After sitting idle in a hangar, or maybe a train yard, or a garage – the Nashville Express got rolling last night. Of course I am talking about the ABC TV Series Nashville, and not an actual plane, train, or bus. The series resumed last night after taking a month off. Now that things are on the move again, we will have to watch carefully to determine in which direction the show is heading. Because after last night’s episode entitled Be Careful of Stones That You Throw, the answer to that question is not immediately clear.
One thing that is certain is that there are a lot of unhappy characters on the show right now. Maybe they should call next week’s episode Gloomyville rather than the already written title of I’m Sorry for You, My Friend. But enough chatter – what happened last night?
As the credits roll, Rayna is in a recording studio. The song they’re working on is The Wrong Song, which was the highlight song from the Rayna James/Juliette Barnes duet performance at the Ryman Auditorium. The live performance went so well that they have to get it done in a studio and out in the stores asap. While Rayna is in fine form – at the moment, Juliette is either a no-show or late. Where is she?
Juliette is on top of Sean Butler in the back seat of a limousine. Sean says something like, I can’t believe we just did that. Was it sex? Yes it was. But there was something else. Juliette and Sean have just gotten married. A shocker for sure, because the previous episode ended with Juliette popping the ‘Will you marry me‘ question to Sean. Anyway, Juliette’s phone starts buzzing and she sees the text message about the recording session already started and she’s not there.
Scarlett and Gunnar are at work on a song. But Gunnar is scowling. He’s not a happy camper. He’s not happy with the lyrics that Scarlett is writing. There’s pressure as they need to write three songs. Gunnar decides to leave. Gunnar says it is hard to write a song without any good lyrics. Scarlett asks why are you punishing me. Gunnar has no answer, so Scarlett decides that she will leave as they’re not getting anything done, and she has to meet Avery in the morning. Gunnar: So you’re back together again? Scarlett: No, he’s giving me the keys and moving out so I can have the place.
Boom. Now Gunnar looks silly, he tries to recover, but Scarlett is already on the bricks and out the door.
At a party, Dominic is asking Avery about firing the rest of his band. Avery says I can’t quite fire them over the phone. He’s heading back tomorrow and he will let them know. Avery also says he owes his guys one last gig, he grew up with those guys. I owe them. Dominic: Startin’ now – the only one you owe anything to – is me.
While folks are still waiting on Juliette Barnes to show up times are a-wasting. One unhappy person at the studio calls Juliette Ms Pop-Tart. Rayna asks about the tour and is told they will do the secondary markets (smaller cities) first which will allow them to work out the kinks while still selling out. Rayna is told that the tour bus will hit the highway on Sunday which gives them just three more days of rehearsals both technical and artistic.
Elsewhere, Deacon is about to go on stage for a concert with the Revel Kings. His lead singer is giving him a pep talk. You know – Deacon, I need you to PERFORM. Bring it! This ain’t country – this is rock ‘n roll. Before the band can actually climb up to get on stage, Deacon is called by the PR guy and introduced to Carmen Gonzalez, a reporter who will be writing a story on the band. She doesn’t shake hands with Deacon. She plants a big kiss right on his lips. His band mates notice (Why don’t reporters kiss me like that?) as do we. This Carmen Gonzales, who ever she is, and Deacon have some history. Stay tuned.
At long last, Juliette finally arrives at the studio. Where ya been? she’s asked. Holding out her hand to show off her wedding ring Juliette says simply – Getting married! Jaws drop including Rayna’s. Time for some girl talk, so Rayna asks the guys in the room to head out.
Rayna: Guess congratulations are in order. Nice ring.
Juliette: Thank you but you’re not here to talk about my ring.
Rayna: No, I want to start the tour on Sunday
JulietteL Are you kidding? Why do you even want to go out on tour with me? You hate me.
Rayna: I only hate sunburns and hangovers. This is just business.
Rayna: Seems to me that you need me right now, just as much as I might need you.
Translation: it turns out that these two each need the other. Once again viewers – stay tuned.
Juliette returns home to her new hubby Sean and finds that his parents are there as well. I told them says Sean. Yeah, they’ve been told and they are distinctly not thrilled having heard the news. Mrs. Butler, Juliette’s new Mother-In-Law says, No son of mine is getting married in some courthouse and calling it done. She insists on a church wedding. How about this Sunday. Sorry, no can do – I am going on tour with Rayna James on Sunday [It was just set up]. No problem – then we’ll make it on Saturday. Does that work with your busy schedule.
Folks, this was definitely not one of those GEICO Happy Moments.
Rayna and Teddy are home talking about the tour which begins in three days and ends 5 months later. Rayna says she’s going to take the girls with her because she their home has become a toxic environment and she doesn’t trust Teddy. She says, You stole money, you lied to me about it, and a girl is the hospital because she tried to commit suicide over it. Teddy mans up and says, You’re not taking the girls with you without a [big] fight.
