Nashville Recap: Falsehoods, Family and FLOTUS

Nashville Season 2 RecapHello America, First Lady Michelle “Check Out These Guns” Obama here.* As you might have heard, I appear on this week’s Nashville, which pays tribute to our soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Since I’m around anyway, and I could use a fun project that doesn’t involve organizing Dr. Jill Biden’s closet – that woman lurves her a sweater set — I feel it is my duty as an American to sort out the messes Rayna and Juliette have gotten themselves into.

Stringing along Luke when Deacon’s RIGHT THERE? Doing the nasty with Jeff freakin’ Fordham?! These women are such disasters, I nearly got my husband to call in FEMA. (Just kidding. I didn’t. But I could.)

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After just a few minutes with these two — – even via satellite! — it becomes clear that no amount of Beyoncé dance-move initiatives or veggies from the White House garden are going to solve their very complicated problems. So let’s review what happens in “All or Nothing With Me,” and I will try my very best not to give a John Boehner-worthy eye roll… oh, and God bless the USA.

*Of course it’s not actually Michelle Obama, everybody! But if I were First Lady, school kids would be forced to watch Sleepy Hollow as a history requirement and Gillian Anderson would be on the $5 bill. 

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REGRETS, I’VE HAD A FEW | Juliette starts out the episode the morning after what we’ll politely call her encounter with Jeff by showering, scrubbing her skin raw and sobbing over what she’s done. It’s a smart move, actually; smirky turtles can carry some terrible diseases. Things look like they’re about to get worse when Avery arrives, noting how she wasn’t there when he swung by late the night before. But pretty soon, he’s apologizing for possibly hurting her during the Great Scarlett Implosion of 2014. “Scarlett is my ex-girlfriend,” he assures her. “You’re the one I’m in love with.” Juliette’s guilt sends her skedaddling out of there, mumbling something about meetings and offhandedly telling him their relationship is fine.

Elsewhere in town, Gunnar tells Zoey about what he saw at the party the night before, and she’s adamant that he has to let Avery know. (Side note: Both Chaley Rose and Sam Palladio are rocking some artfully coiffed bedhead here. Well done, Nashville hair team!) Gunny’s really not looking forward to dropping the truth on his ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, especially after things get even more complicated: Juliette is entertaining the idea of having Gunnar co-write some songs for her new album. Lucky for Gunnar, Zoey books a gig as a back-up singer on Juliette’s tour and quickly changes her mind about her man telling the truth, seeing as how it could now mess things up for her. Way to stick to those principles, Z. (Palladio playing Gunnar’s absolute lack of suave in the situation, though, is pretty funny.)

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GO TO SHELL, JEFF | But just because Gunnar has decided to sit on what he knows doesn’t mean Jeff is gonna do the same. The label exec letches all over the place as he tries to lure a disgusted Juliette back to Edgehill. “No matter how unsatisfying” – I knew it! The turtle’s got no skillz – “brief and dumb our mistakes are,” they’re best forgotten, she tells him. But he thinks Avery would be quite interested in rehashing of events, and basically threatens to tell Avery everything if Juliette doesn’t ditch Highway 65 ASAP. You’d think this might drive Juliette to make a good, love-related decision for once in her life and confess to Avery before he finds out from someone else. You’d be wrong. Instead, she just hugs him and looks conflicted. This one’s gonna hurt next week, y’all.

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RAYNA SAVES THE DAY | While in Afghanistan to play a concert at a military base, Luke’s convoy runs over an improvised explosive device that kills two people and seriously shakes up the cocky country singer. His minor wounds get him flown home to a New York hospital, where Rayna flies into his arms. Luke’s disappointed he wasn’t able to deliver the concert he promised, which was going to be simulcast to bases around the world, so Rayna comes up with the idea of a show at Fort Campbell. Pretty soon, Juliette and Kellie Pickler are on board, and the concert is a go.

Except… Luke still isn’t crazy about Ms. Barnes being a part of the plan. She overhears his rant against her and pulls out of the lineup, but after he finds out about her family history – her dad was a Blackhawk operator who died in a training accident when she was 4 – he has a change of heart. He even duets with her on “Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet,” and the military families in attendance eat it up. (Side note: So do I. I think I might like it as a duet even more than as a solo. Blasphemy? Yell at me in the comments.)

