Nashville recap: 'Ghost in This House'
After last week’s emotional rigmarole, the Jaymes-Claybourne household is in a good place. Deacon and the girls are heading out to breakfast when they bump into a female friend (probably just a neighbor or groupie) of Deacon’s who gets right down to flirting with the recently widowed D-man in a tactless manner. She also offers some non-heartfelt condolences and patronizingly compliments Maddie and Daphne. Deacon is unimpressed and gets away in a hurry, telling his daughters they’re the only girls in his life. Unfortunately for Deacon, he’s about to realize that’s not quite true, but we’ll get back to that.
After that fun little article accusing Scarlett of cheating on Gunnar and getting pregnant by another man, Scar has an image problem. Not to worry — Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson is always her The O.C. character to me) is here with an overhaul. She spouts some wisdom about how all non-famous people are lonely and pathetic, and we need to create wonderful lives for celebrities, projecting our hopes onto them — um, if you say so, Summer. Anyway, she wants to change the narrative (T. Swift should work with this chick), and she thinks helping a local cause and a surprise meet-and-greet with fans is the way to do that.
And so, Scunnar takes to the stage for a low-key, impromptu performance with a mostly teenage audience. They’re all sitting around, nodding along like they forgive her — apart from that one fan from the previous episode, Nadine, who’s full-on crying. After the show, Scarlett hugs fans and then approaches a damp-faced Nadine. The teen accuses Scar of ruining her perfect relationship with Gunnar and calls her a liar just like everyone else. Sheesh, teens make for a tough crowd.
Enraged at the negative impact she’s having on impressionable minds, Scar rushes over to the office of the evil journalist who started all of this. She calls Mackenzie a manipulative liar, but the reporter just shrugs and tells Scar that if she sees a scoop, she goes for it — plain and simple.
Later, at home, Scarlett isn’t busy enough is still worried about Nadine, so she gets on her Facebook page and realizes the high schooler is pretty troubled, but she’s also a great artist. Scar reaches out to see if Nadine would like to finish their conversation. They get together the next day, and it’s clear Nadine has some image-related self-esteem issues. She doesn’t think Scarlett can understand that, being both talented and beautiful. Nadine questions how she can ever be happy looking the way she does, when Scarlett and Gunnar, who have so much, can’t even be happy. Scarlett tries to console her, but just when she mentions how great the teen’s art is, Nadine has to leave because her mom can’t be left alone.
Scarlett is clearly concerned, and when Mackenzie Rhodes writes more hateful things about her the next day, she vents her exasperation to Gunnar. He tells her not to get so wrapped up in it, but she points out that he doesn’t understand the pressure of being a girl. Gunnar’s like, Sit down; boys get called names too. Scarlett gets an idea, and next thing we know, she’s calling Mackenzie to invite her to a benefit. (Recap continues on page 2)
Elsewhere, Will is getting ready to be everyone’s best Bud-dy: He’s in NYC to shoot the Budweiser commercial. Some dude is explaining the concept, which, as far as I can tell, is: Small town + narrow-mindedness = homophobic men in a bar who will only be won over if the gay country musician drinks a Bud with them. They’re all smiles and patting themselves on the back for this great message of inclusion they’ve come up with. I wonder if they wrote this story line before that Pepsi commercial?
Later, Will is fitted by the wardrobe department, and the stylist, Jacob, hits on him. Apparently he knew Johnny Cash, so he’s a big deal, but he also used to have a thing with Zach, so he’s a big… well, you pick a word. It kind of seems like the stylist is propositioning a threesome with Will and Zach. He’s all, “Unless Zach has changed,” wink, wink, remembering Zach fondly as the “boy who can buy whatever he wants.”
It’s enough to irk Will, so when he meets up for dinner with Zach — who’s flown out to NYC to see him (and bought him three raincoats in all different colors, because it only rains in the northern part of the country) — Will asks his boyfriend if he’s seeing anyone else. In perhaps Zach’s best line yet, he calls Jacob a “venomous dinosaur” for putting the idea in Will’s head and assures him there’s no one else. He even shows him his recent phone messages from sexy people like his orthodontist. Doth the man protest too much? Suppose we’ll find out.
