Yeah, fine, some plot happened, but there is BIG WIG NEWS this week:
Glenn wears a toupee! Now, I’m pretty sure we all wondered, but I felt bad delving TOO deeply into the baffling mysteries of his scalp, because maybe it was his real hair and there was nothing he could do about the fact that it looked like it was cobbled together from Conan O’Brien’s clippings.Now that we have Confirmation of Toupee, IT’S ON. That sucker was not a RUG, it was a bathmat. From IKEA.
This photo just made me laugh. It’s the face I might make if anyone were to stick a breastplate on ME. Good luck getting that last arrow with Luke’s name on it through THAT sucker, Cupid.
Okay, I’m going to compartmentalize the stories this week, because it might be easier. First up: Rayna.
This week, Rayna actually uses her ears and her brain to build her business. She realized that Oliver Hudson squiring Sadie Stone in L.A. means that Sadie is shopping for new representation, and wouldn’t Highway 65 be great for that? FINALLY. Unfortunately, Rayna does not appear to be applying much of that to hiring people to take care of her walls and floors and the missing ceiling tiles in her new office. Highway 65 has some wicked potholes.
These pants are ALSO not her best look. They look like someone buzzed a muddy puddle in a motorcycle right as she walked by, and they seem pelvically questionable. She is at a fundraiser for her daughter’s posh school, which was probably HELLA relying on The Great Rayna Jaymes to bring the thunder so that people whipped out their checkbooks, and this was the best she could manage? Sometimes, when you live in L.A., surreal things happen. Mine is that my kids happened to attend pre-school where Dave Grohl’s did, and he and his wife are hugely supportive of that place. At our last fundraiser he played a set that included doing “Surrender” WITH the dude from Cheap Trick, and the last few years people (who are not me) paid a boatload to get on-stage with him just once and perform. And that was for PRE-SCHOOL. THAT is how you bring the thunder, Rayna. Dave Grohl metaphysically pantsed you, and also probably wore better pants than you.
Instead, Rayna lets her kids play. And having just complained about Rayna doing a super lazy job emceeing this thing, the Stellas are wonderful and when they perform together I want to hug them very tightly. Daphne reminds me of the little kid who played Gretl in The Sound of Music, too, so whenever I see her little face I imagine Liesl scooping up Gretl at the end of “So Long, Farewell,” when the sun has gone to bed and so must she, and my ovaries start to convulse.
Oh, and Oliver Hudson donates $25k to a music program at Super Fancy School in Edgehill’s name, and then bids a large amount on a round of golf with Mr. Mayor. Hashtag bromance.
I love when this show uses these gorgeous Nashville locations. Rayna carves out some time in her day to pitch Sadie on Highway 65, but Sadie is too starstruck to know what to say. She proposes that they go out for a meal, but Rayna can’t, because she is due for a wedding dress fitting, which… I have no idea when in time we’re supposed to be, but that feels awfully speedy. She invites Sadie to come with her. This is patently silly to me. Rayna is seriously private. I know she’s trying to lady-bond with Sadie, but wouldn’t she be slightly worried that this woman, who is being wooed by Rayna’s archrival, might tweet photos or details? There actually IS a bit where Sadie snaps a photo of her and jokes that it’ll make her rich, and Rayna is like HA HA HA whereas I might have been like, “Give me your cell phone, and in what way is THAT appropriate?” Because I’m a buzzkill.
This is Rayna’s dress. It makes her torso look two inches long.
And up closer, it kind of shoves her boobs down, and has a weird Cleopatra vibe to it. I guess you can’t spell “Nashville” without “Nile,” and as she’s marrying Luke, one could argue she’s taking a felucca down that very same punny river.
The paparazzi shows up, obviously, and for a second I thought Sadie had called them but they didn’t go in that direction (which is probably for the best, because I’m exhausted by scheming famewhores). Instead, they go a different way which makes me INSANE.
