This episode had an embedded gimmick: three live performances. And for my money, they TOTALLY BLEW this opportunity to get people talking. Remember how vibrant Gunnar, Avery, and Zoey were as a trio, and when Deacon joined them? Remember how moving and lovely it is whenever Lennon Stella sings anything with Chip Esten? Remember even how “Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet” at least had some stompy attitude to it? Hell, Chris Carmack can kick it up there with the best of them, too. But instead of hooking the live viewers with songs that had verve, the show was too married to stitching together lyrics and plot. And so it served up a deadly bland ditty from Will, a bleak slow jam from Deacon, and then like two minutes of Florida Georgia Line singing a ballad while Chip Esten played guitar. So disappointing. It just wasn’t an advertisement for what this show does best.
Nor, in fact, was the premiere as a whole.
WHERE WE LEFT IT: Luke Wheeler proposed to Rayna, and not to be left out, Deacon popped by and slipped her some tongue and a proposal of his own. Will told Layla that he’s gay, as a hidden camera light for their craptacular reality show blinked unseen from their clock. Juliette got dumped by Avery because he found out she slept with Oliver Hudson. And Scarlett promised to leave town. PROMISED. SHE PROMISED. Sigh.
We begin with an anemic peek into the events of act five. Rayna weighs her two engagement rings – Simple Yet Emotionally and Historically Meaningful, and Magpie Bait — and then Tandy pops by and gives us a very clear indication that she is rooting against Deacon. Because Tandy’s judgment is so reliable. Need I remind you, Rayna, who kept Powers Boothe’s power booth plugged in for so many years? Wait, that came out wrong. It sounded saucy. IT WASN’T. It was a sauceless father-daughter business union.
Rayna then calls someone and says, “I love you,” and promises to show up for him wherever he is. So far, we only know that Deacon is somewhere public: He’s at The Blue Bird, waiting to perform. Luke Wheeler drives up, socks Deacon in the jaw, and hisses, “Why can’t you just let her be happy?” And Deacon retorts, “Why can’t you?” with a confident smile. Oh, Deacon. He who has a shit-eating grin… is a shit-eater.