Welcome back to ‘Nashville’! Well, Chicago for now, where we pick up with Scarlett’s on-stage collapse. Avery and a member of the band quickly help her off the stage while Juliette and Manager Glenn calls for the tour doctor. Scarlett’s mom Beverly borderline attacks the doctor before acquiescing to him treating her daughter. Juliette commands Manager Glenn to get her private jet ready to fly Scarlett back home and make sure the media doesn’t know or show up. Back in Nashville, Rayna and Manager Bucky are waiting at the airport as Manager Bucky tries to confirm with the Lakeshore Clinic that their back entrance will be available to them. Deacon arrives after getting Rayna’s message. Rayna muses it wasn’t the best idea to send Scarlett on tour with Juliette (not that she’s blaming Juliette per se), but Deacon goes all “I told you so” on Rayna, saying he knew this would all be too much for Scarlett and that it was Rayna’s responsibility to figure this out and act accordingly.
Back in Nashville, Gunnar shows Zoe the new house he bought. Zoe’s enthusiasm is tempered by the thought of the pressure it puts on her to move in with him. Gunnar promises he wants Zoe to follow her dreams and that this purchase is about him. That perks Zoe up, but she’s brought immediately back down when Avery calls her to tell her about Scarlett’s breakdown. Avery says that Scarlett’s been medically cleared, but sedated for the plane ride home. Manager Glenn tells a stone-faced Juliette that Rayna is waiting at the airport, and Juliette is just thrilled (not really).
Meanwhile Will is rehearsing “Hurtin’ On Me” (cowritten by Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, and Trevor Rosen). I spy Ed Eason, guitarist in Carrie Underwood’s band! Layla walks in with Gina Romano, whom she introduces as a reality TV show producer. Will is not overflowing with enthusiasm, but Ms. Romano asks for 5 minutes of his time to explain what this could do for Layla and Will’s careers. Will agrees to 5 minutes.
As Juliette’s jet arrives, Manager Bucky speculates on what could have caused this, wondering about drugs, alcohol, mental issues, but Rayna just wants to know how Scarlett is doing. Avery helps Scarlett off the plane and Deacon helps settle her into a wheelchair for transport. Juliette tries several times to update Rayna on the care Scarlett receiving, and Rayna gives her the brush off, going so far as to suggest Juliette’s done enough and should go home instead of riding to the clinic. Beverly starts to lay into Deacon about swooping in and taking her place but gets the brush off. Rayna suggests Beverly ride with Scarlett (because unbeknownst to Rayna, what could possibly go wrong) but then tells Manager Bucky to go along so that Scarlett’s not alone with her mother (so Rayna does know something?). Scarlett won’t let go of Avery, who looks over at Juliette sheepishly.
With Layla already on board, Gina Romano is making her pitch to Will, promising she wants a show with heart, that’ll tell the story of how hard it is to make it. She says their reality show subjects have gotten magazine covers, talk show appearances, and more. Will sounds more open to the idea but says he has to think about it. Gina tells him the clock is ticking and they have other options.
Over at Lakeshore Clinic, Beverly has already diagnosed Scarlett with a psychotic break, telling Dr. Lau (who will be treating Scarlett) that there’s a family history of this, both Scarlett’s grandmother and Beverly herself went through this. Beverly says she got the help she needed and wants to make sure Scarlett does too. Transferrance much?
Manager Bucky runs through Rayna’s busy schedule with her album launch coming up, it’s a schedule that includes an interview with Cumulus Radio that night. Manager Bucky wants to know if Rayna wants to meet with her publicist for prep in dealing with the inevitable questions about Scarlett. Rayna says she’ll play the story down until they know what they’re dealing with. Beverly interrupts their conversation with snideness, and a confrontation with Rayna ensues. Beverly needles Rayna about her complicated family situation, for hiding Maddie’s true paternity, and accuses Rayna of caring more about what the world thinks of her than about the people around her. You know, as abusive as Beverly is to Scarlett, I’m enjoying this. I know we’re supposed to be #TeamRayna, but at the same time, I don’t see why the good guys should get off easy for exposing innocents to the consequences of their “complicated” decisions. Rayna shuts Beverly down saying she knows Beverly has a complicated relationship with Deacon and that she’s concerned about Scarlett, but she’s going to have to find somebody else to fight.
