When we heard the news that CMT would pull through for Nashville, I was so excited. This was the chance for the show to grow on a platform that deserves it: CMT, the network for humble, country dramas. Season 4 was a train-wreck, and while I’m happy season 5 is back on air again, this episode was tough to get through. Really tough. Like ‘mansplainy’ kind of tough. Between tyrannical director Damien George pressuring Scarlett to be sexy for their music video; Clayton Carter’s mental health issues and Zach Welles’ uptight hold on Rayna, it was too much ‘alpha-male’ happening at once. At least Bucky saves the day by finding out Rayna’s stalker.
Fifty Shades of Scarlett: “Love Hurts” begins with British D-bag Damien, Scarlett and Gunnar shooting this Victorian, artsy-craftsy, erotic music video for “All of Me.” This has nothing to do with the song itself, and Scarlett doesn’t hold back from letting Damien know. The best parts of the video are Gunnar’s emo guyliner, James Bond suit, and Scarlett’s finger waves. But the rest of it? All over the place. Damien insists of having Scarlett tap into her “inner Madonna,” when she knows that’s not her style. He wants her to become her inner goddess and lay it all on Gunnar, but why? What’s the point of this? Scarlett fires back: “You’re just some dude with screwed-up views about women all being secret sexpots.” Classic!! But she still stays and pushes through with this bogus video. She even crawls on a long dinner table, slaps Gunnar in the face, and ties him to a bed while performing an angry, spiritual, sex ritual. It’s all just weird.
And even when Rayna comes in to check out the video, she can see how awkward this whole thing is. Zach Welles, on the other hand, assures that it’s all “part of his genius”. What genius?! Apparently Rayna is convinced, and she lets this monstrosity commence. If The Exes were my babies, I’d pull them out ASAP, I don’t care how much it’d cost me.
The strange part of it is, Gunnar doesn’t really defend his woman. Granted, he’s just as much contractually bound to this junk as Scar is, but at least he should say or do something. If some macho-idiot was yelling at me to be sexier, I’d want my man to help me out. But by the time Gunnar does try to, he’s already tied to the bed! Scarlett is so pissed that she performs her ritual, Damien getting all hyped. Ugh the sexism is real, you guys.
Zach Welles also finds Will and tries to convince him to join his team. This is both good and bad, considering how weird and uppity Zach is. But with Luke and Wheeling Dealing Records gone from the show, Will should have it easy finding yet ~another~ label.
Let’s hope that we’ll never see British douche Damien George again. No matter how much of a “genius” he is, his attitude towards women is atrocious and I can’t stand it. Maybe he’ll get to Youtuber Ashley Willerman next, but Deacon probably wouldn’t let that happen.
Maddie, the Superhero?: Speaking of Deacon, his daughter Maddie has gotten into some drama with her new love interest, Clayton Carter. He seems like a really nice guy, showing Maddie all the good clubs, even insisting that Joe’s Club isn’t fit for her, giving her young age. But then they go in anyway, witnessing some cool music with black jazz artists. Later that night, Maddie kisses him, and this is where things get weird. Clayton pulls back, unsure how to go forward because he’s so much older than her. But when it turns into a heavy race issue, Maddie turns to Juliette for advice. (Not that she would know about race relations, but ok. Hi, Juliette!) Even Juliette thinks that them being together is a bad idea. The best quote from her is, “Screwed up guys are sexy until they’re not.” When Jules tells you to stay away, you stay away.
But apparently Maddie doesn’t take any of her friend’s warnings into account, because she’s right by Clay’s side when he gets badly hurt. He’d gotten jumped by some racist idiots, and passed out, so they go to the hospital. When he’s better and released, he tells Maddie he’s bipolar and stopped taking his meds because they mess with his musical mojo. (Not good, man.)
Maddie doesn’t care, but he tells her to go home anyways. My problem with this scene is: why didn’t she call her parents or someone to let them know? Her parents were concerned with where she was headed, but they didn’t follow her like they insinuated. What parents are okay with their 16-year-old child walking out in the middle of the night to go meet some guy? It makes no sense. However, Clay shows up in a suit and tie, cuts bandaged over his eye, to meet Deacon and Rayna, officially. Deyna aren’t quite sure how to see him, but at least Maddie’s happy, right?
I also don’t appreciate how they have the case of the Token Black Character for Clay: the only POC (person of color) on the show showcased only to make his other white counterparts feel good and improve themselves. Maddie does need a redemption, but she can have one without having to rely on Clay’s mental health downfall. It’s not fair for him to have to go through that, especially as a new character. Hopefully the writers and show-runners will work on Clay’s character, but so far, it’s not looking good.
Bucky Finds Rayna’s Stalker: When Rayna goes looking for her mysterious ceramic box, she realizes it’s gone. Somehow she knows in her mind that Randall has it, so she storms over to his desk, opens his drawer, and there it is! The next day, Bucky and Rayna confront the poor guy and he starts sobbing. They ask about the letters and roses, which leaves him confused. He confesses to stealing the box for his mother, Rayna’s number one fan. Bucky doesn’t buy it, so he makes Randall hand-write this sentence: “Their friends are sitting over there.” Turns out the writing from the letters and Randall’s don’t match, so he’s free to go.
By episode’s end we find out the real stalker is some random guy who burst into Rayna’s office, saying he “just wanted to talk” to her. Luckily, Bucky wrestles him out of the building, saving the day.
“Why couldn’t it have just been Randall?” Rayna groans, and I agree. Why would it be some random guy we don’t know yet? Or maybe it’s that guy she took the photo with, on the road? So many unanswered questions, and it’s only episode five. Hopefully the next half of the season gets to them.
How did you like “Love Hurts”? Leave comments below to discuss.
Next week’s promo for “A Little Bit Stronger”:
Rayna and Deacon beef up their home security after Rayna’s encounter with Carl Hockney; Juliette draws closer to her guardian angel, Hallie; Avery leaps back into performing.
CMT’s Nashville airs Thursdays at 9/8c.