Nashville Season 4 Recap

Nashville Recap: The Wages of Grief

OK, that’s it: I’m putting out an official APB for A Dog Named Sue.

If you’re new to Nashville, you might not know that Deacon once had the cutest dog in the world, but he gave it away to a perfectly good ex whose biggest flaw was that she wasn’t Rayna. That dog’s name? Sue — a nod to Mr. Johnny Cash.

And while I’m sure Deke saved himself a lot of besmirched carpets, way-too-early morning walks and chewed furniture, he also denied himself — and all of us! — the special cuddly comfort a pup provides during rough times.

Like when your sister dies after donating you part of her liver.

And you can’t bring yourself to let your lady help you feel better, no matter how hard she tries.

And even your old failsafe, an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, isn’t enough to help you sort through your conflicting emotions.

Pooch snuggles may not be the cure for what ails ya, but they certainly don’t hurt, is all I’m saying. And they’re certainly better than putting your hand through a mirror.

Read on as we recap the action in “”The Slender Thread That Binds Us Here.”

PUT DIRT ON MY GRAVE JUST YET | Beverly’s graveside service is as depressing as you’d imagine, with a newly returned Zoey singing “Precious Lord Take My Hand” a capella and Deacon pretending to ignore Scarlett. On that note: Good literal grief, Scar — could you not ditch the chunky hemp necklace for this one occasion? I have no idea why that thing is always around your neck — maybe you pinky-swore your camp bestie that you would wear it until it fell off or something (Cabin 6 forever!) — but it always pulls my focus. How about you take a note from Rayna, whose grief-hat game is on point? And that’s a good thing, too, because she has to step up and finish the eulogy when Deke is so overcome he can’t go on.

The post-funeral goings-on, summed up succinctly: Scarlett approves of Will’s coming out, Zoey is seeing someone in Los Angeles, Markus Keen calls Rayna to say he’s arriving earlier than expected, and Gunnar’s hair somehow gains three inches of man-pouf between the start of the scene and its conclusion.

A NEW LOW | Irked that Juliette has missed three press opportunities due to her hard-living-life-hating ways, Jeff all but drags her out of bed and demands that she allow a reporter to shadow her for 48 hours. “Get it together and show ’em how amazing it is to be you,” he barks before taking off for Nashville.

I’ll give it to JuJu: She planks like a boss and looks like a goddess while the journalist watches her every move, but the intense scheduling and constant scrutiny take their toll. Pretty soon, she’s asking New BFF Who Is Such a Terrible Person I’m Not Going to Name Her, Like Voldemort, for a little chemical assistance.

Cut to Juliette popping Adderall, then combatting it with sleeping pills and booze, then almost losing her stuff when a radio DJ shows her a gossip rag’s photos of Avery, Emily and Cadence sitting on a blanket in a public park. “You lying bitch!” Juliette screams into poor Em’s ear, via phone, the first chance she gets. “You’re just a golddigging, backstabbing whore!”

Eventually, New BFFdemort fetches a doc to inject Juliette with — I don’t know, horse tranquilizers? — so she won’t feel anything. And that’s when Avery calls with the news that Cadence is in the E.R. with a high fever, but New BFFdemort isn’t real clear with the message on either end, so Ju doesn’t know her daughter was in danger and Avery thinks his wife doesn’t care about them anymore. (Side note: In light of the recent news about Hayden Panettiere, it feels a little icky to watch this storyline unfold, no?)

CONNIE BRITTON, RILEY SMITHNOT SO KEEN ON MARKUS | Smirky Turtle Jeff (nearly sans shell!) and Layla lie in bed together chatting about her upcoming Grand Ole Opry debut. She frets that Markus’ arrival as a Highway 65 artist will push her farther down Rayna’s list of priorities, but Jeff — I know, I can hardly believe I’m about to type this, too — is a supportive voice of reason when he reminds her that “a rising tide raises all ships.” Then he gives her a pair of snazzy new cowboy boots, and it’s actually a little… cute?