Also of note on the Luke tip: Before the show, Luke lets Rayna know he’s in love with her, but he fears that she doesn’t feel the same way. She allays his worries (temporarily – we’ll get to that in a minute) by replying that she loves him, too, and they get smoochy. I know. I’m not crazy about it, either.

OUT IN THE OPEN | The show progresses well, with Kellie Pickler performing and Mrs. Obama lending her support to the families present via a taped piece. The music’s loud, the vibe is good – so naturally, Deacon thinks this is the perfect time and place to have heart-to-hearts with some major players in his life.

You see, a side effect of spending more time with Maddie is dealing with her endless questions – one of which involves his whereabouts on the day she was born. What he tells her: He was on the road. What really happened: He leapt off the wagon upon hearing that his former love had given birth. He handles it all at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, then wants to “air it out” with Rayna and Teddy at the concert.

First up, the redhead. Deacon tells Ray that she did nothing wrong by keeping Maddie’s true paternity from him; in fact, it was the only thing she could’ve done to protect herself and the kiddo at the time. It’s a very sweet, pivotal moment in their relationship… diminished only slightly by the fact that he’s gotta be screaming it into her ear to be heard over the noise of what’s going on on stage.

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DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL | Deke’s Backstage Tour of Aching Tenderness continues when he asks Teddy for details of the day Maddie was born. Ted’s wary for a moment or two, but then gives Deacon what he wants, leaving both men verklempt at the memory of Mads as a squalling babe.

Better clear that lump in your throat, Deke, because you’re wanted on stage! Rayna brings the girls up with her to sing “A Life That’s Good,” and at the last minute, Maddie beseeches her mom to ask the songwriter to join them. Deacon comes out for a really lovely rendition of the incredibly touching song – something about the simplicity of the tune and lyrics always kills me a little – and all is well. Unless you’re Teddy and/or Luke, giving epic stinkeye from either side of the stage. Then, you’re screwed, because Deacon’s connection to Rayna and her older daughter is undeniable.

REALITY CHECKED | Will’s apathy for kissing Layla does not go unnoticed by the reality crew now taking up space in their home, which sends him into a rage. And when a possibly gay trainer at the gym vaguely hits on him (it’s so hard to tell! Some trainers will do anything to get you to buy sessions, no?), Will initially rejects the offer… then calls the guy later and says he wants to schedule a private session. Mrrrow.

Now it’s your turn. Did Scarlett actually quit another gig so soon after the last one? And she’s not really leaving, right? The Rayna-Deacon stuff was good, right? What did you think of Will’s song for Layla? 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. Margaret says:

    Chip Esten is an absolute MVP, that scene at the AA meeting was top notch. In the hands of another actor, Deacon could turn into a caricature, but Chip infuses every line he has with honesty and emotion, even if he’s just bringing Scarlett tea in “the girliest mug I own.”

    • Amy says:

      Way to sum up what makes Deacon/Chip so great, and why he’s not only my favorite Nashville character, but one of my favorite tv characters ever…in a few, succinct, but just right words.
      I. love. Deac. :)

  2. Adam Lenhardt says:

    Normally, I like seeing Deacon performing with Maddie, but it seemed really inappropriate for Maddie to ask that of her mother. Here Teddy finally was trying to make this very awkward situation work, and Rayna had committed to Luke, and then it all gets blown up by bringing them together on stage. Although, I will say that that’s the end game I’m rooting for.

    These big military episodes always make me uncomfortable. I can’t help but feel like the show’s using the men and women of our armed forces as props. But on the flip side, I’d be outraged if Hollywood made a conscious effort to exclude portrayals of our soldiers and sailors and airmen.

    The retcon of Juliette’s father being in the military rubbed me the wrong way at first, but then felt like a really strong storytelling choice. It gives her character something to be about other than bad personal and professional choices.

    • Sarah B. says:

      I have assumed that everything Juliette has ever said about her father is a lie. Maybe she never knew her father and makes up stories to explain his absence. But I could be wrong.

    • Guest says:

      It’s not a retcon. She told a completely different story about her father last season. Which means he’s still alive and will eventually show up if the show keeps going.

    • sharialynn says:

      I think Maddie’s just a kid. I don’t think she’s trying to push Rayna & Deacon together (unless I missed something when I left the room). I think she’s trying to make places for all the pieces of her, she loves singjng with him. Cut her some slack.
      But I was with you on the Juliette thing. I think it also kinda of explained her crazy momma. Nice character development.

