Nashville 3.12- ‘I’ve Got Reasons to Hate You’: Real Life

If I’m being completely honest, ‘I’ve Got Reasons to Hate You’ wasn’t my favorite episode of the season since it felt like a filler episode where there’s too much repetition of stuff there were already discussed at length. Having said that, beside the great music, the joy of watching the differences in management styles between Rayna and Jeff, and Juliette’s caramel cookies, there were few great family moments in Deacon’s household and in Rayna’s that were not only very poignant and beautifully acted but also very helpful to better understand the characters and the situation they’re in. So here are three thoughts about Deacon’s illness, Rayna’s parenting choices and the worst family member around – Beverly O’Connor. 

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1. It’s My Disease – that’s what Deacon told Scarlett after he realized she invited Beverly in an attempt to find him a liver donor. Technically he’s right – it’s his disease since he’s the one who’s sick. But he’s also wrong since he’s not alone in thisNashille-312-Deacon-MyDisease world and has people who for them his battle is also their own.

His insistence that it’s his disease shows us that he has come a long way but still need some work on his martyr complex.

Deacon takes responsibility for everything he has ever done or thought of doing and doesn’t stop there. He also takes upon himself the all the blame and the shame. Moreover, Deacon is so noble that he believes it’s his duty to fix things on his own and keep it to himself so he won’t become a burden or hurt others with his “imperfection”.

The problem is that in reality this type of behavior achieves the exact opposite – it hurts the people he loves the most if by pushing them away or by putting an unbelievable pressure on those that manage to stay close (like Scarlett now) since on top of the difficulty of the situation itself they also feel helpless and very lonely.

Deacon didn’t have to think twice before taking full and sole ownership on his disease – it’s his default. It’s also a reminder that Deacon has been sick for many years, only that the name of that disease wasn’t cancer but alcoholism so this type of behavior is hardly new. Watching the pressure Scarlett is under now, can give us a glimpse about what it has been like for Rayna in the past.

The way Deacon is coping with cancer now is an opportunity for him to do things right this time. Meaning not hurt the ones he loves just because he’s so hurt and scared inside and by that also deny himself what every person with any serious illness needs the most – a support system.

Nashville-312-DeaconHis martyr complex didn’t help him get better in the past. It also broke the person he loves the most, Rayna in such a way that until this day her first thought when he disappears is that he has escape again instead of worrying that something is wrong.

Deacon is older, wiser and much stronger now. He more than earned a second chance in life and he has so much to lose. The only way he’ll be able to get through it all is by letting people in and sharing the burden. So no Deacon, it’s not just your disease.

Related: The Nashville Characters Defense – Deacon Claybourne: A Perfect Mess

2. We Were Once Friends – If you’re human, there’s a 99% chance you found yourself at least once in a situation where you’re asking yourself how is it possible that you and a certain family member you don’t particularly like are related?

If your name is Deacon Claybourne or Scarlett O’Connor and you’re related to Beverly O’Connor, you probably asked yourself this question more than once.

Judging by Beverly’s behavior so far, it really is hard to believe that the gentle and kind Deacon and Scarlett are related to such bitter and unloving person.

But as we found out during the episode it wasn’t always like that. Beverly and Deacon were once friends and even the family theme song, as sang in Deacon’s kitchen was “A Friend of Mine”.

So what changed? One answer is the Beverly is the spawn of the devil…but we’ll disregard that possibility now (until proven otherwise). Another answer is that a combination of some bad choices, fear and a nervous breakdown that gradually changed her and made her the woman she is today because choices actions matter and patterns of bad choices and actions create a character.

Although this answer makes sense it still doesn’t explain why the same thing hasn’t happened to Deacon and Scarlett.

Going back to the song this “happy” family sang in the kitchen, I believe that music is the answer. Deacon and Scarlett chose music as a way of living where Beverly gave that up and that made a difference.