Layla kills it at the Opry, but her success is later marred when Markus Kanyes his way onto stage while she and Rayna are chatting with the crowd. He’s like, “Imma let you finish, but…wait, actually? I’m not.” Layla storms off, but no one notices; Rayna does a playful duet with him but later tells him usurping the spotlight “was a little uncool.” He apologizes, then asks that Avery — whom he met earlier, thanks to Big Red — become his producer. This seems like an appropriate time to note for the record that Markus seems like the biggest d- to ever bag in Music City, and that’s grading on the Liam Man-Scarf Curve. And from Rayna’s face as he leaves her dressing room, she’s thinking the same.

Meanwhile, Will comforts a crying Layla by telling her “It’s all right to be happy with what you’ve got, even if it ain’t perfect.” Aww, that was basically the tagline of their sham-marriage reality series! Later, she apologizes to Jeff, who kisses her right there in front of everyone… including a wary Bucky.

GUNNAR DE BERGERAC | Caleb wants to be there for Scarlett, but he’s suddenly all awkward about it, and she tells Zoey that being with him is like “hugging a textbook.” So he writes a poem and takes it to Gunnar for some songwriting help. Gunnar uses the words as the basis for a ditty that proves Caleb’s love and support for Scar — watch out, Caleb: If things continue apace, you just might wind up crooning a Civil Wars cover next to Gunny at The Bluebird while Watty holds his phone up in awe.

Scarlett is impressed that Hot Doc went to such lengths to help her, so they have grief sex and she laments losing not only her mom, but Deacon, too.

DEACON IN THE DUMPS | I wish I could say that Scarlett is overreacting, but Deacon truly isn’t giving an inch in his you-killed-my-sister stance. His anger boils over in even the smallest moments, such as when Rayna’s talking about what to make for dinner. “I sure as hell don’t want to eat some damn funeral casserole,” he spits, and I know you’re hurting, honey, but THAT BAKED ZITI DID NOTHING TO YOU.

He goes to a meeting and gets a new sponsor, but he’s still in such bad shape that he trashes Beverly’s room — while Maddie watches — and admits that he really wants a drink (though, thankfully, he doesn’t have one). At the end of the hour, Rayna holds him close as he grits out how furious he is. Beverly never gave up, he says, but “Scarlett gave up.” And though I want to violently shake some sense into him, even in his grief, we’re going to have to leave it there for this week.

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

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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34 Comments
  1. Bill says:

    JuJu, how low can you go? How long will they drag out this depressing storyline? I hate how Emily always ends up being Juliette’s verbal punching bag.

    • FatherOctavian says:

      It’s especially depressing given that we now know that Hayden’s been battling postpartum depression herself this whole time.

    • The Beach says:

      Yep, the last two weeks have been relentlessly depressing and boring. Is there anyone on this show that is happy and having fun??

  2. Victor Field says:

    I thought the guy was called Markus Kane. Did Jason Rothenberg point out that “The 100” got that name first?

  3. the girl says:

    Kimberly, when I got to your line about baked ziti, I officially received life. Thank you for that, and yes, watching Juliette was completely squirm-worthy. It’s far too sensitive a subject to see life imitating art imitating life.

  4. RichieS says:

    The girl who plays Zoe is one fine-looking actress. Would like to see her and Gunnar get back together.

  5. Trevorsoi says:

    @RichieS Funny side note the actress that plays Zoe (Chaley Rose) & Gunnar’s portrayer (Scott Palladio) are a thing in real life

    Now on to the show:

    Siiiiiiigh. I love Nashville, I really do. I’ve been a fan since the first chord was played in episode 1, but man I’m starting to worry. It’s one thing that its become really predictable (Did anyone not think Beverly’s dying/death would be the thing that drives Deacon and Rayna apart. Or Scarlett’s constant being drawn to Gunnar but feeling the need to go with the “safer’ alternative or in about 4 months just swap current places and you’ll have Gunnar’s story with Scarlett)

    But all that I can forgive. What I can’t forgive and what’s getting to me is how un-fun the show has been this season. Yes, it’s a drama but it doesn’t have to be a constant melodrama. Juliet is supposed to be a hot mess, but a zippy, fun one with shades of all that damaged brokenness underneath. Everyone is just always sad and the couples that you’re supposed to be rooting for are either so dull in their acute misery or so content on berating and beating each other up/ down that its getting harder and harder to remember why you wanted them to be together in the first place.

