The balance between humor and heart was perfectly delivered this week making “This Just Ain’t A Good Day For Leavin” another solid episode.
Episode Summary: While Rayna’s out helping Sadie with the murder charges, Juliette has a meltdown over the fact that her party host (and everyone else) have seemingly chosen others over her. Maddie’s heartbreak, anger, and fears force her to shut Deacon out. Teddy continues to step on others in order to get the money. Gunnar and Scarlett finally let the skeletons out of their closet while Avery attempts to help Juliette settle on a baby name.
Review | Analysis: While last week focused heavily on Deacon and Rayna, this week we got strong moments with each of the main characters. At the end of the day, my favorite thing about this series is the way each and every individual stands beautifully on their own even while they shine with others. And I’m really loving this focus on fathers/daughters + mothers/daughters. There’s nothing I love writing more about than epic relationships, gorgeous friendships, and beautiful families.
First of all, did this entire baby naming fiasco with Avery and Juliette remind anyone else of Ellie and Awesome on Chuck? Those names were hysterical, Juliette, but I’m sorry Grunka takes the lead in this one. That said, I felt this was a brilliant touch of comedic relief. Sparkle? Belle? Ariel? Maybe? Also, with the two of them harmonizing the way they were it wouldn’t surprise me if the child’s name ended up being Melody or Harmony. Or who knows maybe Maybe was the winning one. It was honestly a breath of fresh air to watch a pregnant hormonal Juliette because Panettiere was so adorable even when she was screaming at people about ridiculous things. For a moment there I wasn’t sure Avery would make it, and even if he didn’t, she would have still been in good hands. Basically, when it comes to Avery and Juliette this week, I’m a blabbering mess of how much I legitimately loved everything.
Therefore, before I continue gushing, let’s get into the scenes with Rayna and Juliette because there’s no relationship I’ve missed more than this. Britton and Panettiere are extraordinary scene partners – the two women have developed excellent mechanisms when it comes to their scenes together because each and every time, it’s better than the last. And while I loved the warm transition between the two of them yelling at one another to Rayna apologizing and Juliette stating she’s going into labor, nothing moved me the way the women spoke after the baby was born. Juliette’s whispered thank you and Rayna’s nod was astounding – the two of them said a prodigious amount with their expressiveness alone. No matter how often they argue and disagree, at the end of the day, there’s a beautiful, unofficial mother/daughter like bond between them. They’ve each helped the other grow in wonderful ways and it spoke so highly of Juliette’s character to see the warmth in her eyes – the sincerity in her thank you. It’s impossible to understand what a mother goes through until you become one, and this was a moment where it felt as though Juliette finally saw how valuable Rayna is. And that thank you wasn’t just for the fact that she helped her through the pregnancy, but it was gratitude for everything she’s ever done for her. There’s no doubt that their relationship can only grow from this moment, and it’s going to be undoubtedly lovely to watch Rayna inspire Juliette in ways she’s never before. While their conversations won’t wander too far from the stage, but there’ll be a profound understanding between them now that they both know what it’s like to live for their daughters.
That said, Juliette’s journey as a mother is going to be incredibly gorgeous to watch and I sincerely hope the series is picked up for another season because storylines like this are wholeheartedly promising. She’s been through so much with her own mom and the lack of affection forced her to do questionable things; however, we can be certain that Juliette will be a fantastic mother. Baby Barnes – Barkley will without a doubt grow into a beautiful soul with the amount of love she’ll experience from her immediate family and loved ones. There’s a moment where Glen tells her ‘mom looks good on you’ and the single tear streaming down her face broke me. Hayden Panettiere did a remarkable job of showcasing a true mother’s pride and joy. And it’s undeniable that she wasn’t just bringing Juliette’s gratitude to life, but her own. Sometimes when the line between character and actor is broken like this, it’s the sweetest thing to be able to watch as a viewer.
It’s going to be wonderful to watch Juliette and Avery grow as parents, characters, and a couple. I’m all for this storyline and all of its gloriousness.
Furthermore on the familial front, Maddie and Deacon continue to break me. And what essentially sucks is that this is only the beginning. (Insert a gif of Leslie Knope crying here). At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that everyone grieves differently. Maddie is old enough to understand the severity of what’s occurring but at the end of the day, no matter how young or old, it’s never easy for a child to learn that their parent’s given a certain amount of time to live. And any reaction to the situation is completely natural. As frustrating as it was to watch her push Deacon away, it was entirely understandable. It made complete sense for her anger to force her into a state of isolation because the common state of mind in situations like this is, if you stay away, it’ll make it easier when it comes down to actual loss. And while as viewers we can be certain Deacon isn’t going anywhere, these characters cannot. Thereby, both parties were rational in their thought processes and as the episode progressed we were once again reminded of the strong bonds on this show. It’s very rare for me to like Teddy – the only reason I even tolerate him is because Eric Close is an outstanding actor. However, while I’m beyond words frustrated with his actions, I found myself actually respecting him when he chose to respect Deacon. It was selfless of him to talk Maddie into understanding that regardless of what she’s feeling, shutting Deacon out isn’t going to make things better. He knew she’d listen to it coming from him for once and he took the opportunity to do something that’ll benefit her in the long run even if it means he’s not the only fatherly figure in her life. It’s never been easy for Teddy to accept that Deacon’s always going be around, but it’s still respectable of him to slowly come to terms with the reality of things. And while I wish he’d become a better man, something tells me that he’ll end up breaking his promise to Maddie. I don’t think it’d be as drastic as death, but there’s a part of me that believes Teddy may serve some time for all the stunts he’s pulled under wraps.
