8
Nov
2012
Nashville: Season 1, Episode 5
Move It On Over
Annie
Battling inner demons and one's past have never been a secret on Nashville. Each week we see characters fighting to overcome something from the past to ultimately go forward in their lives. These struggles were the focus of the heavy episode, "Move it on Over".

At the forefront tonight was Deacon. Early in the episode he offers to help Juliette convince her mother, Jolene, to go to rehab. Their mother-daughter relationship is fraught with pain and disappointment that Juliette cannot reach her herself. As a struggling addict and the right hand man of her favorite recording artist, Deacon is a promising vehicle to deliver the message. His compelling speech to Jolene convinced her she needed to get help for her addiction to be present for her daughter. Yet this intervention only reopened the old wounds of his addiction. When Deacon meets Coleman in the diner, we see the depths of his addiction and how each day is a struggle. He pulls out Jolene's bottle of pills and says he stayed up all night counting the seven pills inside, the wild, yet wary look in his eye shows this is no exaggeration. Helping an addict and returning to his rehab center have upset his finely calibrated equilibrium. It is no surprise that the heckling during his performance at the Bluebird was the straw that broke the camel's back. Next thing we know, he is throwing punches (in my head he was really punching Teddy to make up for last week's eye-shout match) outside the Bluebird and getting arrested. After leaving Rayna, Deacon is in a new chapter of his life. He must reset his balance to move forward. This is certain to be the fits and starts as he tries to find his new normal. Fingers crossed this involves a future fistfight between him and Teddy.

Deacon's closest ally on this journey, Juliette, also has her own demons to overcome. Juliette's coping mechanisms for her mama-drama are well documented from the pilot through tonight (namely, trying to jump Deacon's bones, throwing a diva fit, or maybe some petty shoplifting). She is young, pretty, and powerful. This cocktail of traits lets her get away with this behavior and feel in control of her life. After the trip to the rehab center, Juliette does not know how to accept Deacon's support as a friend. When they start steering towards emotionally vulnerable territory, Juliette's immediate reaction is to cover the emotional pain with a numbing, physical band-aid. As somebody all too familiar with choosing self control over coping mechanisms, Deacon stops Juliette before taking the easy way out. Instead, Deacon advises her to try to put the past behind her and move forward into a better place. Juliette takes this advice quite literally and moves from one gorgeous, traditional home is a gated neighborhood to another gorgeous, but modern home in what appears to be a more secluded location. Juliette is trying to make a clean break and also find her balance. I predict that Jolene will struggle to stay in rehab or clean for long, which will only continue to challenge Juliette.

I think the writers did a good job this week of balancing the (primarily) inner turmoil Deacon and Juliette fight with Jolene's own struggles, which manifest themselves externally. Seeing her passed out with a stranger, pills and booze; fighting with Juliette on the front yard in her underwear; or slapping Juliette in public while wearing teenager's clothes, demonstrate to the audience how much Jolene, Juliette, and Deacon, all struggle on the inside. Deacon struggles with the same dark voices tempting him to abuse pills and booze. Juliette must deal with the repercussions of watching a parent struggle through the highs and lows of addiction. It is ironic that Juliette's closet confidante on the show is someone who's own flaw so closely mirror her mother's shortcomings.

Switching gears to the other half of Nashville, Rayna, too, is trying to move forward. Watching her interact with Deacon now is like watching a newly divorced couple trying to separate their lives that have been so intertwined. When they get into a fight about the song lyrics Rayna wants to use in a commercial, it could really be a conversation about dividing marital property or making a decision about a kid in the middle of their separation. While she prides herself on being a strong-willed and independent woman, Rayna has always had Deacon, or another man, by her side for support. When trying to regroup after Deacon won't let her use the song for the commercial, her initial decision is to find another writing partner because she has never done this alone. Her challenge is to find a way to make it on her own and be her own support system.

The one pained interaction with Teddy and the general progression of his story line suggests that he is not going to be a real rock for her anytime soon. They find each other in their living room at 2:30 in the morning, Teddy after another bruising day on the mayoral campaign and Rayna trying to write a song by herself. Each is guarded about their work and does not seem too interested in the other's problems. Teddy does finally get the nerve to ask Rayna if she quit the tour because she slept with Deacon. When the words come out, they fall flat. He seems so sure about the answer to this question (in the affirmative), yet the audience knows that Rayna has taken every measure possible to avoid that outcome. The awkward pause that follows speaks volumes about the void in their marriage. The scene ends with Deacon asking for the two of them to put the past behind them, to which Rayna responds, "believe me, I'm trying." Despite any effort that is being made, if Rayna is now committed to moving forward and growing as an independent person, it seems like only a matter of time until she realizes she has outgrown this marriage. The eventual revelation about Teddy's messy past will only seal this fate.