Cue commercials. We are at 9:30 into the episode.
When we resume, we find Juliette trying on dresses for the tour, and Sean grumbling – I get to see my wife twice in two months – just the honeymoon I was planning on. Juliette is all about, Don’t worry baby – we’ll find the time for some moments to hook up here and there. Still Sean wishes she might have told him more before.
Teddy and Tandy talk about Peggy, the election, his new enemy Coleman and the poll. Tandy says we’re real close. Teddy says Rayna is leaving on tour and she wants to take the girls. Tandy suggests that Rayna can’t do that because it is so close to the election. Teddy replies that he’s not even sure he should try to stop her.
On the plane Carmen plunks down next to Deacon and whips out her recorder. She asks Deacon why he didn’t just settle down and get fat and happy? Deacon hems and haws and ultimately says, Me and happy, we don’t get along too good. Obviously these two have a history, and Callie Khourie and her writers are going to let it out only a little bit at a time. For example, who is the ‘Vince’ that Carmen mentioned? When she asks Deacon what is it like to have joined one of the biggest rock ‘n roll bands in the world , his reply is, Loud!
At the studio, Liam tells Rayna that touring is going to kill her career. Rayna, Ya think? I’ve been doing this for a while and I know when it is time to go out on tour. Liam isn’t buying that, so Rayna levels with him. My marriage, my family is a mess, so I gotta get outta Nashville.
Avery is back home in Nashville. He tells his band that he got a great deal. When we all moving to Atlanta says JT. We ain’t says Avery. It’s just me – a solo act. JT reacts angrily. He calls Avery a fame-whore and a douche. JT has to be restrained from clocking Avery.
Juliette works on the wedding details with Deb, her new Mother-In-Law who reacts in surprise when Juliette tells her that she hasn’t even told her own Mother that she’s getting hitched in a church. Mrs. Butler knows all about Jolene being in the rehab center. In Juliette’s eyes, ‘mother-in-law-from-hell’ doesn’t even begin to describe the family she’s marrying into.
Rayna arrives back home from the studio and discovers Lamar and Tandy, her father and her sister waiting for her. They aim to dissuade her from going on the tour, and failing that, they want her to be talked out of taking the girls with her. As expected, Lamar attempts to ger deep into Rayna’s head by threatening to reveal the paternity of Rayna’s daughter Maddie. What a shame it would be if Maddie would learn the truth about her real father. Rayna’s reaction: Get out of my house. Lamar: I’m trying to save your family. Rayna: Get out of my house. Both of you. Now.
Avery drops by Scarlett’s house to say goodbye and drop off the keys. But apparently their passion for each other has not been completely extinguished. A few parting words leads to a hug, then a kiss. And much more.
Deacon, now out with the Revel Kings seems to be hitting a rough spot with the Kings lead singer and front man. Previously Deacon had been asked to step up his performance, but now the leader tells Deacon that he feels stepped on. In short, Deacon is being dressed down and told to not upstage the rest of the band. Naturally Deacon is displeased, and it seems obvious that he’s not enjoying being a member of a rock band as much as the thought he would. He seems to be getting irritated with all that goes along with the tour. Carmen wanders by and mentions Rayna going out on tour with Juliette – co-headlining. This catches Deacon completely by surprise. He asks, Who’s playing guitar for her. Carmen replies with: Does it matter? Deacon says no but it is obvious to one and all that his days as a Revel King will end shortly, and to no one’s surprise.
Juliette is in rehearsal when new hubby Sean shows up with news. He called Jolene’s rehab and set up a visit for tomorrow. Seemed like the right thing to do. Juliette puts on a happy face but it seems patently forced. She tells Sean she will visit her Mom on her own. As she puts it: My Mom and me – we have a complicated relationship. I hear what she is saying but the storm clouds are gathering.
After the sex with Scarlett, Avery is called back to the studio by Dominic. He asks Scarlett if she’d like to come with him. Scarlett: To Atlanta? Yeah. When Scarlett asks about JT and the boys, Avery tells her that he’s not with them any more. Scarlett: You fired JT? Avery: I had to let him go – I had no choice. This enrages Scarlett. She calls Avery selfish and besides that, she tells him that he hurts people. Leave the keys and get out, she says.
At the rehab center, Juliette meets Jolene and tells her about her marriage. For some reason, Jolene doesn’t put much stock in this, and not only that, she tells Juliette that wedding rings and church ceremonies won’t make her happy. Jolene says it is wrong and saying some vows to someone you don’t really know won’t quiet your demons. Now Juliette is furious and storms off.
At the Bluebird Cafe, JT comes in and tells Scarlett that they’re going to have to cancel tonight’s show because without Avery they have no lead singer. Scarlett says she knows this blonde singer girl who knows all the songs. As you might have guessed, JT is all for it. And why not – he already knows Scarlett can sing.
