Nashville Premiere Recap: Brace for Impact

Nashville Season 2 RecapA good chunk of this week’s Nashville – the Season 2 premiere – takes place in the past. It’s a softly-lit time filled with bad hair, questionable fashion and tears, and it provides a sad counterpoint for even sadder events in the present: namely, Rayna’s coma and Deacon’s guilt.

Elsewhere, Juliette once more proves herself an opportunist extraordinaire, and Will’s not gay. No, seriously! So straight! Nothing to see here!

RELATED | Nashville EP Talks Rayna’s Recovery, Deacon’s Dry-Out – Plus: Their Pre-Crash Convo Revealed!

THE CRASH, REVISITED | We pick up at the tail end of Rayna and Deacon’s cargument, which results in the massive crash that leaves both of ’em bloodied and upside down in a ditch. Deacon is awake, with his hand wedged at a bad angle, and he drags it out (ouch) and somehow maneuvers an unconscious Rayna out of the car and onto the grass, where they collapse. We immediately flashback to him showing her around the dreamhouse he’s purchased for them; it’s right after Deacon’s been released from rehab and right before Rayna’s first CMA Award nomination; she’s a bit more aw-shucks than the polished performer we’ve come to know. They’re in love, and it’s cute. (Her hair, less so… but the late ’90s were a confusing time for many of us.)

Back in the present, Rayna’s hooked up to a ventilator in the ICU while Tandy and the girls look on. She’s been in a medically induced coma for two weeks, and the doctors aren’t sure what they’ll find when they wake her up. Teddy and Lamar take turns by Ray-Ray’s bedside; the topic of Rayna’s mother’s death in a vehicle accident comes up a few times (and will be important later).

As the flashbacks continue, we see Deacon propose to Rayna circa the time of Maddie’s conception. She happily accepts, and they (and their Reality Bites hair) make love on the floor. But the next morning, she finds him drunk and passed out on the couch – and she demands to know whether he was plastered when he asked her. “When I asked you what?” he asks muzzily, which earns him a ring thrown angrily in his direction. Months later, when a preggers Rayna and Tandy swing by the house, they peer through one of the million windows to see Deke imbibing all of the alcohol in the place simultaneously. Tandy stops her sister from going inside. “You cannot help,” she starts, leading me to finish, “someone who would choose to wear that vest over that tank top?” But she means, “someone who doesn’t want to be helped.” Oh yeah. That, too. Speaking of the soused devil, what’s he up to?

DEACON IS THE NEW BLACK | Deacon, in orange prison scrubs and with his arm in a sling, stands before a judge and wants to take responsibility for the accident. He tries to plead guilty, but His Honor notes that if Rayna dies, the charges Deke is facing will change to involuntary manslaughter – he’s going to want some sort of legal representation.

At home, Scarlett hustles unsuccessfully to get her uncle’s $1 million bail together. Juliette is less than supportive; after her ordeal with Jolene, she knows that addicts are very likely to hurt the ones who love them, and she wants no part of that enable-a-thon. And when Deacon finally allows Scarlett to visit, he’s nasty to her. “What’s new, girl?” he says, mocking; I know it’s not meant to be funny, but Chip Esten’s beauty-parlor delivery made me laugh out loud. Undeterred, Scarlett tells him “You’ve been like a father to me,” which throws the self-declared drunk into a rage. “I’m nobody’s damn father!” he shouts at her before banning her from future visits.

I SEE YOUR TRUE COLORS SHINING THROUGH | Juliette is ticked off that the accident has sent Rayna’s album sales through the stratosphere; Ms. Barnes’ new album is about to drop, and she’s worried that she’ll be overshadowed by “a saint in a coma.” She orders recently returned manager Glenn (aw, hi Glenn!) to have Edgehill push back the release date, but he explains that the label has been bought by a conglomerate that could care less about her silly little album-release date. In other news, her assistant Emily is gone on family business, and there’s a hot new candidate to fill the position. But he comes up lacking in his um, interview (if that’s what you can call him rooting around under the covers until a bored Juliette commands him to leave – an exchange that made me laugh). Ever the multitasker, she’s used the time to come up with an album-saving idea: She’s going to profit off Rayna’s tragedy.

