Monday, February 18, 2013

Nashville 1.12: "I've Been Down That Road Before"

“I like your optimism. You may be delusional, but it’s very comforting.”

I know I’ve said this about “Nashville” before, but this episode really brought the drama y’all. We finally (I hope…I really, really hope) have some progress in both the Teddy/Rayna/Deacon and Gunnar/Scarlett/Avery triangles. Amazingly enough, Juliette didn’t really have personal drama going on in this episode. Her deal was more personal drama. I found it interesting that off all the characters, she was the one really trying to grow up, even though her management and a select portion of public opinion were against it. Rayna, Deacon, and Teddy, on the other hand, all kind of need to grow the hell up. I did like that Scarlett seemed to have a bit of a spine in this episode. That is, until at the end of the episode she was all “Oh Gunnar, now that you fought Avery I think you’re a bad boy and want in your pants.” Sigh.

The bulk of this episode is, again, on the Red Lips/White Lies Tour. This week, they’re in Chicago. There’s all sorts of awkwardness over Deacon joining the tour. Juliette’s kind of delighting in having created all the drama. Deacon, for his part, makes a crack about how Johnny Cash only needed three band members. This makes Juliette start to think she needs to change her show in order to be taken seriously. Teddy spends much of the early part of the episode dogging Rayna about Deacon being on the tour. Rayna assures Teddy that this was completely Juliette’s decision and Rayna had nothing to do with it, but Teddy’s even more pissed when Rayna admits that she had seen Deacon since she fired him (“out of concern,” Rayna says).

Meanwhile, back in Nashville, Gunnar is over at Scarlett’s house making some repairs. Gunnar starts complaining about how his roommates have been dogging him (and writing on him in permanent marker) ever since he left their band to join Scarlett and J.T. The conversation is interrupted by Scarlett’s landlord stopping by to tell her she’s late with the rent. Apparently there are no eviction laws in Nashville, because he tells her she has two days to pay, or she’s out. Convenient set-up for Gunnar and Scarlett moving in together ahoy! For his part, Avery’s just being an ass (shocking news, right?). He and Marilyn are talking about his schedule, which includes a sort of “Behind the Music” type show, but all he can talk about his a notice he sees on his phone that Scarlett is playing a show that night.

A pair of performances from Rayna and Juliette really highlights the difference between their styles. Rayna plays a rather stripped down song, while Juliette does a big up-beat crowd pleaser with back up dancers and glitter. After the show, Juliette starts whining to her manager about how “maybe [her] brand isn’t so perfect anymore.” Her manager really doesn’t want her to change her brand because too much money is riding on it. Rayna, meanwhile, is having more productive back-stage discussion. She has a new band leader, Adria, who she loves. There’s just one guitar riff that she needs Deacon to teach her. Because that’s not awkward. I like that Rayna’s sticking up for fellow female musicians, though.

Scarlett and Gunnar are facing issues from multiple fronts throughout the episode. Avery is one and Gunnar’s asshole roommates are the other. They’re playing “One Works Better” (awesome song, by the way) at a rather sedate venue. At least, it’s sedate until the asshole roommates show up and start blowing an air horn. Unfortunately for Scarlett, the and only makes about $25 a piece. That’s not going to pay her rent. Their luck may be changing, though. Watty comes up to Chicago to see the show and visit with Rayna. Over coffee, Rayna tells him that she finally got her own imprint at the label, and she wants to know if the kids he clued her in to at the Bluebird are still available. She balks a little when Watty tells her that Scarlett is Deacon’s niece and they remind him of Rayna and Deacon in their heyday. Rayna still seems somewhat interested, though, even if she is desperately trying to demolish Deacon’s presence in her life. Deacon, for his part, is working on a song with Juliette. Juliette loves it, but she’s worried it’s off her brand. She complains about it to Deacon, who says he’s been there before. Juliette’s worried her fans won’t come with her if she changes her brand, but Deacon says losing herself is worse. He advises her to walk the talk.