Sadie sneaks them out the back to escape the reporters, and they hop in her totally conspicuous Mustang and then DRIVE AROUND RIGHT PAST THE CAMERAS. So guess who gives chase?
And guess who puts pedal to the metal and speeds through Nashville and runs some lights and almost gets them T-boned by a moving van? Ms. Sadie Stone.
And guess who only ducked to avoid being photographed, and otherwise seemed to find this whole thing hilarious and afterward laughed and cranked up the radio and sang with her new bestie? Ms. Rayna Jaymes, who was FAIRLY RECENTLY IN A MASSIVE CAR ACCIDENT that almost killed her and ruined her voice. Is there any mention of that? No. Is there any sense from Sadie that the Queen of Country Music in her shotgun seat might also be SUPER TWITCHY about another crash? Does Rayna seem adversely affected by this in the SLIGHTEST? No. It’s just a Roxette-style joyride up in this joint. Give me a break. IT WAS YOUR SEASON 1 CLIFFHANGER, NASHVILLE. NEVER FORGET.
Oliver Hudson sucks up to Teddy, who calls him out on his flagrant attempts to gloss up his image by donating money to school music programs. Oliver admits it, with a grin, and the two of them bro-bond about daughters and such, then Oliver invites Teddy and his kids to see Sadie Stone in concert. I have to say, Teddy and Oliver Hudson as a concept was enjoyable. Teddy has exactly ZERO FRIENDS ANYWHERE. He doesn’t even have any fake friends. Oliver may be a boot-licking scum-sucker, but dammit, Teddy NEEDS a boot-licking scum-sucker. Throw a dude a sycophantic bone.
Then, before the show, Rayna fnds out Sadie agreed to sign with Edgehill, because — in her words — she wants to be the next Rayna Jaymes, and Edgehill can do that. Rayna delivers her rebuttal: that Oliver Hudson only needs a female trophy on his mantle and doesn’t care about Sadie’s career at all; that Sadie’s fight is Rayna’s fight, because she doesn’t want country radio to be all testosterone and ten-gallon hats; that Sadie should want to be the first Sadie Stone and not the next anybody. It’s a well-done speech, and it makes me like Rayna again for a second. However, without ever asking how Rayna proposes to do this given that she barely has a facility and has no other artists and couldn’t even make her own album a smash, Sadie agrees to cruise down Highway 65 in her Jackholemobile. And then she and Rayna duet on “Gasoline and Matches,” which is a fairly up-tempo song that is a pleasant, catchy break between bummed-out dirges.
It is confusing to me why these people look like they’re at a horror movie.
Wait, never mind. Not confusing at all. Sadie’s PANTS are a horror movie.
And after Oliver threatens Rayna with the full force of his REVENGE, he watches Teddy hug his daughters, gets out his spirital red Sharpie, and circles their heads. He calls his legal department and asks whether it’s kosher in Nashville to sign two underage girls to a record deal with only one parent’s approval — because he has correctly sniffed out Teddy’s desperate need to please those girls, combined with his complete lack of spine. END OF STORY 1.
He wakes up cloaked in Sex Shame after banging Pam, the backup singer. So he sneaks out on her while she’s in the shower and hits up the tour AA meeting. I know that you get familiar with the people in your AA meetings, but you also don’t often have to then go out and eat meals together and share a trailer and perform and stuff, that must be awkward. I think it’s great that people throw those kinds of meetings on the road; I just sympathize with how hard it must be to lay yourself bare and then be like, “Cool, we’re done — now let’s talk about the set list.” Pam finds Deacon there and sits down, but later he sees her doing shots and flaunting it at him, so they get into a fight about how he ditched her. She alternately acts like she’s peeved he isn’t treating her like his girlfriend, and then all chill because she doesn’t care that he’s in love with Rayna because whatever, man, it’s just rock-n-roll and fun and stuff.
