Rayna spends this week spreading her agitation around, as dredging up her past increases her anxiety levels. Deacon is her rock and target. Scarlett and Gunnar aren’t as solid in their relationship, so Scarlett’s insecurities and issues are enough to drive a deeper wedge between them. She, as always, finds a way to blame this on Gunnar. Maddie and Daphne continue to repair their bond and raise themselves.
The episode begins with Deacon writing on his own. Rayna arrives home and asks what the song is about. Deacon tells her it’s about their first kiss, coming off stage at the Exit Inn. Rayna tells him that no, their first kiss was in his car after a party. He was with Samantha Beasley/Beeswax after the Exit Inn show. Rayna is admirably calm and keeps her sense of humor. Deacon realizes that he was, indeed, writing about the wrong kiss. Let’s keep that song in reserve as a deep cut.
Zach has hired someone to video the writing and recording process. It sounds like Rayna was barely consulted, and Deacon wasn’t at all. The cameraman, Jean, shows up at their house without an appointment to begin filming. Rayna tries to lay some ground rules about public vs private areas of the house, and times that are acceptable for filming. Jean balks at the restrictions. He tries to film them at a time when Rayna explicitly told him not to, during a private moment. Rayna calls Zach to complain. Zach tells her that the film will be an important part of the album’s promotion, and she’ll have final approval. Rayna reluctantly agrees to let Jean continue. I continue to find Zach, and now Jean, hella creepy. Why do I think Zach is going to be watching the dailies every night, after having Deacon edited out of his copies?
Scarlett asks Gunnar if he always knew that music was what he wanted to do with his life. He did. Scarlett can’t relate. She wants to talk more about her uncertainties about her career, but Gunnar gets distracted and checks the video view count. It’s up to 1 million. They both get calls from different major media outlets wanting to set up interviews with them.
Maddie and Clay are listening to more of Clay’s old records in his room. She offers to stay overnight. He tries to blow her off without giving a real answer. She asks him what’s really going on. He says that he really doesn’t want to fall for her. Maddie tells him that he already has, and kisses him. Joseph David-Jones’ acting is lovely with Maddie. He’s attracted to her, and lets that show for a moment, but then remembers himself and pulls back, on the edge of hostile. He brings out the caretaker in her that we haven’t seen since she and Daphne grew apart. The actors’ chemistry is strong, but it’s clear that both are still holding back.
Rayna tries to wake Deacon up from a sound sleep to join her in anxious spiraling, but he’s been there, done that, and chooses sleep. She tries throwing out various domestic and musical issues to hook him, but he’s under again before she’s halfway through her list. Sometimes it sucks to live with someone who knows you so well.
Scarlett, Gunnar and Damien appear on the Today show. Kathy Lee and Hoda are super excited about the video. Damien talks over Scarlett and Gunnar, and acts as if Gunnar wasn’t in the video at all. After the interview, he asks them out to dinner, knowing that he’s just pissed Gunnar off so badly that Gunnar will decline. Totally trying to break them up and make Gunnar appear to be the bad guy. Scarlett agrees to go.
They go to a nice restaurant. Damien starts the evening with champagne and an apology. Scarlett wrings a longer apology than he’d intended out of him. He tells her she’s tough. The portion of the abusive relationship where he appears to be the perfect boyfriend has begun. That will make the gaslighting and/or secret abuse that will come later harder for Scarlett to get out of, because for a long time she’ll think it’s her fault, or that she must be imagining it. He’ll be the one who made her famous, and she’ll think she can’t survive without him anymore.
Scarlett tells Damien about her small hometown and family farm. It was her whole world until she took her first airplane ride and had her world expanded. Damien says, “No wonder you were afraid of doing the video.” He just reduced her to a naive little girl and acted like she hasn’t had any experiences since that airplane ride. She’s no longer the person who’d never seen anything of the world outside of Natches. She has a wealth of experience with other people, places and relationships. Damien just negated all of it. But he does it with a compliment and a sincere, admiring look, so Scarlett doesn’t notice.
Despite it being her idea, Rayna’s being triggered by all of the bad memories and felings that writing the new album is bringing up. Deacon, on the other hand, is reminded of the positive parts of their lives that he’s forgotten. It affects the writing process, as they remember events differently, with different emotions tied to each one. Rayna descends into anxiety and overthinking the past and the present. Deacon realizes what’s happening and decides they need to take a break to reconnect in the present. Impromptu date night it is! Maddie and Daphne are left to fend for themselves.
Jean follows Rayna and Deacon against their instructions, adding a little spice to date night. They lose him, then go bowling and flirting. Meanwhile, Maddie and Daphne bake a cake and share girl talk. Daphne tells Maddie about her crush from last week. Maddie gives her sage relationship advice. Then, Clay shows up, and he and Maddie go up to her room. Maddie leaves Daphne alone downstairs, telling her to take the cake out of the oven in an hour.
Daphne lets the cake burn and set off the smoke alarm to disrupt everyone else’s evening, but doesn’t bother to verbally express her anger at being deserted again. No one would listen anyway. Instead, Rayna makes a beeline for Maddie, the family scapegoat. Clay tries to save things a bit by telling Deacon about one of Deacon’s concerts that Clay went to many years ago (or Clay might figure that this is his last chance to talk to Deacon). Clay admires the work of the drummer in particular. Deacon looks impressed, but he’s distracted by Rayna going off at Maddie. It never occurs to Rayna that she plays favorites between her daughters the exact same way that her father did.
