'Nashville': Which one of these men is dead?

Just so we’re on the same page: I think Nashville is one of the most frustratingly boring shows on network television. “Boring,” of course, because it’s a flat-out boring show almost pathologically opposed to doing anything interesting with its characters, ESPECIALLY its leading lady. “Frustratingly” because this show has so much talent and could be so much better. At a certain point I guess you need to put aside your hopes for this thing and just accept it for what it is, the same way you would a human person. But if you’re me, recapping, looking for SOMETHING to hold onto… you bang your head against the laptop every Wednesday, trapped in a recursive Groundhog Day loop from which you’re confident you will never actually escape.

(I take it back, Nashville. Existential dread certainly counts as something you have made me feel.)

“Who cares?” is the best answer to “what happened this week on Nashville?” but I’m paid for these words and owe my wonderful editor Kate some kind of effort, so let’s round up all the boringness in convenient bullet form.

  • Lamar’s dead. We knew it a few weeks ago. And, like the death of his not-really-pseudo daughter-in-law, Peggy, it was a long time coming. I bet even Powers Boothe wanted out. But because he is — or was — a major character on this show, his death needed to be acknowledged by every single character on the show. Rayna, who’s in denial. Teddy, who confesses to the sexy lawyer he will shortly sleep with that he let die. Deacon. Juliette. Everyone in Nashville is DEEPLY AFFECTED by the death of this legendary power broker who, until hours before his death, was hanging out in jail. RIP Lamar.
  • Rayna continues to be the least utilized leading lady on a television show — one for which she’s a PRODUCER — as her scenes tonight amount to 1) learning her father is dead 2) telling her sister her father is dead 3) being snippy with Deacon and 4) breaking down after her father’s funeral. “It’s gotta stop! All the lying, it’s gotta stop!” Good cry. Connie gets to smash shit. But HOLY HELL does this Rayna problem need to be addressed. When your star actress is not only less engaging, but less interesting, than characters three and four tiers beneath her, you’ve got a serious character issue on your hands.
  • Teddy is still the mayor of Nashville, a fact I’d completely forgotten in however long Nashville was pre-empted by the Olympics. Obviously this is a GREAT PLOT POINT.
  • Nice moment alert! Deacon (a character I wish were featured more) enlists Avery, Gunnar, and Zoe to back him up at a Bluebird gig he’s set up. When he asks, they’re crooning a really nice number, “Under the Downtown Neon Lights.” And when they get on stage… they kill it. They’re awesome. Remember how wonderful the music on this show can be? That’s their gig at the Bluebird.
  • Juliette, too, gets to sing a great, amped-up version of that “Don’t Throw Dirt on My Grave” song she performed at the Grand Ole Opry. Granted it’s with some overhyped d-bag producer in Hollywood who gives her manager money to go buy everyone coffee, but you can’t argue with music power. That is until Juliette turns down his offer to move to LA and advance her career in a big way — opting instead to stay put in Nashville (with Glenn and Avery) and forge her own new path, whatever that is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as long as I’m writing Nashville recaps, which is hopefully not forever: Juliette is far and away the best part of this show. Kill 80 percent of the other plots. Kill Rayna. JUST. KEEP. JULIETTE. (And Avery.)

Image: ABC