Nashville Recap: Life Support

Nashville Season 1 RecapRayna learns a huge secret about her parents’ marriage in this week’s Nashville, but will she be able to act on it before an ailing Lamar has harrumphed his last? Meanwhile, Juliette and Jolene duke it out over someone so not worth it and a well-worded dressing down makes me love Deacon even more (and I thought I had topped out at that dog serenade a few weeks back). Tune your six-strings and slap on your Stetsons, because it’s time to review what happened in “My Heart Would Know.”

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SAVE A HORSE, RIDE A DANTE | Dante and Juliette roll around in her bed and establish that neither one wants their hook-up to be a one-time thing. But what about Jolene? Juliette suggests keeping their relationship on the downlow for now, and though the sober companion knows it’s not a great idea, he goes along with it. (You just know that somewhere, Joan Watson is shaking her head in disgust.) A knock at the door sends Dante scurrying to a corner or a closet or something – it’s at this exact moment that I decide I don’t like him and even though it’s early in the episode, that opinion only deepens over the hour.

Ju’s midnight visitor is Rayna, who’s letting Juliette know that Lamar’s had a heart attack and she needs to take her daughters back to Nashville. Juliette offers use of her plane – rather graciously, I might add – and discerns that Rayna probably won’t be back for the next evening’s show.  That gets the blonde’s wheels turning (well, that and a little pampering – as Emily puts it, “Mani-pedis help her think.” Ha!). As Jolene angrily wonders when they’re going to have the next family therapy session, Dante’s helping his new pal figure out how she can play the evening’s concert by herself. The way Jolene’s “counselor” treats her in this scene is totally gross, just in case you were wondering. Only when Ju’s mom admits that she took (but didn’t drink) a bottle of vodka from the honor bar does he even seem to really notice her.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOSS AND BOSSY | Juliette figures she’ll use her new songs to fill the time Rayna has vacated. Problem: the band doesn’t know these 10 fresh tunes, and Deacon says that she’s asking a lot when she wants them performance-ready in a few hours’ time. Buoyed by Dante’s assertion that she’s “the boss,” Juliette fights with her bandleader during soundcheck and then stomps off to sex up her new dude in the tour bus. Poor Avery (yeah, I can’t believe I just typed that, either), who’s now a roadie tasked with finding Juliette’s missing in-ear monitors, has the misfortune of walking in on the pair doing the horizontal Boot Scootin’ Boogie in the bus’ back bedroom. Juliette doesn’t see him but Dante does, which is enough to get him sacked by the interloper later that day.

Deacon hears about Avery’s firing, reverses it and then confronts Juliette’s new boytoy, who smugly reminds Mr. Claybourne that he, too, has a morally murky past that involves bedding Juliette. Plus, “She trusts me,” he brags. “I don’t,” Deacon replies.

TITLE CHANGES | Frustrated that Dante won’t return to Nashville with her, Jolene takes another tack: She kisses him, and Juliette sees it happen. This leads to a huge argument in front of the tour crew; we later learn that this isn’t the first time Jolene’s gotten inappropriate with one of Juliette’s beaus. (Side note: I know Mama Barnes is in no way innocent, but that reveal doesn’t make Juliette and Dante’s coupling feel any less wrong to me. Jolene’s still someone in treatment who’s been very vocal about needing help, and the two people who’ve pledged to support her are instead sneaking off to Billy Ray each other’s Cyruses.)

Juliette’s already irked, so when Deacon ignores her on stage and then tells her that she should’ve cancelled the show when Rayna couldn’t make it, she explodes. “Rayna is not my family. And let me tell you something: She ain’t yours, either,” Ju shouts at Deacon. Prepare to swoon in 3… 2… “Yes, she is,” he says, softly but with conviction.

After she’s cooled down, Juliette walks her mom out to the car with Emily, who’s going to take her back home and find her a new, female sober companion. The Barnes women are going to work on boundaries, Juliette says, confirming that she’s fired Dante as Jolene’s addiction counselor… but hired him as her own manager. Oy.

CARDIAC EVENTS | Tandy and Rayna rush to the hospital, where Lamar is recovering from his heart attack. Tandy asserts that she’s going to handle all of his business until he’s healed, and he seems to be on the mend – until he gets a look at Watty, who’s there to make sure Rayna is OK. Remember how Lamar’s wife had an affair with “a musician?” Yep, it was Watty – who went on to become Rayna’s mentor. Lamar freaks out and has to be carried back to bed; he later barely survives bypass surgery. In a tumble of exposition, Watty tells Rayna that her mother was a free spirit loved by both men, and that when she got into the car accident that killed her, she was planning to leave Lamar. Oh, and by the way? Tandy totally knew all of this the whole time. Rayna’s sis posits that what Ray has read as her father’s hatred of her – for most of her life — was really hurt feelings caused by her philandering mother and dredged up by Rayna’s similarity to her.

While Rayna’s processing this news by an unconscious Lamar’s bedside, Deacon shows up. He wakes her as she dozes, and she goes right into his embrace. It’s lovely. During their warm, too-short conversation, we learn that Rayna was 12 when her mother passed away and 16 when her father kicked her out of the house, the same time Watty got her her first paying gig. Deacon admits that he’s there because something in a voicemail she left him earlier “Sounded like you needed… me,” but the moment is a little too emotionally naked, so he leaves rather abruptly. Stacey’s surprised and delighted to see him back sooner than anticipated – at the beginning of the episode, he gave her the key to his place – but his grimace as she assumes that he came to Nashville because he missed her makes me pretty sure he’s still got the redhead on his mind.

Later, as Rayna’s tearfully lamenting the time she and her dad have wasted arguing, he opens his eyes. Meanwhile, Tandy’s learned a thing or two from having full access to her father’s files. She meets with Teddy to inform him that his girlfriend Peggy – who during the episode tells him she loves him in a very unhinged manner – was the one who leaked his divorce story to the tabloids.

SCARLETT’S CELEBRATION | With her Edgehill contract returned to the record company, Gunnar declares the day a “24-hour Scarlett O’Connor party” that starts with mimosas, moves on to some mid-morning sex and includes an evening at the bar. Also important, because I like to keep you all apprised of these things, Gunnar is wearing little black boxer briefs for his first few scenes. That’s all you really need to know, aside from the fact that Gunnar isn’t sleeping well and has no interest in writing music since his brother died.

That night, Will joins them at the honkytonk. Scarlett’s soused when he pulls her up on stage to sing the Ashley Monroe/Blake Shelton tune “You Ain’t Dolly (and You Ain’t Porter).” Gunnar looks on with an expression that’s tough to read; though he’s quite sweet to Scar in this episode, I fear his old ways may return in the not-so-distant future. She gets a call that Edgehill wants to meet with her the next morning, so the boys get her home to sleep it off. Gunnar admits that he feels pretty “empty” since Jason’s murder, so Will takes him out for a little distraction — if you can call totally psychotic behavior a distraction. As a train approaches, Will guns his pickup into the locomotive’s path, and they only clear the tracks by inches before it speeds by. Gunnar’s furious as Will whoops and hollers, but then asks if they can do it again. (Side note: Why do I feel like a whole new fan fiction ‘ship was launched tonight?)

The evening seems to have helped Gunnar at least a little; the next morning, a hungover Scarlett (wearing… what is that? A big-necked robe? An artfully draped sheet? The tablecloth?) finds him messing around on the guitar. He continues writing later at South Circle, which pleases his boss Jeanne. And Scarlett pulls herself together enough to enjoy the champagne toast with which Marshall, Bucky and the Edgehill staff greet her.

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