So Ju stages a giant launch concert on the steps of Nashville’s Parthenon and spends a lot of time talking about how broken up she is over the fate that has befallen her “idol,” “mentor and friend.” She even does one of Rayna’s old songs, “This Love Ain’t Big Enough.” At the end, she invites all of the fans over to the hospital to hold vigil for the reigning Queen of Comatose Country Music – a move that causes Avery – now, it seems, a permanent member of Ju’s band — to give her the side eye.

Juliette plays up the caring pal act at the hospital but is prepared to scoot out the back door… until Maddie sees her and runs into her arms. Mads tearfully tells Juliette everything, including her true parentage, and I’m impressed by how mature and supportive Juliette is in the moment – even given the Deacon bombshell. Our bratty little girl’s growing up, y’all! After shedding some real tears for both her own mother and her tourmate, Juliette lets Scarlett know she’ll pay Deacon’s bail. (The gesture turns out to be moot later, but it’s kind, nonetheless.)

LAST CALL | An update on Scarlett and Gunnar and the marriage proposal: She said no. They broke up. She moved out. Will moved in, and the guys throw a house party that apparently starts at 2 pm. (Ain’t no party like a Nashville party ’cause a Nashville party don’t… get going until Days of Our Lives ends? Seriously – we see people show up for the rager, then we cut to Teddy having his “I don’t want this kid” meeting with Peggy on what looks like their lunch break, then we cut back to the party.)

A guy Will knows is at the bash, which doesn’t make the closeted crooner very happy. Alone in the laundry room, Will gets angry and grabs the dude by the shirtfront; it’s all very Ennis-and-Jack-“wrestling”-in-the-tent, so I can’t blame the guy when he goes in for a smooch. But Will pushes him away at the last minute and loudly decries to everyone in the immediate area that the fella made a pass at him. Then Will grabs a female partygoer and is all, “I’m going to go straight upstairs straightaway and do straight–like things to this lady here.”

Meanwhile, Gunnar has facial hair, and I don’t hate it. But he hates the fact that he can’t get Scarlett out of his system, so he torches her couch in the yard; the fire department has to show up when it gets wildly out of control. He then swings by Scarlett’s last shift at The Bluebird, and they do a very pretty duet of “Why Can’t I Say Goodnight?” while Avery watches. (Great exchange – AVERY: Can’t take no for an answer, huh? GUNNAR: Guess that makes two of us.)

We also meet Scarlett’s childhood friend Zoey, who’s recently moved to Nashville, is taking Scar’s job at the café and who, from the looks of it, has her voluminous locks styled by the same Disney-animated woodland animals that cheerily coif Scarlett’s tresses each morning. Later, we see Scarlett at Deacon’s, surveying the damage he did the last time she was there; she’s planning to move in.

BYE-BYE, BABY | Peggy miscarries, but she leads Teddy to believe their child is still alive inside her. (Didn’t know where else to fit that in, but it’s important, no?)

WAKEY WAKEY! | The doctors eventually bring Rayna out of her coma (please tell me that snippet of the cargument isn’t all we’re going to get), and she recognizes her family and soon is on the road to recovery. Deacon’s lawyer comes to his cell with good news: He’s being released because Rayna woke up and confirmed that he wasn’t driving; of course we knew Deacon was going to be leveled with relief, joy and guilt at hearing that, but it was pretty awesome to watch, anyway.

At the hospital, Rayna and her dad look out over the city and agree that the past is better left in the rearview mirror. But not so fast, Lamar, because Tandy’s just gotten word that you might’ve been involved in your wife’s fatal “accident.” Goodness gracious, Nashville, I’ve missed you so!

