Nashville Recap: A Good Mantra Is Hard to Find

Nashville Season 1 RecapThere’s a lot of reflection going on in this week’s Nashville, which finds Rayna contemplating her children’s professional futures, Deacon contemplating settling down, Scarlett contemplating making the dumbest move of her life and Juliette contemplating seeing her mom’s sober counselor naked. Put on your Stetson and shine your spurs, because it’s time to review the major events of “I Saw the Light.”

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ON THE DOTTED LINE | A month has passed since the events of the last episode, and Scarlett and Gunnar are well and truly coupled up. He even gets her the traditional one-month anniversary gift: tacky dish gloves. (Two words, Gunnar: “Gilt” and “dotcom.”) All the lovey-dovey-ness evaporates, though, when he realizes that she got an offer from Edgehill but never told him. He’s mad – shocker! – and she defends herself by saying that she’s been trying to get the record company to take him on, too. His perfectly adult response to that is to be, by turns, passive-aggressive and pissy, even through a dinner with their hot-cha-cha-cha new upstairs neighbor, Will.

Scarlett stares holes through Gunnar’s skull while he and Will have a little male bonding singalong-and-sports-talk by the outdoor firepit, which makes me think maybe baby girl is getting ready to toss his lanky butt to the curb.) But no, the next day she announces that she won’t sign the solo contract because she wouldn’t be a songwriter if it weren’t for him. Sigh. Gunnar, though, realizes what a huge opportunity she’s got and — in a moment that makes me very proud of him – draws a line between himself and jealous men like Avery. “I’m not that guy. I’m the guy that’s proud of you and excited for you,” he tells her, adding, “Sign the damn contract, please.” He then tops it all with a declaration of love and she returns it, kissing him silly. See how well things work out when you use your words, Gunnar?

THE MIGHTY, FALLEN | Avery’s starting over from less than scratch in Nashville, which is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that just keeps getting worse. First, Hailey tells him that by virtue of losing his recording deal, he’s in breach of his music publishing contract. Then, the Five Spot manager says that Marilyn has blacklisted him at all of the Music City venues he used to play. Finally, he’s reduced to playing for change on the street, where former bandmate JT mocks him (but far more gently than I would in his place). JT says he’s giving up and going back home, suggesting that Avery do the same. But Scarlett’s ex says that’s not an option: “Music’s all I know how to do.” So JT hooks him up with a roadie gig, and we later see Avery on his way to New York to catch up with the Red Lips White Lies tour. A fairly satisfying turn of events, no?

DOG DAYS ARE OVER? | Deacon and Stacey the vet are so smitten that he can’t imagine leaving her behind when Rayna and Juliette’s tour starts up again – so he asks her to join him and Sue on the road, and she accepts. Rayna’s taken aback when Deke introduces Stacey as his “girlfriend,” and though Ms. Jaymes is initially quite awkward about the whole thing, she eventually gives Stacey her stamp of approval. And after Stacey calls Deacon on not being completely forthcoming about his past with Rayna – a charge he apologetically accepts – he floats the idea of giving up touring for good and settling down in Nashville. She implores him not to make the change on her behalf, but he claims it’s just time. “The road is no place for a new dog,” he says, nodding at puppy Sue in his crate. “Or an old one.”

ZEN? TRY AGAIN | The fact that her hotel room looks out at a giant billboard of Rayna hawking cosmetics irks Juliette to no end, despite Dante’s advice to just let it go. (Hey Ju, as far as mantras go, “I am zen. I am positive. I am… really pissed off!” needs some work.) By and by, Juliette appeals to the sober counselor’s dormant corporate raider nature, and damned if that Juliette Barnes can’t make any man do anything she wants him to– at least for a while. Pretty soon, he’s shuttling Jolene off to the crew’s AA meeting in order to help Juliette strategize her presentation to a smartphone company. She rolls in like Business School Barbie and puts the suits at ease with her self-deprecating humor; we later learn that she lands the endorsement, which will plaster her mug all over the country and cross-promote her new single and album.

Jolene’s upset that Juliette’s way more jazzed about the deal than about getting to spend time with her mama; Juju makes amends by dedicating her new single to her mom at the next night’s show. And later that night, in a move that surprises no one who’s watched even a minute of this show, Juliette and Dante have sex. (Side note: Slow down there, Dante! For a zen master such as yourself, whom I assume is at least familiar with the term “tantra,” you’ve got her shirtless and on her back pretty quickly.) P.S. Poor Jolene.

BABY STEPS | Rayna is troubled by her daughters’ idolatry of Juliette – as well as Maddie’s announcement that she wants to become a professional singer, like, now. Tandy, who’s accompanied her sister and nieces for the New York tour dates, points out that the little ones really want to be like their mom. “We all do.” Aww. Connie Britton breaks my heart when she tears up as she says she knows the girls are talented, but she doesn’t want the business to mess them up. Very nice scene of sisterly love (especially since we’ve mainly seen Tandy in the context of Teddy’s campaign), though it ends a little rough when Tandy draws parallels between Rayna and their domineering dad.

Rayna gives Daphne and Maddie a moment in the spotlight during one evening’s soundcheck, and the backup band plays as the girls sing The Lumineers’  “Ho Hey” to an empty arena. It’s really sweet, especially when the crew joins in on the “ho!” and “hey!” parts. (Side note: Did you giggle at Rayna turning her head just as Deacon says “ho!”? No? I’m the only 9-year-old in the crowd? Okay then.)

BUSTED | While Rayna and the girls are gone, Peggy makes herself very comfortable at Teddy’s house. So comfortable, in fact, that she’s taken unawares when Lamar confronts her there. Long story short: He knows she was the one who leaked lies about Teddy and Rayna’s divorce to the tabloid, and he wants her to sway Teddy back to the original stadium plan in exchange for his silence on the matter. We later see her start to carry out Lamar’s plan… but when he has some kind of heart attack-ish episode at the end of the hour, whether he’ll be around to see his machinations come to fruition is up in the air.

Now it’s your turn. Did you love the moment where Rayna watched Deacon hugging Maddie on the side of the stage? Are you happy with how Avery’s world has flipped? Did Scarlett and Gunnar’s “I love you” exchange get to you? Sound off in the comments!