Wednesday, October 30, 2013

REVIEW: 'Nashville' Gathers Its Characters for Polo in 'It Must Be You' but Is There Any Enjoyable Plot Happening Right Now?

ABC's Nashville - Episode 2.06 It Must Be You

Rayna sets the record straight on all thing personal and professional in an interview with Robin Roberts; Rayna attends the Belle Meade Polo Match to seek out investors but is surprised by the reaction she gets; Juliette runs into Charlie Wentworth; Luke Wheeler and Deacon have an awkward encounter; Scarlett leans on Avery for advice; and Teddy announces to the press that he and Peggy are getting married.

Nashville has felt much more focused during its second season. It was able to adeptly pinpoint the qualities the creative forces can do well - nearly every episode is set at some kind of event now, more stuff revolving around the music business, etc. But during "It Must Be You," I was hard-pressed to find a story that I actually enjoyed.

The best material so far this season has been how Rayna and Deacon respectively reacted after both surviving the season one cliffhanger car wreck. Whether or not Rayna could sing again was a very strong yet simple story. The moment at the Opry where she finally opened up to an audience again was the highlight of the season so far and an outstanding moment for Connie Britton. But there was only so much material the series could have gotten from that story. Her intended departure from Edgehill was also a clever little plot because it did focus on the inner workings of doing business in the music industry. Elsewhere, the Deacon material has also been great to see simply because of the performance of Charles Esten. Yes, it was way over-the-top ridiculousness but Esten committed to it and completely sold it to us.

The event at the center of "It Must Be You" is a polo match. That setting ultimately is just not as exciting as a music concert where these characters get to perform on stage. I don't expect the show to stage some elaborate concert each episode. But I do want something meaningful to happen at the more low key events. When they had the gala a few weeks ago, it was made interesting by Maddie running away. The things that try to excite the polo match are Rayna & Tandy dealing with the fallout of Lamar's arrest and Juliette running into Charlie Wentworth again. Neither of which are actually that compelling. Rayna hasn't had anything to do with her father's investigation plot this season and would love to avoid that as much as possible at the polo game. Juliette and Charlie were interesting when it was just a one-time thing because it spoke to how emotionally low she was in that moment. But now, it's a blown out affair - paired with the typically trite unhappily married couple trope - that only makes Juliette look and feel like a bad person. I love Juliette and Hayden Panettiere but this story is not one that I'm looking forward to at all.

While many characters are bumping into each other at the polo match, the hour is also building up to a performance by Scarlett at the Bluebird. That's a place we all have seen her perform in many times before. But she gets an entire plot about how nervous she is simply because there will be critics in attendance. And that final song is very nice and a strong fit for Scarlett while simultaneously being directly related to the current love rectangle that side of the show is operating in. And that stuff I really don't care about anymore. Scarlett is interesting and relevant when she's singing or interacting with Rayna. Avery is genuinely okay now but only when he's being a friend to Juliette, Scarlett or Gunnar. I still never want to see an Avery-centered plot again. And I'm really unsure if I like anything about Gunnar right now. His easy chemistry with Scarlett was so delightful in early season one. But now, the show simply doesn't know what to do with him. And I don't enjoy seeing him take up screentime from the other parts of the show that have a strong story.

Some more thoughts:
  • Hehe, Robin Roberts used "Begs the question" while interviewing Rayna.
  • And you just knew that when Robin asked about romance that Rayna would be getting something by episode's end.
  • In an hour with not a whole lot of music - which is a general complaint about season 2 so far - I really love listening to Deacon at the piano.
  • Until this episode, Zoey was largely just something for the other characters to talk to about another character. She didn't really have any characterizations. Then, she got that moment where she told Gunnar that what they did wasn't cool and I had some respect for her. To bad, she easily went back to him in the end though.
  • Juliette: "According to Wikipedia, that horn means the game is about to start."
  • But why wasn't Deacon at the Bluebird to support his niece?