    And lastly what is up with the music this year? Even when certain stories (Sadie who started so good but went blah, Scarlett’s white guilt helping the down black singer out, all things Jeff) don’t go anywhere the music is always top notch. My iPod is filled with songs from the first 3 seasons that I love but this year there hasn’t been one thats really pulled me in wth the exception of the Lennon sisters tune the rest have been just okay, and both the show AND the music can’t be just okay. Something has to be great

    And it can’t just be Connie Britton’s hair.

    • JoyP says:

      I so agree. After tonight’s episode I had to rewatch some clips from the first three seasons to remind me why I love the show. Everything this season, including the music, has been bland, boring and predictable. It makes me sad. The show had/has so much potential but isn’t living up. Maybe it was the terminal cancer storyline they chose to run with at the same time as PPD. I’m a devoted fan and will still watch in hopes of a return to more of the awesome musical performances and entertaining (rather than depressing) drama.

    • Wow, I could not have said it better myself. Lets hope things turn around soon…but I am also worried. I just don’t understand why every storyline has to be so depressing and over the top dramatic. Take us back to season 1.

    • The Beach says:

      Terrific post. You summed up everything I’ve feeling about this show lately. Well said!

    • Ella Jasper says:

      I totally agree.

  6. Bill says:

    Too much misery this season. Only characters even close to kinda happy are Jeff & Layla. Everybody else is miserable.

  7. abz says:

    I like Deacon, but I’m not a fan of Charles Esten’s over-the-top performance these past two episodes. Some moments the acting was so bad for me that it just took me out of the scene like that eulogy scene.
    I want Will to sign with Rayna. I always wished he had stuck with her and maybe he could have been her first real successful Highway 65 artist besides herself. I feel like if the tables were turned, she wouldn’t have dropped him like Luke did.
    Poor Layla. She seriously can’t catch a break. She’s always gonna be the punching bag on this show. She’s always gonna come close to real success, but she’ll never really reach the top. I know she’s a very divisive character, but I like her. The only thing I don’t like is her relationship with Jeff. I want Oliver Hudson to leave Nashville AND Scream Queens. Not feeling his characters on either show.
    I was hoping to see some progression in PPD storyline with Juliet soon, but with news of Hayden Panettiere’s personal problems (I wish her the best and a healthy recovery), I don’t see that happening any time soon. Plus, they’re doing some serious damage to her relationship with Avery that realistically will take some hard work to fix. Also, anyone else find that assistant of hers so annoying.
    On the issue of Avery, its so obvious that Cadence is gonna create some problems for his new producing gig with Markus.
    That was a complete douche move what Markus Keen did to Layla and his reaction to Avery needing to go because his kid was sick was disgusting. I’ll admit though that duet with him and Rayna was pretty good. Damn those eyes.
    The doctor boyfriend drama is boring and uninteresting and his jealousy is annoying. Not saying there is no basis for his jealousy, just that its not all that fun to watch. And I’m not saying this because I want her to leave and go back to Gunnar. I’m actually very anti Scarlett/Gunnar. Their back and forth drama ruined a lot of the show for me over the past year. It was annoying. I wish, at least for a while, they’d actually really live up to their duo’s name The EXES and just be friends and make good music. I’d rather watch them fight over musical decisions than continue to see the endless stares and pining.
    I’m indifferent about Zoey’s return. It was nice, but I didn’t really care too much tbh.

    • The Beach says:

      I thought I was probably the only person who thought Esten’s acting was awful the last few episodes….guess not.

    • Laura says:

      I don’t think it was Chip’s acting that was terrible. I think he did as best he could with the material that he was given, but I am so tired of it.

