Nashville Recap: On the Road Again

CONNIE BRITTON, HAYDEN PANETTIERELife on the road is tough, y’all.

This week’s Nashville finds Rayna and Juliette only a few dates into their “Red Lips White Lies” tour, and they’re already having to endure sulking soon-to-be-ex-husbands, lonely mayoral candidates wanting a little attention and guitarists who – despite Rayna’s best efforts — refuse to be Deacon. Read on for the major developments that take place in “I’m Sorry for You, My Friend.”

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IN ABSENTIA | Rayna misses Deacon. Everyone knows it. Buddy knows it. Liam knows it. Both of the guitarists Rayna has fired know it. But while Deacon’s still on the road with the Revel Kings (more on that later), she’s going to have to make do with a strummer with whom she doesn’t share decades of history, a past romantic relationship and possibly a daughter. Hipster producer Liam! Yeah, you’ll do. She begs him to join her band, which he does very reluctantly and only as a favor. She buys him cowboy boots to celebrate, but is bummed when she notices he won’t wear them. “I put ’em on, I clicked my heels three times, and I didn’t turn into Deacon,” he teases her, adding that she’s afraid to go on tour without her biggest back-up player. Oh Liam, you wry teller of truth!

Meanwhile, back in Nashville, Teddy and Coleman are in a dead heat with just a few days before the mayoral election. Rayna pays a lot of lip service to the idea of flying home for the big night, but she’s totally not into it. So we’re subjected to a few scenes that boil down to this: Coleman and his wife are in true wuv and will be just fine, even if he loses; Teddy is a sad-sack emotional cuckold watching the news alone in bed while his wife puts on a show for strangers hundreds of miles away. (I do love, though, how Rayna seems glowingly content on stage – at least in this episode. That’s her happy place, even without old Deke. Or maybe it’s just the bajillion sequins on her shirt making her face light up like that? Either way: pretty!)

At the last moment, Ray-Ray changes her mind and flies home in time to be there for Teddy’s big win. Yep, that’s Mayor Sad-sack Emotional Cuckold to you – and Lamar swears he listened to Teddy and didn’t buy any votes to make it happen. Yeah, right. (Side note: Anyone else think the way Lamar and Tandy were standing near each other at the victory party was a little… inappropriate for a father and daughter?) (Another side note: Teddy’s victory party was held in a venue that looked a lot like the one where Elaine Barrish gave her concession speech, didn’t it?) Everyone but Teddy goes home, which makes it very easy for Peggy to show up at his campaign’s hotel suite later. Though she touches his face and it’s clear they both want more, she leaves… for now.

MRS. NO MORE | Juliette wants a divorce. Sean wants an annulment. She goes through a lot of foot-stomping – including flying her private jet out to meet him getting off the team bus, sending him really vague messages through Country Music Television (no joke) and taking “Love Like Mine” (aka the song they crooned together on her plane) off her set list – before she agrees to do things his way. The marriage was a fraud, she admits, because she lured him into it under false pretenses. Once everything’s settled, she finally apologizes, but the tormented Tebow doesn’t want to hear it. “You once told me I wouldn’t like you very much if I got to know you,” he says as their lawyers hash things out in an adjacent room. “You were right.” Ooh, emotionally stunted burn!

AVERY’S AVARICE | Scarlett’s ex, apparently not one for cuddling, wants to talk about his contract just moments after he and Marilyn finish a session between the sheets. He’s ready to sign with Dominic, but she advocates negotiating for more money. Guess which bullheaded, floppy-haired member of that little party gets his way? Dominic spins a tale about how Marilyn’s only looking out for herself, which is enough for Avery to sign with him and happily drive away in a “bonus” convertible – “instead of a six-figure advance,” a frustrated Marilyn notes. Showing his true colors, Avery very nastily informs her that she can get on board or get left behind.

I SHOT A MAN IN RENO JUST TO WATCH HIM DIE | Okay, maybe Gunnar’s brother Jason didn’t actually kill anyone. But he did do eight years in jail for armed robbery – a crime that we learn Gunnar barely escaped being part of – and Gunnar’s there when his big bro is released. After a road trip with Scarlett, whom he drops in Austin to see Deacon’s Revel Kings show, Gunnar and Jason hang out at a motel. They spend exactly enough time together to sing a partial duet of Merle Haggard’s “Lonesome Fugitive” and for Jason to hock Gunnar’s guitar, buy a gun and take off. Yes, it happens just about that quickly. Something about the pace of the guys’ scenes feels rushed, and their singing, while lovely, is the first time that a song feels shoehorned into a Nashville scene – for me, at least. (Thoughts? Hit the comments.) When Gunnar and Scarlett rendezvous in Austin the next day, she lets him know she’d love to hear all about it – and anything else – whenever he wants to talk.

TOURING’S A BITCH, AND THEN THERE’S CY | As the Revel Kings tour bus prepares to leave its pre-Austin stop, Deacon gives his old music journalist friend a perfectly lovely kiss but deters her from meeting him later on in the tour. Seeing an opportunity, Cy steps in with his slickest moves but gets shot down hard. (Lame, yes, but not character assassinating, right? The only other less-than-cool thing we’ve seen the Kings lead singer do is act a little threatened around Deacon, yes? OK. Keep that in mind.) At the Austin concert venue, Cy takes a shine to a starstruck Scarlett. And by the end of the episode, he’s got her trapped in the band’s private lounge, where he attempts to force himself on her while a bodyguard tries to keep a raging Deacon from getting inside. (My notes from this scene: “Whaaaa?”) Finally Uncle Deke busts in and decks the suddenly sleazy singer, but not before Scarlett plants a firmly upthrust knee into Cy’s Big & Rich. Deacon shouts that he’s quitting; Cy replies that he’s fired. And, scene! And also, huh? Was I so busy singing into my hairbrush to “Telescope” that I missed the episode where Cy became a total cretin?

Now it’s your turn. Did this episode feel a bit disjointed to you? Do you want to know the story behind Gunnar’s (almost) life of crime? Are you worried about Deacon? And is there any way at all that Juliette actually ran those stadium steps and still left the venue looking so spring fresh? Sound off in the comments!