NASHVILLE recap: "New Strings"

As we all kind of expected, this episode marks the first of the last season. Since CMT took the reins of our beloved primetime soap opera, it has pandered to the teenage and young adult demographic. So, we beg CMT to turn off the MTV-vision and try to make this season worth remembering. Keep your viewer in mind as we trudge through the final chapter of the show that brought so much money to our fair city!

So, you know how I just mentioned MTV? Well, it seems they are cramming it down our throat a bit more. While Maddie, Deacon, Daphne and Scarlett are trying to take their Christmas card photo (after Christmas but before New Years) Maddie is invited to play a benefit in LA and then she’ll appear on a (barf) MTV (barf) street festival for New Years Eve. Deacon and Daphne are bummed because they were hoping everyone would be together for the first New Years since they offed Rayna. And since Deacon doesn’t want her to go unaccompanied, Scrawny Scarlett will tag along.

Oh- and while we’re already on the subject of Maddie, did her hair get blonder? Look, I am all about a woman experimenting with her hair, but she ain’t a natural blonde and that borderline-white bottle job ain’t working for her. This is coming from a fake blonde herself, bitches.

I just completed my happy dance around the room because GLENN IS BACK! As usual, he, Avery and Emily are trying to keep Juliette from coming unhinged as they prep for our favorite selfish diva’s first big tour in two years. She is kicking it off right here in Nashy at Bridgestone Arena.

So, um, is the person doing Maddie’s hair also doing Gunnar’s? He is bleach blonde with serious dark roots. He and Will are playing basketball and begin discussing how Gunnar can’t move forward as a solo act. He feels lost without Skinny Boo Boo. Oh, how I have NOT missed her accent. That alone should be reason for Gunn Gunn to move on.

Backstage at Juliette’s show, Will runs into Zach, who is with his on-again off-again squeeze, Mark. Awkward. While things are awkward, I want to take a moment to be grateful this wasn’t a two hour premiere. Amen. Can I also take another moment to point out a spinoff about Will would be both interesting and not cause me to ingest so much alcohol in one sitting?

Juliette takes the stage to a sold out crowd and kicks the concert off with a… ballad? Um, no. I don’t think I have ever been to a concert (that wasn’t a benefit or songwriters night) that starts with a ballad. So, that was your first mistake, Juliette. I’m bored. Then, people start booing her and telling her to get off the stage. For the record, I might have paid those people to do that. Anyway, she starts responding to the hecklers who are calling her “fake” and “unoriginal.” I mean, they’re not wrong. So, Juliette starts to question herself and decides she needs to just stop doing music and walks off stage. Well, mission accomplished kids. Can we pack up and go home? No? Crap.

And we must now see Juliette dealing with the fallout of her concert breakdown. Didn’t we already see this happen to Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter? Get a new playbook, CMT. It’s the first episode of the season, for Pete’s sake. Avery tries to figure what is up with her and Juliette says the last two months of her life have been a living hell. Well, the next few months of mine will, too, Juliette. I have to watch, Nashville, so put on your big girl panties and deal! Anyway, Avery suggests they get away.

Daphne is freaking because Maddie will be performing with some hot artist named Jonah Ford, who just broke up with some movie star. Wow, could you not be SO obvious, CMT? Yes, Maddie and this guy will become an item. Oh, and Maddie even points out Daphne is trying to be a match maker. Sigh. Can we fire the writers? Please?

Juliette and Avery take off to Asheville, North Carolina for some R&R and um, what?!? Juliette has millions and they take off to North Carolina? If I had millions, I would be off to France or Bora Bora, but not North Carolina. It’s a lovely state, but no. The first night in their hotel, Juliette can’t sleep and moseys downstairs to the lobby and begins talking with a guy who literally talks in sentences that seem to come from a self-help book. Oh, and he is coincidentally writing a book. Oh, great. Is Juliette going to get all Don Draper California commune on us?

Will is trying to help Gunnar be a solo act, but Gunny seems uncomfortable hanging out at Will’s rehearsal. Will is more of a showman than Gunnar and it’s making him insecure. Oh Lordy. Scarlett’s crippling insecurity has rubbed off on Gunnar.