Juliette has gone back home and is stewing to Manager Glenn and P.A. Emily about being treated like nothing more than a taxi service through all of this. Glenn and Emily try to talk to her about career stuff (Charlie Wentworth helped with radio, but not country radio, there’s a BMI event coming up), but Juliette’s not interested. An exhausted Avery walks in and Juliette asks after Scarlett. Not much to report, and he just wants to get a shower and some sleep. Juliette says she’s the one who should be there, because she knows about crazy moms. To be fair to Juliette, she’s the one who read Scarlett right – the possible drug issue, the difficult mother.
Right on cue, we’re back in Scarlett’s room at the clinic, where Beverly is all but smothering her with love and explanation. As Scarlett comes to, she realizes she’s being restrained and freaks out while Dr. Lau and a nurse try to attend to her.
Deacon and Rayna are waiting at the clinic without knowing this is going on. Rayna asks if Deacon had noticed Scarlett drinking at home, and Deacon sarcastically replies that they had regular parties at Deacon’s with alcohol and drugs. Rayna isn’t in the mood for jokes and says she’s just trying to figure out how long this has been going on. Deacon says Scarlett has been jumpy ever since she started working with Liam, which was Rayna’s idea. Rayna’s about to walk out when they see Scarlett running out into the courtyard, chased by Beverly (and no clinic personnel?). Beverly is yelling at Scarlett about not making her chase her in those shoes, which is totally the way to make Scarlett feel safe & secure. Deacon blocks off Beverly while Rayna takes a few minutes with Scarlett. Scarlett says she’s not crazy and just wants to get back to work. Rayna talks to her about the alcohol and prescription drugs in her system (had Scarlett moved on to her own prescription by now, or was she still using Liam’s? If Liam’s, why hadn’t the doctors already figured that out)? Scarlett admits she was taking caffeine pills that Liam takes all the time, and Rayna wants to know if Scarlett takes them all the time. Scarlett insists she’s not an addict, that she just had a bad reaction to alcohol and took too many pills and she just wants to get back to work. Scarlett doesn’t want to be institutionalized. Rayna correctly and calmly tells her she’s not making the best case for herself now, to just give this 24 hours, and then Rayna will agree with whatever Scarlett decides. This works.
Will and Layla are still discussing the reality show possibility when Gunnar and Zoe walk in and tell them about Scarlett. There’s concern all around, and nobody knows quite what to do.
Back at the clinic, Deacon tries to offer Scarlett a sandwich, and she asks him rhetorically if he sees what Beverly does. Deacon says they all know Beverly’s a handful but that’s old news? Is it, though? He wants to discuss Scarlett’s pills & alcohol issues. I guess this is all a good way of showing that everybody’s dealing with Scarlett through the filters they know, and the question is whether anybody’s really addressing the reality of the situation (or why Scarlett can’t handle her mother right now). Scarlett insists none of this would’ve happened if not for Beverly, and cries about making a fool of herself just now in the courtyard. Deacon says that’s not why Scarlett is at the clinic, but Scarlett says that’s why she’s still at the clinic. She tells Deacon to keep Beverly away.
Zoe hates that she’s not there for Scarlett, and that she wasn’t when this went down. She wonders if she should call or visit. Gunnar encourages her to go visit, but when Zoe suggests he also come, he explains Scarlett’s made it clear he’s not welcome in her life right now. He says he’s going to sit this one out. He’s got a meeting with Jeff Fordham anyway.
Juliette goes to see Scarlett, but Scarlett’s not interested in her friendliness, concern (Juliette brings up people projecting their own issues on her so she really does get it, though she’s kind of doing the same thing too) or small talk. In fact, Scarlett blames Juliette for sending her out on stage in Chicago, and for hauling her off after a “minor hiccup.” Juliette asks Scarlett if she really remembers what happened, and Scarlett kicks her out of the room. On Juliette’s way out, she bumps into Rayna, who is receiving the good news that Scarlett’s system is now clean. Rayna asks Juliette what happened, and Juliette’s had it, telling Rayna she (Juliette) is “apparently the world’s biggest jackass” and how maybe her admitting it will make everybody happy. Of course that clears nothing up.
