Two more episodes left for us to wonder whether Deacon’s liver might explode. You’ll be glad to now they DO at least make a passing mention here of Rayna not being a match — meaning they discussed it and she was tested during a commercial break — and Maddie being too young even to consider it. That’s very, “Cool your jets, Nashville fans, we thought of it.”
Speaking of jets:
Rayna is on hers, which I guess she can still afford even with her dinky label, flying off to a “distributor meeting” in “New York City” that will go “all day” with “rude” “waitstaff” but “can’t-miss” “steak” “tartare.”
She hangs up with Deacon without telling him her actual destination…
… which is to see Beverly, Deacon’s sister/Scarlett’s mother, who is the only known potential donor and who stomped off in a tizzy because I guess it hurt her feelings that her organs are of more use than the rest of her.
Rayna comes at her multiple times, with infinite patience, trying to reason with her about saving Deacon’s life. Clearly, Beverly is coming at this with a deep ego bruise of some sort, and if I were Rayna I either would have flattered her about what a hero it would make her, and how very grateful and awed Scarlett and Deacon would be, or just flat-out told her that giving up a chunk of her liver would probably make them grovel at her feet for all eternity. But Rayna just tries to go for Beverly’s better nature, and gets nowhere, as we are treated to a series of flashbacks. And you know what that means: anti-aging airbrushing.
First, we learn that Deacon and Beverly used to live in a Bruce Springsteen song. “Well, I got this guitar, and I learned how to make it talk,” Deacon might have said. “And my car’s out back if you’re ready to take that long walk from your front porch to my front seat.” And Beverly was all, “It’s a town full of LOSERS and I’m pulling out of here to win.” So off they go down the Thunder Road, having learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than they ever learned in school. Even though that’s actually from “No Surrender.” Because this visual could be from any number of Bruce songs. The ghost of Tom Joad is probably lurking around in one of their suitcases.
So, of course they end up at a club that sure as hell looks like The Bluebird. And in fact I believe is The Bluebird. Apparently it’s very easy to get a set there. And who should walk in but Rayna Jaymes, ripped straight out of Singles, as if she’s welcoming you to Debbie Country. It is not the worst-ever special-effect they’ve done on her face, but even if you hate it, I am certain you will not loathe it as much as you do THIS:
Apparently they spent ALL their money altering Deacon’s eyes so that his face looks totally different. It’s insane. He looks more like Dan Gaultier now — you might not remember him from Beverly Hills, 90210, as Dick Harrison, Steve’s friend who kills himself. It’s infamous to me because the entire cast had to act really moved by it despite having known him for only two hours or whatever, and when Brandon (et al) stumbled upon a big memorial for him, Jason Priestley had to say the line, “They must be here for Dick,” and he clearly could not get through it without laughing because they very decisively do not show him for any of it (I suspect they had to add it later). Anyway. I just wanted to tell the Dick story, I suppose. And WELCOME IN, anyone who got to GFY by searching for the phrase “dick story.” Unless you’re a big 90210 fan, you’re going to be really disappointed.
Ahem. Anyway, the gist of these flashbacks: It was supposed to be all Deacon and Beverly, playing music and getting famous, until Rayna met Deacon and then offered both of them a spot on her tour. Deacon accepts, and Beverly has a hissyfit because she feels like he’s abandoning their mutual dream because he just wants to bang Rayna, and so she stomps off in a huff and swears ETERNAL VENGEANCE through solo fame. She bitterly accuses Rayna of stealing Deacon from her and ruining her life, and says, “You wanted him? Well, he’s yours,” or something to that effect. Oh, Beverly. All the redemption Rayna can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood (read: the immaculate shell of her personal jet). Bruce lays out your options very clearly: You can hide ‘neath your covers and study your pain, OR you can roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair.
Juliette is studying NONE of her pain:
Instead, she’s just acting out crabbily, still avoiding the baby whenever she can, and throwing herself into her work with the intensity of a desperate woman. She claims it’s because she’s afraid her career has vanished, but it comes off like she’s running away from something — except of course nobody else has noticed that yet, because we have two episodes to get through first, and I’m nervous she’s going behave regrettably in one of them. I mean, more regrettably than usual. Here, she mostly vents at Bucky for telling her some home truths (that her concerts weren’t selling out, she was already flagging a little, they need to bide their time before relaunching her), and then stomps around insisting she’s taking her destiny into her own hands. Her destiny, and not her daughter.
Poor, adorable Dr. Pre-K hasn’t learned to read human emotions yet, so he hasn’t noticed that Scarlett often wears this face and that it’s not the most glowing Yelp review in the world. I mean, she giggles sometimes with him, but she’s also prone to dreary spells. Although for all we know she has TRIED to break up with him and the words just came out like, “I’thk w’ain’t gon’ git thrrr,” and he was like, “Wayne’s got gonorrhea? That’s terrible. Am I Wayne?”