Backstage at the benefit in LA, Maddie locks eyes with Jonah Forde. Later, he brings her out on stage, proclaiming her to be one of his favorite artists. I’m already tired of this storyline and the show hasn’t been on for 30 minutes. Anyway, Jonah watches her perform all googly eyed. After the show, he gets her number and asks her to hang out with him and some band who are recording the next day. When Maddie arrives the next day, a few members of Jonah’s entourage are there to explain he ditched them.

As Juliette flips through the TV, she stumbles on an infomercial with the weird lobby guy as the star. His name is Darius Enright and he is the founder of a big ball of BS known as The Movement for Coherent Philosophy. Anyway, everything he spouts in the infomercial appeals to Juliette, who is obviously in a very deep depression. If this turns out to be a cult and Juliette joins, I might be down for this particular plotline.

Gunnar and Scarlett aren’t talking to one another and it’s emotionally heartbreaking for both of them. How many different ways are they going to try to keep these two apart? I’ve got it! Scarlett decides to have gender reassignment surgery! That would make her interesting finally! Later, Scarlett tells Maddie that she doesn’t miss Gunnar. “I miss me,” she says.

Gunnar isn’t faring any better at the rehearsal hall with Will. He can’t get through a song without the self-doubt taking over. Will explains that putting your heart and soul out there is what they do as artists and singers. Then Will explains how he tried to get Zach back several times and Gunnar did the same with Scarlett.

Avery and Juliette get back to Nashville and Glenn tells them that Darius Enright called him trying to get in touch with her. When she asks what time he called, it was at 2:02 AM. The exact time that Juliette had seen his infomercial.

When Juliette returns the call from Darius, she accuses him of stalking her. He explains he wants to help her change her life. I think she needs to stop being a narcissistic bitch. That could help. Aywho, Juliette makes her way over to The Movement for Coherent Philosophy’s building, which reminds me a lot of the Scientology buildings. There’s even a creepy, cult-type chick waiting to greet her when she arrives.

Speaking of Juliette, she is back on Highway 65 because Deacon gave her a second chance. Zach gives Deacon a hard time about it and tries talking him into attending a New Years Eve party. Zach thinks Deacon needs to start dating again and suggests online dating. Of course Deacon needs to date- he needs to date me. Duh. Their discussion is interrupted by Jessie’s creepy ex-husband, Brad. Ya know, the guy who wants to buy Highway 65? The creepy wife and kid abuser? He just called Deacon a dinosaur. I am going to stomp his creepy hairpiece into his creepy mouth.

Darius’s office is full of different religious homages like statues of Buddha and the original copy of the great She Bible, which is an original folio of the King James Bible. Darius insists his movement isn’t a cult nor a religion, but it’s about training the mind. He explains that her quest for love (or her need for attention as a celebrity) is diminishing her power from within. He explains her lashing out is just her reacting to her pain. And she is buying his snake oil hook, line and sinker! This had better turn out to be one freaky cult!

As Maddie leaves her LA hotel, Jonah is there to give her flowers. He offers to take her home in his private plane, but only if she will have dinner with him first. Gross. And they have a disgustingly cute, romantic dinner. I won’t embellish. Why should your stomach turn?

Juliette goes on a radio show where she is immediately asked about pulling a Loretta Lynn, then about stealing Maddie’s song and how that screwed up her relationship with Deacon. When a caller starts to rip her up and down, Juliette begins to go off and then stops and counts to ten, like Darius taught her. Then, she admits she struggles with depression and will cancel her tour until she gets it under control. Look, if you suffer from depression, you need to seek the help of a medical doctor, not a cult leader, folks.

At a New Years Eve performance, Gunnar is going solo and he stumbles at first, but when Will joins him, they rock the place.

Scarlett and Maddie get back to Nashville in time to ring in the New Year with Deacon and Daphne.

As everyone celebrates 2018, Juliette calls up cult guy and tells him “I’m ready.”

And I’m ready to see her shave her head and marry cult guy and his 70 wives! Make it good, CMT!




See also:

NASHVILLE recap: "Second Chances" (Season 6 Episode 2)

NASHVILLE recap: "New Strings" (Season 6 Episode 1)

NASHVILLE recap: "Reasons to Quit" (Season 5 Episode 22: Season Finale)







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