Teddy, because he’s an idiot, meets up with Peggy in her new neighborhood. They make small talk until Peggy points out the absurdity of it. Teddy apologizes for what happened, and Peggy says she’s glad that her marriage ended. It wasn’t working. Teddy drives Peggy home, and while they’re sitting in the car, she starts praising him up one side and down the other. She says he should have to work so hard to make someone love him. This, of course, because Teddy is an idiot with an ego that needs to be fed, leads to a rather gross make-out session in the car. Which later leads to sex. Which is just gross. Peggy wants to know what they’re doing, but Teddy doesn’t know, and he thinks it’s wrong.

Avery decides to take the TV crew to his “old neighborhood.” AKA right past Scarlett’s house. Scarlett looks out her window and goes outside to confront Avery, who starts blabbing about how they’re “still great riends.” Scarlett tells them to stop filming and that she’s not signing any releases. Avery wants her to gush about how cool the camera crew is, but Scarlett just wants her rent money. Avery makes a crack about how since she broke up with him and gets to keep the house, they’re even. Scarlett rightfully calls him pathetic. That evening at the Bluebird, Gunnar complains about his roommates again, and Scarlett proposes that they become roommates. Because she’s a proper Southern lady, though, there have to be rules. As in “don’t walk around the kitchen naked and I won’t play the banjo in the shower.” Gunnar presses her about what if they want to bring people home in amorous situations, and Scarlett kind of shrugs it off.

Rayna and Deacon find each other together in an elevator multiple times in the episode, and the first couple times, they don’t really talk, even when Rayna tries to compliment Scarlett to him. When it’s time for the big show, Juliette walks out on stage in a white shirt and jeans and sits down on a stool, much to the horror of her manager. She tells the audience Deacon’s advice and invites him to play “Consider Me,” a gorgeous song they wrote together, with her. The performance gets a good deal of applause and Rayna’s admiration (and a little sadness that Deacon is playing with someone else now). Juliette’s manager isn’t happy, though. Apparently a reviewer live-tweeted the song, and it wasn’t complimentary. There are plenty of other un-complimentary tweets, too. Juliette doesn’t take it well at all.

Rayna’s having a better evening. She tells Watty she wants to hear more from Gunnar and Scarlett and they talk about the status of her relationship with deacon. Deacon, for his part, is sitting at the hotel bar, and Juliette’s manager starts berating him, blaming him for Juliette wanting to change her brand. Deacon insists Juliette does what she wants. Juliette’s manager accuses him of trying to turn Juliette into a Rayna replacement. The manager is just as ass in general and accuses Deacon of saying and not doing. So Deacon does something. The next time he and Rayna are in the elevator together, he kisses her.

Back in Nashville, Gunnar’s moving into Scarlett’s house when Avery stops by. Avery’s being an ass, as always, saying he came to make piece, and Scarlett, being stupid, lets him in. He does give her the rent money, at least. And he admits that he brought the TV crew by to impress Scarlett. The faux niceties end when Gunnar appears in the living room, though, especially when Scarlett says they’re not working. Avery immediately assumes they’re sleeping together, which understandably pisses Gunnar off. Avery gets asshole-ish, and Gunnar fights back, verbally at first, then physically. Gunnar kicks Avery’s ass pretty easily, which was quite enjoyable. Scarlett kicks Avery out, hopefully for good (although I doubt it). As she cleans up Gunnar’s split lip, Scarlett asks if Gunnar learned to fight from his brother, which he did. And that’s when the whole “I want in your pants because you’re a bad boy” moment happens. Across town, Avery moves out of Marilyn’s house and insists they keep it professional from now on.

Juliette’s assistant ends up providing the reality check Juliette needed. She shows Juliette that while there were some mean tweets, there were also a ton of really highly complementary YouTube comments. Which is probably the least realistic thing to have happened in this episode! Juliette hugs her assistant in appreciation. It gives Juliette the courage to stand up to her manager and say that songs like “Undermine” and “Consider Me” need to be on the new album, and her manager can’t be afraid of her growing up. Meanwhile, Rayna, who is brooding in her hotel room, has a decision to make. She texts Deacon to say she wants to talk, and Deacon is really happy to receive the text. When Rayna hears a knock and opens her hotel room door, however, it’s Teddy who appears. Deacon sees Teddy standing at the door and backs off. Surprisingly, what Teddy wants is a divorce.

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