Meanwhile, someone we never wanted to see again decided to show up:
Poor Alexa Panavega does nothing but make this face for the entire hour. She shows up wanting to see Micah and is surprised he’s not there. Gunnar tells her the truth about his paternity and throws her out, forcing her to cry us a river.
So he is too distracted by Kylie to eye-bang Scarlett while they are singing, and she notices. While they discuss it and he insists he is fine, I spectacularly fail to screen-grab Scarlett’s dress. See those lacy sleeves? Just know please that they are also FLOWY. She is in a Stevie Nicks phase.
And Gunnar is jumping into a full-on emotional volcano, as evidenced by his erupting hair.
Luke has gone to visit Jadestina St. Johnuilera in Los Angeles, where she wears see-through caftans and a hundred pounds of makeup.
She also has a really lousy green-screen in her back yard.
But she does throw a party, complete with what all adults want at a truly epic shindig: a bubble machine. Layla and Oliver Hudson argue about whether she should go — he of course says no, that she doesn’t need it, that it’s pandering; she insists she killed it at the Staples Center the other night opening for Jade, and needs to be photographed in exciting places — but Layla wins, and shows up with one of Megan Draper’s old party hairpieces from when half the world thought she was going to die alongside Sharon Tate. Jadestina introduces her to a movie star, cautions her not to tweet any photos (“What happens at Jade’s house stays at Jade’s house,” she says, which is a good motto if you are going to decorate your fiesta with stuff from Toys R Us), and encourages them all to frolic.
And so these two are sad lonely clowns.
Deacon, meanwhile, catches Maddie and Colt ditching school so they can study each others’ anatomical differences. Understandably, steam comes out of his nose. Then he throws Colt out on his ear while Colt burbles some TOTALLY misguided explanation that goes something like, “She didn’t want to, I promise.” UM. I am sure he meant “she didn’t want to ditch school” or “she didn’t want to have sex AND SO WE DIDN’T,” but kid, choose your sentences more clearly please.
Luckily for Deacon, Juliette pops by for reasons I don’t even remember, and instantly the two of them have a great scene where he actually tells her the problem and she thinks about it and then offers advice. Beginning with going into Maddie’s room to be supportive.
I love these two together. Not a lot comes of it, but Hayden is nonjudgmental and caring — and draws out that no sex was even on the menu; they were just nonspecifically messing around — and very sisterly. Or maternal, even, which Maddie acknowledges when saying Juliette will make a great mother. Juliette’s response is to look like she’s tempted to throw up all over the bedspread. Juliette is not QUITE ready to tell everyone how averse she is to her own child. The build on the PPD stuff — which I assume this is — has been good, though, because at first you really DO think it’s just selfish, self-involved, panicky Juliette doing her regular thing.
Deacon, though, levels her with the news of his cancer diagnosis, and she’s devastated, and it’s ANOTHER really nice scene — to the point where it almost gives me the squicks that they had sex in season one because their relationship is SO much more familial now. I do hope that Deacon is a person Juliette will confide in about her feelings soon, though, because I love their scenes. Chip Esten and Hayden Panettiere are basically acting magic for whomever is lucky enough to be on set with them.
Ugh, and then this fool. Okay: Gunnar reads her the riot act. SORT OF. See, this woman presented him with a child that she didn’t know for sure was his, then ABANDONED that child, and just proved she had no knowledge of his whereabouts by showing up to see him. But what really browns Gunnar’s potatoes is that she cheated on him with his brother Jason. TEN YEARS AGO. AFTER WHICH THEY BROKE UP ANYWAY BECAUSE SHE LEFT TOWN AND YOU BOTH MOVED ON WITH YOUR LIVES. I mean, I get that Gunnar might see that as the first broken link in the dysfunction chain, but her later sins have been SO MUCH WORSE. Gunnar, you are doing anger wrong.
But, naturally, the show has come up with a fiddle: Kylie was at a house party with the Scott boys and some friends, and went upstairs to pass out, and woke up while Jason was having sex with her. So, Gunnar’s brother now apparently raped her and that’s how she got pregnant. (She also claims she didn’t know for sure it wasn’t Gunnar’s.) And that is completely awful and justifies Cryface, but what it doesn’t do is absolve her of being a shitty human being. However, I am also not sure this adds up, either by accident or design — I can’t remember what Kylie’s reactions were about Jason when she first came to town, or whether the implication was that she moved there hoping to run into Gunnar and then offload the kid onto him. Basically, I wonder if this angle was grafted onto it much later, when they decided for whatever reason that they needed Kylie back to wail another day.
Gunnar, though, is basically so relieved she didn’t cheat on him that he forgives her and is suddenly really sympathetic to the kid-dumping thing. I blame the hat he wore a few weeks ago. It warped his brain.
Layla spends the whole party at Jadestina’s making out with the movie star, and when Oliver confronts her about it, she slurs that she has no intention of sleeping with him — she’s just trying to get headlines for herself. When Oliver is dragging her blitzed behind out to the valet later, she passes out, and he snatches her phone and Tweets the illicit photograph so that Jadestina will be enraged and probably fire her. Oliver, you delicious bastard.