In the middle of the night, Zach’s phone rings — or his other phone rings (the plot thickens!). It’s someone called Jeff, who is important enough to have a pic assigned to his contact. Naturally, Will thinks the worst, and when morning rolls around, he is packed and ready to go faster than you can say “Budweiser.” Zach tries to convince Will it’s not what he thinks, explaining that Jeff is “a guy who loves me.” Zach used to love him back; he hasn’t for a long time, but Jeff is fragile, and he’s afraid of what might happen if he cuts off communication. “It’s really hard for me to hurt people,” he tells Will. Really? Most of us relish it, Zach. There was literally no sign posting for this story line, and I’m going to go ahead and assume it’ll all be tied up neatly by episode’s end.
When the guys get back to Nashville, everyone gathers at HW65 to watch the commercial. It’s not Super Bowl worthy, but it’s fun. Will is a dog whisperer, hero, and granny saver with an attractively sweaty brow and an ability to sway the toughest of biker types by swigging a cold one. The slogan, I hear you cry? “This Bud’s for you.” Well, okay, then.
Everyone at HW65 loves it, but remember, they don’t really know what YouTube is over there. After every other artist currently signed to the label leaves, Zach calls Jeff on speaker in front of Will and tells him they have to end it. Jeff is ready to change, and Zach tries to talk him down while he grows more hysterical. It’s horrible for everyone involved, but Zach is adamant. Will takes it completely the wrong way and just tells Zach, “Someday you’re going to do that to me.” Well, maybe, but for now, this isn’t about your potential pain, Will. (Recap continues on page 3)
Let’s go over to Deacon’s drama. Jessie Caine is at HW65 on invitation from Zach, who says in front of her that he wants to sign her. Isn’t that poor business protocol? Deacon seems to think so, and he’s a little hesitant, agreeing only to a meeting for now. That meeting takes place the next day and ends up running over for hours when they both get to talking about their lost loves. She explains that her mistake was staying in a marriage she knew was over because she was a coward — oh and her ex ended up marrying her best friend. Deacon shares that he didn’t ever think he’d be so lucky as to end up with Rayna, and even though so much of it was so hard, he wouldn’t have traded any of it for the world. Jessie admits she envies him. Suddenly they realize it’s 5 p.m., and Deacon wipes his tears and heads off to pick up the girls, asking Jessie to send him her music to listen to.
Back at the house, Diane — the crazy woman from the opening scene — has stopped by with a pot pie. The girls think it’s funny, but I wonder how long it’ll take for Deacon to feel really uncomfortable with all this female attention, innocent or otherwise. And of course, Jessie chooses that moment to call and leave him a very long message. She thanks him for listening earlier, tells him she really wants to work with him, and invites him to hear her play on Tuesday. Deacon looks confused. And then he meets up with Summer, who is awkward and not nearly as endearing as Bilson’s The O.C character and fine, I’ll use her actual name. Alyssa tells Deacon that Jessie has a crush on him — girls just know these things. Now Deacon is super uncomfortable, so when he calls Jessie back he gets all awkward and tries to explain that he’s not looking for a relationship right now. Jessie is more than a little peeved at this accusation — the last thing she wants now, or maybe ever, is another man in her life. Deacon tries to find words to apologize, but in the end, he just lets her hang up.
Over at Juliette’s pad, Avery lets slip that he’s not Hallie’s producer anymore because he knew that Juliette was going to get what she wanted in the end — it’s always her way or the highway. J still hasn’t really apologized or even conceded the slightest bit of fault, so it’s not surprising when Avery comes home later and tells her he’s hitting the road for seven weeks on a tour. Of course, Jules sees this as a way of punishing her, but he explains he’s not breaking up with her or anything; he just needs to do something for himself. What do you know, Juliette storms off.
On brighter note plenty of teens show up for Scarlett’s benefit to banish female shame. Scar shares her story about growing up dealing with shame and not knowing how to fight it, and then, one by one, members of the audience share theirs too. Then, in walks evil journalist Mackenzie, who shares her sorrow of wearing a back brace as a teen and being called the “Bride of Frankenstein” by her classmates. Can you believe this little rendezvous is enough to melt Mackenzie’s cold, cynical ruthlessness? I can’t, but apparently it is. She’s all, “When people treat you that way for long enough, you start to believe it, and that’s how shame wins.” Everyone agrees. But will she write a retraction? Doubt it.
This week, Jessie plays us out. Deacon winds up going to see her perform a sad song about trying to get over her ex, and he becomes quite overcome with emotion as the lyrics resonate. As she sings a particularly poignant line about learning how to lose her husband, Deacon gets up and leaves the bar. Poor Deacon.
That’s it for this week. Let’s hope Deacon has an easier time of it next episode.