Beverly is at Deacon’s, still high strung and it takes little time for her to lay into Deacon. Pretty soon, they’re hashing out their difficult history – Beverly blames Deacon for taking his ticket out of town and leaving her behind, but Deacon reminds her he asked her to come with him. Beverly blames Deacon for leaving her exposed to the abuse she suffered at the hands of their father but Deacon says if he hadn’t left, there’d have been nobody to pay for Scarlett to go to Ole Miss or the help Beverly needed. Beverly insists she wouldn’t have needed help if Deacon hadn’t left. The argument escalates, and Deacon finally tells Beverly she is a manic, depressive mess and that’s her fault. Beverly calls him a pathetic drunk like their father, and Deacon walks out.
Gunnar’s golfing with Jeff Fordham, who says he’s starting a publishing division at Edgehill and wants to poach Gunnar from his current deal with South Circle. He offers Gunnar co-publishing and a 75-25 split of royalties. Gunnar says word around town is Edgehill’s struggling after losing Rayna and Juliette. Jeff admits he’s fighting to get off the mat. But he reminds Gunnar that he still has a stable of acts who have a habit of sitting at the top of the charts and signing this deal will give Gunnar 1st access to even more royalties on the level of what he’s getting for “Ball & Chain.” Because he just can’t help himself, Jeff tells Gunnar not to blow any more opportunities with A-list talent like Kelly Clarkson. Gunnar says he didn’t blow that opportunity and Jeff says it was his loony ex-partner who did. Gunnar defends Scarlett, telling Jeff he owes Scarlett everything for pulling the good music out of him, and walks away from Jeff’s offer. Jeff is not a happy camper. I wonder if this means no more cuts with Edgehill acts for Gunnar?
Manager Bucky and Rayna are discussing the doctor’s finding that Scarlett is not an addict, and Manager Bucky thinks the best thing businesswise would be for Scarlett to get back at it, because she’s a lot closer to contributing to Highway 65’s bottom line than the other newbie signed. How about Juliette, though? Rayna doesn’t want to box Scarlett in with one interview, and promises Manager Bucky she’s experienced enough at this game to outwit the Cumulus DJ.
Beverly is forlornly sitting at Deacon’s piano when Deacon joins her. Deacon tells her he’s sorry she blames him for her sorry life, but it’s not about them anymore. He says they have to listen to what Scarlett wants, and give her what they never got, which is unconditional love. This seems to reach Beverly, who is silent for once, though she cries.
Scarlett is horrified as she watches video of her breakdown in her room at the clinic, and just as she’s processing what she’s seen, Zoe walks in. Scarlett says she can’t believe Zoe came, and Zoe tells her she can’t believe Scarlett thought she wouldn’t. Scarlett tells Zoe she remembers all those nights she would escape her mother and stay over at Zoe’s, wondering she, too, was doomed to become her mother. Scarlett starts crying, asking how she got here, and Zoe rushes over to embrace and comfort her. She puts Scarlett’s phone away.
Back at Juliette’s, Juliette is still stewing over the part she may have unwittingly played in Scarlett’s breakdown. Avery’s listening and does a poor job of saying he understands why there may’ve been crossed wires. He doesn’t blame Juliette per se, but he sees why Scarlett in her scared and vulnerable state might. Juliette tries to seduce him, because we’re back to that when there’s a communication problem. Avery is too tired, and Juliette is just frustrated now. Now they argue about jealous, Charlie Wentworth, and Scarlett, and Avery’s frustrated enough that he walks out. This is not going to end well…
Rayna is in the middle of her interview with Cumulus, and talking about “This Time,” the single she cowrote with Deacon. The DJ is course interested in using the Deacon cowrite to segue into topics like Maddie’s paternity and Scarlett. Rayna plays it all off gracefully, and when the DJ tries to prod her into specifics about whether Scarlett will be back on stage soon, Rayna says as far as she’s concerned, Scarlett is a super talented artist who can do whatever the heck she wants. Off the air, the DJ tells Rayna this situation is a win-win for Highway 65, because either Scarlett gets back out there soon and it’s a publicity bonanza, or she seeks treatment and has a lifetime of great country songs to write. Rayna says she doesn’t want to play the tabloid tragedy angle, but the DJ reminds her tabloid tragedy is what keeps this industry running.
