Nashville Recap: My Life Would Suck Without You

Nashville Season 2 Recap It’s not classy to speak ill of the dead, so let’s all try to think of nice things to say about Nashville‘s (as confirmed by this week’s episode) recently deceased Peggy.

She was pretty. She was single-minded. She… figured out interesting ways to use butcher-shop by-products?

Maybe we should just go with the faint praise Maddie musters to make her sad dad feel better: “She was nice.” Yeah, that works.

In other news: Will’s not dead! (But he’s also not good.) Juliette’s once more a pariah! And not even the presence of Her Majesty Kelly Clarkson can stop Scarlett from turning into a petulant 15-year-old. Let’s review what went on in “I’ll Keep Climbing.”

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MRS. MAYOR POST-MORTEM | As Teddy and Rayna look on in shock, Peggy’s sheet-wrapped body is carted away from the murder scene. (Did any of us really think the show was going to kill off Will? Too much potential there.) For the rest of the episode, Teddy oscillates between distraught – he ends the episode sobbing at his desk – and obsessed with finding the real reason that the shooter went after him. (We learn that the man, who allegedly blamed Teddy for his long unemployment, committed suicide soon after.) It doesn’t take long for the mayor to put together a theory that the killer wasn’t working alone.

I’m torn here, Nashville fans. You all know I won’t miss Peggy, and goodness knows I’m glad that this development gives Eric Close a little more meat to chew on the show, but doesn’t Teddy’s level of grief seem a little intense for the relationship they had? Or am I being a heartless shrew who should leave a grieving man alone? Oh look, a poll!

HATERS GONNA HATE | A group of holy rollers is following Juliette from town to town, shouting terrible things about her mom and yelling that she’ll burn in hell, etc. They make Ju fume, but if I were her, I’d be madder at her security team: Is there no other, not-near-the-crazies entrance she can use? At one point, as Layla’s signing autographs for the angry mob (heh), Juliette makes the mistake of engaging with a man who calls Jolene some very mean names. “There is no God… that would listen to a crackpot like you,” she says. Oh Ju, the ellipsis will get you every time!

Someone creates a looped video of Juliette saying, “There is no God,” and releases it on a gossip site. Pretty soon, the irate crowds outside the venues are even larger and louder; one protester gets close enough to splash her with black paint. Ms. Barnes knows she has to do something, so off the suggestion of her newly returned assistant/only female friend Emily, she asks earwitness Layla to tell the press that Ju’s full sentence was nowhere near as blasphemous as it sounds in the clip. Layla wants to know what’s in it for her. “If this deal does not go away, our tour will,” Juliette replies – and you just know this next part rankles even more than the idea of losing her entire career – “and I’ll owe you one.”

Layla then vouches for her tour partner at a press conference, but it doesn’t seem to do much good. The news carries footage of crowds burning her CDs, and Juliette watches it alone, crying. (Note to the show: Hurry up and get Juliette and Avery together, wouldja? I can’t stand her being so sad all the time! And… oh ow!  2012 Kim just showed up in the TVLine time machine and slapped me upside the head for typing that sentence.)

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WITH CLARKSON COMES CLARITY | American Idol winner/pop queen/just kind of all-around awesome chick Kelly Clarkson wants to record Scarlett and Gunnar’s song “Fade Into You.” Great, right? Except Scarlett has her braided head so far up her tush that she can’t pull herself together for the 10 minutes it takes to perform for the diva.

So when the incredibly successful singer asks the duo to hole up and come up with some songs for her, Scarlett goes all high school drama club and insists that she just cannot write with Gunnar like that anymore. “I thought I could make it work, but I can’t,” she mumbles. Then she leaves. While someone filthy rich and famous, who wants to share that money and fame with her, looks on in disbelief. “It’s complicated,” Gunnar says with an apologetic smile. “It’s idiotic,” I think and throw my shoe in the general direction of my TV.

Back at her place, Scarlett rants about wanting to punch Gunnar – and Avery calls her out on the absurdity of what she’s saying. (Side note: If quick and erratic movements tend to make you ill, you may want to pop some Dramamine before reading the rest of this paragraph.) In half a second, Scarlett turns on her boyfriend and wonders why Juliette showed up at their place so late a few nights back. And then three-quarters of a second later, they’ve broken up. She finishes the episode by boarding the tour bus and taking off for Pittsburgh while Avery calls Juliette – who’s been avoiding him – and letting her know that she can “come by, any time of the day or night.”

Meanwhile, over at Casa Gunnar-and-Sometimes-Will, Zoey tells Gunny she loves him, and he replies in kind.

BACK ON TRACK? | Will did not get smashed to bits by the train, but he also hasn’t been home in days; when he misses a radio interview with Layla, Brent gets worried. The Edgehill minder chats with Gunnar, who finds his pal on a self-hate-fueled camping trip in the mountains. Will’s in a really bad way – crying, calling himself “disgusting” – but it doesn’t stop Gunnar from knocking him down and yelling at him for trying to kill himself. He makes Will promise to call him if it ever gets that bad again, and his roomie complies. Poor Will. (And great Chris Carmack, by the way.)

Gunnar spends the night at the campsite (hope though I might for a little Brokeback-lite tent snuggling, it does not come to pass), and in the morning, Will seems a bit better. But once he’s back in town, he gets a tad violent with Brent when he says that he doesn’t need a label minion tailing him all the time. Oof. I’ll pencil in your bigger, messier breakdown for sometime in May, sound good, Will?

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THE RIGHT ONE | Rayna and Bucky spend most of the episode trying to get Highway 65 underway, which includes picking a single off Ray’s new album. Liam shows up – slow clap, buddy, because you’ve really outdone yourself with the scarf this time – and is all, “Screw market research! We’re artists!” But Rayna takes a peek at the numbers Jeff handed her and realizes that there are no hit singles on the record… and because now her entire life depends on this album being a hit, she has to make a decision that makes financial and artistic sense.

But where to find a hit song? Hmm… isn’t it interesting that Deacon is songwriting at this very moment (and having trouble doing so solo, sober and happy) to prepare for his meeting with an A&R guy? As Rayna and Daphne listen to Deacon and Maddie play around with a duet they wrote – which is really pretty – you can just see the wheels turning in Rayna’s red head. (Note to the show: Hurry up and get these two together, wouldja? For the record, 2012 Kim is totally fine with that… and she wants to know how Smash is going to turn out. It’s going to be a long night.)

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised with how quickly Deacon turned into a big jerk – and that Megan was willing to hear anything he said after that? Did the promos of Juliette passed out in bed next week worry you? Sound off in the comments!