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. newinkpop says:

    Wait…am I the first reviewer? Awesome!! Anyhoo, I loved this whole episode it was a nice way to bring Nahsville back but I can’t stand Deacon right now and in my opinion, he needs to apologize to Scarlett no questions asked. And I agree, its nice to be back to Nashville…

  2. Mr. White says:

    Oh, how I’ve missed Nashville! It’s not the best show, but it’s a damn guilty-pleasure. I really, really liked this episode. Things seem to have “improved”…in a weird way. Juliette is the girl I love to hate! It’s like they want us to hate her and then give the girl an emotional scene that you sympathize with. Love it. Can’t wait to watch the season unfold! Great recap as always, Kim!

  3. JMS says:

    I’ve realized that the only reason I watch this show is for the Gunnar and Scarlett duets. I need basically a whole show of just those.

  4. Mike R. says:

    I enjoyed this more than most early season 1 efforts. Still not crazy about Teddy and Peggy, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything else.

  5. Kristin D says:

    So happy this show is back, but what makes me even more gleeful is that I saw Liam McGuinnis in the season previews. I like this show, I love that man! The Post Cards from Mexico performance is one of the sexiest scenes this show has produced! Can’t wait for the rest of this season.

    Also thought the make-up/wardrobe people did an AMAZING job on the flashback stuff!

  6. Chablis says:

    So glad it’s back And a great, snarky recap. :-)

  7. Cassandra says:

    Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys Peggy/Teddy scenes on this show? Is Kimberly Williams-Paisley only sticking around in the producers hopes that Brad will come on the show more often? I’ll take as many Avery/Gunnar/Scarlett neverending love triangle scenes they can throw at me if they just get rid of those two.

  8. Regina Mills says:

    Almost cried with laughter at this part: Tandy stops her sister from going inside. “You cannot help,” she starts, leading me to finish, “someone who would choose to wear that vest over that tank top?” But she means, “someone who doesn’t want to be helped.” Oh yeah. That, too.

  9. Oh, I’ve missed the so too. Great Recap! Thought it was a good start for the season. It set the groung for some really exciting character’s journeys. Think this season is gonna be more about Rayna 2.0 and Deacon and it’s great because last season it was always felt that there is so much more to be discovered there.

  10. Elyse says:

    such a good episode!! I missed Nashville so much! :) :)

  11. Musicfan5 says:

    This episode bounced around too fast (like it was on Adderall or something). Hopefully it was just due to the flashbacks and trying to get the story in motion. Favorite scene was Juliette listening to Maddie and giving the girl her phone number. Little moments like that keep Juliette’s character interesting.

    Finding myself liking Avery a lot more than Gunnar these days. Welcome back Nashville!

  12. Jen says:

    So glad Nashville is back! And as emotional as ever. I could have cried when it turned out Deacon was drunk and didn’t remember asking Rayna to marry him. I still love him but wow, he really does know how to make a mess of things!

  13. mc says:

    Even worse than drunk-dialling, apparently there is such thing as drunk-proposing? That hurts. And hey, is the flashback sort of a peek on how Maddie was, you know, conceived?

  14. Melissa says:

    loved the entire episode! am I the only one wishing Scarlett and Gunnar get back together? they could work now that he got that outlaw persona out of him

  15. Eric O says:

    Love the show, love that it’s back and loved last night’s episode. And I just ADORE Claire Bowen as Scarlett. I always forget that she is Australian in real life and that Sam Palladio as Gunnar is British. They just do the country music/accent so well! Would love a duet album from the two of tthem!

  16. MLO says:

    Kim-ber-ly! Kim-ber-ly! Oh, why can’t you do ALL the recaps? On another note, I made the mistake of watching some old ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’ clips and CANNOT look at Deacon the same way after watching Chip make a fool of himself on that show. If you’re tempted, folks, don’t do it!

    • MelindaB says:

      I first saw Chip Esten on Whose Line, and that’s why I like the character of Deacon so much, and why I can’t call him “Charles.” I am even more impressed with his portrayal of Deacon, knowing how facile he is at comedy.

