‘Nashville’ finally returned last week to CMT with 2 hours’ premiere. For the past few years, Tora Liliedahl and I talk after every Nashville episode. We wanted to celebrate Nashville’s return, but since each one of use lives in a different country, an actual party wasn’t an option. Instead we decided to publish and share with you our recent conversation. Apparently, we talk a lot and the interesting thing there were still many issues we didn’t discuss. Well, it was a 2 hours and they’re been gone for over 6 months.
New pace, Longer Scenes, Realistic Stories and Siblings
Shira: So, was it worth the wait for you?
Tora: Yes! But as soon as the show started it was like it was yesterday we said goodbye last time. We’re so familiar with these characters now, it just felt like the most natural thing. What about you?
Shira: Overall thoroughly enjoyed it, even more during the rewatch. The slow pace and longer deeper scenes were a breath of fresh air.
Did feel though there was something more formulated in the way it’s structured. They moved from full-on Soap Opera to minimalist drama. I think the tension between the two genres is one of the things that made the show unique. Having rich characters get out of their comfort zone in extreme ways creates interesting things. It’s just hard to maintain balance and the show wasn’t always good with that. Still, do hope going forward they’ll keep some of it.
Tora: Think they have succeeded with the slower pace. A lot of story got told. And they got my tears. One thing I particularly liked was all the living room scenes thanks to “slice of life” feeling I got. With the Maddie and Daphne Story, felt like we were eavesdropping.
The fact that Gunnar was there even if he had nothing to do was great too. Realistic.
Shira: Yes, loved it too. Loved Gunnar and the proof we finally got Scarlett is really their cousin…
The Scarlett and Maddie scene was on-point. It was nice to see how they communicate (and a reminder of how better the story would’ve been last season if Maddie’s new older songwriter friend was Scarlett instead of Cash) but also a nice shout-out to the Nashville songwriters’ community. Talking about artistic collaboration is so Nashville, the city.
Tora: I love the sibling relationship. It rings so true with the two sisters being constantly at odds. This already started before and I kind of wish it will continue. It’s possible to be best of friends one day and wanting distance the next. It’s perfect when watching with my girls. We discuss it later.
Still, hope to see more of Maddie and Daphne, working out how to be individuals, not just the Conrad sisters, while still work together.
Shira: For sure. I am curious though about the way they’ll address Maddie because in this episode they focused more on the sisters. It seemed that Maddie was so thankful for her parents she regressed and basically stalked her mom out singing. They will need to address the decisions she made.
Rayna’s existential Crisis, Rayna and Deacon, Highway 65 and ‘Already Gone’
Shira: One character that especially benefited from the slower pace and longer scene is, I believe, Rayna. We lacked an insight into her inner world since the second season.
Tora: Yes. She has just been moving on. Never let anyone know what she feels, maybe not herself either. It’s time for a midlife crisis. I don’t think It’s a change of character, but a perfectly normal reaction. And also, that just because you have a great relationship, family and home life doesn’t mean you feel content and everything is perfect. Maybe that is when you have time to think and feel.
Shira: Yes, agree. It felt very organic to me. She is going through now what she probably wanted but couldn’t after her accident since she had too much stuff thrown at her. When you think about it, she hasn’t been recording since then. She completed the album after the accident but wrote it before. Deacon went through that whole journey after but she focused on pulling herself together and getting back on track. She wanted to gain control over her life and now, as you say, when she has it…. the tough questions surface.
Tora: Longer scenes and slower pace also got us much smoochy Deyna of course which was also nice. Loved that they honor the past by having Deacon show up at the hotel.
Shira: Yes, for once they felt intimate and sexy – not sad and plain exhausted.
Tora: “It’s your world, baby! I’m just living in it.” My favorite line for sure in this ep. Deacon’s got to find his own thing and I love this element about exploring twosomeness.
Shira: Yes, he does!! Finally, there was a real honest exploration of their relationship. Objectively it’s challenging living with someone that strong, charismatic and dominant whether it’s a male or a female. But usually when we see this kind of dynamic, especially when the woman is the dominant party, it turns into a power struggle (or the woman at one point becomes a doormat). Not here and it was beautiful!
Tora: Need to rewatch.
Shira: What did you think about the new guy Zach? Or should we say, the potential stalker.
Tora: He appeared quite cute. But they usually are at first, right. I was more focused on Rayna and her performance, feeling out-of-place.
Shira: Using ‘Already Gone’ was a smart decision. It set her on a journey on the pilot and now again, in the “Nashville reboot.” Only then it symbolized her glory days and now it shows the distance between who she is and the world, how it’s still her truth but no one is listening. Very Nashville way to remind her what she’s made of and how brave she once was….and still is.
Tora: Yes, it was, and as you said, no one was listening. And the fact that she didn’t try to engage and make the listen either.
I also loved the Highway 65 stuff, which is the Rayna stuff. That Rayna finally understands or dares to do things that are not obviously commercial but what feels true, and that Bucky’s not on board. Rayna’s had a vision, but not really worked towards it. Not really knowing what foot to stand on.
It feels like there will be no problem keeping the couples together, but still have a lot of issues to deal with.