Speaking of, this week we finally got some insight into Teddy's shady deals, as well as what makes him tick. Peggy is still anxious to confess to the Feds about the audit rather than risk jail time. Back in 2008, when the Cumberland investment was blowing up, Peggy helped Teddy embezzle $2 million to float his investment fund while trying to keep up with debt payments. Teddy and Peggy maintain their essential innocence, they borrowed the money from investors to keep the fund as a whole alive. However, as far as the federal government and the general public is concerned, taking clients money is a big no-no. The impending audit is sure to bring this sordid history to light. Faced with this impending disaster, Teddy turns to the one person who can fix it: Lamar. Instead of a confessional in a church, Lamar absolves Teddy of his sins over cigars in his leather and mahogany office (which, I have meant to comment in earlier weeks, is bigger than most apartments). Notably, Lamar doesn't even bat an eyelash over Teddy's conduct, which makes me wonder what improprieties fill his past. Teddy assures Lamar that Peggy found the money and was instrumental in the deal and that they were strictly business partners, not romantic partners. These statements seem to not tell the whole truth, which could seriously hurt Teddy in the future. Being on Lamar's bad side does not seem like a good place to be. Yet in the meantime, calm is restored as Lamar swears Peggy and Teddy to secrecy and calls the federal auditors off their trail. During the mayoral debate, Coleman coolly points out that Teddy only "inherits money and then wastes it." He calls him a product of privilege who needs bailing out, equating his character to that of his father's. This is the first mention we have of Teddy's father in the show, but this comment seems to hit quite a nerve. While Lamar assures him Teddy is unlike his father, Teddy's business decisions and tactics to solve the problem are less than admirable. Teddy's attempts (and failures) to be his own man and a business success so far in Season One seem to be part of a larger inability to find himself and solve his own problems. The final scene of the episode is Teddy and Peggy meeting outside the Nashville airport to touch base after Lamar's intervention. Unfortunately for them, there is a cameraman (Paparazzo? Opposition researcher? Reporter?) watching their conversation. If a picture is worth a thousand words, their huddled body language and light touches caught on camera will be a big story in no time. I love a political scandal and a good financial scandal, and its finally confirmed Teddy will have them both. It may be schadenfreude, but I am excited to watch his grand plan devolve in the weeks to come.

I continue to be bored with the Scarlett, Gunnar, and Avery storyline. Yes, their storyline played into the larger theme of the episode, as Avery's own pride, jealously, and insecurity boil up during the demo and sabotage him, his girlfriend, and her writing partner. But the whole thing could be spotted from a mile away. Scarlett and Avery's chemistry as a couple is nonexistent (Retta Sirleaf, the hilarious actress more popularly known as Donna from Parks and Recreation was equally unimpressed). While I understand Scarlett is supposed to be a little bit of a doormat who eventually finds her voice to stand up for herself and leave Avery, I just wish the show would get there already. It dangerously toes the line between daytime soap and primetime drama. I think this story line, as it stands now, is the weakest point on Nashville. It is too far removed from the Rayna and Juliette's plots and the characters are falling too flat now to serve as effective foils for the bigger picture.

This week, I enjoyed learning more about what makes Deacon, Juliette, Rayna, and Teddy tick. All are trying to break free from their past and move forward, but cannot do so before making amends with the weaknesses that have betrayed them before. There were fewer wisecracks or jabs on this week's episode, but this was OK given the subject matter. This episode was an investment. It is fascinating to watch the daily, small struggles the characters face. It will only make their future successes and failures that much more gratifying (for the audience, at least).

Grade: B-

Sidenotes:

-I give Juliette and Rayna's plots an A- each, but Scarlett a C, which drage the grade down.

-Lawyers! We don't actually see them but Rayna's manager alludes to Deacon's lawyer is putting up a fight on his behalf over the lyrics. It is not quite Ari Gold, but I always get excited when I see something tangentially related to my future career look cool on TV.

-Deacon sings! I really enjoyed his song at the Bluebird this week. He has a voice like (country crock) butter.

-Speaking of singing, can we please have Rayna's daughters back?!

-The only two Jolene's I know on TV (or in real life, for that matter) are Juliette's mother here and Sam Merlotte's mother on True Blood. Each woman has a lot of demons and abuses their children. I apologize for all the women out there who are really named Jolene and don't hurt their children for the bad rap.

-Gunnar tells Hailey he wants to "get complicated" then proceeds to whisk her into a writing room for an alternate delight. Alternate titles I've made for this scene: "Rawr." or, "How Gunnar Got His Groove Back".

-I could write a whole review on my "The Homes of Nashville" envy.

-Thank you, Callie Khouri and the rest of the team for allowing me to let out my inner psychologist each week analyzing these characters!
Tags: Nashville
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