Nashville: Dear Brother Season 1 Episode 14 Review

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A surprise party, a nasty tabloid scandal, and a loaded gun are all thrown into the mix of tonight’s eventful episode of Nashville.

Things pick up right where they left off last week, with Rayna confronting Teddy about his relationship with Peggy.  The two have a fine little argument, but unfortunately this is the calm before the storm. Their divorce is made public knowledge all too quickly.  A vicious tabloid article becomes the talk of town, and forces Rayna to be on the defensive as paparazzi stalk her every move.  Scenes like these are often made out to be glamorous and exciting, but all I could think when a camera was shoved directly in Rayna’s face was how invasive it was.

It was nice to see that Rayna could find comfort in her family.  Her sister Tandy shared a few conversations with her that felt like wholly authentic sibling banter.  Furthermore, her father shows some surprising support and tells her she has nothing to be ashamed of.  I’m not really too trusting of these two, because it’s hard to see where their loyalties lie, but it was touching to see them rally around Rayna in her time of need.  Perhaps something good will come out of this mess after all.

Meanwhile, Juliette plans a surprise birthday party for Deacon that has both good and bad results.  The party itself is a success, and features several cameos from rock and country music greats such as Vince Gill, Pam Tillis, Kate York, Kip Moore, and The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.  And Scarlett and Gunnar perform another excellent musical number (seriously, their plotlines might be juvenile but I will be first in line to buy their duet album).  On the downside, someone was dumb enough to give Jolene a glass of champagne and it of course spirals into a full-on relapse.  Juliette takes her home to sober up and has a very dark conversation with her recovery counselor in which she admits that she briefly wished for her mother’s death when she ruined her 9th birthday party.  These two have a lot of pain between them, but it’s fascinating to watch their journey.

The drama between Gunnar and his brother came to an abrupt end tonight.  After finding the gun his brother was hiding, Gunnar confronts him, throws it into the river, and kicks him out of the house.  He later learns that his brother was beaten to death in a parking lot.  It’s a little strange that this shocking story was dealt with in a such a minor way, but I didn’t mind because this saga wasn’t one of favorite my favorites.  The real oddity, is Scarlett’s bizarre reaction to the news.  She ends up having a tear-filled hookup with Gunnar back at their place.  I guess death turns her on a little?  Like I said, it’s weird.

Oh, by the way, Avery is in the episode for a total of 2 minutes and isn’t allowed into Deacon’s party.  I laughed.

The best moment of the night, however, occurs back at the Blue Bird when Rayna gets up to perform a song.  It’s a hauntingly beautiful number called “Stronger than Me” and it was played in the background of a montage that wonderfully showed where each of the characters were emotionally at that point.  It’s followed by an equally heartwarming conversation between Deacon and Rayna where she promises to “do right” by him.  These two are so great together, I can’t wait to see more.

Tonight’s Nashville certainly had a lot going on, and the show once again displayed it’s knack for feeling real amidst all the larger than life drama.  Unfortunately the series is going on hiatus for a few weeks, but this episode had more than enough to hold us over.  Bonus points for all the Old Yeller references.  Grade: A-

By Mike Papirmeister

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