  3. Riana says:

    If Scarlett leaves, I don’t know if people would mind, except they’d need someone knew to ship Gunnar with because him and Zoey don’t work.

    • Amy says:

      It’s weird, I wouldn’t miss Scarlett but I would miss Clare Bowen so much! She’s way too talented to leave my screen

  4. Maggie says:

    Scarlett is my favorite. Please don’t let her leave.

  5. Jill says:

    I doubt Scarlett will really leave. I loved the Rayna/Deacon talk (though I wish she would have apologized too), but that concert was a really inappropriate place to have it. In fact, I feel like a military concert that took up a good portion of the episode would have been good for episode 10 or 11, but not the penultimate of the season. I loved the family singing together in the end. Suck it Luke and Teddy Rayna, Deacon, and Maddie deserve a chance to be a real family.

    • ... says:

      They can be a family without Teddy and Rayna getting back together. Or are non-two parent households not real families?

      • Jill says:

        I meant Deacon and Rayna deserve to be together, not Teddy and Rayna. I just meant that Deacon missed out on being with his love and raising their daughter together. Of course they’re still a family even if Deacon and Rayna don’t get back together, but they love each other, so they should.

    • sharialynn says:

      I disagree I like Rayna & Luke. I think Deacon & Rayna will always care about each other and now that they’ve laid resentments to rest they have a real chance at being friends & co parents. They don’t have to be together to be Maddie’s REAL family.

      • Miri says:

        Seriously, I need Rayna to move on from Deacon. I am glad they are talking it out but too much baggage. I loved how the actors portrayed the scene – so real in emotions YET so ridiculous that it is at a concert. It shows the absolute immaturity of Deacon; he is at the level of Maddie. Also insane is that Rayna would agree to let Deacon join when they were all concerned about media fallout! I think everyone should stop getting into crazy relationships and have some single time.

        Avery and Juliette are so good together but ugh Jeff! I am still trying to wipe my memory from the horror of last week.

        I loved the duet with Luke and Juliette! It made me reconsider the song and now I am going to download it.

    • Amy says:

      I agree, not really season ending worthy

    • I also would have loved for Rayna tell Deacon she was sorry for hurting him, even if she believes the right thing. You can still apologize.

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  8. Amy H says:

    Did you see the preview for next week?! Hopefully this is the one where Rayna and Deacon give it another try. I see Luke proposing and Rayna turning him down because of Deacon. PLEASE! He’s almost as bad as Teddy.
    Loved Chip Esten this week. He always knocks it out of the park.

  9. steven says:

    I loved Gunnar’s comment about Jeff and Juliette hooking up. “An NC-17 movie starring the two of them.”

  10. Nance says:

    I might be the minority here but I think Luke is great for Rayna. Not to mention everything he has done to help her out and show his loyalty. It sort of broke my heart to see the look on his face when Rayna and Deacon were singing together. I understand they will always have a connection and everyone wants them to end up together, but I think it’s too soon for Rayna to get into all that nonsense with deacon again.

    • Jill says:

      I don’t know what it is, but I think Luke is the worst, and I cringe every time he’s on screen. I see no real bond between him and Rayna. I just seems all one sided, and I think Deacon has really grown. I just can’t imagine the writers putting her with anyone else and having it feel authentic after the way they wrote them last season as being in love with one another for over 25 years. I know Deacon had his problems, but he clearly would do anything for Rayna far above an beyond anything Luke has done.

      • Amy H says:

        I agree. I like Will Chase but I find him very wooden in this role. He and Rayna are just not believable.

    • Jo Jo Ma says:

      I too like Luke with Rayna. Deacon is still too volatile. Because of him, she almost DIED! I’d like the redemption of Teddy. I love seeing him struggle with sharing Maddie. And, seriously, how Deacon could tell Rayna she was right to keep that secret for 14 years is MADDENING!! And she doesn’;t need forgiveness??? WTF. He SHOULD be mad….for a REALLY long time. I don’t care how drunk he was then…he was sober for 13 years!!

  11. Kate says:

    I think “Don’t Put Dirt on my Grave Just Yet” worked well as a duet. Having Luke sing it with Juliette lent credibility to her, as well. As Rayna said, the song is more than a giant F U to Nashville.

