5 Awesome Things from Nashville: Tabloid Pics

Nashville (Screen: ABC)

A couple important notes… First, my apologies for missing the May 4th episode. I was traveling with a 4 year old and since maaaaybe five people are reading these recaps, it didn’t seem worth stressing over something I’m doing mainly for my own pleasure. Nevertheless, I don’t like half-assing anything and WOW, what an episode it was. Not being able to dish on Maddie’s shady emancipation hearing or Deacon’s tragic response — not to mention the Exes’ train wreck of a Rolling Stone interview — is something I surely regret.

But that’s nothing compared to my sense of mourning ever since I learned ABC has cancelled Nashville. Nooooooooo! I love this show for many reasons, not the least of which is that it got me writing about TV.1 Last I heard, Lionsgate is shopping the show around to other networks and streaming services, so perhaps these final few episodes of season 4 won’t be the last we hear of our beloved Music City stars. Or so I hope! Stay tuned for more info. Now back to regular business…

While Rayna’s on her mini tour, Deacon moves back to his house for a bit and fulfills his court-mandated community service.2. Daphne broods at home with Aunt Tandy and ignores Maddie’s pleading texts. Though Maddie remains certain that emancipating herself from Rayna is the Best Thing Ever, she’s ambivalent about Cash’s plan to get her signed to a label ASAP.

Academy Award nominee Juliette is bummed about attending red carpet events solo. But when a tabloid publishes shots of Layla and Avery frenching (accompanied by an unfortunate photo of Jules…crying? Blowing her nose?), she determines to get a hot date, even if it means hiring some rando to play the part.

Scarlett and Gunnar have stopped speaking to each other since that shit-stirring Rolling Stone interview, but tensions grow when they learn the article will be all about Blondie rising from the ashes of her failed solo career.3 Then she gets a promotional offer from a headphones company, which Gunnar pretends to not resent. Meanwhile Autumn sweeps in, pushing him to fight his former lover for the spotlight.

Luke will NOT LET GO of his ongoing battle with a conservative, anti-gay/ anti-Will pundit, and the backlash is beginning to have a negative impact on his own career. Will catches a break from that drama when he goes home for his mother’s funeral, which is its own hell; at least he gets to call out his homophobic dad for being a selfish, hateful turd.

Former reality star Layla is bummed to learn her “serious” album’s upcoming release isn’t generating much buzz. She takes comfort in her new relationship with Avery, but is later disappointed by his freaked-out response to the aforementioned tabloid photos. Is Avery embarrassed to be with her? Should he be? Or should he be afraid? Theories regarding that and more in these 5 awesome things from last week’s Nashville

Autumn is an awesome villain Shout out to Alicia Witt for nailing that wide-eyed, affect-less stare that assures us Autumn is a true sociopath. She’s also way smarter than Gunnar, who has no clue she’s using his big, dumb ego against him. She warns him that “cute little blond girls” like Scarlett get all the media attention, which is true. But if he were a little less insecure, and a little more appreciative of the fact that St. Scarlett is always trying to do the right thing, maybe he could just roll with that and be grateful his band is getting attention.

But that’s not what happens at all! He accepts Autumn’s invitation to co-write a song and confides his jealousy during their writing session. She pointedly invites him (and not Scarlett) on stage to perform that song during one of her shows. Blondie gets weirded out and promptly accepts the promotional offer (which she’d intended to refuse out of solidarity), and The Exes’ imminent civil war is underway. Thanks for the drama, Autumn! Didn’t care that much about these two before you came along.

The meeting I’d been waiting for I was so looking forward to Juliette explaining to Maddie that their emancipation situations are COMPLETELY different, cuz seriously, screw Maddie for thinking there’s any mom comparison between Rayna and Jolene. When Jules and Maddie meet for coffee to discuss these things, Ms. Barnes does make the point that she might have made other life choices if she’d had a loving family’s support. But Maddie doesn’t give a shit,4 so Juliette promises to help her the best way she can by lending her favorite “good luck charm”… Glenn! Aw, I love Glenn!! And the pissy look on Cash’s face when he shows up and politely explains he’s been sent free-of-charge to look out for Maddie in ways a lawyer would not – priceless. Sadly, his presence doesn’t do that much good, but we’ll get to that later. Anyway, WTG Juliette and Glenn for sniffing out manager Cash’s amateur bullshit.

