Tonight’s Nashville season three premiere can be summed up in two words: plot devices. Some good, most bad. Let’s slog through it, shall we?
“That’s Me Without You” had more quick cuts and short scenes than I remember from past episodes, but that’s what happens when your audience grows and everyone wants to see ends you left unraveled at the end of the last season tied back up at the beginning of this season. Tonight’s episode covered the Luke-Rayna-Deacon love triangle, Juliette spiraling after Avery needs space, Avery and Gunnar joining Scarlett for an impromptu road trip, Will and Layla dealing with their sham of a relationship, Teddy and his daughter Maddie joining us for two random scenes we could have done without and… I think I’m forgetting something… oh yes, three live performances. That’s a lot to get through in 42 minutes.
TAKE US FROM THE TOP:
The show opens with Juliette sobbing and looking for scissors while her manager and personal assistant look on in such a silly and bewildered way I could have watched for hours. Someone please make a GIF.
We then move into Rayna’s bedroom where she is vaguely dancing around the Deacon vs. Luke decision talking to her sister about this decision which “is going to change everything.” Rayna and her gorgeous hair then make a call to “the one” and she tells him she’ll be there and she loves him. “Who? Who?!?!” The audience asks excitedly. Not so fast, viewers. We’re going to throw up a card that says 12 HOURS EARLIER and rapidly cut through time for the next 40 minutes.
BEST SCENE OF THE NIGHT:
Without question – was Rayna going to Deacon’s to let him know she chose Luke and tells Deacon that although she will always love him, Luke can give her what Deacon can’t; “a clean slate.” When Deacon kissed Rayna’s wrist and then held his forehead to hers, pleading with her and they both cried, you felt the chemistry radiating from your TV screen and into your heart. Their tears were my tears.
(Or maybe that was my Pinot Grigio.)
WAIT. WHERE’S JULIETTE?
So she had a meltdown because Avery doesn’t want to see her right now, which is understandable because she slept with Jeff Fordham, aka THE ENEMY. But she has a big audition, so her two-person entourage pep her up, take her over, let her sing a beautiful song that she bursts into tears during, take her home, pep talk her again and tell her she got the part!
(Do you see how many scenes this episode had? And I’m cutting out half of them!)
The writers then decide that Juliette got the role of a lifetime…AND…is pregnant! Is it Jeff’s? Is it Avery’s? Is this show moving to a daytime soap slot? Good grief.
WHAT PART OF GAY DOES LAYLA NOT UNDERSTAND?
Apparently all of it. Look, I get it. I would be furious or pouty or whatever you are when you find out that someone dated you and married you and went on a reality show with you and wasted your time and wow actually, all her feelings and actions are justified. She should be mad! Why do I not like her so much then, maybe it’s those bangs? Is it just me or does it always look like she’s wearing a bad wig?
The show ends with two live performances by Deacon, and while I really enjoyed the first one, I was too busy biting on my fingernails waiting for Rayna to burst onto stage during the second one to reclaim her love for Deacon. But the writers know better than that and expertly are going to have us wait another week or so as this story line is in no way over.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS OF RANDOM MOMENTS IN THE EPISODE
Juliette cuts her hair way longer than anyone ever does in a crying fit. It’s like longer than shoulder length so still super cute and not a drastic makeover at all.
Is Will’s first live song at The Bluebird just not the best lyrics or was I just distracted by the live-ness of it?
If I took a shot for every vague sentence of dialogue teasing which man Rayna will pick to marry, I would have blacked out by the halfway point. My favorite was Deacon telling a reporter “everything works out the way it’s supposed to.” What does it mean, Deacon?
Avery freaking out at Gunnar in Juliette’s car was pretty fun. So was him sliding drunk off the hood of her car and the barstool at their pit stop. I doubt Jonathan Jackson is given much physical comedy to do. Bravo.
I literally laughed out loud with Rayna put on Deacon’s sad, diamondless engagement ring and stares at it intensely as they cut to commercial. I’ve known girls who got married IN high school who even had diamonds in their engagement rings. It was just so silly to me. Is there no Zales in Nashville?
I give this episode a 3 out of 5 stars. They earned one for doing live music, one for the amazing scene between Rayna and Deacon, and another for Connie Britton’s hair. I took one off for making Juliette pregnant and another for the 12-hour plot device and painfully vague dialogue. I’m looking forward to next week as I think after answering all the questions they left up in the air last season, they can hone in on storylines in the second episode without being so all over the place. What do you guys think?