Nashville Season 1 Episode 5 recap

If you didn’t know that Rayna had cancelled the tour after last week, because she and Deacon only ever talk in obscurities and never actually say the actual words that relate to what they mean, well, I wouldn’t blame you at all. She cancelled the tour?

And if you turned off the TV because the show was so desperately on the nose that you felt embarrassed that your dog could figure out what was going to happen next, you would likewise be justified.

I spent so much time rewinding this episode to clarify things I missed,  I can’t tell you. Part of this is because some of these storylines are not that compelling, but part of it is because there are really big gaps here. Most shows shoot long.   They are timed before they shoot with the knowledge that they’re going to cut things out to move the pacing along or avoid an awkward moment or save a reveal for another time.   I have to assume that’s what’s gone on with Rayna this week?   They somehow inexplicably shot 20 more minutes of footage that told us all kinds of things in her story and decided not to use them? 

What line did you think they were changing in the commercial song?  Don’t know, do you?  It’s so unclear.  For that matter, what product, specifically, is Rayna selling?   You don’t know that either, right?  When did she say “The tour’s off” in so many words – is that what “we’re done” means this week?

I am struggling to sympathize with this woman, and I can’t tell you how that breaks my heart.  I want to love her, as I love Connie Britton.   But – it’s hard.

People who really have money problems can’t just cancel tours, and turn up their noses at album releases – even ‘Greatest Hits’ album releases – and blithely hope that commercial endorsements come along. I can’t tell if Rayna is a spoiled brat or a petulant woman who’s never known what it really is to need money or what, exactly.   Because I don’t feel her frustration, either monetary or creative, is actually real.   Do you know why she suddenly decided to write a song?   I can see how she didn’t have Deacon to work with, but she wasn’t shifted to do that, oh, I don’t know, when she was broken up about him being in rehab?   When she was caught between two men?  When she decided to tell the record company to go f-ck themselves?   

Have we seen her break a sweat yet?   Not when her husband asked if she wanted to bonk someone else – in fact, she barely looked at him all episode. When Bucky told her nobody was available to write songs with her, she looked about as bummed as if she got mustard on her new jeans.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was surfing on some mood stabilizers. She doesn’t seem to react much to the people around her, does she?  

And now this new song of hers - she just wrote it like that, no problem?  We didn’t get to see her struggle?  Just a quickie song about how the truth is haunting her?  Why wasn’t she writing years ago, then? Also, what the hell did she have beside her on the couch when she was trying to songwrite?  A Casio keyboard/computer?

Why is Rayna such an isolated bubble?  The only thing that penetrates, it seems, is when Deacon doesn’t do her bidding.  But she wants all kinds of things from him in exchange for…what?  What does she give him?  The song at the end of the episode implies that maybe he thinks she gave him his career, or that she thinks that.   Why else get so fussy and shirty just because someone says Rayna’s the better singer?  But that seems so…petty.    I’m supposed to believe they are damned to love each other.   But they act a lot more like a partners skating team who are tired of pretending to be enamored with each other and hoping the judges won’t notice if they don’t fake the puppy dog eyes this time.

And then again on the other hand, just as you were worried that this show was too vague,  I don’t know if you got that Juliette’s mother is on drugs.

I don’t know if that was clear to you, what with the bottle-of-pills-falling-off-one’s-lap-en-route-to-rehab.  I don’t know if yelling at her daughter in her underwear in front of 25 pedestrians outside her house (even though it’s a gated community) makes it obvious to you that perhaps her momma has a drug issue.  Oh, and were you under the impression, before she smacked Hayden across the face, that she was a good mommy?   Or did you need it spelled out for you, that ‘sometimes she was abusive’?

Deacon has way more in common with wrong-side-of-the-tracks Juliette than he does with Rayna, who he’s wasted all his time on. Great. Doesn’t mean I want to see him as some sort of creepy-daddy character to her.  I don’t ever want to see him Coach Taylor her mother into a hospital ever again (and I flinch every time he says “I tell you what”).    

It’s unclear if these two are done sleeping together and I don’t know if I want that to be true or I don’t.  I do, however, think these two have the best chemistry of anyone on the show, and pull the best out of one another.   That’s a pretty shocking statement since Juliette is supposed to be vaguely repugnant and Deacon’s pouty-face isn’t doing much for me either. (Also, Lainey would be livid if I didn’t point out her biggest issue with the episode - nobody recognizes Juliette Barnes as she pulls up to a jail in her convertible?  The same Juliette Barnes who just got excoriated for stealing a nail polish?)

Still, maybe we’re supposed to think it’s OK to get into brawls outside bars – that’s the stuff country music is made on, while nail polish is not. And unlike Rayna, at least Juliette is DOING something!  And someone!  When she finally got to her new house and was wearing makeup again for the first time in two episodes, I kind of felt proud of her, against my will.  She makes changes!  She moves forward!  She’s had three or four character-defining moments in the series so far – has Rayna had more than one?

Speaking of characters and their definition, f-ck you Scarlett.  And one more time again, F-CK YOU, Scarlett.  I hate that you are a Mitt Romney binder-woman, who is finally having advancements in her career but is still keeping the home fires burning and having dinner ready when her man walks in. God forbid you work hard enough or late enough that it is necessary to order pizza and not eat on a candle-lit table?   I hate that when your boyfriend acts like a prick and torpedoes not just your work opportunity, but that of your partner’s and the manager who brought the producers in, you reprimand him by swearing up and down you’re still going to love him forever.   What is that?  I can hear all of you writing emails all  “She stood up to him in the end!” and I mean, sure, kind of – but wouldn’t actually standing up to him involve not REWARDING him for being a dick? 

What are you, Nashville? Are you an obvious, big teeth soap, with scenery chewing lines,  or a subtle show about the changing nature of relationships as success gets in the way?  Are you trying to show me the realities of what happens when a moneymaking superstar hits a rut in the road, or is this just a show about when different people live in a town that has a music industry?  Subtle or over-the-top?  Realism or ridiculous?  It can be either but it’s really time to choose. 

Which will be the title of my first album. 

Attached – Hayden Panettiere at a studio in Los Angeles yesterday.