The first hour: Rayna and Juliette, Deacon and Avery
Shira: During the first hour, what did you think about Deacon, Avery? Didn’t they just settle in perfectly to the wives/girlfriends slots? Or did you see something else there? I loved they gave room for Rayna and Juliette stories and just as part of couple. The stories were about them individually and the men supported that.
Tora: They sure fitted that perfectly. Was just thinking about Avery. So supportive. And Deacon too for sure. It was the women’s story.
Shira: We basically got a full hour almost entirely dedicated Rayna and Juliette. That didn’t happen probably…. ever? And I loved their hospital scene!
Juliette, Javery and Being Saved by Angels
Shira: There wasn’t a lot of them during the second hour but I loved Avery! The beauty of his character, I think, is he doesn’t need to see I to eye with people in order to love or understand them. He makes a true effort and even dare to argue and question (but in a nondestructive way, unlike Deacon) to truly be there for the other person. He really knows how to love and this episode was a beautiful example. Now we need to also get him a life before like Emily, he will be completely reduced from a working professional to a babysitter. A balance will be great.
Tora: True about Avery! Also, loved that little scene with Avery when feeding Cadence. How the smallest thing, like Avery sweetly mentioning and demonstrating the airplane method to get her to eat, just turned into something sad.
Speaking about Juliette, seeing her the first time was brutal. And at the end when she saw her angel, I shivered. I love those sorts of things.
Shira: It was brutal but got to say, the angel thing did the opposite to me, I didn’t really like it. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see Juliette grow but not if they’re going where I think they are with all the religious imagery, it’s not how I wish to see her do it. She already had this whole season 2 arc of being misquoted as denying god. So, showing growth through religion feels too simplistic for her specific character. Really hope they’re not going in the direction of redeeming yet another female by turning her into a Saint (and by that indicating she was a sinner).
Personal growth and spiritual journeys, not to mention survivors guilt, are very real things and I understand this “godly” story is rooted in southern mythology and a way to incorporate another musical genre, like gospel, into the show. But it still wish they would find another way.
Tora: I was not that into the Juliette story but to me it feels logic. And the angel thing was a bit of a cliché, but it didn’t stop me from the shivering.
I too hope it takes a surprising turn, cause otherwise it will be a snooze. I also don’t think she will ever be redeemed. But I think that she maybe imagines it to be the answer at first.
Shira: That’s exactly the point. I don’t think she needs to be redeemed. Don’t think she’s bad or broken. IF anything, think she’s an addict.
Tora: No, Of course she not bad or broken. And cannot religion be her new addiction? Not something that will “save” her, but another drug.
Shira: Haven’t thought about it. That could be an interesting story. If there’s one character I can see going overboard with a new interests and passions – that’s Juliette!
Tora: Exactly! Cause she goes all in!
And Just regarding the shivering moment. I don’t think it was only from Juliette’s point of view. It was actually also from the “angel’s. Having Juliette show up. Just thought about that.
Shira: Not sure I follow.
Tora: Not so important. Just for me it was not about Juliette finding her. I related to somehow to her suddenly having Juliette showing up.
Shira: Oh, you mean that it also felt meaningful to the angel?
Tora: I don’t know. Something about being recognized.
Shira: Interesting. Well, guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Will, Kevin, Scarlett and Gunnar
Shira: Loved Will in the episode. Loved how his issues with Kevin didn’t stem from his sexuality but other things like the temptations of fame. Also, loved he sang Spinning revolver. It’s symbolic since he had to give that up for Luke, or at least thought he needs to.
Tora: Didn’t think about the song, more than it was a good one. Yeah, that fashion guy was a little bit too sleazy though, but on the other hand I liked how he was sucked into it, knowing exactly what it was about. Felt like Will is back in his old ways in one way though. Immediately planning to move in with Kevin, just like he suddenly wanted to marry Layla.
Shira: Yes, exactly!! Guessing it will also not end well. The fact it’s a pattern raises a question on whether being gay was simply part of a bigger issue, which is telling this story to yourself about yourself you’re a good old-fashioned country boy when you’re not and not just because you’re gay but because the fact you were brought up a certain way doesn’t mean it defines you. To me, his story is about embracing change in general and being more broad-minded. He came from a small town with big dreams but in a way small town mentality
Tora: Yes, he is still lost and I’m actually really excited about his continued story. It’s been all about him being gay, then coming out, then daring to speak for the community, but what now?
Also, loved Gunnar and Scarlett this episode and much more interesting about exploring this kind of jealousy. Cause it’s a bit stupid being jealous of the past, but it can be such a strong and very destructive feeling. But it’s not difficult to understand her.
Shira: Yes, agree. It’s understandable and especially when half your relationships are based on being your partner’s muse. It hurts the ego…a lot.
Another thing I enjoyed was the Deacon and Scarlett conversations. Truthful and for a change – FUNNY! Overall the second hour had some great funny moments. I missed that!!!
Tora: Yes. Loved Deacon and Scarlett and how easy it is to give others advice.
Some little things. Was it only me, but I thought suddenly Scarlett and Deacon had much more of a southern accent.
And then there were Deacon’s glasses we could keep enjoying.
Shira: Deacon’s glasses is a good place to end.