It seems like everything is getting back on track in “Nashville.” Well, Lamar had a massive heart attack, but if you don’t like Lamar very much, maybe that’s just part of the week’s good news.
For the most part [and spoilers ahead, for you pokey DVR-dedicated fans] last night’s episode showed our country-fried characters living more of a Taylor Swift song than, say, a Vince Gill tearjerker. Deacon seemed firmly back on Team Rayna (for now) and sorta happy with his boring vet girlfriend. Avery kept his roadie gig (despite Hayden’s new boyfriend/manager Dante’s best efforts), Scarlett and Gunnar were happyish and Gunnar started playing music again, because apparently nearly getting hit by a train helps with that sort of thing. Best of all, Teddy learned that Peggy was the snitch who told the tabloids about his looming divorce. Comeuppance is in the air, and there’s nothing wrong with that, at least where slimy Teddy is concerned.
But over on Juliette’s side of the fence, things were a little murkier. Last week Juliette succeeded in seducing Dante, the formerly Zen sober coach devoted to keeping Juliette’s mom Jolene on the straight and narrow. He resisted for a hot minute as Juliette pulled him deeper and deeper into her world, even complaining that her high-flying lifestyle was like crack to an addicted fallen super exec like him (HINT, HINT, for anyone busy texting or otherwise too distracted to see this coming a mile away). Gosh, what a shocker that the crack kicked in, and at lightning speed no less.
Initially, Dante seemed like an asset for both Juliette and her mother. He helped Juliette land an endorsement deal and still managed to make at least a little time for Jolene. But this week it became clear that Jolene could admit to snaking a bottle of vodka out of her hotel minibar and barely get a shrug from her former sober coach. It seems he (and the writers) have taken the old saw about being drunk with power pretty literally and have wasted no time in kicking off his downward spiral. It was almost a relief when Jolene, desperate to get her coach back, tries to kiss him. It seems less like seduction than a misguided attempt to refocus Dante on his job — her sobriety.
It’s an awkward, awful moment when Juliette walks in and the expected argument ensues — and Jolene realizes that Dante and her daughter are sleeping together. Apparently this is a scenario that has played out between the two of them in the past with other men, and Juliette, who clings so tightly to her wounds, clearly feels justified in pulling the rug out from under her mother’s feet. Now that she’s found someone who can be the perfect mix of lover, emotional support and business guru, her mother’s sobriety just isn’t that big of a deal. After all, Juliette can always get her mom another sober coach — a chick this time, natch. But a hot manager? He’s worth his weight in platinum records.
When Juliette sends Jolene home without Dante, Juliette handles the transition as easily as if she were shipping a box FedEx. But I have to wonder if Juliette will be feeling as confident when she realizes she’s swapped one addict for another. While I would have been just fine with Dante holding it together for more than week before his addictive behavior became so obvious, it should be good fun to see how his worst tendencies mess with Juliette’s new, more responsible business image. But most satisfying should be watching Dante and Deacon butt heads.
In last night’s episode, even though Deacon wasn’t able to get through to Juliette, he had no problem standing up to Dante after he fired Avery. Even when Dante tossed that $50,000 guitar from Juliette in Deacon’s face, he didn’t back down — and it’s a guarantee these two stubborn alpha males are going to be gunning for one another. That’s just fine by me. Deacon’s become a bit of a bore lately, mooning over his clueless but nice girlfriend. It was good to see him try (though fail) to remind Juliette about her seemingly forgotten desire to become a legit musician, and also to declare his loyalty to Rayna.
Even as he ran from Rayna’s side to his girlfriend’s house, it was pretty clear that even he couldn’t convince himself that this new path of dull, dog-owning domesticity is the one he really wants to be on. But we’ll just have to see how many different obstacles Rayna and Deacon can find to stay apart. There will surely be many more; we just have to hope they don’t revolve around meet-cute romcom pet bonding.
Do you think Juliette will be sorry she stole Dante? Do you think Scarlett and Gunnar will be able to stay together as her career takes off? Were you glad Avery didn’t get fired?