5 Awesome Things from Scarlett’s Breakdown Fallout

Nashville (Screen: ABC)

Everyone’s playing the blame game after Scarlett’s public breakdown. Hint: those who feel guilty probably shouldn’t and those who don’t feel guilty are really just Beverly.
Tripping on a toxic mix of booze, pills and family drama, Scarlett breaks down onstage and takes shelter under her piano. Avery whisks her away and soon they are flying back to Nashville on Juliette’s private jet. Gunnar uses his royalty check to buy a house, which gives Zoey pressure feels. Then she hears about Scarlett, which makes her feel really weird. Days prior to Will’s debut album release, his newlywed bride/beard Layla introduces him to a reality TV producer and proposes the worst idea ever. Rayna overrules bad mom Beverly and has Scarlett taken to a quiet little clinic where the press won’t find her. Bev tells Scarlett’s doctor that psychotic breakdowns run in the family but she got help for her own and now she’s TOTALLY FINE. Then she attacks Rayna for being both a nuisance and a bad, slutty mom. Juliette’s jealous because Avery is playing white knight to Scarlett and Rayna isn’t giving her any credit for helping Blondie get home, plus she feels like everyone is blaming her for what happened. Zoey blames herself for abandoning Scarlett but Gunnar’s too excited about his career prospects to pay much attention to his ex-girlfriend’s meltdown. When Scarlett awakens from her sedative nap, she flips out and tries to escape the clinic. Rayna convinces her to stay long enough to get her marbles in check. Deacon blames Rayna for Scarlett’s condition. Rayna blames booze and pills, which Deacon takes personally. Scarlett blames Juliette for making her go onstage when she didn’t want to. Beverly blames everyone else for all her problems, but especially Deacon. Hmm, seems like these Claybournes might share another trait… and god bless ’em for the endless angst it provides. Here are five highlights from Scarlett’s breakdown fallout:

The winner of the blame game Obviously, Juliette’s utter self-absorption has taken hold when she complains to her entourage, “I should be the one Scarlett’s talking to, not anybody else. I know from crazy moms, okay?” And just when you’re thinking, “Geez, could Juliette be any tackier?”, cut to Beverly whispering to Scarlett as she wakes up, “You had a breakdown, just like the one I had when you were a little girl.” Scarlett’s eyes pop open, she starts screaming and convulsing, then jumps out of bed and runs through a field in her hospital gown. So congratulations, Juliette! You have correctly identified Beverly as The One to Blame. Guess even your immense bitchiness can’t overcome those keen powers of observation.

The loser of the blame game Surprise, it’s Beverly. Remember in the last episode, when she blamed embryonic Scarlett for stunting her country music ambitions? Deacon reveals that claim as complete garbage. Turns out, when he left Natchez for Nashville with guitar in hand twenty years prior, sister Beverly hung back so she could marry Scarlett’s good-for-nothing dad. Then she got knocked up. Ooh, in your FACE, Beverly! And when she doubles down and tries to blame everyone she ever knew for every bad thing that ever happened, Deacon calls her “an angry, narcissistic, manic mess,” which doubles as a perfect description for her nutty, pinched face. Seriously, this lady is Carrie’s mom-level scary.

BFF reunion Speaking of scary, watching Scarlett watch the online video of the breakdown she’d completely forgotten is truly disturbing. That’s when Zoey shows up. Scarlett reminisces about the times she stayed at Z’s house when they were kids and Beverly was in the mental ward. “I’d sit in your bed, wondering if I’d turn out like her. How’d I get here?” And when Blondie breaks down in tears, there isn’t much Zoey can do but give her a big snuggly hug. Guess even boy troubles can’t overcome childhood bonds forged by dysfunctional family drama.

A humbled Jeff is an almost likable Jeff First, the smarmy exec gets shunned by the likes of Gunnar, all for referring to Scarlett as G’s “looney ex-writing partner.” I mean, he isn’t exactly wrong in that assessment. Still Gunnar flat out refuses his awesome publishing contract on the basis of that faux pas. Then when Jeff catches wind of Layla’s reality TV ambitions, he wisely advises Will against inviting that much scrutiny into his private life. But Will is so closeted, he chooses to do the exact opposite so he can prove to both Jeff and himself that he isn’t really gay. Brilliant. So when Jeff runs into drunk Juliette at a party and says to her, “Sometimes I really hate this town” over a double whiskey, I actually felt for him just a little bit. Unfortunately, so did Juliette, which led to one of the ickiest hookups in show history. Nevertheless, thanks to the writers for making Jeff just the tiniest bit sympathetic. That softened the blow.

Kudos for quitting Rayna gives her protege a second chance to honestly answer the question, “Do you want this?” Scarlett replies, “No, I don’t.” I truly didn’t see this coming and it’s refreshing. Other critics may disagree, but I don’t find Scarlett annoying because she’s ungrateful. I’d hate her showbiz life at least as much as she does. Scarlett’s most annoying when she tries to be something she’s not, like when she fakes a smily face or pretends she doesn’t have issues with her mom. So, looks like it’s back to the Bluebird for Blondie. I am genuinely curious to see where she goes from here.

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  • Aaron Mucciolo

    Yeesh, this was the most high school episode of Nashville ever, even before the dumped-at-prom hookup between Juliette and Jeff…