At South Circle Music, which is the music publishing house for Scarlett and Gunnar, Hailey and Gunnar are talking. Hailey tells Gunnar she wants a promotion and come hell her high water she’s gonna get it. Gunnar says he can get his musical stroke back. Hailey tell him that she thinks that he and Scarlett are better working together than they are working separately. That stops Gunnar in his tracks, or said another way – Hailey really got his attention with that one.
In Teddy’s office, Teddy is there with Lamar when Rayna arrives. Look at you all – thick as thieves. Rayna asks Teddy if he knew about the ‘intervention’ at her house. Teddy didn’t know about any of it. Lamar tries to explain it away, but Teddy is incensed. He tells Lamar to not ever threaten the family again. He tells Lamar that he was already aware of who Maddie’s father is. Teddy’s says that he is Maddie’s father no matter who the biological father is.
The Revel Kings leave the stage to a rousing applause. Everyone liked Deacon’s performance tonight so they try to pin him down about the rest of the tour. He says he’s on board, but is he? Carmen is backstage and she and Deacon decide to hook up for the evening, so they head out for the hotel.
Still at the Bluebird, Scarlett is on stage with JT and the rest of Avery’s band. She does a cover of A Twist of Barbed Wire. I didn’t much care for the song when I heard it done by Avery on the soundtrack CD, and didn’t much like Scarlett’s version either. Especially when you can see the lip-synch errors. Afterwards, JT asks Scarlett to join the band full-time. When she hesitates without saying a word, he tells her to take some time and think about it.
Back home, Juliette returns from seeing her Mom at the rehab. When Sean asks how it went, Juliette lies and says it couldn’t have gone better. Sean is watching football tapes on his tablet so he can’t see how unhappy Juliette looks.
Avery is with Dominic in the studio. Dominic is at the mixing board. Avery seems to think the mix has too much bass. Dominic disagrees. He says, I told you I was going to dirty it up. Just then, Avery gets an email of a video on his phone. What is it? Naturally it is a clip of Scarlett singing with JT and the band.
I guess we can now safely predict – that A) Avery will ultimately walk away from Dominic, and B) he will soon be seen at the Bluebird trying to win back Scarlett.
Deacon and Carmen make their own kind of music between the sheets. And despite the very enjoyable roll in the hay with Carmen, she says- You’re right this [the sex] was way better than an interview, but we can see clearly that Deacon is troubled. We find out this is the only the latest round of sex between them. They go back 14 years. Carmen suggests that he’s not happy being on tour with the Revel Kings. Which he isn’t. But we all know that he he’s troubled by not being near Rayna.
More Predictions: A) Deacon and the Revel Kings soon part company, and B) Deacon shows up at a stop on Rayna’s tour. I mean this isn’t really much of a prediction. They make it so obvious. Too obvious.
Rayna and Teddy’s bedroom. Teddy is grabbing hs pj’s as he sleeps in another room. Rayna thanks Teddy for getting in Lamar’s face about Maddie. This is going to be heart-to-heart talk. They have to face up to the fact that marriage has gone sour, and maybe the tour is the perfect cover for them to stay clear of one another until things chill down, or the dust settles, or whatever. They agree that things can’t stay this way. So Rayna is going to leave on the tour shortly.
And, I’ll bet – she’ll end up in Deacon’s bed soon enough. Did I already say that. Yeah, I did in other words. I also said that Deacon and Rayna was the all too obvious destination.
Backstage at Juliette and Sean’s wedding day. Glen tells Juliette that the photographers are already five deep at the church. Sean messengers over his grandmother’s cameo pendant for Juliette to wear for the wedding. Here’s a family heirloom to welcome you to the family is the intent if not the exact message.
At South Circle Music, Scarlett and Gunnar meet. He asks how it went with JT’s band, she says it reminded her how much fun it was to sing the songs that she and Gunnar wrote together. So a song called Change Your Mind begins as does the onscreen montage. No one says a word. We only hear the song but we see a troubled Deacon, Sean waiting at the altar in church, Juliette in her wedding dress in a limo, Rayna saying good-bye to Teddy and the girls before boarding the tour bus, and another round of cuts between all of the above.
It is a beautiful song , and a heartbreaking sequence because everyone is miserable including Juliette who instead of arriving at the church, the limo brings her to an airport where a private jet is going to whisk her away (likely to the tour). Meanwhile – as predicted – Juliette and Sean are a no go. He’s been dumped and left standing at the altar.
I think this was a beautiful finish to a downer of an episode. Everyone is unhappy – and we go round and round. Every relationship is on again then off again. The series is way too predictable. In this episode, aside from this closing song – every other song we heard was truncated or shortened. Too bad we had to sit through about 39 plus minutes before hearing a song we could really appreciate.
What’s next? Beside my predictions – how about the divorce? You know – between Sean and Juliette. See you next time.