Nashville Season 4 Recap

Nashville Recap: It's a Maddie, Maddie, Maddie, Maddie World

Maddie dyes her hair blonde this week on Nashville. It’s a shame she doesn’t bleach some of that stank attitude out, as well.

Grounding hasn’t worked. Taking away her phone hasn’t worked. And telling her that no, you may not accept Sony’s offer of a solo recording contract certainly hasn’t worked — quite the opposite. In fact, Rayna’s elder daughter is at her absolute worst in this episode, vibrating at an annoying teen frequency somewhere between Buffy-Season-5 Dawn and Game of Thrones-any-season Joffrey.

Meanwhile, in the land of people with real problems, Scarlett can’t decide if she’s more bummed about being away from Caleb or being too close to Gunnar and his sexy tech-y, Erin. Markus is making indie puppy rocker eyes at Rayna (and we all know where that’s heading). And poor Avery is slinging radio jingles and weeping onstage at The Bluebird.

Long sob story short: Chill out, Mads. And stop making Daphne feel terrible. Think you can do that while the rest of us review the highlights of “Unguarded Moments”?

A SOUND DECISION | Let’s start on the road with The Exes, whose first few tour dates have gone really well. But there’s friction: Scarlett, irked that she and Caleb can’t seem to stop playing phone tag, repeatedly implies that Gunnar is more interested in getting into Erin’s pants than in making their band a success. I’m sorry, Scar, did I hallucinate the part where you committed to this tour FIVE MINUTES BEFORE THE BUS LEFT?

Boston show! Everything’s going great until Erin, at Scarlett’s urging, ups her lady vocals so high that the board  — and the crappy electrical system at the club — blows. (Side note: I’m no electrician, but that whole scenario seems rather unlikely, no?) The Exes save the night by having fans train their cell phone lights on the stage, then performing an acoustic version of “Plenty Far to Fall,” a flirty, up-tempo tune that I really like.

Scarlett’s ready to rip into Erin, thinking Gunnar won’t be able to do it, but she’s wrong: Gunny and his bouffant of disapproval make it clear that Erin’s subpar sound-tech skills have no place on the tour. Later, E swings by Gunnar’s room to apologize and to ask for help in learning how to work different kinds of sound boards. When Scarlett hears bumping and moaning coming through the wall later, I’m sure that’s just Gunnar showing Erin how to work the knobs and dials, right?

WHAT’S WILL DOING? | Avery realizes that Will is secretly writing break-up songs about Kevin. And they’re good. And because Avery has literally nothing going on except pining for his absent, soon-to-be-ex wife and punching up cheesy car-dealership jingles, he performs one of Will’s compositions at The Bluebird on Songwriter Night. The song is called “History of My Heart,” and it makes everyone in the room — including Avery — cry. A music publisher who’s in the room gives Mr. Barkley his card to pass along to the song’s creator. Maybe this is a new track for the woefully underused Will/Chris Carmack?

MAKING IT OFFICIAL | Against Gabriella’s better judgment, she and Luke start dating. She’s all, “We need to find a replacement for Juliette! We need to find a new brand manager! Those Wheelin’ Dealin’ Driveway Patch Kits and Luke Wheeler Roach Traps aren’t going to sell themselves!” But all he wants is her, damn the impropriety. Also: What impropriety? Aren’t you the boss, dude? And aren’t you two pretty much the only employees of your company? She caves very easily, but asks him to keep it quiet, saying, “I’m not exactly good for your brand.” In the what what? A hotheaded party cowboy who once drove a truck through a cake dating a classy, top-of-her game, intelligent and beautiful woman? I think it’s the other way around, mama.

Anyway, Luke tells Colt that he’s got a new honey, and the sullen teen — who continues to be messed up about watching Jeff tumble to his death — doesn’t care. I feel you, kid.

FAMILY DRAMATICS | That brings us to Maddie’s aforementioned snit, which starts with her secretly changing her hair color. Rayna finds out about the dye job after a long night recording with Markus, and when Deacon runs to the bar to help with the remodel, Ray grips her coffee pot as though that sweet bean juice is the only thing keeping her from tearing out the teen’s tresses with her own immaculately manicured hands.

It gets worse. When Maddie gets wind of the fact that Sony is interested in making her a solo artist, based on a clip of her performing with Juliette that time, she’s even more insufferable than usual. And with Deke avoiding tough times at home by immersing himself in The Beverly’s refurb job, Rayna finds herself confiding in Markus of all people. Yeah, don’t worry guys: That studio you’re sitting in only costs a bajillion dollars an hour and you’re already way over budget on this album, but by all means, go ahead and chat a while.

