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Nashville - Episode 2.21 - All or Nothing with Me - Review




There was so much going on in this week's episode of Nashville, including plenty of trouble for most of our characters.  However, there were also some glimmers of redemption that were very touching.  Here's what went down and what I thought!

Juliette and Avery - This is just breaking my heart.  Juliette's shower scene where she felt all the regret of having slept with Jeff just crashing down on her was perfectly portrayed in its wrenching misery by Hayden Panettiere.  And of course - of course - as soon as Juliette had done her worst, lashing out in desperation after fearing that Avery still loved Scarlett - Avery turned right back around and apologized, reconfirming that he loves Juliette.  Worse still, Jeff took advantage of his quick tryst with Juliette to harass her and try to blackmail her back onto his record label.  As terrible as it will be to reveal the truth to Avery, I think it's better that Juliette just rips that bandaid rather than allowing Jeff to have any control over her life.  Avery's bound to find out anyway, and I am really hoping their relationship can survive the revelation, though it'll be a bumpy road.

Gunnar and Zoey basically spent the episode assisting with other characters' problems, though Zoey did also have the development of a job singing backup for Juliette.  Guess that further delays the reunion of her band with Gunnar and Avery.  I thought the three of them were awesome together, but oh, well.

I thought this exchange regarding Gunnar's seeing Juliette and Jeff together at last week's party was hilarious:

Zoey: "So they watched a movie?"
Gunnar: "Yeah, and it was NC-17 and they were both starring in it!"

First of all, Zoey, that was seriously some Layla-level naivet√© you were displaying in that scene.  Secondly, not only did this inject some much needed humor into a bleak situation, but I enjoyed seeing Gunnar try and do the right thing in such a difficult scenario.  As we have seen before with Will, Gunnar is often placed as the still point in someone else's storm of issues.  He did try and tell Avery the truth, but was stopped by Zoey and just ended up saying that Juliette seemed lost without Avery (so true).  It bears saying again, what a mess!
The Will and Layla plotline, unfortunately, is starting to get a bit tiresome.  It took Will about five seconds into filming the reality show to realize what a strain it was going to put on him due to his lies and double life.  This led to him initiating a dalliance with a personal trainer he met earlier in the episode.  Sadly, I can't fully sympathize with him when he keeps pulling poor Layla down with him.  I'd really like to see less repetition and more strides forward in this part of the show.  Since next week is the season finale, I hope Layla finds out the truth instead of continuing to be strung along by Will.

Scarlett tried to go back to being a waitress at the Bluebird, and it was really awkward.  She doesn't seem to have an identity she can latch onto right now, if she's not a recording artist or a waitress...I think the real problem is, while caught between her personas of girl next door and burgeoning superstar, Scarlett has lost sight of what was in there all along: her talent as a singer and songwriter.  Whatever the context, I think she needs to embrace her artistry and express it again in some way.  Scarlett told Zoey she was planning to leave Nashville, so we'll see what happens with that whole idea next week.

Rayna, Deacon, and Luke - This was the best part of the episode for me, mostly because the Juliette part of the hour made me want to run and hide.  But here, we had some wonderful development with Deacon as he spent some time with Maddie and came to understand the enormity of a few aspects in his relationship with his daughter and Rayna.  Naturally, Deacon's series of highly significant breakthroughs with regard to everything he's held against Rayna (and a lot that's stood between them) happened right around the time Luke returned after being injured in Afghanistan trying to perform for the troops.  Luke arranged a huge outdoor concert for the troops back home, enlisting Rayna to take the stage, and even eventually coming to understand Juliette a little better, performing with her in a really nice scene.  "Don't Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet" never gets old!  But anyway, what with Luke being all heroic and romantic, Rayna was quick to reciprocate his confession of love.
I guess perhaps my instincts were wrong all season, because I was fairly sure Luke was going to turn out to be creepy.  Now, he just seems genuine, and like a stand-up guy who's there for Rayna in the ways she really needs.  But Rayna was powerfully effected by Deacon's speech to her at the concert, saying he not only understands why she lied to him so long about Maddie's paternity, but also that he's grateful to her for doing it.  Deacon comprehends now that Rayna was protecting Maddie from the man he was back then.  This whole step on his part shows the man that Deacon has finally become, someone embracing redemption and finally appreciating everything in life he took for granted or lost out on, in a bittersweet blend of love and sadness.  We saw wonderful work, as always, from Charles Esten in this episode.  It was also quite poignant to hear Teddy tell Deacon the story of the night Maddie was born, and how he felt the first time he held her.
Connie Britton did a great job of showing how Rayna tried to avoid having a deep conversation with Deacon right then, since she is trying so hard to just enjoy what she has with Luke, and to move on instead of dealing with things from the past that are too painful.  This is a beyond-complex mixture of emotions. But one thing I love about Deacon, even though it can be a little selfish sometimes, is that he doesn't back down in moments like this.  Rayna needed to hear what he said, and this positions them quite intriguingly in their relationship going into the finale.  From the preview, not surprisingly, we can see that Luke wants to take another step forward with Rayna...and says so in a very public way.  But Deacon seems to be ready to make a move on Rayna again, at long last!  Wow, I can't wait to see what's going to happen.  

What did you think of this week's episode?  What do you hope happens in the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments!



About the Author - Virginia Mae Fontana
Virginia is happy to be reviewing The Vampire Diaries, Hart of Dixie, Nashville, Beauty and the Beast, Elementary, Witches of East End, Covert Affairs, and Continuum for Spoiler TV. She is a college English instructor and enjoys obsessing over films and pop music - in addition to tv shows, of course! You can find her blog, SugarRushed, at http://virginiamaeblog.blogspot.com/ and her Twitter handle is @SugarRushedBlog


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