Nashville Recap: Enjoy This Obligatory Mid-Season Cliffhanger!

Music Festival time! Nashville’s been teasing this festival for a while. Oh wait. Opening ceremony is tomorrow? So maybe we have to watch another run-up TO the festival episode? Life is unfair.

Avery and Juliette are friends again and he’s playing at the festival that we’ll never see. They’re taking a little stroll when Juliette gets run down by a pack of journalists who want to know about her Wentworth home-wreckiness.

Blah. Luke Wheeler’s back and now he is calling Rayna his girlfriend. Luke talked to label head Jeff and Jeff is going to release Rayna’s album pretty much without talking to Rayna because Jeff is scum.

Speaking of scum! Zoey is chasing after poor Scarlett demanding that Scarlett talk to her after catching her hookup with Gunnar. Scarlett zombie-walks past her and shuts the door in her face. Good for her.

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Layla wants Will’s attention but he’s busy looking longingly at a picture of Brent on his phone until she calls him out on his lack of attention so he throws her down on the bed for some good old hetero sexxxy time because that is how he rolls, dammit. DAMMIT.

Deacon’s trying to check in for the music festival, but Teddy had Deacon’s appearance pulled because Teddy’s a petty little dick. Jeff is a petty little dick too, and after forcing Gunnar to give up one of his best songs in return for a slot at the festival, has placed Gunnar on the smallest saddest stage ever.

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Deacon hits on the idea that he and Gunnar should just stone cold play outside the gates of the festival instead like guerilla buskers or something. If this results in a great fuck you song and performance, I will be the happiest girl in the whole USA, but it will not because there is no T-Bone Burnett.

Juliette is throwing the most lying liarpants tantrum about the Wentworth marriage-wrecking rumor to her manager, explaining how the rumors have no merit blah blah blah. NOBODY BELIEVES YOU JULIETTE.

Rayna’s gone over to Jeff’s house to confront him about the seeekrit album release, but he’s hanging out in his giant fucking pool like a bawse.

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Not only is he releasing it without her permission, he’s chopping it up and only releasing parts of it, which destroys the record’s artistic integrity or something. There’s no explanation or reason as to why he’s going to do this except to be an asshole. Rayna goes off to complain to Tandy about it, who decides she wants to invest in the Rayna Jaymes record label so that Rayna can get out from under Jeff’s evil little bitchy thumb. I approve of this plan.

Gunnar’s plotting with Deacon to perform outside the festival, which isn’t strictly legal, but hey, what could go wrong? Gunnar forgot to tell Deacon about the whole sleeping-with-Scarlett’s-best-friend thing and oh look here’s Scarlett. What do you think you would do if your whole life was one long series of awkward/convenient/dramatic entrances like this show is??

Teddy is having a press conference to open the festival, and he’s dragged his children up there along with Peggy. Peggy hovers over the children like she might actually unhinge her jaw and eat them. Her need to own the Teddy Conrad family is so strong you can taste it. Teddy’s press conference is kinda wrecked by everyone yelling about Juliette. Good.

Charlie and Juliette have a little meetup and she realizes that it wasn’t Charlie that went to the press with the homewrecky rumors, and his wife certainly wouldn’t have because keeping up appearances and all that. For some reason this brief interlude then leads Juliette to be absolutely certain the culprit is Layla, which, duh, it is, but how exactly does Juliette know? Doesn’t matter, because plot development is totally unnecessary! Layla doesn’t come clean, but Juliette knows knows knows!!!!

Looks like Luke Wheeler is basically Jeff’s errand boy, and shows up at the music festival to explain st Rayna that the label is great and she should stick around and labels are hard. Luke is doing nothing to endear himself to us on this show. Nor is Zoey, who is following Scarlett around still trying to make her talk. What better way to get someone to have a hard conversation with you than showing up at their place of work and demanding that? Seems like a successful life strategy for sure. They eventually talk, Scarlett all tears, and they most def do not kiss and make up.

Festival performance time! Yay. Oh wait, it’s Will with a patented big country boring Will song and Will looking exactly the same as he does during every appearance. Yawn.

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Maddie finds out about the impromptu Deacon show and wants to go, because of course she doesn’t know that it’s dear old not-actually-daddy Teddy that knocked Deacon out of the festival. Peggy tells her no and garbles out something about how families are complicated and oh no you didn’t, Peggy. Countdown to “you are not my mother” in 3, 2, 1, BOOM. Also, too, Teddy now knows Deacon is playing, but doesn’t really understand how since he’s the one that tossed him.

