This week, we’re all super excited about shooting Gunnar and Scarlett’s music video with the famous, A-List director, until things take a nightmare turn for Scarlett. Like the title says, love hurts, and so does shooting music videos, at least if you’re a woman being directed by Damien George.
But first, Rayna, Zach and Damien have a self-congratulatory love fest on the way into the mansion where the video is being shot. Inside, Scarlett is unhappy with the dress she’s wearing for the video. She feels it’s too revealing. Let’s recall that her one condition for the video was that she didn’t have to show too much skin. Damien looks at the dress and explains that her character is wild, with no filter. Scarlett doesn’t understand what that has to do with the dress. Damien explains that it speaks to the character, and tells the costume mistress to remove more of the dress.
We’ve established with this scene that Damien is going to ignore Scarlett’s concerns, that he feels women should express their emotions through their sexuality, and that women can only express their sexuality through nudity. Scarlett’s character is going to get inside Gunnar’s character’s head and become an obsession for him, but Gunnar is fully clothed in a loose tuxedo, including a bow tie. Men are capable of expressing emotions and sexual desire without nudity.
Maddie and Clayton go to Joe’s bar, where Clayton gets called up to sing with the band. Afterwards, they go for a walk. He takes her to a parking lot that used to be the Dixie Tabernacle, a church which housed the Grand Ole Opry for a while. Maddie helps him finish that part of the story, because she knows her music history, too. Then Clayton tells her about the first superstar of the Opry, Deford Bailey, a black harmonica player. Audiences loved him on the radio, but his race became a problem when he toured. The Opry eventually fired him.
Maddie asks why Clayton loves music history so much. He tells her that when he went to live with his grandparents he was a wild kid because of what happened with his mother. His grandfather got him into playing guitar to help him learn some discipline. For a while, his grandfather and music were his only fixed points. Maddie leans in and kisses him. He kisses back at first, but then reminds her that she’s underage, so their relationship is illegal. [Technically, it’s illegal for them to have sexual intercourse, because the age of consent in Tennessee is 18. He’s right to be cautious in public, though. He’s a black man in the south with the daughter of a celebrity.]
Back to the music video. Scarlett is crawling around on a banquet table with her breasts falling out of her dress. She asks Damien what she’s supposed to be doing. He tells her she’s supposed to be wild, that she should try to dig deeper to help her channel the character. Next, Scarlett is standing on the table throwing dishes at Gunnar, then they are standing next to each other, manhandling each other. Damien criticizes Scarlett throughout, and eventually yells insults in her face. She’s so upset that she slaps Gunnar in his face as hard as she can. Damien is thrilled. Time for a break! Damien and Gunnar go out for a drink or five.
Rayna and Bucky go over some bills, and Rayna notices something is missing from her desk. Her mind immediately goes to Randall. They find the missing item in his desk. When Randall comes into work, Rayna and Bucky confront him. He bursts into tears. Randall says he just wanted a souvenir for his mom. Bucky has Randall do a handwriting test. His handwriting doesn’t match the stalker’s. Rayna wishes the stalker had been Randall so that this ordeal would be over. The stalker is getting more aggressive and scary.
Maddie is writing a song in her room when Clay calls. Clay convinces her to play the song for him. The song is gorgeous. Clay thinks so too and asks her to come over. Rayna and Deacon start asking questions as Maddie’s on her way out the door, but back down when Maddie deflects.
Clayton lives in his friend’s studio. He helps out and gets free studio time. Sounds like a fantastic deal for a musician. Maddie sings her song, then kisses Clay again. He stops her, and throws the whole rich white girl thing in her face. Maddie comes from an extremely dysfunctional family. She doesn’t know what it’s like to walk out of the door and face the issues Clay faces just for being born who he is, it’s true, but she does have some reference points from her own life that she can use to empathize with him, if he’ll give her a chance. He probably doesn’t want to risk the rejection he assumes will come when she gets tired of slumming it, since he seems to be assuming she’s a shallow girl who’s lived a charmed life and is looking for a little danger. She keeps surprising him, and he doesn’t know what to do with that. I like Clay, and I like what he’s bringing out in Maddie, so I hope they can work it out. They just need to keep it cool until her 18th birthday.
At the bar, Damien shares his philosophy as a movie maker with Gunnar: “The thrill of cinema is voyeurism. You don’t pay to watch people act, you pay to watch them bare their souls. It’s my job as a director to elicit that.”