This leads to one awkward and yet also mildly okay scene where Deacon is practicing a mopey song about Rayna and she walks in and makes it an impromptu duet, by singing a line about how he needs to MAN UP. They riff like that for a while with some cringey linesm but honestly, the concept is fun. If they turned that into a cool change-of-pace duet where he’s pouring out his soul and she’s telling him to suck it up and GET OVER IT and stop being a drag, that would be entertaining. He could sing it on tour. It’d make Luke Wheeler both happy and extremely uncomfortable.
This all ends with some twee nonsense where they have sex in a washroom at a rest-stop and the tour bus leaves without them. So Deacon buys a motorcycle and la la la isn’t this FUN let’s just KEEP chasing the tour bus on our bike. I have issues with how cavalier this woman is with him, and I get worried she’s going to be like, “It’s just ONE SHOT, Deacon, so MAN UP,” and then I’m going to have to punch her. Which will create problems for the various devices through which I experience her. END OF STORY 2
Enter Zoey, Gunnar, and Scarlett, whom I almost just called Charlotte. Her hair IS spindly at times, I guess.
Zoey and her magnificent hair (thank GOD they didn’t make her keep it straight; it’s so beautiful) are about to leave on tour with Juliette. She’s worried about Avery — and this is where it sank in that their band name is ZAG, for their names, which Gunnar points out will sound stupid if Avery drinks himself into a stupor and it becomes ZG. It will also be stupid when Zoey is gone AND Avery is slobbering all over himself and it’s therefore just G.
Gunnar has no success talking Avery out of his funk. It is not the best pep talk, nor is it very long.
Avery is REALLY committed to rage-drinking his spiked coffee, also — which here he is doing because he heard a news report that Juliette will play Patsy Cline opposite whatever Derek Hough’s character is called.
Anyway, Zoey is ALSO paranoid about Gunnar and Scarlett, especially when he saunters out to counsel Avery and says offhandedly that Juliette cheating is not really this big of a deal (oh, Gunnar, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO THOUGHT IT WAS A BIG ENOUGH DEAL TO TELL HIM). And she also calls him and hears his ringtone in the Bluebird stockroom, where she finds this:
They jump guiltily and Gunnar announces that he was just helping Scarlett move a case of root beer, after grabbing a case of something loudly labeled “ketchup.” It made me laugh. Scarlett’s poker face is the worst, though. Which feels correct for her. She’s not a trickster. Those are not the braids of a girl who’s good at lying. They are the braids of a girl who did them while writing a wistful poem about wheat and bare feet.
Zoey confronts Scarlett about this later, which devolves into a fight about why Gunnar won’t sing his original songs with Zoey, only with Scarlett (and Zoey does have a beautiful voice, but seriously, Scarlett and Gunnar are absurdly great together; musically they basically complete each other), and why Gunnar sped off in her car to beg her not to leave. Scarlett spits, “WHY DIDN’T YOU?” or somesuch, and seriously, you guys, I think her braid is pregnant.
Are we going to a Crystal Gayle place here?
So: It turns out, to nobody’s surprise except Zoey’s, that Gunnar was planning a going-away party for Zoey and Scarlett was his Chief Decorator. This is Scarlett’s Wounded Angel posture when Zoey gets a load of it; they end up having a chat outside about the state of their friendship and whether they’re still growing together. To try and make up for it, Zoey gives a nice speech about how great her best friend is, and asks Scarlett to sing with her. And Scarlett, bless her little soul made of unicorn hair, FREAKS OUT and has to go hyperventilate in the pantry.
Would this place HAVE such a picturesque and neat pantry? Does ANY place? My pantry is fifty shades of disarray and I’m not a restaurant (although if you ask my children, I am apparently a short-order cook, and an unsatisfactory one who is constantly pushing actual food on them and not just snacks). Zoey apologizes to Scarlett for clapping her hands and scaring her off, and Scarlett says, “NEVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN.” I guess it’s good that the show is actually attempting to carry over some effects of last season’s breakdown. END OF STORY 3.
Last up is Juliette.