Jeff has tracked Rayna down at the convenient everyone-in-one-place music festival. Oh hey he actually has a reason to drop certain tracks from the new record because “market research” something something. Connie Britton does an awesome hair toss that says she is having NONE of this, thankyewverymuch.

Teddy shows up to try to cockblock Deacon’s DIY Rage Against the Machine style show. Deacon tells him to go hang.

Juliette music festival showtime but oh noes her show is being wrecked by random audience members holding up mean banners!!

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Post-show, she’s a tear-stained screaming mess because her fans have turned on her and everything is over and is this really how it is? I mean, didn’t Faith Hill or someone like that go all cheatsies and still have a career?

Teddy is sad because this is wrecking his precious music festival. Go hang, Teddy.

Rayna is going all in on her bid to start her own label and is going to spend every last dime to do it. This will go well, right? She won’t lose the house or anything dramatic AT ALL.

Lightning round of relationship developments! Zoey breaks it off with Gunnar because Scarlett had friend break up with her. And finalfuckingly, Brent and Will do it.

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These are not the post-coital faces of happy men.

Layla is smugly sowing some little poison seeds with Jeff, and that goes about as well as Will and Brent fucking as Jeff informs her that if she’s the one that started the rumor and tipped off the press, that’s the end of her contract because there will always be another American Idol runner up for him to scoop up.

Deacon’s show is a success and the song, while not great, is not terrible. If there’s a story arc where Deacon becomes a alt-country-rock-frontman sorta thing soon, we’ll take it. The show hasn’t done well with the rockier alt-ier side of country. Avery had a few songs last year — including one written by Elvis Costello especially for the show — but they were never as good or as polished as the straight up country songs. Maybe Deacon’s ascendance is a chance to be better at that genre.

Rayna tells Jeff she’s got the money to buy out her label and then tells Luke, who basically breaks up with her then and there, telling her he’ll see her when he sees her, which is code for “not going to see you actually.” So Luke’s entire romantic purpose was just to get Rayna to stay with Edgehill? See? We knew there was a great reason to dislike Luke Wheeler besides that he seemed mainstream country and boring and arrogant.

Tender “I hope you find someone good, no I hope YOU find someone good” moment between Charlie and Juliette. Does that mean Charlie’s done, or does he have to hook up with someone else to stay on the show?

Oh – we’re still in relationship lightning round, apparently, because now Zoey is BACK with Gunnar because if Scarlett was really her friend she’d see how happy etc. blah argle bargle blah. This show moves its relationships along at breakneck speed but this breakup actually only lasted like 45 minutes.

Layla comes home and sees messed-up bed but no Will and cut to Will standing alone by the train tracks and seriously they’re going to kill off Will because he can’t cope with being gay? Fuck you, show. Fuck you. That’s some bullshit.

Maybe that isn’t really what happens, only because the scene cuts to Juliette showing up at Avery’s door to declare her everlasting love, but pacing-wise this makes no sense. Wouldn’t you end with the fade to black of Will maybe or maybe not killing himself? Are Juliette’s shifting emotions really a more resonant important thing than one of your characters killing himself?

The declaration of love is a bit awkward since Avery is just post-sexytime with Scarlett, who is still there but misses the I Will Always Love You speech. Avery clearly has complex feels about this and is probably super in love with Juliette too because no one in this show is capable of committing to someone and we’ve got to chug these plotlines along somehow since we don’t have music anymore.

End scene: Teddy and Peggy stroll by Rayna all happy-like. Rayna asks Teddy if she can chat with him a moment and pulls him off to the side to tell him about the whole leveraging everything to buy out her contract thing. He’s happy for her, she’s happy for him and Peggy. He leaves, and a completely random dude walks by and tries to shoot him. Wait what? As he tries to wrestle the gun free, it goes off and shoots Peggy.

Who is dead? Will or Peggy? Or both!! General nighttime drama aesthetics make me think probably Peggy. Her usefulness on the show has worn thin, and there’s a lot more mileage to be had out of Will’s self-loathing gayness. Plus she doesn’t sing. Also, too, her possible death comes at the very end of the show.

Either way, this is some serious who shot JR kind of shit at the mid-season break to try to make you remember to care about this show for 10 more weeks until they come back in late February. Good luck with that strategy, Nashville.

TV Show: Nashville

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