Damien confuses being a therapist and being a film director, though he’d be the most malevolent, manipulative therapist ever. I have a feeling there are snuff movies in his future, if he doesn’t stop and take a good look at what he’s doing.
Damien then pumps Gunnar for information about Scarlett, and about their relationship. Sweet, naive Gunnar thinks he’s talking to a new friend. Damien pulls out the ammunition Gunnar gave him to use in his attacks on Scarlett during filming the next day. They argue. Damien insists that she needs to be sexy, to own and flaunt her sexuality, like being promiscuous and wearing revealing clothing is required of women to be truly confident. Scarlet calls him on it, and points out that it’s not a therapy session and he’s not a therapist. He responds by saying it can be both. She says she’s done for the day, that he’s gotten enough. He has the storage cards erased so that the entire day’s filming is lost. Scarlett walks out.
The thing is, Damien works for Scarlett. He may be a big time director, but she can fire him, or appeal to Rayna to fire him. The concept for the video is honestly terrible for their song and their music in general. The way he wants her to act goes against her image and who she is. He’s just a bad fit all the way around, and they’d be better off with a student director than this egotistical brat. But I don’t write for Nashville, and the music and entertainment industries really are this sexist, so Damien gets to keep working.
Gunnar follows her outside. He pushes her to do what Damien wants, but he’ll leave with her if that’s what she wants. He thinks she could stand to be more free and open, even though she’s happy with herself. Damien joins them and begs for trust, because this is art and it doesn’t always make sense. But shouldn’t it be Scarlett and Gunnar’s art? Or at least a joint project, instead of something done to them?
Maddie stops by to visit Juliette. They talk about Clayton. Maddie tells Juliette that Clay is nice, but then he’ll be mean sometimes. Juliette tells her not to waste her time on a guy like that. Meanwhile, Clay is about to get beat up by a couple of white guys who are harassing him while he’s busking.
Rayna and Zach visit the video shoot. Rayna senses that something is wrong with Scarlett. She wonders if Damien is pushing Scarlett too hard. Zach defends Damien’s process, saying that he needs to be left alone to do his work, because the performances he produces are worth what he has to do to get them. Rayna worries that Damien is being abusive toward Scarlett, but Zach says to trust him and Damien. Damien’s methods are on the edge and unorthodox, but he’s a puppy dog. This makes me wonder about Zach’s boundaries as well. We already know that he’s overenthusiastic and pushy, but he just told Rayna that the end justifies the means, especially when it has to do with how women are treated. He wouldn’t even let her check on Scarlett, which is hella creepy. How long until either Rayna or Scarlett get roofied by Damien or Zach?
Maddie goes to check in with Clayton, and finds him badly injured on the floor. She rushes him to the hospital. When he’s released, he tries to walk home. Maddie makes him stop and tell her what is going on with him. He finally confesses that he’s not normal. He gets big mood swings. She says, “You’re bipolar.” He’s surprised she’d know that term. Lol. The wealthy are just as likely to have mentally illnesses; they can just afford to hide them better. Clay refuses to take medication because he can’t make music when he’s on it. They argue some more about all of the ways that he feels inappropriate for her, that she doesn’t care about, until he walks away.
Zach approaches Will outside at the dinner buffet for the video shoot. He’s overenthusiastic and pushy again. His interest in Will also seems more than professional.
Back inside at the video shoot, Gunnar’s tied to the bed, but still fully dressed. Scarlett has valid issues for not wanting to be involved in this scenario, but Damien goes full on temper tantrum. He throws props to the floor and pulls out every humiliating fact that he got from Gunnar. There are reasons that Damien would accept her backing out of the scene, but not the ones she’s giving, because he has a God complex. He gets his performance out of her, but he’s probably broken up Scarlett and Gunnar again in the process, and broken something inside of Scarlett. She’s a child of abuse. What is this going to trigger?
The next day, Scarlett tells Gunnar off, Gunnar tells Rayna that she was right about Damien and Scarlett, Bucky tells Rayna that Damien went way over budget, Clayton shows up at Maddie’s house to introduce himself to her parents, and Rayna’s stalker reveals himself. It’s a busy two minutes of screen time. It’s also too early for this to be the end of the stalker story.
Next week, Juliette goes to church, Damien shows Scarlett the video, and Rayna and Deacon find out about all of the things that had Clayton worried.