Nashville: Season 1, Episode 15
When You're Tired of Breaking Other Hearts
This week's Nashville had a lot of great performances. My vote for the best of all of these was Deacon's adorable new puppy who spends most the show unnamed. Deacon has probably spent most of his adult life without a plant. This turn at trying to take care of a puppy is quite the stretch for him. Deacon feeds him, sings to him, but the puppy still doesn't settle down. Exasperated, Deacon takes him to the vet, only to learn he is perfectly fine. So tip of the hat, boy (puppy) named Sue, for turning cool, reserved Deacon into a pile a of adorable mush.

While Deacon doesn't trust his canine paternal instincts, his human ones are spot-on when Maddy is in danger. Deacon spots Maddy in the overpacked crowd at Juliette's impromptu concert seconds before she is trapped under a fallen cabinet. He runs into the mob (as Juliette notably rushes backstage) to save Maddy. Later at the hospital he tells Rayna he would do anything for Maddy because she is like family-- and for a beat, Rayna looks like a deer in headlights. She is more like family than he knows. There is something a little bit fitting about Maddy's adoptive father putting her in harms way, only to be saved by her biological father.

At the end of the episode, Rayna passes down her first guitar to Maddy, suggesting she channel all of the divorce drama into music rather than sneaking out. Something tells me that Maddy exploring guitar and her inherited musical talent will lead her to connect more with "Uncle Deacon" in the future, which will ultimately lead to the truth coming out.

Deacon also gets to play father figure to another lost soul, Gunnar, this week. He had been in a similar spot-- he blamed himself for the death of his friend drunk driving and it caused his life to spin out of control: battling addiction, losing Rayna. He tells Gunnar to let it go of the guilt and hold on to what is good in his life, Scarlett. This is the not the first time I've seen the Scarlett-Gunnar trajectory as a parallel to the Rayna-Deacon rise to fame, but this week it came clearly into focus. The two young musicians have palpable chemistry and are great music collaborators with a promising future. Yet at a crucial moment, one of them succumbs to his demons while the other gets an opportunity to jump forward as a solo artist. When it comes to her own life, Scarlett has struggled to have some agency in her future. Now is a moment where she has to act. Whether Scarlett now takes the solo album deal with Rayna's new label is a fork in the road-- should she jump on an opportunity with her own career, or stay loyal to Gunnar? Arguably Scarlett would still be writing poetry and pining over Avery were it not for Gunnar. She owes this new career to him. And while her solo act demo was great, I think she is still better as a duet with Deacon.

Juliette also received some parenting this week, but not from her own mother. Despite Rayna's distaste for Juliette, she has been rather hands-off for most of their interactions. But after Juliette's poorly thought-out decision to invite all of her Twitter followers to an approximately 50 person venue, injuring Rayna's child in the aftermath, the claws are coming out. Granted, Rayna's anger is also fueled by her anger for Teddy at keeping her away from her daughter after her injury, but all of the anger gets pointed at Juliette. Rayna calls Juliette out for never taking responsibility for her actions and her overall immaturity. Given that all Juliette really wants is to be the next Rayna James, this criticism actually sticks. Juliette makes some productive comments in Jolene (and her own, really) therapy sessions and decides to pay for the hospital bills of all the fans hurts at her concert. Any manager with half a brain could have seen what a bad idea this concert was from a mile away-- hopefully this will serve as impetus for Juliette to hire a new manager that can respect her need for growth but keep her in line.

While most of this week's Nashville seemed to be about well-timed intercession by parental figures, Avery spent most of the episode breaking free of his establishment and becoming an independent man. Some of the best lines of the night go to Dominic and Avery's cougar manager. Dominic names Avery's new sound as "East Nashville meets dubstep." To which a kool-aid drinking manager replies, "they are going to love this in Europe." I can see why this would send Avery into a tizzy. But burning all of the copies of your new tracks seems a little melodramatic (and lacking foresight-- are there no digital copies of the dubstep-heavy tracks?). By the end of the episode, he's lost his publishing royalties, his record deal, and his rising star. He is at the Bluebird with all the other nobodies with big dreams playing at open mic night. The song he plays on the piano seems to be about Scarlett, who is ironically reconnecting with Gunnar for the second night in a row as Avery plays.

I was pleased overall with "When You're Tired of Breaking Other Hearts." All of the stories fit well together: the post divorce landscape was rocky, Juliette is trying to take more steps forward than back, and we are poised for a big moment for Scarlett and Gunnar. I especially liked how they teased-in a reintroduction of the Maddy paternity storyline. I hope it keeps growing as an elephant in the room as we head into the final stretch of the season. The Lamar-Teddy power struggle was the one scene that did not seem to fit with all the rest. But I am hoping they are just trying to slowly build the tension for a future battle rather than having this storyline fizzle out.

Grade: A-


-"Several young people sustained minor injuries" doesn't sound so bad typed out, but, when spoken in a stern voice as a voice-over to tweens screaming and running out of a building, it becomes a little more intense. I feel ya on this one, Juliette.

-I know Scarlett is supposed to be a frumpy romantic hippy, but her two outfits this episode (the weird blue and white tie-dyed tea length housewife dress with flat over the knee boots, the victorian geisha woodstock boudoir outfit) were serious charlie foxtrots.

-I am still dying over the little boy yellow lab puppy named Sue. And Deacon trying to explain the name to his "Colorado by way of San Francisco" vet.

-"I've been here five weeks and I haven't found any dim sum yet!" Pretty vet lady probably doesn't know this, but Deacon probably does not know what dim sum is and definitely would be wary to try it. Maybe he thought "dim sum" was some kind of sexual thing, which would explain why he took her home for an afternoon delight instead of out for lunch. Also, good luck finding actual dim sum in Nashville.

-Lamar made a brief appearance this week to voice his distaste over the name Teddy-Coleman partnership and the newly planned "Subway Park." Lamar won't go down without a serious fight, I am intrigued to see where this leads in the coming weeks.

-I love that they mispronounced Avery's name at the Bluebird-- but this would have to be a dig by management, not just a mistake. He was the serious boyfriend (and break up) of one of their regular waiters--the other member's of the Bluebird staff definitely know who he is.
Tags: Nashville
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