"Moving on." That phrase gets so much into two words – the sadness of it foremost, but also a certain defiance, and the unexpected sweetness it can bring. That's what's good about "Nashville"; the show uses country-song episode titles that feel too neat initially, but then it gets so much nuance into the hour.
Juliette's mother Jolene heading to rehab, for instance. She has mixed feelings about going, and counters Deacon's every argument with "I've tried it before" and "I don't need it," but he knows firsthand what she's really afraid of – the misery she knows, she knows, and what if she gets clean and she's still wretched? She fights it to the last round of powder, wailing that Juliette can't make her go, slapping her daughter across the face, but as Jolene's eventually submitting, racked by shame, a dozen emotions flicker across the face Juliette's trying to keep stony. What if rehab doesn't bring her mother back to her?
Friends don't let friends beat up barflies
Juliette acts like she's ready to start fresh – she breaks her two-year lease to move to a sweet modern house with a pool – but she's gotten used to not trusting people, to assuming they want something from her, and it's hard for her to move into a straight-up friendship with Deacon. After he helps her get Jolene into treatment, she tries to make out with him, the only intimate currency she thinks she has; he has to point out that friends can just say thank you. (Or pick each other up from jail when they get in fistfights with hecklers, which comes in handy for Deacon later in the ep when he scuffles with a jackwagon at the Bluebird.)
Scarlett's realizing that she may have to move on, too, when she and Gunnar do a demo try-out for a producer, and bring in Avery as the extra guitar the label asked for. …Well, "bring in" – Avery hints pretty hard for the gig, and Scarlett leaps at the chance to put him on equal footing with herself. Asked only to play what's on the sheet, Avery grandstands with the bridge, and a fed-up Gunnar thinks it's because he and Scarlett sang the song while gazing into each other's eyes: "It's acting, you idiot. We're trying to sell a love song!" Avery probably just wanted someone at the label to notice his sweet chops, but the demo gets turned down – because of his intrusive guitar. Scarlett confronts him about not wanting her to move on: "It wasn't your big shot; it was ours, and you screwed it up because you're jealous." Avery is taken aback, and apologizes; it's one of the little gifts of the Avery character that he seems as flummoxed by his own envy as he's making everyone else, and he murmurs, "I just want us to be who we've always been." "You mean me writing poems and keeping to myself," Scarlett says, and boom, you feel sad for them both.
(You also feel kind of sad for Gunnar; Scarlett tells him again that she's with Avery and she and Gunnar are songwriting partners, period, and Gunnar's genuinely fine with that, because he's convinced Hayley to have an actual relationship with him instead of keeping things "not complicated." But we have a feeling Hayley is a complication all her own and Gunnar's just not seeing it.)
Teddy's trying to move on from the screwed-up Cumberland deal, but the IRS isn't letting him. Facing cash-flow problems, he floated himself some money from the credit union with Peggy's help. (We think. We majored in poetry, not bank fraud.) They paid back the money they borrowed, but it's still embezzlement, and the audit isn't just going to go away. Apparently Peggy has not met Lamar, who hears Teddy out on the problem and says he'll take care of it, but you don't just "move on from" a federal investigation, and Peggy may not have moved on from her feelings for Teddy, either; it's unclear whether they actually Did It, although Teddy admits that Peggy "may have" wanted to.
Sins of the father(-in-law)
Teddy spends most of the episode trying to untangle himself from his past – the "loan" he took from the Cumberland project; the wealthy but checkered family he comes from, alluded to pointedly by Coleman during their debate – but he's holding on pretty hard to the idea that Rayna and Deacon are still involved. Teddy's gotten used to feeling invisible, and the idea that he has Deacon to blame instead of himself lets him justify his alliance with a father-in-law his wife hates; Rayna doesn't point any of that out when denying that she's slept with Deacon and telling Teddy that he needs to leave the past in the past. But the past…isn't that past.
It's super-frosty between her and Deacon – she's forced to hack one of their songs to do a cosmetics commercial, thanks to the cancelled tour, but Deacon has no sympathy and won't sign off on the lyrics changes. (Rayna's actually Deacon's first collect call from jail; she declines the charges, then stares into space, in the dark.) On top of that, Rayna needs a new songwriting partner and guitarist, and at the beginning of the episode, she seems paralyzed, but she decides to try writing a song herself. It turns out great, surprising Rayna most of all, and as the episode ends, Deacon cedes control of the song lyrics, so maybe he's ready to move on from his anger – but Rayna's about to get a decidedly less awesome surprise, as we see a P.I. snapping pictures of Teddy and Peggy meeting to discuss the Amazing Vanishing Auditors.
So you can move on from the past, but you carry a piece with you, sometimes. Deacon snagged a bottle of pills from Jolene as she was going into rehab – but held onto it overnight, counting the pills over and over before handing them over to Coleman. Rayna didn't do anything untoward with Deacon – but she did consider it, and one of her daughters may be living proof that she more than considered it, years ago. Lamar assures Teddy that he won't become his father – but his father's past may sink Teddy anyway. And Scarlett tells Avery, "I always choose you, every time," but the time when he chooses her, this her, may already have passed.
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