Nashville: “Take These Chains from My Heart” Season 1 Episode 18 Review

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If there’s one thing I’ve gleaned from tonight’s Nashville, it’s this: trust no one.

In an episode that started rather ordinarily, it’s amazing where we were left off at the end of the hour.  For a show that seems to be constantly on hiatus, Nashville sure knows how to make a comeback.

At first, everything was at peace in Music City.  Juliette and Dante decide to buy a house together, Lamar moves back into his home from the hospital, and Rayna and Deacon seem to be getting along like old pals.  Unfortunately, with everyone having some time off from the tour, there’s more time for trouble to stir.

I’ll start with Juliette, who appeared to be letting her new beau get the best of her.  Not that Juliette was ever a charming angel, but she was especially mean to those around her with Dante by her side.  Aside from arguing with Deacon, her real problems arise when she has to deal with her mother.  Juliette believes Jolene is using again as her behavior becomes increasingly erratic.  When Dante pulls a bag of pills out of her purse, it doesn’t exactly help her case.  Juliette is upset, but not as upset as she is when she realizes that Dante planted the pills there and ran off with a huge chunk of her money.  Though it was always pretty clear that Dante had an ulterior motive, it was sad to see her suffer from yet another tumultuous relationship.  Hayden Panettiere gave another great performance this week as she once again walled herself up with steely resolve.

Conversely, it was Rayna and Deacon, who are usually pretty levelheaded, who were the untrustworthy ones this week.  While Deacon seemed to be having a fine time with his girlfriend Stacey, Rayna decided to pick things up with Liam again.  Of course, this doesn’t last long.  Deacon finally admits that he can’t fight his true feelings for Rayna, no matter how hard he tries to get away from them.  The way this show deals with the two of them is incredible.  You can feel how hard it is for each of them to move on from each other.  In an excellent final scene, Rayna knocks on his door to tell him she still has feelings for him as well.  “Are you trying to kill me?” Deacon asks.  Cue the steamy love sequence.  In the wrong hands, the whole thing could have come off a little cheesy.  But, after watching their back-and-forth each week, it was ultimately very satisfying.  Connie Britton and Charles Esten really sell it.

Further betrayals ensue in the surprisingly exciting B-plots this week.  Teddy completely cuts off Lamar after finding out about Peggy.  In turn, Lamar lashes out at Tandy for being a bad businesswoman and an even worse daughter.  Then, Tandy teams up with Coleman and tells him he should look into Teddy’s old Cumberland Deal if he ever needs any ammo against him.  It’s all a wonderful cycle of perpetual backtstabbing.

Scarlett doesn’t do much this week, although her getting friendly with Avery again doesn’t seem like it can lead anywhere good.  Avery seems to be turning himself around, but I still don’t trust him.  Even if he did play Jesse is Tuck Everlasting (thanks IMDb!).  On Gunnar’s end, he finds new musical inspiration from both his late brother’s notebook and Will’s lessons on how to have stage swagger.  Things get more than a little awkward when he opens up to Will and then Will makes a move on him.  I have to say, the show subtly hinted at this quite well.  Will doesn’t exactly fit the gay stereotype, but their buddy-buddy friendship always seemed a little off to me.

All in all, this was quite an eventful night for Nashville.  As the show heads towards the end of its freshman season, things seem to really be picking up.  Looking back, the show’s more slowly paced episodes seem a lot more strategic than I gave them credit for.  It was all buildup, and now that the action is kicking into high-gear I can’t wait to see what happens next.  Grade: A-

By Mike Papirmeister

 

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