Hello America, First Lady Michelle “Check Out These Guns” Obama here.* As you might have heard, I appear on this week’s Nashville, which pays tribute to our soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.
Since I’m around anyway, and I could use a fun project that doesn’t involve organizing Dr. Jill Biden’s closet – that woman lurves her a sweater set — I feel it is my duty as an American to sort out the messes Rayna and Juliette have gotten themselves into.
Stringing along Luke when Deacon’s RIGHT THERE? Doing the nasty with Jeff freakin’ Fordham?! These women are such disasters, I nearly got my husband to call in FEMA. (Just kidding. I didn’t. But I could.)
After just a few minutes with these two — – even via satellite! — it becomes clear that no amount of Beyoncé dance-move initiatives or veggies from the White House garden are going to solve their very complicated problems. So let’s review what happens in “All or Nothing With Me,” and I will try my very best not to give a John Boehner-worthy eye roll… oh, and God bless the USA.
*Of course it’s not actually Michelle Obama, everybody! But if I were First Lady, school kids would be forced to watch Sleepy Hollow as a history requirement and Gillian Anderson would be on the $5 bill.
REGRETS, I’VE HAD A FEW | Juliette starts out the episode the morning after what we’ll politely call her encounter with Jeff by showering, scrubbing her skin raw and sobbing over what she’s done. It’s a smart move, actually; smirky turtles can carry some terrible diseases. Things look like they’re about to get worse when Avery arrives, noting how she wasn’t there when he swung by late the night before. But pretty soon, he’s apologizing for possibly hurting her during the Great Scarlett Implosion of 2014. “Scarlett is my ex-girlfriend,” he assures her. “You’re the one I’m in love with.” Juliette’s guilt sends her skedaddling out of there, mumbling something about meetings and offhandedly telling him their relationship is fine.
Elsewhere in town, Gunnar tells Zoey about what he saw at the party the night before, and she’s adamant that he has to let Avery know. (Side note: Both Chaley Rose and Sam Palladio are rocking some artfully coiffed bedhead here. Well done, Nashville hair team!) Gunny’s really not looking forward to dropping the truth on his ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, especially after things get even more complicated: Juliette is entertaining the idea of having Gunnar co-write some songs for her new album. Lucky for Gunnar, Zoey books a gig as a back-up singer on Juliette’s tour and quickly changes her mind about her man telling the truth, seeing as how it could now mess things up for her. Way to stick to those principles, Z. (Palladio playing Gunnar’s absolute lack of suave in the situation, though, is pretty funny.)
GO TO SHELL, JEFF | But just because Gunnar has decided to sit on what he knows doesn’t mean Jeff is gonna do the same. The label exec letches all over the place as he tries to lure a disgusted Juliette back to Edgehill. “No matter how unsatisfying” – I knew it! The turtle’s got no skillz – “brief and dumb our mistakes are,” they’re best forgotten, she tells him. But he thinks Avery would be quite interested in rehashing of events, and basically threatens to tell Avery everything if Juliette doesn’t ditch Highway 65 ASAP. You’d think this might drive Juliette to make a good, love-related decision for once in her life and confess to Avery before he finds out from someone else. You’d be wrong. Instead, she just hugs him and looks conflicted. This one’s gonna hurt next week, y’all.
RAYNA SAVES THE DAY | While in Afghanistan to play a concert at a military base, Luke’s convoy runs over an improvised explosive device that kills two people and seriously shakes up the cocky country singer. His minor wounds get him flown home to a New York hospital, where Rayna flies into his arms. Luke’s disappointed he wasn’t able to deliver the concert he promised, which was going to be simulcast to bases around the world, so Rayna comes up with the idea of a show at Fort Campbell. Pretty soon, Juliette and Kellie Pickler are on board, and the concert is a go.
Except… Luke still isn’t crazy about Ms. Barnes being a part of the plan. She overhears his rant against her and pulls out of the lineup, but after he finds out about her family history – her dad was a Blackhawk operator who died in a training accident when she was 4 – he has a change of heart. He even duets with her on “Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet,” and the military families in attendance eat it up. (Side note: So do I. I think I might like it as a duet even more than as a solo. Blasphemy? Yell at me in the comments.)
Also of note on the Luke tip: Before the show, Luke lets Rayna know he’s in love with her, but he fears that she doesn’t feel the same way. She allays his worries (temporarily – we’ll get to that in a minute) by replying that she loves him, too, and they get smoochy. I know. I’m not crazy about it, either.
OUT IN THE OPEN | The show progresses well, with Kellie Pickler performing and Mrs. Obama lending her support to the families present via a taped piece. The music’s loud, the vibe is good – so naturally, Deacon thinks this is the perfect time and place to have heart-to-hearts with some major players in his life.
You see, a side effect of spending more time with Maddie is dealing with her endless questions – one of which involves his whereabouts on the day she was born. What he tells her: He was on the road. What really happened: He leapt off the wagon upon hearing that his former love had given birth. He handles it all at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, then wants to “air it out” with Rayna and Teddy at the concert.
First up, the redhead. Deacon tells Ray that she did nothing wrong by keeping Maddie’s true paternity from him; in fact, it was the only thing she could’ve done to protect herself and the kiddo at the time. It’s a very sweet, pivotal moment in their relationship… diminished only slightly by the fact that he’s gotta be screaming it into her ear to be heard over the noise of what’s going on on stage.
DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL | Deke’s Backstage Tour of Aching Tenderness continues when he asks Teddy for details of the day Maddie was born. Ted’s wary for a moment or two, but then gives Deacon what he wants, leaving both men verklempt at the memory of Mads as a squalling babe.
Better clear that lump in your throat, Deke, because you’re wanted on stage! Rayna brings the girls up with her to sing “A Life That’s Good,” and at the last minute, Maddie beseeches her mom to ask the songwriter to join them. Deacon comes out for a really lovely rendition of the incredibly touching song – something about the simplicity of the tune and lyrics always kills me a little – and all is well. Unless you’re Teddy and/or Luke, giving epic stinkeye from either side of the stage. Then, you’re screwed, because Deacon’s connection to Rayna and her older daughter is undeniable.
REALITY CHECKED | Will’s apathy for kissing Layla does not go unnoticed by the reality crew now taking up space in their home, which sends him into a rage. And when a possibly gay trainer at the gym vaguely hits on him (it’s so hard to tell! Some trainers will do anything to get you to buy sessions, no?), Will initially rejects the offer… then calls the guy later and says he wants to schedule a private session. Mrrrow.
Now it’s your turn. Did Scarlett actually quit another gig so soon after the last one? And she’s not really leaving, right? The Rayna-Deacon stuff was good, right? What did you think of Will’s song for Layla? Sound off in the comments!