  17. MelindaB says:

    I think that I like Deacon because he’s played by Chip Esten; he’s really a screw-up and has hurt so many people, but I can’t dislike him. OTOH, I can’t stand Teddy, despite the fact that I have been a fan of Eric Close since he was on Santa Barbara.

    What will Juliette do with the information that Maddie so innocently handed her? I can’t see her NOT using it at some point. I would like to see her grow up and stop being so single-mindedly out for herself; we saw a few glimmers of that last night.

    I miss Lennon’s glasses.

  18. Hei says:

    So So right about the hair!!!!!! Best recap!

  19. “…it’s all very Ennis-and-Jack-”wrestling”-in-the-tent…”

    LOL! That’s exactly what I thought of too.

  20. PFitzDC says:

    So agree with your comment about the timing of the party–Nashville is the absolute WORST when it comes to time continuity from scene to scene. Watch the episode again and you’ll see other scenes that don’t make sense–totally unclear if they happen the same day, different days, different weeks (seriously–Rayna up in a chair at the balcony…that is so NOT within hours of coming out of a coma, so when is it supposed to be?). It’s clear the writers/directors/editors can’t get it together on proper sequencing.

  21. PFitzDC says:

    Overall, I liked the first episode a lot. But are we REALLY going to have the desperate-mistress-pretending-to-be-pregnant storyline? Such a lazy, overdone trope that barely works in the craziness of daytime soaps and was one of the worst threads in Glee’s first season. Kimberley Williams-Paisley deserves better…..

  22. Coryrox78 says:

    This right here : “has her voluminous locks styled by the same Disney-animated woodland animals that cheerily coif Scarlett’s tresses each morning…” I am laughing so hard in my cubicle right now! I do love this show so much, but I was a little disappointed in how easily Ray came out of her induced coma, but otherwise it was pretty strong season premiere.

    • Steve Harris says:

      Ditto; literally cried with laughter when I read that!

      Unfortunately I have to wait until I buy the boxset to watch Season 2 over here in the UK as I’ve only recently discovered the series, purely by lucky accident, when installing our ‘On Demand’ gadget…

      …way to go ABC; and the viewers for keeping it in the ratings so we get at least Season 3 :-)

  23. Tah says:

    Best recap EVAAAA!!! I loved the entire episode. Deacon’s heartache! It was too much to bear. I need for Gunnar and Scarlett to rekindle that thing…PRONTO! And I was so grossed out by Rayna and Liam’s tryst preview for next week…grrrrr. I hate that guy. I mean he is hot and can get it (not as much as Gunnar can obvi!) but his character is such a sleaze!

  24. Bobbi says:

    Great episode and am so happy the show is back! But, regarding Lamar’s wife….isn’t it an awful long time since her accident for them to decide that he might have been involved?

  25. Tora says:

    Great recap! Don’t know why you insist on hearing the argument, I loved just seeing it! Agree about Deacon at the end, Charles Esten always great, but brilliant in the small gestures, when he hears Rayna woke up!

  26. DavidSask says:

    The problem with this being a soap is its so painfully slow and none of the show is suspenseful and leaving you with the WTF feelings! I don’t see this show making it in the long run!

  27. Heather says:

    I love this show and am soo excited for season 2. I had to post because I can testify that there are Teddy fans. I love Scarlett and Gunnar paired and Rainna and Deacan but Rainna was horrible to Teddy. He deserved to be angry with her last season. She always acted cool to him and emotionally detached. I had high for him and Peggy but she is too desperate with her ‘love’ for him. Also, this thing between Rainna and Deacon is ridiculous. They have both made a mess of their love. They are both too old to keep cycling their same bad habits.

  28. Liz B says:

    So glad Nashville is finally back.
    Gotta love Deacon. Even if he fell off the wagon, deep down he’s a good guy and he DOES love Rayna. Really want to see the two of them together.
    Would love to see Scarlet & Avery back together. Yes, he DID do her wrong, but seems to be a lot of that on Nashville.