Oh Nashville, I have missed your soapy antics. This premiere was at times thoroughly entertaining, at other times thoroughly frustrating, and often, a little bit of both. Let’s get to it!
- We have to start with the good news, right? Deacon lives! I mean anyone who saw the poster with his face plastered across it probably knew that, but this show is on the network that killed McDreamy, so my trust in them is a little low right now. Unfortunately, it was Beverly that flat lined in the finale, and I was surprised to learn that she was in a coma and not dead. I’d really assumed that they would kill her off, with Deacon, Rayna, and Scarlett’s guilt causing some drama in the first half of the season. It’ll be interesting to see what happens instead, if they’ll have to help Beverly get back on her feet, or if she’ll just be on her merry way.
- Also, not only does Deacon live, but he and Rayna are downright adorable in their scenes together. I was happy to hear that the pet names have made their way into the new season (the “baby”s and “darlin”s, I’m telling you…) and the support that they gave each other all episode was just really wonderful. Rayna obviously stuck by Deacon’s side as he dealt with Beverly, and it was great that he was so understanding about her trip to L.A. And how ’bout Maddie’s offhand comment about marriage? Beverly, get soon real fast, I’m begging you.
- Speaking of Maddie, it was sad that there was so much tension between she and Daphne in this episode, which is something we saw a bit of last season as well. Those two are so cute together, and it always sucks to see them fight. I also feel bad for Daphne in all of this; with Teddy, Deacon, and Luke all in the picture recently but at different times, it’s got to be pretty hard to figure out which one is the go-to father figure at that moment. Hopefully she and Maddie will get to see Teddy soon, at the very least to give them a bit of understanding about his arrest.
- Juliette, in typical fashion, is a glossy train wreck this episode, that drunken call to Rayna really the only look we get at how she’s truly feeling (as well as checking out hubby/baby pics at the end of the hour). Honestly, at this point I feel like we’re not getting enough of an explanation about why she feels the way she does. Juliette has always been a polarizing character, but it’s a lot easier to be sympathetic towards her when we get a look behind the crazy. If her conversation with Avery in the promo is what it appears to be, hopefully we’ll see that next week.
- And Avery, oh man do I like him as a dad. Watching him with Cadence makes how far he’s come since the pilot that much more apparent. I love that she was his reasoning for going back to Nashville, knowing that having a dad (and hopefully a mom) who are truly happy is what’s best for her. I also really liked Avery’s parents; I fully expected them to be lecture-y about the Juliette thing (just because it seems like something TV parents would do), but instead they were nice and supportive, mostly just upset with Juliette for hurting their son.
- Will spends his time avoiding the events of the finale, namely, coming out on national television. I did like that the show was fairly realistic with this. Just because Will came out doesn’t mean he’s suddenly totally comfortable with his sexuality. It was really, really hard for him to take that step, and it’s natural that he would feel a little unsure of what to do next. I also liked that we didn’t see any regret on his part, it was more just him feeling awkward about what people might think. Hopefully he and Kevin work things out next week after his outburst outside the club, because I really enjoy them together and think Kevin’s a great influence on him.
- Another two I enjoy together, Scarlett and Gunnar, sing what may become one of my favorites for the two of them, though that may just be because it was an increasingly rare sweet acoustic song they sang together, something we didn’t see much of last season with the ZAG/Triple Exes/whatever their band is called now drama. Their kiss was also excellent, though I didn’t love that Scarlett tried to play it off as Gunnar taking advantage of her. He’s a good guy, and it seemed like kind of a jerk move to say that as a way of assuaging her guilt for cheating on Caleb. And Caleb, sweet Caleb, was so excited when she told him she loved him, having no idea it was just her way of covering up her Gunnar guilt. That is going to blow up in a big way soon, and I kind of can’t wait.
- Much like Juliette, Layla frustrated me quite a bit this episode, to the point where I was kind of cheering when Juliette was tearing her down. I felt bad for her (and Juliette was obviously unnecessarily mean), but Ju did make a good point about Layla’s self-esteem, something that was largely confirmed by her desperate phone call to Jeff at the end of the episode. Layla is a really great character at times (especially when we’re reminded how talented she is), but her relationship with Jeff has made it hard to root for her. Take Juliette’s advice and get back your self-respect, Layla, because it’s going to go a long way to making Music City respect you as well.
- I’m curious to see what Luke’s role on the show is going forward. Even with Will and Juliette on his label he doesn’t have too many personal connections to the characters anymore (he comes across as too much of a business guy and not enough of a friend to me), so it’ll be interesting to see what storylines the writers have in mind for him this season.
- A few other odds and ends…I legitimately breathed a sigh of relief when Will shaved the beard. I’m with Kevin, man, not your best look…I laughed when Avery saw Juliette on the cover of that magazine. Home and Glamour? Has there ever been a faker sounding magazine?…Rayna and Juliette’s relationship continues to be one of the weirdest but somehow best ones on the show. It’s like they drive each other crazy but still have each other’s backs even though we’ve never seen them bonding when there isn’t a crisis? I do like that it’s unpredictable, and the way Rayna doles out the tough love is really sweet and kind of motherly, even if it is often undeserved. I’d really like to see it be Rayna that Juliette eventually confides in about her issues, hopefully sooner rather than later.
What did you think of Nashville‘s return? Let me know in the comments!