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'Nashville' Recap: Daddy Issues

Deacon and Teddy Squabble over Maddie, Juliette puts Layla in her place

Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes on 'Nashville'
ABC/Mark Levine
December 5, 2013 10:45 AM ET

Next week's Nashville "mid-season" finale "showdown shocker" promises to be "explosive." So explosive, in fact, "someone will die!" Really. As the credits rolled on last night's action-bereft episode, viewers were unambiguously promised that a fatality is on the immediate horizon. Desperation is the world's worst perfume, Nashville.

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Let's face facts: Nashville could kill off half its characters and we wouldn't miss 'em; the show would be better unencumbered by snooze-drama like Rayna's doomed label deal or pathological-liar Peggy's succubus schemes — seriously, what function does Peggers serve now that the faked-pregnancy plot is tied up? Hell, Jeff Fordham and Luke Wheeler weren't in last night's episode at all and I didn't even notice until I forced myself to think about it.

But who will it be?

The smart money is on Tandy. Not just because her scenes are about as riveting as two hours of low-volume tape hiss, but because Lamar (remember him?) alluded something sinister during a jailhouse meeting with his lawyer last night. He's totally on to Tandy, who tipped her hand as a rat when she blew off testifying as a character witness at daddy's bail hearing. So, hypothetical: Lamar has Tandy whacked. Do you notice, or care?

What Nashville should do is focus more fully on Juliette. She was in fine form last night, graciously making minced meat of her adversaries, wrangling sycophants like a seasoned diva, triumphing on stage, giving a cold shoulder to Glenn one minute, then being a sympathetic shoulder for Will the next and delivering the show's best lines through it all. (Like when she calls out Layla as a carpetbagger from Connecticut for addressing the crowd as "Y'all!)

But all of Juliette's hard-headed antics only make stalker billionaire Charlie Wentworth fall even more madly in love with her, or so he thinks. He's so lovestruck that he's willing to part with his wife (and a large portion of his fortune) to be with Jules.

But for the first time in Music City history, Juliette knows better – that Charlie's love is just a wide-screened projection – and breaks his heart with some real talk: "You don't love me, you love the challenge of me. . . . Get back to Olivia, she'll forgive you."

Just as it seems Jules has made a clean break, cut to Layla, who's on the phone with TMZ, spilling the salacious details on Charliette. That Layla sure knows how to poke the bear. She started this whole shitstorm when she brazenly added an encore to her opening set, going over time and cutting into Juliette's performance. As payback, Jules demotes Layla from direct support, switching her and Will's set times. Layla tries to counter by planning a surprise duet with Will, but Jules beats her to the punch, surprising Will as much as the audience. The pair's stadium-country stomper "Can't Say No to You" was a highlight of an episode that was regrettably light on actual music.

The main drama last night concerned Maddie's growing relationship with Deacon (also now her new guitar teacher), and deteriorating relationship with Teddy, who's unable to control his livid jealousy.

Certainly no one can deny Deacon and Maddie have a cuter father-daughter chemistry than Teddy and Maddie ever had (Deke and Mad's father-daughter duet at the kid's open-mic was a real charmer). But for now let's just chock that up to Deacon being Deacon and Teddy being the worst.

True, Teddy was the one who put in the time changing her diapers and taking her to Promise Keepers dances, but now is the time he really needs to just hold his nose and do some thankless, you know, fathering, instead of confronting Deacon outside the open-mic within earshot of Maddie.

Despite last night's myriad father-daughter dramas, it seems Scarlett is currently Music City's most downtrodden character. And who can blame her? She's out on the road for the first time, playing stadiums, and everybody she knows is too protective of her to tell her anything real. 

Basically, Scarlett is first-time-at-sleep-away-camp-style homesick. So in a team effort to cheer her up, Avery and Zoey take a road trip to visit her (and Gunnar) on tour. It's a dreadful idea, as ulterior motives and secret desire abound among this brat pack. Zoey just wants to fuel her fire for Gunnar, who's all about obliging. And Avery, well, he wants to get his man parts wet, too. So all that goes down, and yet, every player in this troupe of emotional infants is too precious to tell the rest of the group what's going on. Naturally, Scarlett busts Zoey and Gunnar in a hot hotel-corridor make-out sesh.

And if Avery shacking up with Scarlett again is a bad sign, the return of his facial hair is even worse. Also, since we've seen how hot Gunnar can get for Scarlett, he seems pretty lukewarm on Zoey. Maybe Zoey dies? Probably not, though: Gunnar's suffered enough loss on Nashville, what with his brother getting murdered last season and all. Remember that? Does Gunnar? Exactly.

Previous episode: Hanky Panky Whatever

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