Zoe is still with Scarlett the next morning, and Scarlett tells her she doesn’t remember what happened after she blacked out, even after watching it. She wonders if she really is losing it, and Zoe tells her she’s just overwhelmed. Just then, Beverly walks up. Zoe asks Scarlett what she wants, and Scarlett says it’s fine, she can handle being alone with her mother. But man, Beverly is quick with the serpent’s tongue, insisting to Scarlett that this is not her fault, that it runs in their family and that she just needs to stay at the facility and get some help. With every word from her mother, Scarlett seems more and more unwound.
Will is greeting fans at a promotional event, and Jeff Fordham tells him he should get used to this because this is what he’ll be doing over the next few weeks. Will says if it’ll help him sell records, he’s get used to liking it. Jeff mentions getting a call from Gina Romano, and Will says he’s been meaning to ask Jeff about that. Jeff says if it were any other artist on his roster, he’d be down with this, but doesn’t think it’s a good idea for Will. Will plays dumb, but Jeff says he’d like to maintain some plausible deniability here, and tells Will to think hard about whether he wants cameras following him around. So I guess Gunnar’s testimonial for Will didn’t convince Jeff after all, huh? And Jeff’s really only promoting Will because he doesn’t have many other options (other than Luke of course).
Juliette walks back into her place apologizing to Avery, only to find that Avery’s not there. Meanwhile Gunnar watches Scarlett’s meltdown online, and sits down to write a song about it.
Rayna and Deacon are back at the clinic, and it turns out that talking to Beverly has made Deacon realize the pointlessness of pointing the finger. He tells Rayna Scarlet’s breakdown wasn’t her fault, that it was out of any one person’s control. Rayna ruefully muses about how she started Highway 65 because she wanted to protect artists like Scarlett. They reminisce about how Deacon was when Scarlett was born, and how Rayna had never seen Deacon like that. In that moment they’re probably thinking about how Deacon never had that moment with Maddie. Rayna says she doesn’t know what’ll become of Highway 65, but Scarlett is family. Cut back to Gunnar, performing the beautiful “It Ain’t Yours To Throw Away.”
To DOWNLOAD “It Ain’t Yours To Throw Away,” cowritten by Lee Brice, Jon Stone, and Pam Tillis and performed by Sam Palladio, click HERE.
Juliette fell asleep on Avery’s couch. He never came home last night. Yeah, this is definitely not going to end well.
Turns out Avery was in fact in Scarlett’s room, having fallen asleep on the chair there. They have a sweet, tender conversation where she thanks him for always being there for her, and tells him he was her 1st love and she’ll never love anybody as much as she loved him. And with Juliette listening, Avery tells Scarlett that he doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her, and that she has a permanent piece of his heart. Now to me, that seems like an admission that theirs is a romantic love gone by, but Juliette is obviously going to take this as some kind of sign that they’re still on and make a bad decision.
Later, Rayna goes to see Scarlett, and tells her she has a clean bill of health. Scarlett asks when she can go back out on the road. Rayna says to Scarlett that it seems like she’s spent an awful lot of time wondering what will make Rayna happy, but now’s the time to really think about what will make her happy. Rayna asks again if Scarlett really wants this (to be a performing artist). Scarlett admits that she doesn’t. Nice delivery by Clare Bowen here, as the words seem to spill out of her. She admits she doesn’t know what she wants, but she doesn’t want this. Rayna is understanding, and says she feels like Scarlett’s been trying to tell her this for a long time. She says she’ll release Scarlett from her contract. Scarlett apologizes for wasting Rayna’s time, and Rayna is great here, telling Scarlett she has a wonderful future ahead of her, just on a different path.