They commiserate about how hard it is to be famous (we get it, Nashville), and then the comforting pat he gives her hand lasts a little too long. Somewhere, Liam wraps his stupid man-scarf around his neck and nods knowingly. What is it about this woman and her effect on men in recording studios?

THE SCOWL AND THE PUSSYCAT | When Deke and Rayna are finally in a room for more than two minutes together, they agree that they have to present a united front and handle the girls together. So they do what always makes me so insane about the Maddie-parent relationship: THEY GIVE HER EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS by offering her and Daphne a Highway 65 recording contract. Daphne is elated, a condition Mads and her stinky self quickly defiles by saying, “The only reason she signed us was to keep me under her control.” Move over, Jimmy Shive-Overly, because Maddie is officially The Worst.

High on what they perceive as a parenting victory, Deacon and Rayna hit the sheets. At first, I think it’s going to be another Nashville classic, where they fall on the bed together and that’s all they wrote. BUT NO. We get to see the lovebirds in the afterglow, and apparently things progressed so quickly, Rayna didn’t even have a chance to take her top off. Like, Connie Britton is fully clothed from the waist up. Forget bra-on sex; this is “I could host a video conference call in this” sex. Eh, it happens. (Still hot.)

Because TVLine is an entertainment website of record, I would like to note — FOR HISTORY — that Deacon most certainly did disrobe. And more sexy stuff is on the agenda as Ray heads into the shower, but I’m pretty sure that’s tabled when her phone buzzes and Deke sees that Markus’ text implies he helped Rayna come up with her Maddie solution.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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42 Comments
  1. Victor Field says:

    Wake me up when Hayden is all better and comes back.

  2. Shira says:

    I will be forever grateful for the Rayna and Deacon biceps conversation.

  3. Paul says:

    Maddie is so annoying. The less I see of her, the better.

  4. Christine says:

    Took me a second to realize you meant Luke and Gabriella start dating and not Will. I was like, wait how did I miss THAT?!?
    Also at this point I’m expecting Ray and/or Deke to break out one of those “how to talk to your teenager” books. They are seriously hopeless when it comes to that girl.

  5. Karen says:

    Maddie’s better off with Juliette.

  6. David H says:

    Remember when most of these characters were actually likable?

    • Crys says:

      Haha, me and my mom had this conversation last week. About how pretty much everyone on this show is stuck in the “annoying person” orbit or generally travels in and out of it. The orbit revolves around Juliet. Who is not annoying because either we hate her, lover her or fell sad for her. Which means Hayden is doing a darn good job! Rayna travels in and out as well as Scarlett (who makes me forget her annoying ways when she sings Dang, Clare you are gifted!). And this perpetually stuck in annoying: Layla, Gunnar, Will, Luke, Jeff (before the fall), Zoe before she left, Teddy, Doc the boyfriend (who was NOT annoying until the writers started pushing the Scarlet/Gunnar slow burn) and the worst of all Maddie. When we realized that was pretty much everyone in the cast we realized Nashville needs to get it together soon or we’re out. And btw: does anybody else HATE this Scarlett/Gunnar end game? Gunnar’s so weak; he’s annoying!

  7. Shaun says:

    Will didn’t want to be a song writer,he wanted to perform.

  8. Shaun says:

    PS The Exes throwing down some great songs again,woo!

  9. ? says:

    I’m gonna need that Scarlett/Gunnar thing to go ahead and happen now. Properly this time.

    • Lucie says:

      Please, no. The Gunnar personality is so weak and stupid. He loves Scarlett, then he loves Scarlett’s best friend, then he loves Scarlett, now he loves a one night stand. The guy is so needy that every woman should run in the opposite direction.

  10. Sally McLinn says:

    I thought this ep was a snooze. And the spoiled teenagers are a turn-off for me. One kid won’t bond with this father and the other rebels against her mother. I almost turned Nashville out and will be glad when there’s more “drama” injected into this show.

