Be Careful of Stones That You Throw
Original Air Date: Jan 9, 2013
Kelly — TwoCents Reviewer
And this week’s episode of Nashville has been brought to you by BAD DECISIONS! When we last left Music City, our characters were busy making bold choices, taking steps to change their lives one break-up, road tour, and marriage proposal at a time. This week was all about questioning those life changes—and falling back into old habits in the process.
Y’all, Scarlett and Avery should know better than to hook up after he cheated on her. They’ll never really trust each other, and his selfishness—cutting off his lifelong bandmates to secure a solo deal—will always come between them. To repair some of Avery’s damage, Scarlett fills in as lead singer for his band and pretty much rocks it, at least as much as any doe-eyed blonde can rock a song about barbed wire. The band offers to make her a permanent member, but she’d rather write songs with Gunnar. Even though she’d also rather not be in a relationship with him. Even though she totally wants to be in a relationship with him. I don’t understand Scarlett. (But I am glad that she and Gunnar are making beautiful music again!)
Scarlett’s not the only one falling into bad habits with old bedfellows. Deacon, now gearing up for his tour with the Rebel Kings, finds himself in bed with a reporter he’s known for years. The history between them is unclear, but she keeps bringing up Deacon’s alcoholic past, and I’m not sure I trust her. I feel like she’s getting ready to publish something private. Deacon, meanwhile, seems to be struggling with the Rebel Kings’ music—not because it’s too difficult, but because it’s too loud. He can’t get over how loud it is. I think he’s missing his intimate sessions with Rayna. Did y’all see his sad puppy dog eyes when he heard about Rayna’s new tour with Juliette? Someone’s feeling left out.
Deacon might want to join Rayna’s tour more than Rayna does. She’d much rather make an edgy album with her flask-toting rocker friend, but she just can’t bear to stay in Nashville right now. Ever since Teddy confessed his role in the embezzlement scheme, their marriage has been even rockier than usual. Rayna even wants to take the kids out on tour with her. Her father steps in to blackmail her into staying—does the man know any other form of communication?—but he’s out of luck. Teddy already knows that he might not be Maddie’s real father. (The real question is: does Deacon know?) Teddy wins points for standing up to Lamar, so Rayna decides to let him keep the kids. They recommit to the illusion of their marriage, for the kids’ sake, but it seems to me that they’ve given up on the substance of their relationship a little too quickly.
Meanwhile, the other half of the Rayna-Juliette tour just got MARRIED. Juliette turned her spontaneous proposal into an even more spontaneous elopement, and she and Sean are now making out every chance they get. Sean didn’t really feel like a person in this episode, if that makes sense. Now that he’s Juliette’s husband, he’s lost his depth, his sense of mystery. He’s just her husband. Sean’s only role in this episode was to be the pretty face that fueled Juliette’s character development, and that frustrated me. I think he has the potential to be an interesting character in his own right, but the marriage feels totally one-sided right now. Juliette’s calling all the shots. Maybe that’s the point.
What Juliette likes most about Sean is the idea of him. She likes the idea of family. When the Butlers first welcomed her into their home, Juliette was surprisingly good at fitting in: singing in church, giving gifts to Sean’s little sister, holding hands around the dinner table, folding napkins. I don’t know where she learned how to play that role so effectively, but she seems to have lost it this week. Now, the only thing she knows about marriage is that she can sleep with her husband whenever she wants. She keeps trying to kiss away their problems. Juliette’s mother says it best: there’s a hole in her life, and she thinks marriage can fill it. To her credit, though, just the fact that Juliette agreed to meet with her mother shows a lot of loyalty to Sean.
If only that were enough. Sean’s mother plans a big church wedding and uses the occasion to intimidate Juliette, reminding her that she expects a lot of Sean’s wife. Elopements just won’t cut it. Before the wedding, Sean sends over a gorgeous necklace that once belonged to his grandmother. He’s sure that she would have wanted Juliette to wear it as she joins their family. Ohhh poor innocent Sean. He has no idea that commitment terrifies Juliette. The uncertainty is all over her face in that limo. Then, in a crushing bit of symbolism, Juliette takes off the necklace and climbs out of the car—not at the church, but at the airport. She’s running away. Bad habits strike again! Y’all, Mrs. Butler is most definitely furious.
Everyone is inconsistent—including the Nashville writers; there were some clunky lines in this episode (“fame whore”?!)—but I have to wonder if these characters will make any progress this season. Scarlett, Deacon, Rayna, and Juliette don’t even seem to know what they want, much less how to get it. That kind of constant ambiguity might get old, but it might also end up lending Nashville an unexpected complexity. Which do you all think it will be?