Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive' [Finale]

Brad Paisley in the background: Accidental Cameo. 
Where to begin? This week Nashville wrapped up its first season as ABC's critically-loved primetime drama about beautiful Southern musicians in a beautiful Southern city. The show hasn't always known what it was or where it was going, but the finale's biggest success might just be reminding us that yes, Nashville is indeed, a soap opera. We had a funeral, a marriage proposal, a fight, a paternity dispute, and a car wreck. Here's what happened.

The last we saw Juliette, she'd just discovered her mother dead, feet away from sketch ball Dante. This week, the show opened with Hayden Panettiere gunning for an Emmy by not wearing any makeup, and talking to a detective about what did or did not occur. It doesn't look good for Druggie Mom. It's obvious that Juliette hasn't put together what happened and thinks that Jolene was doing something dirty. Back at home, Deacon comes to see her, and she basically tells him to get lost because she is Mad As Hell. She won't be the last to have explosive feels on this episode. Jolene or no Jolene, Juliette is determined to go to the CMAs and pick up her damn award for Female Vocalist. In her dressingroom backstage, still gunning for that Emmy, she lashes out at Marshal and Glen (who has decided to make an appearance after she fired his butt in NYC). They tell her she doesn't have to be there, that she should grieve and she flips out about how terrible Jolene was. "I should be celebrating that it's finally over!" she yells, quickly realizing how that sounds.

"I didn't mean that," she says deciding to go home. But instead of going home, though, she goes to the funeral home to see her mom and it's way sad because she's crying and she asks Jolene why she left her alone. Now she really has no one. We hit record levels of sympathy for country music's biggest brat (a title T. Swizzle takes MWF and Sundays 'til noon). The next day, Glen delivers the award to her house with a hug, and I wonder about the faux-Daddy trap she could fall into, but hey. Next season, right? The funeral is a small affair. Rayna, Emily the assistant, the body guard, Marshall. Juliette has a really solid exchange with Rayna about her childhood. "I grew up in the dirt. Everything was filthy." Rayna tells her that she is good enough. During the service, Avery ambles up because, why not? Back at the house, a detective tells Juliette they found a destroyed SD card in the garbage disposal. Can't get anything off it, but whatever. Right after he exits, Emily goes oh shit, there's a letter here from your mom. The return address says "Heaven" and it smells like freshly washed cotton t-shirts. I made the last part up. Because the writers knew I'd be pissed if Juliette never figured out the truth, Jolene sent a note to her daughter explaining what happened. More feels.

Me on my couch.
Juliette arranges a memorial service at the Bluebird. More on that later. From here on out, the story lines are going to overlap somewhat, so silence your cell phone and stay with me.

Rayna has the girls in the kitchen for breakfast. She tells them she and Deacon are special friends and that they'll be going to the CMAs together. She mentions how she and Teddy are public figures. I complete the sentence with "must prove actual malice in a defamation case" because I've taken Comm Law a billion times. Do we like Deacon? Sure, they say. Maddie is holding her tongue big time. That is, until she shows up at Deacon's front door, chin quivering, and tells him she thinks he's her dad.

At the CMAs, Rayna and Brad Paisley wonder where Deacon is. He is late, but shows up just in time to play for Brad and Rayna's performance while staring at her like, Is it really possible this woman is capable of lying to me about having a daughter? Oh, Deacon. He talks to her backstage and flat out asks her. "Tell me you haven't been lying to me every moment of the last 13 years," he says. Oh, Deacon. He takes off. She's in tears. It's a mess. From her car, Rayna calls Teddy. Meet me at head quarters! While Maddie comes unglued and stuffs clothing into a bag, Rayna and Teddy try to explain why they did what they did. The child is understandably unhinged. "You lied to Deacon and you lied to me!" She wants to live with Teddy. Things come full circle as Teddy promises he won't let Rayna lose Maddie. Meanwhile at a bar, Deacon is having a staring contest with a glass of whisky. It's a nicely shot sequence. Sadly, he kicks it back and asks for another. Rayna's sobbing to Coleman because Deacon won't answer her calls. Coleman will find him. For now, Deacon will spend the night in a bar booth. On the upside, she gets to talk to Maddie and the bespectacled 13-year-old responds in a more reasoned manner.

So, it's the morning after Gunnar and Will got arrested. Gunnar, sans leather jacket, goes to talk to his producer dude and tells him that the outlaw was his brother, not him, and that the songs were Jason's. Producer dude is. Not. Worried. Stealing songs is pretty outlaw, he says, and that mugshot is marketable. Yikes. What's more, producer dude isn't interested in the sweet, singer/songwriter Gunnar even if Scarlett is. You know what they say, "Bros before hoe(downs)!"Anyway, Gunnar tries to make nice with Scarlett vis-a-vis flowers and is taken aback when this does not seem to magically fix everything. She expresses doubts about what they've been doing. Later, Will tries to put in a good word for Gunnar. Avery once again shows up. I imagine him to be some weird modern day Rumpelstiltskin who pops up in times of need, but will ultimately be a bad business partner. He invites her to a gig that night. Gunnar find out, goes to the gig to lurk in the back and watch Avery invite Scarlett up on stage. The next day, Gunnar goes to visit Deacon, who is throwing up on his porch. Deacon shoos him away and Gunnar calls Scarlett about getting Coleman over pronto. What happens next is like a Whole Thing. Fighting, screaming, breaking shit– Deacon wants to be left alone and sure does not want paper mache niece Scarlett witnessing his descent into drunken madness. Between Deacon and Coleman, it turns into Coleman trying to break a bucking bronco. Deacon eventually passes out. It's hella unpleasant to see him like this. Later on, he wakes up to Coleman sitting guard in a chair and persuades him that he has seen the error of his ways and shall be attending an AA meeting, like right now. After a shower, Juliette calls him and asks him to come to the Bluebird memorial service. Deacon agrees, pops some pills, and pulls out a handle of Jim Beam from beside the toilet. (I keep my bottle there too!) Deacon stays at the Bluebird for about a second before Rayna follows him out into the parking lot and takes off in the car with him in an effort to keep him from driving. Elsewhere, Gunnar proposes to Scarlett. Her answer? No idea, it was a silent montage set to Juliette's Jolene tribute. Also silent, the car fight as Rayna swerves to miss hitting a car and flips the hell out of Deacon's car. It's like the end of season two of the O.C., another soap that featured its share of deaths, near fatal accidents, proposals, Will, and relationships best summed up like this:

And in case you aren't already emotionally drained, the Cumberland deal is about to explode on Teddy, Tandy quit, and Peggy is preggers.

So there you have it. All in all, I'd give this season a B. It did some seriously pointless wandering and often gyrated between nothing happening for weeks and burning through characters and plot lines, but you couldn't say it wan't interesting. I want to know what's going to happen to these twisty, tangled people, and I've honestly been impressed with most of the songs that have appeared on the show. (Just downloaded "Gun for a Mouth.") That's what will bring me back for season two. It's been a pleasure recapping this season and I hope to "see" you around the site. Here's to more Southern fried drama in the fall!

Stray Observations:
+ Too bad Liam didn't turn up.
+ Will is definitely going to be dealing with the reality of being a gay man in the conservative world of country music. If they play it right, this could actually be a substantive plot line.
+ Did I mention that Deacon tackled Teddy outside the Capitol? Because he did and it was awesome.

No comments: