Nashville recap: 'The Night Before (Life Goes On)'
I want nothing more on Nashville than Deacon’s happiness, but I also don’t want him to move on too soon from Rayna’s death because, well, how could you? Luckily — or unluckily? — this episode doesn’t see much forward movement in D’s grieving, and mostly, there’s little progression elsewhere. But let’s get to it nonetheless.
Juliette is really trying to be her best self (on stage anyway), so she’s enlisted Kesha’s choreographer to work on the routine for her next single (you remember: the one she stole from Maddie?). He’s a sweetheart, and he’s excited to work with the pint-sized pop star, but, aware of the accident and her injury, he wants her to take it easy and keep the choreo user friendly. Jules ain’t about that life and insists she can take whatever he’s got — that is, until they’re halfway through the routine and she can’t keep up. The choreographer tries to tell her to take it easy and modify the moves, but she assures him she’s got it. She hasn’t got it. On the next take, she’s pretty much nailing the moves until she takes a major tumble. Jules blames herself for not being back on her feet (literally), but our new friend the wise choreographer tells her that being human is a bitch, and she has to let go of who she thinks she should be and find out who she really is. She can still dance, but she has to do do it as she is now, not as she was a year ago.
Down at Highway 65, some advertising dude named Dan meets with Scar and Gunnar about shooting a furniture commercial. He tries to sell them by explaining that when it comes to fun ads, this place is the GEICO of furniture companies. Rachel Bilson really loves their spots, so they’re probably terrible. Scarlett thinks their furniture is too hard to put together (this is just Nashville’s answer to IKEA, right?), and as a reward, she gets to put together a dining room table in the commercial. Here’s the slogan, for your consideration: “Life is complicated. Putting our furniture together doesn’t have to be.” Again, Bilson loves it. Gunnar seems won over by the corniness, too — especially the whole “being together through the hard times” part. Scarlett is too polite to roll her eyes, but you can tell she’s doing it internally.
Let’s check in with Deacon and the girls. Daphne has been invited to her first big (parent-free) party. Eighth graders are going to be there, and that’s making her nervous. Maddie puts some blush on her cheeks and tells her she looks a year older already. Meanwhile, Deacon is invited to perform at a benefit for a child-fostering non-profit. (Pay attention to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mention of Liv and how they’ve found her a great home. Nashville loves nothing more than a neatly tied-up ending). He’s also been asked to donate an item of Rayna’s to be auctioned off, but he’s dragging his feet. Deacon later explains to Avery that it doesn’t feel right, but Avery reassures him that the important stuff — like the love they shared and the music they made together — could never be given away.
Avery’s having a tough time, too. He doesn’t want to leave his daughter, who’s just starting to string together sentences. Nonetheless, he packs up and heads off for the first stop on his tour: Atlanta. When he gets to the hotel, Avery heads straight to the bar — for a Coke. Of course, there’s a cute bartender, who’s all flirty with him and asks him to bring her back a T-shirt from the show. This girl is trouble. But she’s not alone in her adoration of Avery. Later, while he performs, the girls in the front row go wild. It’s kind of nice for Avery to get a moment.
Back in Nashville, Daphne and Flynn arrive at the party together, and it’s more of an intimate gathering of couples than a crazy rager. The girls are bitchy and speak with super nasally voices, and Flynn and Daph look terrified when they find out the parents have left and the other kids turn on some R&B music. Then, literally all at once, every teenage couple in the room starts making out. I feel just as uncomfortable as you do, Daph. Ugh, I keep cringing imaging the director saying, “And action: Make out!”
A while later, the preteens are still making out like their lives depend on it, and Daph and Flynn are still feeling awkward. They end up outside on the swing set, and Flynn is at least on the same level as Daphne about how much the party sucked. Then he dazzles her with his knowledge of birds and the natural world and apologizes for inviting her in case she thought he only asked her to come so they could make out. They both agree they would rather be held back than go into eighth grade if that’s what it’s like. When she gets home, Daphne tells her older sister, “It turned out to be this weird make-out orgy.” Daphne wants to know when she’ll know she’s ready to be kissed, and Maddie tells her, “Mom says you just kind of know.” It’s a cute moment for the Jaymes sisters.
At the hotel bar, Avery is post-show drunk and cut off by the flirty bartender. J calls, but they can’t really hear each other, and then the bartender steals his phone to let Jules know she’s infringing on Avery’s drinking time. Jules is pissed and asks him to call her later. (Side note: Jonathan Jackson is really good at acting drunk.)
Bartender girl wants to come up to Avery’s room to “fix his TV” — which is actually broken, but she totally means it as a euphemism. Up in Avery’s room, Juliette calls back, and Avery ducks into the bathroom to take it. Juliette is suspicious — somehow she can tell he’s in the bathroom. Honestly, I’m a little suspicious since Avery pretty much told this bartender chick that Juliette is a destructive force in his life.
Anyway, Avery gets up and walks back into the bedroom, and we discover that the only person hanging out in his room is Uri, the maintenance man. “I’m going to kill you,” Juliette jokes when Avery puts Uri on the phone to show his innocence. “And I love you,” responds Avery. They hang up after sharing how much they miss each other. Juliette tells Avery he has to finish the tour or he’ll resent her for it later, and they’ll repeat all their old mistakes. She stops short of apologizing for the whole Hallie debacle — maybe they found her a foster home, too?
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All right, fine, let’s deal with Scunnar. Gunnar is game for the commercial, but Scar is being super negative — same old story on Nashville, then. It transpires that Scarlett is supposed to assemble a crib now instead of the promised dining table. They all think it’s a genius idea since she’s pregnant. She is naturally upset by this. But what do you know: When they play The Exes’ song as Scarlett and Gunnar put together the crib, it actually sounds a lot like a jingle. Then, all of a sudden, Scar breaks down crying. She wants to leave and thinks making a crib for a baby who’s not even born yet feels wrong. She’s all, Give me back the dining table, but there’s not time to reset, so she has to go on with the show.
Deacon heads to the benefit. Turns out Jessie Caine is also performing — and so are Lady Antebellum, by the way. On arrival, Deacon presents the woman running the event with literally the ugliest jacket ever; it has sunflowers on it, and the shoulders are bejeweled. Even Maddie and Daph are glad to say goodbye to it after initially opposing giving away anything of their mother’s.
Still feeling awkward about things with Deacon, Jessie switches the name cards around so they don’t have to sit together at the table. Deacon ends up sitting next to an old lady who talks nonstop about her dog, until Jessie’s ex-husband shows up and is just generally an ass. He’s weirdly threatening toward Deacon once he’s done with Jessie. Yuck, he’s a total creep. Anyway the night proceeds, and Ray’s jacket/ “gorgeous piece of history” goes for 50 grand, but Deacon walks out before the final bid, unable to deal with all the talk of relics and late icons. From across the room, Jessie’s ex texts her, “Stepfather material?” about Deacon, and she too gets up and walks out.
While Deacon is outside having a moment, Jessie joins him and kicks over the trash cans, wishing out loud that she still smoked or had a gun. They share more of their pain, and Jessie says she’d be happy to never think about her ex again, but he’s killing their son day by day with his cruelty. Her ex-husband has everyone convinced she’s an unfit mother, prone to uncontrollable rage, so she’s not allowed custody of their son. She thinks it’s like watching someone she loves die in slow motion. Just then, Deacon is saved from coming up with anything comforting to say when he’s called to the stage. He gets to the door, turns, and tells Jessie he thinks it’s all going to be all right because she’s tough — ask the trash cans. Deacon performs a different song than planned and dedicates it to Rayna. All the women in the audience openly weep.
On the way home from the disastrous commercial shoot, Gunnar says he thinks he knows why Scarlett is sad: She doesn’t want to have the baby with him. She doesn’t want to be with him at all. Just then, some teens ask them to buy them beer. Gunnar advises them to wait until they’re older, but the kids are super persistent and obnoxious and OH DEAR LORD, ONE OF THEM HAS A GUN.
Now it’s too late for just beer; this little bully wants Gunnar and Scarlett’s wallets instead. Scar goes to hand hers over and drops the milk she’s just bought on the angry kid’s shoes. He responds by shoving her, hard, and she bumps her bump on a car. Gunnar reacts, and the kid holds him up at gunpoint, forcing him down to his knees while Scarlett whimpers on the ground. The troubled teen tells Gunnar he’s a nobody and hits him on the head with the pistol. The hooligans run off, and Scarlett and Gunnar crawl into each other’s arms and cry. Either Scarlett will lose the baby and blame Gunnar, or this will bring them together — or some combination of both. We’ll find out next week.