After said show, Rayna decides to fly home to be with Teddy on election night. Again, more on that in a few.

Juliette struts around in the background through all of this. She's been wanting a divorce from Tebow, but Tebow wants an annulment. Thing is, annulments are more time consuming and she's not about to admit to fraud. Walking out of the arena though, she gets served with papers to show up at an annulment hearing. After demanding her jet, she shows up in Oakland to greet Tebow as he gets off the bus with his football bros. He tells her that she embarrassed his parents, hurt his little sister, and generally messed up considering that she knew what marriage meant to him. He wants the annulment because he only wants to be married once. You can hardly blame Tebow... expect for the part where he eloped with a woman he barely knew. You know. Technicality. Backstage on the way to the show a short while after, Juliette has another run in with Liam. Liam lays down some truth about how Juliette never apologies or is always right or I don't even know. Something about that inspires her to withdraw her petition for divorce. It's not an entirely pleasant parting with Tebow, but I am glad that whole thing is over.

Teddy is boring this week as usual. Lamar wants him to guarantee the election by buying votes. Teddy is like, you're killing me bro. In any case, he's happy that Rayna comes home, only Coleman's concession speech makes it awkward because of all the love and commitment he's spouting about his wife. Rayna and Teddy make twisted faces on the couch. But late that night when everyone's cleared out, Teddy gets a knock on his hotel door. It's pill-popping Peggy who really just wants to see him on his big day and... almost kiss him before leaving. Ugh. She's going to be a problem.

Speaking of problems, Avery is busy in Atlanta getting played liked a ping pong ball between Maneater Marilyn his manager and Wyclef, his producer who wants to sign a contract with him. Marilyn says the contract is not good enough, Wyclef says it's standard and that Marilyn is trying to get a higher rate because Avery will drop her once he takes off a bit. Who is right? Doesn't really matter. Wyclef gives him a car so, where's that dotted line?! PS, Avery tells Marilyn she works for him.

Finally, we enter the Bluebird Universe. This part is mildly seedy. So. Gunnar is going to drive home to Austin, Texas "after work" and Scarlett asks if she can come along on the 15 hour drive. Deacon is playing a show there with the Rebel Kings and offered tickets and backstage passes. Gunnar, however, is acting "weird" according to Scarlett, muttering stuff about family obligations and trying to shake Scarlett but she is like a mongoose who won't let go. So, they go to Austin. She crashes at the Hilton with Deacon and Gunnar takes off. Turns out, Gunnar has an older brother named Jason who is being released from prison after 8 years. They get a hotel together. Jason remarks "at least I get to shower alone."

They wind up singing Merle Haggard's "Fugitive" together, which is oddly appropriate. Gunnar talks about getting Jason into a halfway house, getting a job, maybe even moving him to Nashville. Alas, Gunnar goes to get Chinese food and when he come backs, Jason has a gun in his jeans and Gunnar's beautiful sunburst guitar is gone. That's low. Really low. In the ensuing verbal tussle, we learn that Jason basically took care of Gunnar as a kid. He tried to rob a convient store or something with 16-year-old Gunnar, and Gunnar split when a gun came out. Obviously, we know which one went to jail. Jason splits himself after awkwardly hugging Gunnar and saying something like he was glad Gunnar stayed on the straight and narrow. I feel like I said "Gunnar" a lot in that graf. Oh well.

Let's duck away for a second. Backstage and the Rebel Kings show, Deacon introduces Scarlett to the chief Rebel King Cy who emits creepy-ass vibes. After the show, he side tracks Deacon with autographs and maneuvers Scarlett into some room, which he promptly clears. With a security guard posted out front, he starts pushing himself on Scarlett. It's awful. Luckily, Deacon's Spidey sense kicks in and he's all WHERE'S MY NIECE. God bless. He gets past the guard, tackles Cy, and quits the band. The next morning Scarlett and Deacon are bummed, but he's kinda glad to be done with the Rebel Kings. Gunnar comes to get Scarlett and winds up telling her a bit about his brother. She decides to take some interest in his life.

Phew. What a work out. If all these crazy kids could get some more screen time together, this would be easier (like the Gunnar-Scarlett-Deacon overlap). All that effort and here's where we are: Juliette is emotionally twisty. Rayna and Teddy are on shaky ground. Gunnar and Scarlett are back to neutral. Not exactly progress.

Stray Observations:

+ WKRN must have laid down some cash. They had multiple news people popping up on this episode. If there's anything that inspires trust in the media, it's a real anchor reporting fake news.
+  The arena in San Diego was definitely the Bridgestone Arena here in town.
+ That woman "journalist" showed up again, kissing him and telling him about her deadline in the same breath. Gross.

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