Music certainly didn’t make life easier for either Deacon or Scarlett but it kept their heart open. It brought them to a city with like-minded people, gave them an outlet for their thoughts and feelings, helped them connect with others and in many ways kept them sane.

So looking at Beverly the way she is now, is also like looking at Deacon and Scarlett if they didn’t have music in their lives. It’s no wonder then, that both Deacon and Scarlett were “tested” in that field – Deacon after the accident and Scarlett after her breakdown. They both got to a point where giving up on music was an real possibility. For them, not giving up on music was like not giving up on themselves. It was like choosing not to be Beverly.

3. This Is Real Life –What do you tell your teenage daughter when her recovered alcoholic father that she only recently established a relationship with suddenly disappears? How do you handle this situation when you know she’s not a child anymore and you watch constantly trying to pushing boundaries and demanding to be treated like an adult? What do you do when your daughter is Maddie Conrad and she’s a sensitive, observant, and honest girl who also demands answers? What can I say? It’s a tough one and that’s exactly what Rayna had to face and she did it in a time where she and Deacon were “giving each other space”.

Related: Nashville Review 3X11- ‘I’m Not That Good at Goodbye’: It’s About Time 

Last season after Maddie asked to see Deacon, Rayna went and talked to him about it. He was worried about his recovery and about whether he has something to bring to the table (martyr complex, remember?) but Rayna expressed different types of concerns. All she cared about was his ability to be dependable and made it clear that the condition for opening this door with Maddie is that he won’t disappear and close it on her. Back then Deacon stepped up. At first it was through music lessons under the supervision of Rayna and Teddy but gradually it evolved to a real father-daughter relationship. Now, when that door is now wide open their relationship reached their first real hurdle with his disappearance and that’s EXACTLY what Rayna feared of. The question is what does helping and protecting your child mean in this type of situation? Rayna had several options.

The first is continuing the pattern of solving the situation for her without her knowledge. For Maddie, that would be the preferable option since she’ll get exactly what she wanted. But that’s also not real – that’s just more lies and while it was understandable and even necessary when she was a little girl, but she’s not anymore.

Another option is throwing Deacon under a bus and letting out all her frustrations. Meaning, she could have just goa head and say Deacon is not a dependable person in general. That approach (that too many parents use even without noticing) would have eventually probably led her to say something like “you’re just like your father” next time she’ll fight with her and use it as an insult. Dependable or not, Deacon doesn’t deserve to be demonized and Maddie doesn’t deserve to hate her dad and herself.

But there was a third option which is to be open and honest and that’s exactly what Rayna chose to do. At first she did try to protect Maddie, not by reaching out to Deacon but by trying to buy him time to do the right thing by offering a substituted Guitar teacher, Colin Linden (the real life Deacon Claybourne and the man behind Deacon’s guitar sound).

Then, when it didn’t work and she was cornered by Maddie to open up and give her honest and real answers, Rayna chose to change. No more deciding for Maddie what’s best for her, but instead listening, sharing and explaining the best she can out of a place of love and not resentment and disappointment.

Rayna explained to Maddie what alcoholic means in a relationship and shared something from their (hers and Deacons) relationship to give it context.

Nashville-312-Rayna-Maddie-Talk2

It is not easy feeling so disappointed by your father, it’s not easy watching your mother hurting and it’s easy hearing your father is not perfect but this is part of life, and Rayna soften the blow. She let Maddie in by offering her to write a song together and left the door wide open for Deacon to come back into Maddie’s life by helping her understand the situation and him better. Yes, she’s still mad and it’s her every right to be she doesn’t hate her father, doesn’t think in any way that it’s her fault and most importantly, she’s not alone with it.

Rayna’s choice was to respect Maddie. She treated her as an adult and not as a little child. That brought both of them closer together in a situation where is so easy to grow apart and it also left a door open for Deacon. This option is the most difficult one of the three because it’s the most honest and because it requires both parties to make a real effort to communicate but it’s the best one. I don’t know what prompted that change in the usually very closed off and private Rayna. It’s hard doing it but as the song goes this is real life.