Luke dumps Jadestina because she is dressed like Palm Beach patio furniture, and also because their lives aren’t the same. And look, Christina Aguilera is not the great acting talent that the world is cruelly ignoring, but she does have a naturalness to her — and when Luke notes that their differences are too ingrained because “I’m Luke Wheeler, and you’re…”, she interjects, “I’m Jade St. John,” with an actual look of regret mixed with a tinge of revulsion, as if she regrets the decisions that boxed her into an image she can’t shake. Whether it was INTENTIONAL or not, I don’t know, but it was a nice, fleeting character moment that felt real. So props to you, Christina. I wish they had let you sing again, instead of making Beverly do it all. Not that Dana Wheeler-Nicholson is bad, but I mean, Christian Aguilera is Christina Aguilera.
When Luke gets home, he is EXTREMELY nice to Colt, and makes a comment about how everyone makes mistakes. And Colt, bless his soul, says, “Maddie isn’t a mistake. Are you talking about Jade?” and so I’m totally on Team Colt because he’s right about both. Luke clearly agrees with me. I might be Team Luke now, too. Am I Team Everyone on this show at the moment?!?
Wait, no. Because I’m not Team Teddy.
Natasha rears her frustrating head to warn Teddy that she trapped him into giving her the money so that the FBI could bust his ass. This gives him just enough time to get his Passport and act like he’s going to kidnap the girls and spirit them away to a company without extradition agreements with the US… but what he was really doing was just rounding them up to say one last goodbye before HE skipped town. However, he doesn’t get the chance, because a friend in the US Attorney’s office pops up and says he can wipe Teddy clean of all the charges, as long as Teddy does him one favor. He is the Bounty Paper Towel of friends: Oh, sure, he’ll clean up your mess, but there will end up being SOME kind of residue on your hands anyway.
Scarlett is off to a fancy Country Club dinner with Dr. Tater Tot, and she looks extremely pretty.
But she’s distracted, because the last she heard from Gunnar, he’d tossed Kylie off his doorstep and then acted super depressed about it. Gunnar isn’t picking up his phone, so after dinner, she goes to his house and sees that Kylie is sitting in his living room.
And they YELL about it while Scarlett wears a coat that I want. Scarlett, in fact, proves herself anew to be a great Get-A-Grip Friend: She calls Gunnar out on the fact that he’s absolving Kylie of some terrible behavior just because he’s relieved she didn’t cheat on him, and makes some VERY apt parallels — this show has gotten GOOD at drawing lines lately — between Kylie abandoning Micah and her own childhood without a functional parent, having to cobble together a sense of family from whenever Deacon was home and/or sober. She also points out that Gunnar hardly came from a stable upbringing, and is affronted that he would forgive Kylie for leaving similar scars on Micah. GO SCARLETT. I understood EVERY DRAWLIN’ WORD and they all hit the bullseye. IT’S A MAY THE FOURTH MIRACLE except for how I watched this when it was still April but WHATEVER. The Force is strong in this one today.
Juliette, meanwhile, hatches a plan to throw a guerrilla concert on the roof of a building. Well, it’s just one comeback song, but still. It’s good enough, and attitude- and rock-inflected in the manner of “Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet,” and she struts around in what looks like a short version of a Balmain that Kim Kardashian once wrapped herself in on a hot spring day in Paris. The show goes over a treat: People crowd to the building from all around, and whoop and cheer, which is a miracle given that from the angles we saw — which I apparently didn’t screengrab EITHER — you couldn’t actually SEE what was happening up there besides a bunch of strobe lights.
The net effect is, Juliette and Avery feel electric afterward. She, in particular, looks like someone just plugged her in after a year of having her battery drained. Contrast that with how dead-eyed she looks at home, once the baby cries and interrupts their kissing…
… and now I am REALLY REALLY concerned she is going to do something stupid. Which is her M.O., and I know that, and she’s an optimal example of someone who behaves horribly but for understandable reasons. Which makes good TV. But I just hate it when these two fight.
Speaking of fights, I’d like to pick one with Rayna Jaymes:
“We got one last chance to make it real,” she says to Beverly. “I know it’s late, but we can make it if we run.” But Beverly has no interest in riding out tonight to case the promised land, so Rayna writes her a check for ONE MILLION DOLLARS and is like, “Take hold, Thunder Road.” Will Beverly sell her liver? Whatever. The real question is, HOW DOES RAYNA HAVE ONE MILLION DOLLARS? She double-mortgaged the house to start Highway 65 and STILL had to borrow MULTIPLE MILLIONS from her sister in order to make it a reality. Her only artists are herself (snort), Layla (no album), Sadie (kaputsky), and Juliette (no album, no tour, just cost them a bunch in permit fees because the cops busted up her concert). Is she embezzling from herself? Is she turning into Powers Boothe 2.0: Now With Lightning-to-USB Charger Cable? Is she now hoping Maddie will skip college and become a singer? WHO IS HER GET-A-GRIP FRIEND? Scarlett, my love, your services are required.