‘Nashville’ Season 2, Episode 8 – Recap & Discussion Post

Welcome back to Nashville! This week, we pick right back up where we left off last week, where Olivia Wentworth kissed Juliette. Apparently Charlie Wentworth told Olivia that Juliette would be up for threesomes. A shocked and offended Juliette rejects Olivia’s advances. She says she doesn’t like sharing, prompting Olivia to remind her that Charlie is her husband.

On Scarlett’s tour bus, Gunnar and Scarlett awkwardly catch up about what he’s doing there (Jeff Fordham has linked Gunnar up to write with Luke Wheeler). A tour manager comes on board to remind Scarlett she has a busy day coming tomorrow before the 1st Luke Wheeler show in Tampa: radio, rehearsal, meet & greet, etc.

Teddy and Peggy are having a friendly morning conversation, and he shows her that their wedding is the lead story in The Tennessean. Teddy wants to accompany Peggy to her upcoming doctor’s appointment this week, which obviously worries Peggy what with the fact that she unfortunately lost their baby (her grief over that really hasn’t been given any attention on the show). Peggy covers, and after a caring comment from Teddy, she seems like she’s on the cusp of telling Teddy the truth. But she tells Teddy she’s so happy he wants to be involved.

At Casa James/Conrad, Tandy is bantering with Rayna over the amount of luggage she is packing for her trip to Tampa to see Scarlett and Luke. Tandy teases Rayna about the amount of lingerie she’s packed for the trip and asks how Luke compares with Liam. Rayna says everything with Liam is easy and fun but with Luke, she feels like there could be something there even though it’s still early. Tandy is going to be looking after the girls this weekend.

Juliette is getting out of dodge, ready to take her private jet home. Manager Glenn doesn’t quite understand why she’s bailing on her meeting with the Wentworths. Juliette says she’d rather work on her music (with Avery) than indulge other people’s expensive habits. When Manager Glenn says the Wentworths aren’t people you say no to (remember that whole radio episode last week?), Juliette says there’s nobody she won’t say “Screw you” to. So is this going to have repercussions on her airplay or are they going to drop that plot point?

Down in Tampa, Deacon surprises Scarlett, who is very happy to see him. He has brought her her favorite pillow. Scarlett is back to playing the gal who fell of the turnip truck yesterday as she gets ready to debut to a stadium-sized audience. Ship, the tour manager, calls her away but promises Deacon a front row seat.

Rayna is getting ready to leave when the police visit her with a court order to surrender the masters of her album to Edgehill. I thought Liam had them and that he’s in Europe? Either way, ruh roh….

Manager Bucky is now over at Rayna’s with the cops still waiting, telling her he’s been going back and forth with Jeff Fordham over this all week, and now Jeff Fordham’s on plane. What’s that? Oh, he’s going to be in Tampa for the Luke Wheeler show too. Small world! Faced with no choice, Rayna turns over her masters to the police, with Manager Bucky promising to fight Edgehill with every injunction possible.

Juliette is now back home, playing “Dreams” with Avery. They keep getting interrupted by texts to her phone, texts which Juliette ignores. She finally takes the constructive step of throwing her phone into a conveniently located glass of water. Avery reminds her he’s not a hired hand, he’s a friend, and he’s thinking Juliette came home because she needed one.

To DOWNLOAD “Dreams,” cowritten by Jaida Dreyer and Cory Mayo and performed by Hayden Panettiere, click HERE.

Back in Tampa, Scarlett talks to Deacon after her rehearsal. He tells her she sounded good, but she says she couldn’t hear anything but drums and bass in her ear monitors. There isn’t time to get this issue fixed, either. Deacon reassures Scarlett that the 40k+ people coming to the Luke Wheeler show will love her (note: based on how these things usually go, there will be significantly less than that showing up for Scarlett’s set, especiallly since she isn’t all that well known).

Gunnar is pitching songs to Luke Wheeler while Luke Wheeler exercises. Luke isn’t into Gunnar’s latest pitch but suggests he go back to an earlier idea and “put more Wheeler into it.” Gunnar isn’t sure what that means, so Luke tells him to think about Luke’s brand: 30 million records sold, 22 #1s, and so on. Gunnar is there to help Luke get his 23rd. An assistant pokes his head in the door to tell Luke that Rayna has arrived. Luke sends Gunnar off by telling him to bring him back a great hook, and greets Rayna with kisses. Rayna tells him about her latest dustup with Jeff Fordham, and they banter about it.

Elsewhere in that venue, Jeff Fordham greets Scarlett and gets into her head about what a huge situation this is and how she only has one chance to make a 1st impression. Scarlett shows a hint of backbone saying that Rayna’s the 1st impression she cares most about, but Jeff reminds her that technically, Scarlett answers to him. He’s about to lay some more honesty on her when he sees Rayna approaches, so he changes his tune and tells Scarlett to have lots of fun out there. Rayna and Jeff exchange cold greetings, and Rayna leads Scarlett towards the stage, where a hype man is introducing her.