Damien and Scarlett run into each other just before Damien leaves town. He tells Scarlett that she amazing and talented and blah, blah, blah. Then they share a brief kiss before he leaves.
Jean interviews Daphne about Rayna and Deacon. He asks specifically negative questions. Daphne cuts the interview short, but she’s already said things that an editor could twist.
Rayna is twisting things as well, accusing Deacon of trying to avoid writing the album because he suggested writing separately for a while. Suddenly she’s throwing every mistake he’s ever made at him, and the success of their marriage is at stake. JFC
The next morning, Daphne is once again my hero as she points out that Rayna and Deacon aren’t speaking, which they promptly deny. Jean gets the whole thing on film. On digital? Daphne’s talent for snark is coming along nicely.
Scarlett and Gunnar discuss her attraction to Damien. Or rather, she tells Gunnar she’s attracted to Damien, but he’s not supposed to react. Gunnar’s an idiot, but not that much of an idiot. He’s already figured out that she’ll probably be leaving him for Damien sooner or later, even if she’ not willing to admit it to herself yet.
Maddie and Daphne have another talk. Maddie wants to make sure that Daphne wasn’t confused or upset that Clay came over. We all get scared for a second that Daphne’s asking Maddie about sex when she asks, “Does it hurt?” but she means being in love. Poor kid, she’s watched some tough examples. Rayna and Deacon are down the hall, each lost in their own pain, showing why Daphne thinks love hurts.
After having some time to cool off, Rayna and Deacon work things out. They each wrote something separately while they were sleeping apart the night before. That sounds a lot like the suggestion that set off the argument, Rayna. They’re able to blend what they each wrote into one song.
We see them in the studio recording the song, while Scarlett and Gunnar fall apart. Damien texts Scarlett that he didn’t leave town after all, and needs to see her. I’m thinking it’s personal and professional “need” combined. The professional opportunity will specifically exclude Gunnar, and will be presented as a once in a lifetime chance. If it’s not next week, it’ll come up soon.
Even though Zach said he’d be a mostly silent partner, he’s hiring people who answer only to him and ignore Rayna and The Exes. We’re establishing Zach’s control and personal boundary issues. He and the people who work for him manipulate situations to get what they want from them, then try to convince the other people involved that the deceit and abuse was necessary, or even agreed to before hand.
Maddie has already learned one of the most important things about relationships: “The thing about boys is, they are completely clueless. Most of the time, it’s like they aren’t even awake.” From my extensive friends and family research, I can tell you that, no matter the gender makeup of the relationship, this is true of one of the partners. She seems to have already figured out that she needs to patiently explain to Clay what’s going on with his feelings, her feelings, and the relationship before they can have any meaningful discussion of what to do about them. Then he can disagree with her interpretation if he wants, but it gives him a verbal starting point, so that he doesn’t have to figure the whole thing out on his own.
Tonight we got several instances of Deacon singing alone with his acoustic guitar or with Rayna joining in, then the full version of the song they spent the episode writing. Give us more songwriting stories, please. Seeing the inspiration for the song, and then how that gels together into art, is one of the best things Nashville does. I’m ready to buy this album.
Thank goodness the girls had as many years with Teddy and Tandy raising them as they did. That stability is what makes them as well-adjusted as they are. Rayna “Drama Queen” James loves to stir the pot if her life gets too stable and boring. Deacon spends most of his time wrangling Rayna. Maddie is taking over the main parenting of Daphne, while Deacon is the secondary parent for her, and main parent for Maddie, just as Teddy was the main parent for the girls, with support from Tandy, while Rayna pursued her career. Rayna blows in and out of the girls lives with random judgements and hypocritical rules. Let’s talk again about your life as a seventeen year old, Rayna. She has great career instincts, but parenting is not her strength.
Rayna thinks Daphne is confused by Maddie having a boy over? Pretty sure Daphne’s jealous, lonely, and quietly acting out. It’s nice to see her having a potential boyfriend and storylines of her own. She’s the forgotten/lost child , both within her family and by the writers.
Connie Britton told Ellen DeGeneres that she’s in Nashville for the duration, but the duration of what? The series, the season, her storyline? They’re playing way too many games with stalkers for this not to get serious at some point. These are classic plot diversion moves, where we’ll all think everything is fine again, or stop taking the stalkers seriously, then, BAM! she’s gone, taken by someone the characters never suspected. I have a sneaking suspicion that Zach is going to lock Rayna and Will up in his super secret sex slave basement, and only Will is coming out alive. Or Rayna won’t be found, alive or dead.
No Juliette, Avery, or Will this week. It’s been nice seeing the entire ensemble every week, no matter whose turn it was to be the focus of the episode. I hope they go back to that next week.
Rayna: These are the facts, honey, the rest is just cheap whiskey.
Scarlett: Gunnar, I’ve got to tell you something, and I don’t want you to react. Gunnar: At all? Sounds impossible, but, okay. [Does Gunnar get a pass like that next time?]
Rayna: All I know is I’m here, right now, and I’m not going anywhere, ever. Deacon: Don’t you dare. [If that isn’t foreshadowing that something is going to happen to her, I don’t know what is. TV characters should know better than to say things like this. It’s like the kiss of death.]