SJW Luke is a disaster As of the previous episode, I officially find this story fascinating. On one hand, I appreciate that Luke is finally doing right by Will despite the haters. But Luke’s abrasive PR methods, his absolute refusal to let an asshole pundit have the last word, are so perfectly in line with his special brand of toxic masculinity. Not to mention that this isn’t really about Will’s battle at all; it’s more about Mr. Wheeler posturing himself as a virtuous ally so he can win the respect of his son. Ick.

In this week’s episode, the fallout from Luke’s fight with the gay-hating pundit is so bad that manager Ken presses him (again) to can Will. Luke cans Ken instead. Ken’s kind of a dick so I’m not sad to see him go, but he did correctly predict how this crusade would unravel (as did Will). Even Luke’s stab at nobility feels like another shoddy item from his shitty brand #LukeWheelerBBQSauce

Rayna cuts her losses For a sec I thought Rayna was turning into Deacon – obsessing over Maddie, covertly persuading a trusted third party to sign her daughter, following Maddie to her new artist’s showcase despite the judge’s restraining order, etc. Despite these machinations, Cash convinces Maddie to sign with NYC-based Lennox Hill Records because she knows Ray’s Music City cronies are legion. Damn. Ooh, and also she’s renamed her Maddie Jaymes (not Conrad) because Cash is obvi an opportunistic leech.

But unlike Deacon, Rayna knows when she’s lost and accepts her fate. She goes home and apologizes to Daphne5 for being absent, reminding her child that she needn’t be strong, cheerful, or any such bullshit on her account. Then she calls Deacon, who was literally on the brink of tipping back a bottle,6 so it looks like they’ll make amends. It appears this slightly smaller version of the Jaymes/Claybourn/Conrad clan is getting ready to move on without Maddie, which is kinda what I wanted all along. YOU STILL NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR CASH, MADDIE! But also, this hell is totally on you now.

Layla really is Evil Zooey Deschanel After All! Avery assures Layla he’s only upset about the tabloid pics because he doesn’t wanna be in another high-profile celeb relationship. She agrees the trappings suck, but calmly suggests they roll with it anyway. Isn’t it great to see Avery dating such an uncomplicated and down-to-Earth woman?

::AIRHORN:: Wrong! Glenn figures out Layla tipped off the paparazzo – she planned the whole thing!!7 Naturally, this scheme has the desired effect of making her/her new album more interesting to the press. Second bonus – it majorly fucks with Juliette’s already-broken heart. But then Jules rebound-hooks-up with former costar Noah West, 8 leading to more tabloid pics, leading to more heartache and confusion for Avery. What a wonderful mess!

Juliette was totally right when she surmised in the previous episode that Layla is seeking revenge by trying to take over her life. And now we finally have Nashville‘s real All About Eve story. It was never Rayna vs. Juliette. Juliette is the Margo! Layla is the Eve/Evil Zooey Deschanel!! PLEASE DON’T LET THIS DRAMA END SOON!!!!!!!!!

  1. Something, it turns out, I really love doing!  
  2. Rayna’s still rightly pissed at him for sealing Maddie’s emancipation  
  3. Maybe cuz he sulked and blew off the reporter – this is totally on you, Gunnar!  
  4. which I should have predicted  
  5. a.k.a. The Daughter We Like  
  6. In addition to ruining Rayna’s custody battle, he also learned ex-friend Frankie is kicking him out of the bar business – he really has destroyed pretty much everything  
  7. Which she will not admit to Glenn, but he’s no fool.  
  8. Who originally showed up at a red carpet event as Kesha’s date. Weirdly, this Kesha cameo does not include a musical performance, so I like to think this was a solidarity paycheck to cover some of her legal expenses #FreeKesha  

A Brief Word From Our Sponsors:

Tara Rose
About Tara Rose 106 Articles
Since 2009, Tara has been writing snarky essays about pop culture, motherhood and her various neuroses at Rare Oats. She spends most of her other time selling cheese, raising a small human and goofing off with her husband Dan. E-mail: tara@whatelseison.tv
Contact: Twitter