  8. LMNJ says:

    Juliette’s story line is depressing. The fact that Hayden is stepping away for treatment for her own postpartum depression makes the story line even more powerful – albeit uncomfortable. I have not dealt with ppd – but I have friends that have. One of the hardest things is ‘knowing’ that you should be happy, that everyone expects you to be so thrilled with this little baby you’ve birthed and all you feel like you’re lost and terrified and dying inside. Media images of celebs boucing back with perfect bods and happy, perfect family photos help paint our mental picture of what glowly joy new moms feel. TV shows that portray the same create image and that image piles on the depressed new mom – it adds guilt and it adds fear – so many are afraid to admit they don’t fit the image. Having a character really go off the deep end, to experience MORe than just a ‘little case of baby blues’ is uncomfortable to watch, but important to portray. That mom that just can’t get out of bed, who fears her child’s cries, who dreads holding her child because she feels so lost and overwhelmed…she needs a messed up JuJu because she can identify at some level. The fact that the rest of us want to smack Juliette upside the head and yell “This is making me feel queasy, STOP!” should be a door to a converstaion about real life PPD and not a “I hate when shows don’t show their trainwreck characters to be lovable, goofy trainwrecks.

  9. A says:

    I love your recaps, but I have to make a minor correction. It’s actually Grand Ole Opry, not Grand Ol’ Opry.

  10. Donna says:

    This entire recap is ON POINT. Perfect. And hysterical.

  11. Maryjo says:

    brilliant blog I’m a big sports fan from swedem

  12. Love Me Some Deacon! says:

    Oh, the drama! So many trainwrecks all at once. I love Nashville, but this was a really depressing episode!

  13. milag64 says:

    My issue with the PPD storyline is that Juliette is basically acting like early versions of herself. The other characters keep saying things like she’s acting different, etc etc, but to me, it seems more as if she just reverted to the person she was at the beginning of the show just a little more desperate because she needs to scramble her way back to the top.

  14. steven says:

    At least the producers are planning to have Juliette getting help since Hayden is in rehab now.

  15. smartysenior says:

    There is no balance at this point, it’s all a downer. It used to have some drama issues but a real bright side either with the music or something cool happening to someone. I think they must have lost a writer or two this year, it’s a different and depressing show. I’m not liking it.

  16. Carly Peitel says:

    My fave night time show is NASHVILLE! Hottest men on TV!

  17. A fan of TV says:

    Deacon does not know anything about logic and it is draining, I am so with you. This man is a dang manchild. How dare he question his neice’s heart-wrenching decision, especially considering he KNOWS Bev worshipped him and spat on her daughter every single day. Scarlett didn’t give up on Bev, who was frickin brain DEAD, and even if she did, Bev was the worst mother in the world. Demoralizing, self-centered, belligerent, and delusional. Deacon is jumping up on his high horse NOW, despite having given up on HIMSELF before Rayna found out he had cancer? Deacon be quiet, honor your sisters memory and move ON.

    • Laura says:

      I agree. I don’t remember Beverly and Scarlett ever REALLY working things out, but then all of a sudden we’re supposed to forget how abusive she was? She was also awful to Rayna. I will not miss that character at all.

  18. Laura says:

    Ugh why is Zoey back? I don’t see how we are expected to like her, after she went behind Scarlett’s back to date Gunnar, and then got all jealous and angry about Scarlett and Gunnar’s friendship. They didn’t develop her character enough to make me like her despite these things. She can go back to LA now.

  19. Linda says:

    Deacon is using the classic psychological defense mechanism of projection, and Scarlett needs to call him on it. Scarlett needs to scream at Deacon that it is ALL HIS FAULT that Berverly is dead and HE TOOK HER MOTHER FROM HER AND SHE WILL BE MOTHERLESS THE REST OF HER LIFE, not the other way around. If Deacon didn’t drink and ruin his liver, Beverly would still be alive. To project his anger at himself onto Scarlett instead is pathetic, and seriously diminishes his eye candy appeal.

  20. Dor says:

    Really appreciated Rayna taking a photo with Will- between all the other drama it might have been over looked by some but that was a really high point of the episode. Rayna probably didn’t realized how much it meant to him either and Will helping Layla was a great moment too. Hoping Will finds his way back into the spotlight and I’m sure that’ll be with him going to highway 65!

  21. Ella Jasper says:

    Nashville, you need to get back to your early days. We need to hear the music, not watch all these depressing story lines. What happened to your great show? The core characters were wonderful with beautiful voices. You have too many new people. Every week is same ole stuff. Get these people back to making music. That use to be the best part, now it is BORING. I noticed ratings are down, shouldn’t that tell you something? Bring back Zoe, what a voice!
    I know I am writing this as if they are reading my comments. Loved the first season of Nashville, too sad now.