  12. Frannie says:

    I don’t get the Luke hate- he doesn’t bother me- and as for Rayna and Deacon- just.NO.
    I honestly wish they would let the relationship be what it is- they may have chemistry but history has shown that friendship works for them – romantically they are toxic

  13. SBookLover says:

    OMG that promo for next week. I don’t believe Rayna will say no on stage in front of so many people, but that would be good drama to watch. And I hope I’m wrong, but a got a feeling Juliette is pregnant!!! Can’t wait for it :D

    • Amy says:

      OMG Juliette being pregnant would be disgusting. Def think Rayna is going to say no, looking forward to it haha

  14. luli101 says:

    Love Chip Esten!! And it just seems like Luke Wheeler is still 1 dimensional. I think it is the writing for his character…are we supposed to be rooting for Deacon even though Luke is obviously better for her? I don’t know. I want to like him because I love Will Chase, and I enjoy the music with him. Scarlett…well, she can’t be leaving. There has to be a Gunnar/Scarlett moment coming up next week. Although I like Zoey, I think Scarlett and Gunnar are supremo. Has the show been renewed yet?? I hope there is not a cliffhanger with not renewal.

  15. PFitzDC says:

    Rayna is SUCH an idiot sometimes…or at least the lazy writers on this show make her that way. The tabloid reveal about Deacon being Maddie’s father has hardly cooled down, and she’s going to okay a family musical reunion on stage while she’s so worried about launching her new album? Forget Luke and Teddy–this is the real idiocy of that move…and the thing is that the writers won’t even address this angle. I have such a love/hate relationship with this inconsistent show. Sometimes it’s brilliant, mostly its average and occasionally it’s dreck. Only consistencies are the great music and the terrific performances by actors who sometimes have to work with ridiculous lines and scenes.

    • Whatevah says:

      I SO Agree with this post. Not so much about the family reunion on stage, but ..the characters are soooo inconsistent! I really think the writers spend their time trying to figure out where to put the music and don’t really care about the characters. The cast is so talented in so many aspects, but boy the writing is horrible!

      • sharialynn says:

        I agree I think that the music carries this series. It would be like singing “Grease” in the middle of Oklahoma. Great song, great performers, but WTF! I don’t feel like this sad worthy of a season ender. The whole Scarlett mess was way more dramatic. Did the writers run out of juice or what? I mean JULIETTE AND JEFF. Not with a thousand condoms & a keg of Jack!

  16. Diz says:

    Luke’s ok but please let Scarlett leave & never come back.

    • Whatevah says:

      Last year I would have been bummed if Scarlet was “leaving”. But this season she can’t leave fast enough. But she can take Luke w/ her. He’s horrible too.

  17. DC says:

    I loved the duet rendition of “Don’t Put Dirt on my Grave Just Yet”. I didn’t see it as an FU to Nashville, but as an anthem of empowerment to everyone who has ever been dissed, condemned, trampled on, or had to fight back against injustice. I thought it was perfectly appropriate for the army fundraiser!

  18. Claire says:

    Here for Rayna & Deacon!

  19. MA says:

    I didn’t like this episode at all. It introduced conflict that never happened (Deacon told Rayna he’d never forgive her? When??), ignored the characters’ history (Teddy banged your girlfriend like…a month ago, Deke), made me endure Luke Wheeler both shirtless and in love, and treated Juliette like crap. I chalk this up to one where the writers don’t watch their own show.

  20. Mary says:

    Let’s hope Luke disappears like Megan. How on earth was he anything but a reason to keep Deacon and Rayna apart all season? And how do the characters on this show turn love and off so quickly?

  21. Pammer says:

    Okay, did anyone else think that was Billy Ray Cyrus standing in the shots of the wings of the stage?

  22. Laurel Parker says:

    Could someone please help Scarlett with her southern accent? I know she’s Australian so a Mississippi accent might be a stretch, but I need to put on the closed caption when she has a monologue. Sounds a lot like Sissy Spacek playing Loretta Lynn in coal miners daughter. Deacon and her momma need to get her some diction lessons. If she could only sing all her lines….
    And btw why can’t Scarlett just continue with highway 65 and just not go on the road. She writes and sings better than everyone else. She could be the already certified wacko a la grey gardens and be a recluse star. A new hook.

  23. unknown says:

    ok, Rayna and Deacon are going to have a moment before Luke proposes to her onstage, Rayna is going to be looking at Deacon when Luke proposes and say “Yes Deacon, I will marry you”. The audience will go nuts and Rayna will run off the stage to Deacon.