Guys, I’m a little wigged out.
Every single thing I wanted to happen in Nashville… happened in this week’s Nashville!
I just… I mean… with the hotness… and the break-up… and the outta nowhere kissing… I fear that my recapper wiring has short-circuited, leaving me just a smoking pile of pithy subheads and country-music-related double entendres. While I still have a few y’alls left in the ol’ giddy-up – see what I mean? That makes no sense! — let’s review the really big stuff that happened in “Take These Chains From My Heart.”
GREASY IS AS GREASY DOES | Soon before the tour plays its Nashville date, Juliette learns she’ll have to move out of her rented house because the owners are selling. Seeing has how she’s known Dante for 10 minutes (and been sleeping with him for eight of them), she thinks it’s perfectly appropriate to ask, “You wanna go house huntin’?” He does, and spends the next few days lining up potential properties for them to buy. At one point, he calls her away from rehearsal for some Trulia-tripping; when Deacon tries to get her to focus so the members of the band can go home and spend time with their families, she’s completely insufferable – and Dante is even worse. Deke takes a deep breath and resolves to use his inside voice as he grits out, “Maybe I just need to be done here.” She looks at him like he just handed her a Café Misto even though she ordered a Skinny Vanilla Frappucino, hold the whip: mild annoyance, but nothing more. “It’s fine,” she says, fingertips swiping at Dante’s iPad. “You’re replaceable.” Damn.
MOTHER KNOWS BEST | Enter Jolene, looking strung-out but swearing that’s not the case. She’s just upset, you see, because she saw Dante kissing another woman in town. But by making the accusation, she outs herself as stalking him; she only wants a moment alone, she claims, to talk. Dante promises Juliette he was only meeting with a former client/now friend who’s a real estate agent, but Ju is skeptical enough to have Emily invite the woman in question, Esme, to the show the next night. Esme is TV-dorky (read: a pretty brunette who wears glasses) and swears there’s nothing between herself and her former sober counselor; the combination of the two put Juliette at ease, and she agrees to buy the house. Isn’t it interesting that right after Jolene IDs Esme as the woman she saw canoodling with Dante, he finds some pills in her purse? She’s hauled out of the concert venue, shouting about her innocence, while Juliette cries in her shiny show dress.
Later, though, Juliette gets a good look at the pills and realizes they couldn’t belong to her mother: She’s allergic to that type of medicine. With sickening quickness, Ju and Emily realize that Dante is missing – as is the tour’s “walkaround money” and $475,000 from Juliette’s corporate account. Cut to Dante and Esme on a plane, where he sees Juliette calling his cell… right before he tosses it in the garbage. Emily consoles her boss that she can probably extricate herself from buying the new abode. No, Juliette says, “It’ll be a good reminder: Never trust anybody.” (I’d add “… who routinely uses that much hair product,” but your version is good, too, Jujubee.)
Before we sign off on dastardly Dante, one thought: He was a good guy in the beginning. I really hoped he’d be someone who could help Jolene and Juliette mend their terribly sad relationship. And though his 180 wasn’t as swift as, say, Deacon’s former bandmate (and Scarlett’s near-rapist) Cy, it was still too quick for me. (I’m sure you’ve got thoughts on the matter, so make sure you log them in the comments.)
POWER PLAYS | Teddy’s private investigator points to Peggy as the source that leaked to the tabloids, so Teddy dumps her and – upon hearing that Lamar was blackmailing her with the info — cancels all of his soon-to-be-former-father-in-law’s contracts with the city. Oblivious, a convalescing Lamar confesses to Rayna that he’d like to start fresh with her, and she happily agrees. But apparently he only has enough love for one daughter at a time, because he lashes out at Tandy for making him feel weak as he recuperates. That’s the only incentive she needs to meet with Coleman and propose an alliance to take down Teddy… and she starts by suggesting he look into the Cumberland deal. Yeah, y’all, she totally did. (P.S. If it’s true that Peggy only confirmed the story to the rag, raise your hand if you think Lamar was the one who actually tipped them off to the story.)
NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU LIKE I DO | Scarlett meets Stacey and wholeheartedly approves. “Can you keep her?” Scar asks Uncle Deke. “Because you’re happy and she’s lovely.” And when Deacon announces he’s leaving the tour, Stacey is really happy about it, and he seems to be, too. But what he doesn’t know is that Rayna and Liam have picked up where they left off the night she spent sobbing on his bathroom floor. All it takes is for Rayna to start musing about how “free” she feels as they sit together on the couch. “How free?” the producer asks, about three miliseconds before he starts eating her face like it’s a pile of Nathan’s hotdogs and he’s Kobayashi trying to reclaim his crown. “We went to second base,” she later tells Tandy. “Does that make me slutty?” (Ha!) No, Ray, it makes you Liam’s date for a Caribbean weekend getaway!
Before the new pair leave for their trip, though, there’s a show to do. So they flirt and grind their way through an old tune Deacon and Rayna wrote together, and Deacon. Does. Not. Like. That. One. Bit. Stacey calls him out on his jealousy and deduces that when he came home a few weeks before, it wasn’t because he missed her: It was so he could comfort Rayna while her father was sick. “Do you still have feelings for her?” Stacey asks, and his “Yeah” comes almost before she’s finished her sentence. Ouch. She stalks off (I loved her “Great” when she saw Rayna, heh) and Deacon decides to tell his ex the truth about how he’s not really totally completely at all over her. Just then, Liam shows up and wraps his stupid hipster scarf around his stupid scraggly bearded hipster neck and asks if Rayna’s ready to go. “We’re going to St. Lucia together, so you need to call Stacey and make it right,” she softly informs Deacon before taking off with ol’ skinny jeans.
BUT, the next time we see Rayna, she’s at Deacon’s door, saying, “I love you.” His reaction is classic: “Are you tryin’ to kill me?” (Ha!) But Connie Britton does that thing where her eyes go all soft and wet and her voice gets a little tight as she says, “I love you, and that is the truth. And you can do with that what you will, but I needed to let you know. So I did.” I defy any creature with even one cardiac cell to not melt at such a show of enduring love; it’s no wonder, then, that Deacon says, “Hey,” grabs her and starts kissing her like it’s his job. Soon after, they’re peeling each other’s clothes off and falling into bed. (If you’re on the eastern side of the United States, that sound you heard at about 9:55 was me squealing with joy at the top of my lungs. Don’t worry, I’ll stop soon. We all have jobs to get to in the morning.)
IN WHICH I AM ALL-POWERFUL | Scarlett successfully lobbies Rayna to give Gunnar another chance, to which Gunnar gruffly replies, “I didn’t ask you to do that.” (Oh there you are, Insecure And Ungrateful Gunnar. I was wondering where you’d wandered off to.) He softens, though, as he tells her that he’s been playing music with Will – their open mic-night appearance at Tootsies even nabs him a demo offer – and he thinks he’s gotta do his own thing for a while, musically speaking. So while Scarlett’s at Deacon’s arena gig, where she runs into roadie Avery and he’s actually kind of nice to her, Gunnar stays at home to drink beer and write songs with Will. There are a lot of empty bottles on the coffee table, but not a whole lot of ditties in the can by the time the two are sitting comfortably side by side, heads lolling against the back of the couch. “Kiss! Kiss!” I say jokingly… and then they do.
Well, it’s more like Will goes in and lands one on Gunnar’s lips before Gunny jumps up and throws his apologetic neighbor out, but still: I dreamed it into being. (If I truly have the power I now suspect I do, expect Mad Men to get a lot more interesting this season.) Back to more important topics: Might Gunnar eventually return Will’s affections? On one hand, we’ve never seen him act interested in a man before, and he seems to really like having the sex with Scarlett. But on the other, perhaps he freaketh out a little too much? As my colleague Michael Slezak points out, “No straight guy wears his towel that low.”
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!