Scarlett is nervous as all get out, and things only get worse when she can’t hear herself in her ear monitors and winds up out of sync with her band. She gets a cascade of boos and drinks thrown on stage from the crowd which, I’m sorry, is just one among several things in this picture that wouldn’t happen in real life (including a full stadium for a relatively unknown opening act). Scarlett is about to run off stage in embarrassment as Gunnar and Jeff watch on, when Rayna goes out to save her. Rayna talks to the crowd, tells them they’re being rude and asks them to give Scarlett a chance. Scarlett gets back on track with “Crazy Tonight” and some of the crowd gets back on her side, though most of it is now indifferent..

To DOWNLOAD “Crazy Tonight,” cowritten by Chip Boyd, Jay Clementi, and Kacey Musgraves and performed by Clare Bowen, click HERE.

Juliette has now spilled all about the Wentworths to Avery, and Avery tells her he’s been treated as a toy too. He regales Juliette with his tale about his “sugar mama” manager and how he was a throwaway to her. Juliette says that manager signed him for a reason. Avery tells Juliette she’s no throwaway and she needs to stop giving the Wentworths of the world her power. Please don’t let this conversation end with these two sleeping together.

Having rescued Scarlett, Rayna strides off stage to sarcastic applause from Jeff Fordham. Scarlett finishes her set and runs into her dressing room, begging Gunnar (who wants to comfort her) to leave her alone. Deacon is waiting in her dressing room and tries to make a weeping Scarlett feel better by telling her that a Luke Wheeler crowd wasn’t going to be interested in anything that didn’t mention beer and trucks. Heh. Scarlett thanks him and tells him she loves him and understands what he’s doing but she just needs to be alone.

Meanwhile Gunnar is pitching another song to Luke Wheeler, who’s getting dressed for his show. Luke likes the verse but wants a stronger chorus. He says if you’re not singing something 40k people want to sing along to, they’ll sing something else: “BOOOOO…” Gunnar says Scarlett didn’t deserve that because she’s talented. Luke pointedly tells him her uncle Deacon was also talented, but not everybody makes it as a hit performer or a hit songwriter.

Scarlett still isn’t in the mood to talk to anybody, but Rayna visits her in her dressing room. Rayna hugs her and tells her she also got booed and heckled a lot early in her career. Scarlett asks her about trying to buy out Highway 65, and Rayna tells her she’s trying. Scarlett tells her she doesn’t like Jeff, and Rayna agrees that he’s a bully. She tells Scarlett that bullies secretly want to be stopped, and they can’t let Jeff stop them. Rayna urges Scarlett to be tougher, telling her that with the talent and voice she has, she has a responsibility to pick herself up and fight to be heard.

As Luke Wheeler preens out on stage with his tag line “Wheels up!” Rayna goes out to confront Jeff Fordham. They argue about her music and Jeff shows her his hilariously awful proposed promo art: a winged Rayna James with a Burger King flame background and an album titled Rising Out Of The Ashes. Rayna immediately gets on the phone with Manager Bucky to tell him Jeff must be stopped. Apparently Jeff is only interested in quarterly numbers for the label. Meanwhile, Deacon catches up with Rayna. Rayna tells him that last night at the Bluebird was a great night and she’s so glad he & Maddie got to experience that. Deacon thanks her for the phone call that set those wheels in motion, and then expresses his concerns about Scarlett being eaten alive by Wheeler fans. Rayna reminds him that producer Watty White (remember him? hasn’t shown up since being revealed to be the guy with whom Rayna’s mom had an affair) said “Steel is forged by fire,” that Scarlett wants this and she’ll toughen up.

Juliette flies back to Dallas and interrupts a Wentworth dinner to tell both husband and wife off. She and Olivia exchange class-based insults, and Juliette walks out by saying she never realized how empty they were.

Back in Tampa, Gunnar is playing guitar and singing by the pool, still trying to find that hook for Luke Wheeler. Scarlett walks up and suggests one, and when Gunnar sings it back, he knows it’s the right one. Scarlett apologizes for shutting the door on Gunnar earlier. They have a friendly exchange about all that, Scarlett tells Gunnar she’s sure Luke is going to love his song, and gets up to leave. Gunnar asks her to run through the song with him once, and she agrees. They perform “Ball & Chain.”

Upstairs, Rayna and Luke are enjoying each other when Luke tells Rayna it seems like her mind’s in another place. She apologizes and brings up her Jeff issues again. Luke offers to speak with him, and Rayna chuckles and says she’s used to speaking for herself. Luke says he finds that very sexy, and asks Rayna if she can blame Jeff for wanting to release a record from his biggest act (which is sweet because it sure sounds like Luke is actually Jeff’s biggest act now). As they cuddle, they hear Gunnar and Scarlett playing “Ball & Chain” outside. Luke is surprised and impressed that Gunnar wrote him a hit. Rayna, savvy businesswoman that she is, says it’s a hit duet.

