Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'Nashville' Review - 1.06 You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave)

        On the newest episode of ABC's Nashville, Rayna wants to change her sound and seeks the help of a highly successful music producer, Liam McGuinnis (Michiel Huison); Juliette goes on a sham date with a squeaky-clean NFL quarterback as a PR move for her tarnished image; Lamar's plan to delay Coleman with a police traffic stop on his way to an important photo op for both candidates works too well; and Scarlett's relationship with Avery gets rocky.

        This episode felt really scattered and focused too much on the unique and distinct plots of each of its characters. The biggest issue with this show after six episodes is this problem of too many separate parts that never come together to make a cohesive piece. The biggest attempt at story crossover in this episode was the scene in Rayna and Teddy's bedroom and she learns about the stuff going on with Coleman. She notes that this is uncharacteristic of him and rightfully accuses Lamar but that plot goes no where as she spends the rest of the hour trying to reminder the previous night. This show needs to figure out how they can bounce all of these stories off of one another but still making them seem organic and true to the overall narrative and the characters. In the first three episodes, the show was able to overcome this concern by having a closing duet/montage that wrapped everything up nicely and created a moment to give optimism that the show will become better the next week. Unfortunately, it has slowly moved away from that story concept and has thusly created some terribly uneven episodes as of late. Even the music has been used more sparring in recent episodes with only one (maybe two) getting a big highlight in the hours.
        Yes, the plots in this episode were scattered but I would be more than willing to forgive that if they had any level of excitement driving them forward at all. Rayna getting drunk and having a good time with a new music producer sounds like fun, right? But onscreen, it just read as something for Connie Britton to be doing. That character was just going through the motions and hitting the necessary beats for something to happen way down the line. But I can still see the potential in her as it still fits in line with the inevitably narrative of her and Juliette touring together that the series may be building towards. Nothing of the sort can be said with this political subplot. I have been very vocal about my disinterest in this story and that still rings true tonight as I don't know why this plot is necessary for the overall show. I believe it was only introduced to have Eric Close and Powers Boothe be more integral and a part of the ensemble than just Connie Britton's supporting husband and cold father. But when those characters are a part of that setup, they work well and intriguing. As soon as they head off to do their own thing, it is a complete mess void of anything compelling to watch.
        Tonight's best plot revolved around Juliette and her new squeaky-clean football player friend. Up until this point, the Juliette character has come across as very cold and mean-spirited with only a handful of moments of actual human and real emotions. With the introduction of this new character, she was able to lighten up and show a different side of her that we haven't been exposed to yet. She was actually fun to watch as she grew to care about his reputation. Sure, the stuff with the photographer is a plot that has been so many times before but in an hour of blandness this was the one plot that excited me for what's to come next.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Should the show go through plot more quickly? Are Scarlett and Avery done for good? Wish there was more Gunnar in this hour? Share your thoughts in the comments.