Juliette is all dressed up, and P.A. Emily notices “the girls are out.” Juliette is headed to that BMI event by herself, and rejects Emily’s offer to accompany her as a “pity date.” How shall the upcoming trainwreck unfold, and can you watch?
Scarlett is signing herself out of the clinic, and wants a ride home with Deacon. Deacon is still focused on the pills, and Scarlett shuts him down. Just then Beverly shows up and goes into scary serpent-tongue mode about Scarlett needing help and how Beverly is going to move here and take care of Scarlett. Scarlett finally lays down the law, saying Beverly spends all her time blaming the world, but her own breakdown was because of her own bad decisions. Scarlett insists she has a choice, and her choice is to go home. She tells Beverly she loves her but she needs Beverly to return home to Mississippi too. This is the most likable Scarlett’s been in months.
At the BMI party, Gunnar’s telling Will and Layla about his new home, with Zoe in tow. Layla spills about their possible reality show, while Juliette is getting drunk. Cut to Rayna rehearsing “Wrong For The Right Reasons,” cowritten by Chris DeStefano, Rosi Golan, and Natalie Hemby, and we move through footage of Deacon and Scarlett talking about her decision to quite being a performing artist, Jeff watching with rolling eyes as Will agrees to do the reality show with Layla (there’s another trainwreck coming…), Gunnar snubbing a greeting from Jeff, and Avery showing up to Juliette’s empty place. Jeff gets a drink next to Juliette, and they grouse about hating everything and everybody. That turns into what would be a comical and entertaining hookup between the two if Juliette weren’t compromising her actual, mostly healthy relationship with Avery as a result. But yea, the Juliette of this show can be her own worst enemy, and there it is. Manager Bucky and Rayna talk about how Highway 65’s future now rides entirely on Rayna’s album. A dissheveled Juliette and Jeff emerge from their hookup trying to clean up their respective appearances, but not before Gunnar, now the man who knows a couple of the town’s big secrets, sees them and realizes what happened. And…scene! Come back for next week’s Kellie Pickler performance of “Closer To Nowhere,” won’t you?
To PRE-ORDER The Music of ‘Nashville’: Original Soundtrack Season 2, Volume 2, click HERE. You can stream the FULL album below!
Last week’s Nashville was not a regular episode, but a concert showcasing the singing talents of several of the cast members plus the songwriters behind many of the show’s best loved songs. The concert highlighted what for me is the best aspect of Nashville – storytelling through music. It was great hearing seeing songwriters like Cary Barlowe, Sarah Buxton, Trent Dabbs, Justin Davis and Sarah Zimmermann (of Striking Matches), Jaida Dreyer, Cory Mayo, Ashley Monroe, Andrew Rollins, Lucy Schwartz, Sarah Siskind, Caitlyn Smith, and Kate York (among others) getting a primetime showcase, and in some cases, performing at the Ryman Auditorium for the first time.
While there was clearly some post-production sweetening, the concert gave Nashville‘s Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack, Will Chase, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Hayden Panettiere, Aubrey Peeples, and Chaley Rose the chance to prove they have real vocal chops. With Lennon and Maisy Stella surprisingly missing from the broadcast, Bowen was the probably the show’s MVP, delivering stirring duets of “If I Didn’t Know Better” and “This Town” with Palladio and Esten respectively before performing a powerful “Black Roses” with songwriter Lucy Schwartz on piano. Panettiere mentioned her huge stage fright issues before delivering a heartfelt “Nothing In This World” with songwriters Sarah Buxton and Kate York and rocking out a defiant “Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet” with songwriters Trent Dabbs and Caitlyn Smith. The Jackson/Palladio/Rose trio on “Ain’t Leavin Without Your Love” was an uptempo highlight, and I dare you not to smile through the cast’s version of “A Life That’s Good” that closed the show.
To DOWNLOAD Nashville: On The Record (Live), click HERE.
Check out bonus video of 2 performances that didn’t make last week’s broadcast but are still included on the concert album.
Aubrey Peeples with Jaida Dreyer and Cory Mayo: “Tell Me”
Charles Esten with Kate York: “Believing”
For more extended interviews and some acoustic performances of songs from the show performed at the real Bluebird Cafe by the real songwriters, check out this link.