Chesapeake Shores, S2 E4: “It’s Always Nashville”
Written by Kirsten Hansen
Directed by Terry Ingram
“I’m a writer who refused to be rewritten by a hack, and now I’m making money selling a hack writer.”
Pancakes fix everything. Parental disappointment, existential angst, fear of the future, long simmering sibling rivalries, and dating dilemmas could all be resolved if the O’Brien clan would just sit down together and eat platters of carbs soaked in sugar-juice and fat. And even if the problems don’t get solved, at least everybody would feel the contentment that only flows from communally filling up on vast amounts of empty calories. Alas, no such breakfast occurs this week on Chesapeake Shores, so all the conflicts remain.
New This Week on CS, Abby worries about her future with Trace! No, that was last week. And next week. In the land of Chesapeake Shores, every conversation begins with someone saying “I don’t want to talk about it”, whereupon the speaker proceeds to talk at length about “it”, whatever “it” is. This week Trace and Leigh record tracks for a new album in Nashville, leaving Abby to ponder her place in the scheme of things. Now Abby is a born worrier, but she may just have cause. In Nashville, Trace and Leigh drink in a dive bar. They sit next to each other. In a booth. By themselves. Anybody else’s ho alert going off?
In other romantic news, creepy Connor comes on to Kevin’s new potential love interest, the foxy firefighter. She shoots him down so bad that they are using the footage to train fighter pilots how it’s done. That’s great, but she also hassles Kevin about not calling her within her rigidly prescribed window of opportunity. She’s hard, and hard to get. She’s so hard to get that she almost shuts down Kevin before a first date. Dude, get a clue. If she’s this big a pain in the ass now, what is she going to be like later? Remember, like wives, girlfriends are temporary. Ex-girlfriends, and ex-wives, are forever.
Bree’s got the bookstore blues. First, her decision to lease the bookstore brings down that horror of horrors, the Dreaded Daddy Disappointment conversation. There must be some secret fatherly school of passive-aggressive psychological self-esteem reduction somewhere, which every father attends. Then, a new schlocky bodice-ripper sells like, well, like pancakes. Bree’s only been in the bookstore biz for two weeks, and already she sold out her soul as a writer and as a gatekeeper of cultural excellence. Jess and Megan force Bree into hosting a reading group just to discuss said schlock, but it gets even worse. Jess whips up interest in the group by promising that the criminal responsible for the schlock will show up at the group and read schlocky passages aloud. After the fact, Jess and Bree attend the schlock-meister’s book signing to try and get him to agree to appear. Bree manages to hide her contempt for the schlock-meister’s writing not at all, and so is faced with the prospect of informing panting women of bad taste that their favorite schlock-meister is not going to regale them with schlocky readings of schlock. Enter Simon Atwater. Of course he’s Bree’s next new love interest. He’s all right, if your taste runs to bony cadaverous gingers with British accents and a taste for self-flagellation. Like Kevin’s choice of possibly inappropriate partner, this one demonstrates some flaws. He likes Bree because she thinks he’s a schlock-meister.
In addition to worrying, Abby spends much of this episode investigating what caused the rift between her father and her uncle. She’s supposed to be investigating whether Mick’s proposed development makes financial sense for her client, but it’s all in a day’s work. She asks Tom, Mick, and Megan about the enigmatic photo she found. No one gives a definitive answer, but she does find out that Mick and Tom both suffered difficulties with their father. As the audience screams “no, no!” at the TV screen, Abby recommends that though the venture is financially risky, her client proceed with financing Mick’s proposed development on the pristine land (because what the world needs now is more condos and deeper family divisions). Grab a plate of comfort food and settle back in your chair, because this conflict’s going to last the whole season.
In Nashville, Trace and Leigh discover that a famous hotshot producer plans to work with them on their new album. That seems like a great opportunity, but it quickly becomes clear that the hotshot producer doesn’t like how the recording is going. First, he deletes Leigh’s voice from the tracks. Next, he tells Trace to turn away from Leigh, close his eyes, and sing to the woman the song is really about. Despite the invisible triangle from the dive bar, this suggests that Trace’s heart really does belong to Abby. Finally, the producer offers Trace the career of his dreams – the solo career of his dreams. He leaves Trace with a go-big-or-go-home choice: jettison Leigh, at least on stage, or jettison his comeback.
Abby’s uncle Tom sums up what he has experienced: all families eventually break apart. Megan reiterates this theme when she tells Abby that you can’t always be with the people that you love. Perhaps pancakes can’t cement together everything. But the trying sure tastes good.