It was lovely however that father and daughter patched up a few wounds in the end. I loved the absolute honesty and vulnerability delivered by both Charles Esten and Lennon Stella. What I love most about the scenes with the Jaymes – Claybourne family is that they’re showcasing just how difficult situations like this truly are. And the realistic approach to the horrors and the confusion that take over people in times as trying as this are making the storyline extremely difficult to watch. While the family will grow beautifully strong after all this, I appreciate show runners and actors for portraying all this in a way that feels organic. Anger, frustration, sadness, fleeting happiness are all commonly known emotions that consume families when one’s life is on the line.
Trailing away from the father/daughter duo for a moment, it’s lovely to see Rayna and Deacon take on life together – even if that means laying still for a moment in an attempt to unwind. The astounding amount of adoration that runs through their veins for one another profoundly resonates with the audience even in the briefest scenes. It doesn’t even feel as though they were apart episodes ago because of how effortlessly they fall back into a state of intimacy stronger than ever before. The innate contentment that instantly came over Rayna at the reality of Deacon being there to welcome her home after an eventful day was gorgeous. It authenticates the conception that no matter what they’re going through, Deacon and Rayna have an exquisitely wondrous way of filling each other with the utmost form of hope, love, and serenity.
The best thing about the two of them together at the moment is the mere detail that their closeness makes them stronger. Their unwavering support for one another has a beautiful way of reflecting impeccably on the girls as well – since they’ve yet to see a love this resilient, it’ll without a doubt play a massive role in as things get trickier later. And if there’s anything I love more than the place of solace Rayna’s able to travel to with Deacon, it’s the everlasting comfort she undoubtedly feels when she can spend time with her girls. Because no matter how old you get, a mother’s embrace will always make everything better. And the reminder that your babies are safe in your arms is enough to give you strength to take on even the most difficult of tasks.
Rayna’s one of the prime examples of an amazing friend. And I love that we’re continuously shown how deeply she values and praises her friends. I love that we’re constantly given these moments where it’s all about the way she uplifts and supports them with the utmost patience and understanding. Laura Benanti did a great job of showcasing the depth of Sadie’s fears and pain. And while I’ve never been a massive fan of Luke’s I found myself in awe of his doings this week. I hope this isn’t the end of what could’ve been because it appears as though the two of them could’ve truly had something special. I found myself rooting for them more than ever because both Benanti and Chase did an exquisite job of delivering the turmoil they’re in after what’s occurred. Benati especially was at her strongest – showing us that a strong woman isn’t someone who doesn’t fall, but someone who takes action and responsibilities for her actions. Choosing to step away from the industry because she needs to time to cope and get reacquainted with herself was the doings of a true strong female. And Benati sold bewilderment, fears, hopefulness, and gratitude most wonderfully. As I said, I hope this isn’t the end of Sadie Stone’s journey. She’s a remarkable human who’s dealt with much more than she or any woman ever deserves to, and in the midst of it all, she’s remained good – wholeheartedly good. And when someone’s heart is that pure, accidentally murdering someone (even someone whose heart isn’t as pure) will ache tremendously. It’s not going to be an easy process for her – to recover after this, but I hope that she does so, and I hope that when she’s ready, she can open her heart to love again because she deserves it. She deserves to love and be loved. She deserves to patch up her wounds and thankfully, Luke’s given her a bit of hope. Hope that every woman in a position like her needs – the reminder that not all men are heartless abusers.
And lastly, the long awaited duet that wasn’t at all how I imagined it’d be. It’s necessary to state that I sincerely love Scarlett’s strength this season – for a woman who’s endured as much as she has, she continues to floor me with the gracefulness she walks with. As a huge fan of Gunnar and Scarlett, I can’t say that I support his actions this week. I can however say that it made for some really excellent television and phenomenal performances by Bowen and Palladio. There’s no denying that Gunnar loves Scarlett, but there’s also no denying that he still needs to find himself the way she has. At the end of the day, while they have a strong friendship and a great understanding, it isn’t his business to question her actions with Caleb. It isn’t his business to throw himself into her love life or make judgments about how quickly they’re moving. And the thing is, Gunnar’s not a bad guy – when it comes to Scarlett especially, his intentions are always noble. They may have been unwise and thoughtless but the spur of the moment frustration clearly coerced his better judgment. Additionally, no one can deny their chemistry and energy on stage. Bowen and Palladio are so great in the art – it’s why their songs usually end up being most played on my iTunes chart. However, I was so incredibly proud of Scarlett’s response to solely feeling the music as opposed to what they have. Whether or not she did feel something, at the moment, she stands stronger on her own. Gunnar and music are a huge part of her life – and always will be. When she gave her heart to Gunnar, she gave all of it. When she gave her heart to music, it was only pieces of it. Now’s the time for her to give music all that she’s got – it’s time for her to embrace the gifts within her and see where they take her. It’s time for her to open her heart to Caleb because even that’s bound to help her grow stronger than she is. In time, somewhere along the way when they’re both fully ready, Gunnar and Scarlett can give their hearts to one another. However, when it comes to down to agency, I’m proud of the fact that Scarlett’s taking control over hers. And what I’d love for Gunnar to do is continue vying for her while giving her the space to come around when she wants to. And that means fighting for her even when it gets hard.
What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? Remember, if there’s anything you’d like to discuss, as long as it’s free of hate, we can gladly do so.