    • Isobel says:

      I don’t mind Daphne as much, maybe because she’s younger and I can understand the whole father in prison, mum being with Deacon thing being upsetting for her. Maddie is a spoiled brat though, and Rayna and Deacon have to stop giving her whatever she wants

  11. Boiler says:

    I really enjoy this show but I fear it will be the last year unless the show lightens up

  12. Sissy says:

    Daphne is my new fav…there’s some serious tween angst bottled up in the pint-sized dynamo! And Maddie’s new hair color didn’t look that different to me (guess I was too focused on Scarlett’s former Lady Godiva hair/wig to notice Maddie’s). Now a nice bright purple or green or even a deep, dark black might have rattled some chains, but Maddie’s choice of hair color is the least of Mama’s problems. And last, but definitely not least, please producers let’s get some shots of Deacon in the shower. Alone is fine, since after reading that text message, he probably lost some of that loving feelin’.

  13. Deb says:

    The first season of this show actually had plot and substance, characters with some dimension. I loved Powers Boothe and his character. I liked the political subplots. I liked Rayna, her family and her dynamics with Juliette being the backbone of the show. But we’re told that the “viewers didn’t want that”. Each season it has deteriorated with characters disappearing, mostly Rayna’s family. It has now become an exceedingly poorly written soap punctuated every few minutes with a song, good or not so.

    Somehow, though a dark star, the character Juliette lights up a dismal landscape of this faux Nashville. I despise Juliette but can’t stop watching her. Now that is a tribute to Hayden’s acting. The way she looked at the baby gave me chills. She’s seriously too good at that. Were she a real person, I’d say her problems are far beyond post partum depression. I’d say she’s bipolar.

    A bone, one of several, to pick with this show: when two or more characters, any two, you pick, Avery and Will, Deacon and Scarlett, Rayna and the milkman, whoever, bemoan something troubling, like a busted taillight and they sit down and say “let’s write a song about it”. It’s like they have to keep educating us about how country showfolk are.

    • ptf says:

      I don’t miss the political side of the show from season 1, but I do really miss the other aspects that lifted it up out of totally soapy. Rayna and Juliette’s relationship was the most interesting part of the show. I guess it’s not entirely the writers fault that this hasn’t been portrayed fully – it’s 2 consecutive seasons now that Hayden’s been unavailable for large parts of it, so who knows what stories they might have told. Maybe I’m giving them the benefit of too much doubt! But Connie and Hayden are the reasons for watching for me, and their dynamic and chemistry is a big part of what the show should have focussed on. Maddie/Colt/Luke/Layla etc. should all be background, and not have their own sh!t pushed to the forefront.

      • Jill says:

        I totally agree with this. I don’t miss the political stuff either, but I do miss how there was much more dimension to the characters season one. After that it has been a quick slide down each season into additional soapiness, but not even good soapiness like Empire, but really poorly written for the most part. Sometimes I feel like the writers just gave up. I loved the Rayna/Juliette dynamic too and was sad that it’s pretty much been gone since the beginning of season 2. She was on her label and they barely interacted!!! Who’s bad decision was that? Also I love Rayna and Deacon more than anything, but as someone pointed out on another site he really needs to stop the whining and man up. He used to be super sexy, now he’s just a hot guy who complains a lot.

        • Katieb says:

          I actually liked the political stuff but could do without it if the writing were at least somewhat reasonable in the later seasons. The first season had some of my favorite tv lines and scenes of all time – the characters had some depth and the writing was great in parts. I miss Tandy, and I miss the chemistry that Connie Britton used to have with the other characters (Juliette, Deacon…. The clothes on sex scene in this episode was better than nothing but doesn’t compare to the Season 1 elevator scenes IMHO). I think they are all just dialing it in and it’s getting soooo boring!!

  14. Jess says:

    So glad Deacon and Rayna were in a room together for more than 30 seconds. Perhaps Deacon’s physical demo-ing helped him break down some of his walls – thanks Frankie! Beyond wanting to see them in the sheets (and shower… Perhaps that text will drive some angry sex?! Go claim your territory Deacon), I think the most interesting part is watching them co-parent. This is such a new, never before explore aspect of their relationship. Give us more!!

    Maddie – I have no patience with you.

    Gunnar – You are pathetic. Find some self-confidence and stop serial dating every female you make eye contact with.

    Daphne – Bless you sweet child. I hope you get a storyline and some attention.

    Luke and entourage – Why are you still around?

    Markus- It was nice to see a different side of you… And I look forward to how your flirting with Rayna will shake things up.

    • I agree with all of this- you’ve sumed it up perfectly!! Wow. Rayna and Deacon need regular family drama (and some new songs!) no more intense life or death intense sad stuff please! Daphne deserves more attention and songs. And for the love of God? Who cares about Gabriella & Luke? …or Luke at all for that matter. And Layla. And Markus. All over the internet-for a long time now-all I ever see is comments like these: less darkness and soapy drama, less characters (the ones we dont care about) and MORE music. Why won’t you LISTEN, ABC?

