Nashville Recap: A Dog Named Sue

CHARLES ESTENDeacon spends part of this week’s Nashville at the veterinarian’s office, but it’s Gunnar who acts like a dirty old egg-sucking dog. (Boy, you are lucky that Scarlett seems to have a soft spot for strays.) Meanwhile, Juliette’s impulsive nature causes an actual panic, which triggers one of the greatest Barnes-James interactions we’ve seen so far. And Avery watches his career go down in flames – literally. Let’s review the major developments of “When You’re Tired of Breaking Other Hearts.”

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A FINE THANK-YOU | Long ago and far away, the previous episode ended with Scarlett and Gunnar getting grief-groiny on the couch. At some point they moved into her bedroom, because that’s where we find them the morning after. She tentatively asks if he wants breakfast or for her to reschedule their showcase for Rayna later that day, and he uses it as an opening to make her feel terrible. “Look, Scarlett, we slept together. It doesn’t mean, it doesn’t have to mean anything,” he says coldly.

Way to go, Gunnar. I’d like to attribute your insufferable ways in this episode to your grief, but it just seems like this is your default way of relating to Scarlett when you’re not kissing her. I don’t care how mercilessly you rock a tank top; your behavior is unattractive. Lucky for Gunny, Scarlett’s feeling more magnanimous than I am, so she gives him his space. He sulks down to the police station, where a detective says Jason was likely involved in drugs – either selling or buying – and that while an investigation will take place, it won’t take precedence over innocent victims’ cases.

That sends him on a bender that causes him to miss the showcase – though blondie and her banjo kill with a solo version of “A Place to Shine.” (That’ll prove important later.) He stops by the house long enough to get into a fight with Scarlett, who is certainly mad that he messed up their biggest shot so far but is even more angry that he caused her so much worry. She calls him on treating her like dirt (atta girl!) but then apologizes (oy), so he treats her like dirt again and takes off. Guys, I can’t.

UNCLE DEKE TO THE RESCUE | Scared about what her roomie’s got planned, Scarlett runs to Deacon for help. Together, they grab Gunnar just as he’s about to enter the bar where his brother was killed. After getting Gunnar to admit that he has absolutely no plan aside from a hazy rage, Deacon uses himself as a cautionary tale by revealing what that music journalist hinted at weeks ago: He made his best friend Vince drive drunk, which killed him, and it’s been killing Deacon ever since. “You wanna hang onto something? Hang onto her,” Deke says, gesturing at his niece. Aw.

Funny thing, though. Once they’re home, Scarlett’s decided that she doesn’t want to be hung onto. “Last night was a mistake. Sorry,” she curtly says in response to Gunnar’s apology. He looks sad. I look at my watch. When, exactly, is Chris Carmack moving in next door to light a fire under this back-and-forth? It’s gotta be O.C. o’clock somewhere, no?

Later that evening, both brood in bed until they are impelled to lustily make nice in the kitchen. Next morning, though, brings a phone call for Scarlett. It’s Bucky offering her a solo recording contract with Rayna’s new label. You booze, you lose, Gunnar!

CROWDED HOUSE | Juliette doesn’t approve of the “traditional” roll-out Edgehill has planned for her new album, so she brattily tweets the details of an intimate, invite-only concert to her legion of followers. Instead of the 50 fan club members the club is expecting, a horde of teens (including Rayna’s older daughter, Maddie) swarms the venue. Moments after Juliette and Deacon take the stage, the crowd presses forward and general chaos breaks out. Security hustles Juliette out. Deacon leaps into the crowd and pulls Maddie from underneath a bookcase – a wee bit oddly placed, but whatevs – to find that she’s got a lump on her noggin. He takes her to the hospital, where Rayna thanks him for watching out for her kiddo. “Aw, c’mon. She’s like family,” he says, and YES MISS RAYNA JAYMES YOU’D BETTER AVERT YOUR EYES AT THAT.

Meanwhile, Juliette’s house is crisis central. She’s barking at everyone. Her lawyer is trying to determine liability for the fiasco. Her mother and Dante are setting up for yoga and some therapy. It’s all a little too much for Emily, who cries, “My last job was at the mall!” (ha!) and says she needs help. (Based on Juliette’s comments, anyone else think that Jolene may eventually become Em’s backup?) In the middle of everything, a very upset Rayna calls her tour partner to unleash. Juliette whines that everyone thinks the riot is completely her fault, and Rayna’s response is so awesome, here it is in full: “Because it is completely your fault! Man, girl! You don’t take responsibility for anything! I don’t even know what you’re doing, but you hurt people around you all the time. Wake up!” Why do I feel like that’s more mothering than Ju’s gotten in years?

Oh right, because it is – as we’re reminded in several interactions involving Jolene, Dante and Juliette. Upshot: Juliette apologizes for pretending not to see her mom waiting for her outside a tour date years earlier, then asks her – and Dante – to accompany her on tour for a while. Both accept. (I’m torn about how smart an idea this is. Log your vote in the comments.)

STARTING OVER | Fed up with Dominic’s “East Nashville-meets-Dubstep” take on his music, Avery steals his master tracks and sets them on fire. The producer is apoplectic when he learns what happened, but Avery merely hands him the remainder of his publishing advance ($75,000) and the keys to his car, then bids both Dom and manager Marilyn adieu. Back at zero in Nashville, he’s dealt the ignominy of being introduced as “Avery Barksdale” before singing a sad piano ballad at open-mic night.

PUPPY LOVE | At the beginning of the episode, Deacon still hasn’t named the puppy Juliette gave him for his birthday – but he has serenaded him with “Love Like Mine” (side note: awesome) in order to calm him down. When that doesn’t work, Deacon carts him to the vet and meets Nashville’s newest Dr. Doolittle, a lovely woman named Stacey (The Americans’ Susan Misner) who doesn’t know who Deacon is and admits that she hates country music. They flirt. He asks her to lunch. They sleep together, and it ends a bit awkwardly.

Coleman later ribs him about always trying to stay free for Rayna, whom Deacon watches talk about her divorce the next day on Katie. (Side note: I bet Deacon is a huge daytime TV fan. You gotta fill the time between gigs with something, right? I can totes picture him hanging out in his PJs, wondering exactly when General Hospital‘s Sabrina is going to be unveiled as beautiful-beautiful instead of dorky-beautiful and how soon after she and Patrick hook up Robin will come back from the dead and smash that business up. Nurses’ Ball forever! — right Deke?)

Anyway, Deacon returns to the office to announce that he’s given his pooch a name: Sue. Stacey doesn’t get the Johnny Cash reference – even if you’re not a country fan, that’s kinda one of those pop culture things people just know, am I wrong? – but it doesn’t matter, because she accepts Deacon’s request for an actual date in front of the entire waiting room. It’s cute. No match for the maelstrom that are his feelings for Rayna, but cute nonetheless.

Now it’s your turn. Did you think Lamar wanted to stuff a doublemeat footlong somewhere the sun don’t shine upon hearing Teddy and Coleman’s plans for “Subway Park?” How long do you think Teddy and Rayna’s house-sharing arrangement will last? Are Dante and Juliette inching toward something romantic? Sound off in the comments!