'Nashville' season premiere recap: Will Rayna survive the crash?
"Nashville"'s back, and even though the show has had ample times to rest and reboot, it returns with some of the same problems it had last season. Cheesy plot twists? They spring up like stubborn kudzu, weighed down with some redundant flashbacks (Deacon was a drunk! We know!). But who cares? We find out what happened to Rayna and Deacon! That's the important part, isn't it?
Rayna's in a coma, at least for a little while. The question of whether or not Rayna or Deacon survived the season-ending car crash is pretty quickly resolved, which is probably for the best. Sticking Connie Britton in a hospital bed with her eyes closed for more than one episode would be a tremendous waste of talent, and this show relies on solid actors to sell the suds. So, even though we start with Deacon in jail and Rayna in a coma, by the end of the episode he's free and she's had a miraculous recovery. Does it make sense? Probably not. But I'd rather have a soapy plot twist here than too much energy spent on this...
Deacon is an idiot. It's perfectly in character for Deacon to claim he was driving the car. It's also believable that the cops just took his word for it and stuck him in jail. It's also an eye-rolling cliche. Plus, it's not like Rayna was going to go to jail for flipping her car, as no other vehicle was involved in the crash. So he just took the blame... because he thinks eating prison food for thirty years is sufficient punishment for being a drunk?
The big surprise, really, is that he got the world's best public defender, who investigated a hospital file (which, given the fact that Rayna is hugely famous, wasn't easily accessible) to find out that Rayna's bruises indicated she was the driver. Most public defenders are doing well to remember their client's names and not be physically crushed by the weight of all their case files. It was a nice detail (though unnecessary, given that Rayna ultimately got Deacon cleared) that indicated that this Nashville is actually somewhere between the real Tennessee and rich peoples' heaven. But, hey, at least it wrapped up a storyline that could have dragged on and on. Let Deacon dwell on his mistakes (as Teddy surely seethes) while not wearing an orange jumpsuit. There's no reason we should have to suffer, too.
Juliette is a not-so-evil genius. I had to laugh when Juliette, staring (seemingly soulfully) at the television footage about Rayna, reveals why she's really upset -- Rayna's accident is going to TOTALLY ruin her album drop! Oh, I have missed Juliette so. But she got perhaps the best storyline of the show, as circumstances force her, Scrooge-like, to examine her past through Rayna's present. Ironically, I can think of so, so many real stars who've staged "tributes" like the one Juliette makes to Rayna. That her visit to the hospital is innocently derailed by Maddie gives Hayden Panettiere a chance to show us vulnerable Juliette again, which is always a good thing. Was the staring at a picture of her mom and a Rayna CD cover over the top and unnecessary? Yes, but her invitation to Maddie to call her anytime (and Maddie's revelation about Deacon being her daddy) was not only a sweet moment, but opens a door to future teen drama down the road. Let's hope the show doesn't drop this ball.
Gunnar and Scarlett are kaput… for now. So, Scarlett said no, apparently because Gunnar isn't entirely grown up. I'm sure we'll get more details later, though the subsequent break-up seems amicable (Scarlett asks Gunnar to sing with her at her going away party) and the door is open to a reunion. Avery, of course, sees this as his Big Opportunity, but I'm pretty sure Scarlett is going to enjoy being single for a minute. Unless she needs dates to buy her dinner, as I would think her album deal with Rayna might be on hold for a while.
Oh, Peggy! As we recall, Peggy was pregnant and, guess what? Teddy doesn't care. Peggy looks at him with a big, sad-eyed-dog-painting expression, and he tells her he'll give her some money. That would be enough for most women to take a hint, but Peggy is crazy in a "Fatal Attraction" way. Thus, while Teddy is saying, "Get lost, weirdo," she's thinking, "Where should I put my clothes? Peggy suffers a miscarriage, but instead of telling Teddy the truth, she says she's heard the baby's heartbeat. I see a future of fake maternity clothes, a padded belly and eventually, cutting a real baby out of some poor woman's stomach. It's going to be like an episode of "48 Hours" come to life!
Will likes his closet, thank you. It's a minor storyline, but it's one of the ones I find most interesting, really. Now that Scarlett's moved out, Will has moved in, which gives us a lot more time to see him trying to convince himself he's straight while he kisses guys and occasionally beats them up for liking him. While singers come roaring out of the closet in the rock and pop worlds, it's not as common when it comes to country. This was a smart C storyline for the writers to pursue, and I have high hopes.
Lamar did what? So, the cliffhanger for the episode is kinda weird, as it's about how Lamar may have killed Rayna's mom. It's not what I was expecting, but not because it's a shock but because Lamar doesn't seem to be that important to the rest of the show at the moment. But now that Rayna's talking and probably not singing, she and her sister will have plenty of time to dig up the past (hopefully not with cheesy flashbacks that show us what we already know, as we saw in this episode) and possibly scream at their dad through the Lucite prison visiting wall.
What did you think of the premiere? Were you surprised Gunnar and Scarlett are through? What did you think of Deacon's decision to go to jail?