  15. Linda says:

    “Gunny and his bouffant of disapproval” made me spit out my coffee!

  16. Kristen says:

    Maddie is insufferable. Every week I hope she gets the living crap knocked out of her by Rayna. Just slap her. Please. Once across the face and make this girl stop being such a sasshole! I know teens are bad to their parents, but this ungrateful little twit is really something else. She got a record deal, and she still wants to whine and complain!?

  17. april-ann says:

    I don’t think Maddie is being all that terrible. She’s 16 and has virtually no freedom whatsoever. Heck, you can see why her parents won’t allow her any at all – they’d be losing their favorite live-in babysitter! I don’t see why, at 16, she has to have her little sister velcroed to her at all times. I don’t think it’s that unreasonable for a 16 year old to be given some space. Couldn’t they offer just Maddie the Highway 65 contract (if they must offer it at all) and tell the kid to wait a few years? Of course they can’t. Because Daph’s the real problem here – bratty, demanding and moody, and could make their lives way more miserable than Maddie is. Not to mention THEY’D finally have to take more responsibility for her instead of just palming her off on her 16 year old sister. No wonder Maddie’s not all that interested in the Hwy 65 contract. It still means having her little sister duct taped to her jean jacket.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love Scar and the talented actress who portrays her. But come on, Scar. You have the doctor and you can’t stop giving the side eye to Gunnar’s plaything? And that hair – as much as a mane makeover was desperately needed, was it really necessary for her to show up one day looking like Dennis the Menace?

  18. Laurie says:

    I may be remembering wrong but didn’t Luke have another kid (a daughter around Daphne’s age)? So, did they just forget about her or is she hanging out with Chuck Cunningham and Judy Winslow?

  19. Bianca says:

    Ugh! Is it possible that Maddie is worse than Dawn?

  20. Siobhan says:

    This is usually one of my favorite shows, but I actually fast-forwarded through half the scenes (which I never do) because it was a Maddie-centric episode, and I’m also completely bored by Luke/Gabriella, Scarlett/doctor boy, and Gunnar/sound tech girl. This was probably the worst episode of the series for me. The Rayna/Deacon bicep comment was cute though – still love those two together (just need less angst for a while!!)

  21. Deb C says:

    Really, each season, they have further dumbed down the show and geared it toward a lower age group. The generation with attention spans of sixty seconds. Sorry, but it’s true. Character developement is devoid. It’s all about the look and the sound. Anything else, just takes too much time.

    This year’s theme seems to be HAIR. We started off with “Aunt Bev”, ugh, waking up with raggedly cut bedhead. Next came Gunnar looking like Eraserhead after a prolonged diet of Brylcreem. Then, in apparent solidarity with dead Bev, Scarlett trades tears for shears.
    This week it was Maddy, bleached to a lovely shade of Teen Angst Ash #10.

    Whose head is next? Cadence in a black leather baby headband?

  22. Ash says:

    I’m guessing Gabriella “isn’t good for Luke’s brand” because she’s a WOC and his fanbase consists of people who would vote for Trump.

  23. xomylifexo says:

    Can anyone find “plenty far to fall” on iTunes? For some reason I can’t.

  24. TrickyGreyArea says:

    It’s really sad when the thing I am most looking forward to about this show is Layla’s return. (Mainly because not only has she grown on me in the past year or so, but they set up earlier this season for Glenn to manage her once Jeff was out of the picture and I really want to see him back again. I love Juliette’s team and it’s been nice having Emily on to support Avery but I’ve been missing Glenn.) Other than that…I was quite disappointed that we didn’t get to see Chris Carmack perform Will’s song, though I love that we got Avery performing it too and I know it would not have been as effective if the song had been “spoiled” earlier in the ep. I’m really not sure how they are going to help Will get back on track, which is too bad because he’s one of my favorites. My favorite music from the show has generally been the songs Gunnar and Scarlett write and sing together, but I hate their stupid stories right now so much that I can barely enjoy it when they perform. I don’t really care whether they end up together as a couple, but they have such annoying and/or boring love interests…

  25. Kayla says:

    Almost spit out my tea at Jimmy Shive-Overly. That was worked in perfectly.

    I really miss Juliette but I hope they give her a good storyline when Hayden returns.