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7 comments

  1. Nice observations. I’m undecided on this one. I didn’t find Rayna’s choice in how to handle Maddie unreasonable– I figure the show was trying to say this was a problem with Deacon in the past and so now it’s perceived to be a problem in the present. However, I don’t think all of this falls on Deacon’s shoulders for being a ‘martyr.’ He can’t tell Maddie about his illness without telling Rayna and there’s part of me that can’t blame Deacon for not telilng Rayna yet about his illness. First, on the day of the wedding, she was a mess and probably couldn’t have handled hearing any more bad news. So how could he have told her then? She might seriously have had a nervous breakdown. Second, it might be smart to give her a little time to sort things out before telllng her– not because he’s a martyr, but because that’s what she asked for, and he’ll want to know if she believes in their relationship for real, not out of sympathy or fear of his illness. I also can’t blame him for just wishing he could have a little more good news before dropping the bomb on Maddie. I mean, that’s normal. But at this point, if he doesn’t tell R & M soon, then he is being a martyr. I’m just not sure it’s fair to put this all on him this time. If Rayna hadn’t put herself and her family into such a complete tailspin, they could’ve all been dealing with this together already. Just my take :).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, thanks for the comnent and I agree with what you say 🙂
      I don’t blame Deacon but I do think he blames himself and it makes it harder on him and subsequently on his loved ones. He’s trying to be better and sort this stuff out and it’s normal but also a whole lot harder. In this episode Deacon (as always) tried to do his best but to me it emphasized where he gets stuck. He’s not just trying to be better and understanding but almost a saint when he really NEEDS help and love and support.
      Rayna is going through her own journey but right now it shouldn’t matter to him-at least not as much. Yes, it’s possible with the state she’s at she’ll get a nervous breakdown but it’s more likely she won’t 🙂
      The entire epidode with the magic of editing they jumped from Rayna to Deacon and at the end all you could think of was “They just need to be at the same house together”…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! Yes, I definitely agree on Deacon’s decease. He thinks it is his, he is at fault and he needs to deal with it himself. But it isn’t. It is Scarlett’s too! They have come so close this last season and a half and I love it. He has to understand that this is her decease too now, and she is so alone right now! Loved what you said about their decision to continue with music is to not become Beverly, yes, that seems like a very good reason.

    For Rayna Deacon of course is always an alcoholic, that I understand. Still I was somewhat surprised that that was the first she was thinking when he cancelled the guitar lessons. But I get it, those scars that are deep. I still did enjoy very much enjoy how she did treat Maddie as an adult, and that deciding to write a song with her was the confirmation of that.

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    • She is! So alone!! I really feel for Scarlett and hope to god (or in our case the writers) she will soon get out of the house, do something for herself and also get the love and support she needs.
      As for Rayna, the beauty of the situation and the sadness in it is that she knows EXACTLY who Deacon is for better and worse and loves him just as he is. I think that her conversation with Maddie was the first step of letting him into her life as well because once they’ll be together there will be no where to hide. Maddie will see it for herself.

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      • I think though that if shoes were on the other foot, Deacon would know something was up with Rayna. Rayna hasn’t seemed to notice that Deacon had very good reason to ‘escape’ ever since she’d been with LUke, but he never did, so why would he avoid Maddie now? I think there are good aspects of Deacon’s personality that Rayna hasn’t been able to get to know since he’s been sober. It will be fun to see them get to know each other again. 🙂 And yes, poor Scarlett!! She needs a new best friend!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, I agree. Rayna currently doesn’t know Deacon as we do. It will sure be wonderful to see them together again and getting to know each other again the way they are now. They have this huge love but it’s mostly made of old memories…

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  3. Is there a way I could get the exact lines that Rayna uses when she explains about the isolating tendencies of alcoholics? I absolutely loved that scene. I felt that the whole episode drew strongly from the traditions of AA and AlAnon. I would love to see the show carryon shining a spotlight on that resource for alcoholics and their families.

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