Peggy and Teddy are chatting by phone (Peggy’s at home, Teddy’s at the office). Peggy tells Teddy she isn’t feeling so well. She’s cramping, etc. He asks if she’s spoken to her doctor, whether she needs to go to the ER, and offers to come home. Peggy fake reassures him, telling him it may just be food poisoning, but as they hang up, we see she has purchased a container of pork blood. Ew.

Gunnar plays “Ball & Chain” for Luke, Rayna and Luke’s people, and Luke tells Gunnar they’ve got their 1st cowrite. Rayna pointedly kids, “Co-write?” and Luke says he’s just kidding, Gunnar’s getting solo writing credit on this (doesn’t Scarlett maybe deserve a co-write for finding the hook?). That was some pointed commentary from show writers on the perception that superstars get undeserved cowriting credits on songs – it sure sounded like Luke had previously taken cowriting credits on songs when all he did was tell the real writer to find a better hook. Luke talks about how supportive Rayna is of young acts. Rayna says they want to play the song for 40k people that night. Gunnar thinks that means him, but Luke pats him on the back and says, they’ve got it covered.

Juliette and Avery share glasses of wine as Juliette tells Avery how good it felt to tell off the Wentworths. She thanks him for their musical therapy session, and she tells him it’s funny how bumping into him that night at the Opry led to all this. Avery says he thought she didn’t remember, and Juliette tells him it came back to her at the right time, that it was the night of the Watty White celebration. They have a moment, interrupted by Scarlett calling Avery before her set’s about to start. Yea, we’re headed the triangle (/quadrangle/pentagon) way. Rayna tells Scarlett she’s go out and introduce her, but Scarlett asks if she can do it on her own. She has a much better 2nd night in Tampa, owning the crowd and the stage. As Rayna watches from sidestage, Deacon tells her she was right, and Rayna’s feeling so good about it she makes him say it again. Deacon talks about how sometimes, you just have to fight through it, and Rayna agrees, as she pointed looks back over her shoulder at Jeff Fordham. Oh good, he’s there too!

When Teddy rushes in, Peggy tells him she miscarried. Teddy comforts her. Are we really going to see them dealing with the grief of this?

Scarlett is taking congratulations from everybody from Deacon to Gunnar to the backstage crowd to Luke Wheeler, who congratulates her on winning over his tough crowd. After Ship the tour manager interrupts to introduce her to more people, Luke tells Deacon she’s a chip off the old Claybourne block. Deacon says her talent is all her own. Luke tells Deacon years ago he thought it’d be him and Deacon sharing a bill, and it’s a darn shame about his arm. Deacon banters back good-naturedly, and tells Luke to keep fooling them. Luke says he always does, and he’s got a surprise for his fans tonight.

OK, the Luke Wheeler tour is called “The Moon Or Shine Tour.” Actually surprised nobody had used that one in real life yet, or at least not that I know of. He brings Rayna out for a duet on “Ball & Chain.” Fun fact: that’s Carrie Underwood’s musical director/bassist Mark Childers playing bass in Luke Wheeler’s band. Watching from sidestage, Jeff Fordham congratulates Gunnar on delivering a hit, and when Gunnar asks him about that Music City Festival showcase spot. Jeff tells Gunnar he’s a man of his word. Scarlett asks Deacon if he misses this. Deacon said he never did that exactly because he blew every shot he had at being a solo act. Scarlett says he “ain’t dead yet,” and Deacon agrees he’s neither dead nor done. New storyline ahead! He tells Scarlett he’s tired and headed back to the hotel and Rayna and Luke continue to work the stage and flirt for their duet.

Extended video of “Ball & Chain” as performed by Connie Britton and Will Chase as Rayna James & Luke Wheeler:

Luke and Rayna toast at the afterparty, while Scarlett mills around and chats with people. Jeff congratulates Rayna on what could be the biggest song of the year, and she suggests that if that duet were released as a digital single, that would rocket up the charts and relieve Jeff of the need to release her unfinished record. Jeff says he’d like nothing better than to have a successful partnership with her. Rayna asks/tells him to return her masters and get rid of that awful cover art. Jeff says he thought she looked pretty hot. They toast to working together. Later on that night, Luke and Rayna continue to *ahem* connect.

Gunnar and Scarlett congratulate each other on their successes, and he thanks her for her help with his song. Gunnar tells Scarlett that the way she performed that night, she’ll be touring for years and years and they say good night. Inside her hotel room, Scarlett leaves a message with someone (Avery?) telling whomever she’s calling that she loves him/her and isn’t sure she’s cut out for this life.

Back in Nashville, Charlie visits Juliette and when she tries to shut the door on him, he tells her he doesn’t want to be the empty person he’s become and that he’s falling in love with her. OK. Well, on the bright side, he didn’t walk in on Avery and Juliette or anything like that.

The next Nashville airs in 2 weeks, on December 4th. See you then!

About Deb B 432 Articles
Also known as Windmills, I cover country music news and live televised country events, in addition to recapping ABC's 'Nashville.' Additionally, I occasionally do long-form chart analysis that has been cited by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The New Republic, NPR, and more.