She informs Glenn and Emily that she is pregnant. and that she will be able to hide it as Patsy Cline Weight Gain until she’s done with the tour, at which point she’ll be 18 weeks along and can go into hiding. I was hoping she’d send herself to a Swiss convent, and then pull a Sister Act kind of thing. Web series?
Emily is delighted, until Juliette shuts her down and insists she is giving it away. Glenn just sits there trying not to move so that his forelock doesn’t shift. Neither one of them thinks she should be hasty about this, but Juliette does not know any other mode of being. “Hasty” is her default state.
Then, in a sweet moment, she chokes up when Glenn begs her to reconsider and at LEAST tell Avery what’s happening. She tearfully says that she hates disappointing him, but that maybe she isn’t the person he wants her to be. I actually love the Glenn/Juliette relationship, because he IS really nice to her even when she’s horrible to him. And as he explains in this next scene, Juliette is like the daughter he never had, and you just don’t ever give up on your kids.
Glenn is, however, fully comfortable giving up on his skull. That rug is fluffier than a stack of pancakes, but only an eighth as dense.
He shows up at Avery’s, and for the life of me I was sure he would blurt out the truth, but he doesn’t. He just pleads with Avery to talk to Juliette one more time. Avery will not. Avery is thick with whiskey. Avery does not want to hear from her or see her, and Glenn feels so impotent that he goes home and takes his thinking cap OFF and puts on his robe and waits for his next scene.
Juliette, meanwhile, has a stomach cramp and starts spotting. And she calls Rayna for help, because, what, her highly paid female personal assistant who was busy charging everyone’s iPads? And the thing is, you all know I was rooting for Juliette to reach out in this direction, but it AGAIN feels like the writers couldn’t really be bothered to figure out what that payoff would look like. At the end of last week, we got Juliette showing up at Rayna’s house, and all we got THIS week was Rayna offhandedly mentioning to Bucky that Juliette might be “distracted” this year. What was that confab like? What did they say to each other? What recollections might Rayna have shared about her own pregnancy, as she hid it from Deacon? What fights might they have had? Was that not worth a throughline here? These two are supposed to be rivals who grudgingly joined forces, but also, a generation apart. There had to be something to mine between then, and I can’t think why they didn’t unless these two actresses prefer not to work together, and/or they were just out of ideas. Please don’t set up the pins without knocking them over, y’all.
In THIS scene, at least, the baby is fine, and Juliette admits to Rayna that she’s terrified and she just wants better for this child than what she had. Rayna sweetly tells her that she’s already talking like a mother. And boom. That’s the extent of the Rayna/Juliette payoff. I DO NOT FEEL PAID.
I am just showing you this because I enjoy that all of Juliette’s art relates to her, including the faux-Warhol. Fauxhol?
Juliette goes to Glenn to cry on his shoulder, and he pops out thusly, and seriously, it’s the best reveal on TV short of Melrose Place. And interestingly, it was also not the only show on ABC that involved Ripping Off One’s Wig this week. Why does ABC always do things in batches? First plaids, and now this.
Avery then drunkenly ruins Zoey’s party, because he tries to fight Gunnar when Gunnar takes his keys. So he skitters off and then passes out ins a random dude’s car, and gets arrested. The only number he knows is Juliette’s.
And THIS leads to further proof that Jonathan Jackson is doing some MAJOR vanity-free acting this season.
I mean that as a compliment. Avery CANNOT smell good. He is leaking alcohol. He looks like he hasn’t slept in ages. It’s nice work from the whole Nashville team. Juliette wants to talk to him — so basically, the second week in a row when she comes to him intending one thing, and then does another — and he spurns her, telling her that he can’t hate her but he can’t care about her, either; both are torture for him. He would like to feel nothing. She lets him walk away and is very sad. I love these two. I do. But I’m weary of the false starts with her confession. We’re four episodes in; let’s turn the storyline a smidge now, okay? You have a left-turn arrow. Use it.