Episode 11: You Win Again
By: Carlos Uribe
Nashville is a series about the country music scene and the political scene of Nashville.
The good news is that this episode started to give me more of what I wanted. There were a lot of more scenes between Rayna and Juliette that were simply great. The best ones were definably in being forced to share planes in order to travel between the tour. It ended on a promising note that seemed to hint that the show is moving in the right direction. That is when Deacon agrees to join Juliette's band as a guitar player. Having him join the tour is a good sign as it will allow the plot on the road to really kick into gear. That is if the writers are actually planning on having any real drama between them. It's great to get scenes of passive aggression but they are meaningless without an actual narrative between them. The next stage in being able to fulfill the show's promise is actually having the meat of the episode revolve around the inherent tension between Juliette and Rayna. Having them share scenes is not enough to ensure that Nashville becomes appointment television-they need to start sharing plots. It does make sense that the writers would want to wrap up lose ends before they do this but they already spent an entire episode closing up the football player story along with allowing Teddy to win the election. It's not like one episode could have resolved Rayna's marriage problems or Juliette's mother issues so having this episode concentrate on them at this specific point is a bit frustrating. There is a difference between developing those stories in the long-term and ignoring the heart of the show. This episode isn't exactly a waste of time but it is yet another episode that stalls between giving me what it has been delivering and what it promises.
Don't get me wrong: some of the plots are justified in the long term. Juliette's mother issues is not only central to her character but in recruiting Deacon into joining the tour. This plot technically worked like a charm. She has to go to a court hearing to determine if her mother should have the charges against her dropped upon completion of rehab. Deacon is forced to dropped out as a character witness due to a recent magazine article that claims he's back on the wagon. Juliette is forced to speak up but she can't give the judge what she needs to hear. A new hearing is schedule for after rehab but then something happens. Deacon fails to show up to a label party and Juliette goes to find him after it's over. While he didn't drink, he definably could have easily fallen off the wagon. This humanizes Deacon as Juliette realizes that anybody can fall prey to their addictions which in turn finally allows Juliette to see her mother as a person. Juliette is not only able to recruit Deacon into her tour because of this but she is able to finally connect with her mom. One of the best scenes outside of the musical performances or the ones she shares with Rayna is when she is finally able to communicate with her mom for the first time in a long time. It's an important one for the character and the overall narrative. It works and it's technically good drama.
It manages to also tie into the Rayna plot even if it's not to the level I want it at. Her marriage problems take center-stage tonight as Teddy tries to understand where they're at. They might be putting up a nice face for their kids but he's confused on the health of their marriage. It takes Rayna a while but she is able to at least comfort him by telling him that she still considers him to be her husband. This gives him the confidence he needs to ensure that his wife isn't sleeping around on the tour and that there is a marriage to save. A confidence that is immediately broken when Deacon surprises him by rushing into the airport and getting on a place with Rayna and Juliette. It makes sense that they would want this jealousy bit of the character to come out but it's not like the plot is really necessary. They could have easily accomplished the same beat if all they had was that last scene. They could have easily spent her plot on a Juliette-Rayna plot that stands on it's own and it wouldn't have affected the outcome. I'm not saying that's what they should have done but rather they could have fit the promise of the show into the episode. It was a good plot but it just didn't really feel necessary.
There are also some other developments but they aren't as interesting. Scarlet gets an offer to join Avery's old band but they also want Gunnar as a guitar player. When she offers him this job, he turns it down because he's worried about his brother being a fugitive. A worry that seems to dissipate when he gets his guitar back because he accepts the offer at the end. Joining the band makes Avery jealous because he feels like Gunnar is basically replacing him in his old life. An old life that Avery had shed for a successful career. Granted, it's not such a success that Juliette has heard his one hit song. This development in the love triangle isn't really heading into any new territory and it remains as lifeless and dull as it's been recently. Even when Juliette's plot (even Rayna's plot) was getting heated up, these three were always there to ensure that the narrative momentum never really got moving. What makes this worse is that Juliette ignoring Avery merely brought to attention how these three seem to barely exist in the same world as the other characters. Scarlett is the closest one to actually have a link since her uncle is Deacon but he's really only there when she needs to be saved from a situation. It would be nice if the show find a way to bring them closer into the world of the main characters.
You Win Again is a Nashville episode that simply disappointed me. It wasn't a bad one-far from it-but it's yet another week where I don't get the show that the pilot promised. It's slowly moving towards that show but at such a snail's pace that I'm just exasperated that it's not there yet. The plots might have been necessary steps to get there but that doesn't mean it created an episode I was excited about watching. There seems to be a huge disconnect between what makes this show good and what the series is doing that it's simply frustrating to watch us slowly edge towards the good parts. I just wish we were there already.
In other news, Rayna is now being courted by a record label but she fires Liam when she finds out the label made a deal with Liam if he can get her to sign with them.
I don't think Nashville is a bad show-quite to the contrary-but I think it's pretty clear I'm unsatisfied with it. I'm hoping this will be fixed soon but if it doesn't significantly improve within the next two episodes, I'm dropping the show from the review roster.