Category Archives: Nashville

Nashville – Never No More (S2, Ep2)

MIFpLVc20ltlYou can stay here and read below or check it out in a fancier format on haveuheard.net!

Are you having a tough time getting through this work week?  Well, have no fear because it’s Wednesday and you know what that means!  Music, Lights, and Diva Star Power!  We have Rayna James and company to get us just past that midweek hump!

After last week’s somber episode answered all of the season one cliffhanger questions, let’s see if episode two has a spark to light the way to a more energized hour.  Rayna is out of her coma, Juliette needs a hit album, Deacon is getting out of jail, Gunnar wants Scarlett back, and Will wants only stardom.  There’s so much going on in Nashville this week! What could happen next!?

Well, you’ve come to the right place because I’ll tell you what happened next…

THIS WEEK ON NASHVILLE:

We open with Juliette making a guest appearance on ‘Conan’ to promote her album, “Inside the Dream.”  Of course she’s asked about Rayna, who has been released from the hospital into the care of Teddy.  She’s back at home with her children, of which Maddy is still very upset.  Juliette is quite resentful that on her media tour all she talks about is Rayna, Rayna, Rayna!

Edgehill Records has a new boss in town, Jeff Fordham, who is shaking things up in Nashville.  He’s a man who only sees numbers and the business side of things, having very little interest in the art.  Juliette feels threatened as her sales are down.  On the other hand, Jeff has an encouraging meeting with Rayna, pledging his allegiance to her smaller label and work.

Nashville is in for a little two-step shake up!

Things may be going well for the country diva on the business side of life, but her home is another matter entirely.  Maddy and Rayna attempt to have a conversation about all that has transpired.  Maddy won’t hear it as she’s confused and upset, for good reason, of course.  There is no solving this situation in the moment for Rayna.  While this aspect of Rayna’s home life continues to get worse, her car accident ordeal seems to be bringing Teddy closer to her.

Deacon, returning home from jail, has a new caretaker: his niece Scarlett.  His anger has taken over his being, but Scarlett won’t have it.  She takes him to see the doctor Juliette set up for his hand.  The stubborn Deacon can’t forgive himself for what he’s done to Rayna, so he opts to have his hand put in a cast.  This, of course, will make it much harder for his hand to fully heal, not allowing him to play the guitar.  Deacon is punishing himself for his sins.

Jeff seemed like a nice enough guy in the early goings, but shocker, he’s not!  While watching Will rock out at a bar performance, Jeff offers him a spot as a new emerging solo artist for Edgehill records, which would poach him away from Rayna.  And, in another twist: Jeff’s PR guy? Will’s ex-boyfriend! AHHH! (I may need a Nashville family tree for this episode.)

Moving onto the sales hungry Juliette Barnes:

During Juliette’s trip to her old trailer park stomping grounds in Alabama (I know, I know. That’s not Nashville), an old neighbor surprises her with a quilt.  Apparently this neighbor was a big part of her young life when her drug-addicted mother wasn’t around.  Juliette quickly rejects the quilt; a reminder of the past.  As Juliette wanders her hometown, she has a hard time keeping her emotions in check, blaming it on her attempt to sell more albums.  Her filmed origin story will manipulate her audiences into buy her new, heartfelt record.  Avery can only watch as she struggles through her past for marketing purposes.

Rayna, having felt the forced affection, confronts Teddy about living together in the wake of her accident.  She believes that it confuses the kids, as they aren’t getting back together.  Teddy just wants his family back, acknowledging that he knows they’ll never be together again.  In another move to clean up her newly messy life, Rayna approaches Will about his possibly leaving her label for Edgehill.  She genuinely seems to care about Will, his choices, and his future as an artist, siting that Jeff will not have his back in the long run.

What’s happening with Gunnar you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Gunnar has hit a major wall when it comes to lyrics.  He’s in his head about Scarlett and frustrated by the world. He snaps at Will, ignoring him, even though Will seems ready to open up about the decisions that he has to make.  Luckily Gunnar is interrupted by Zoe, Scarlett’s best friend.  Although she only comes to pick up some items for her BFF, Zoe helps Gunnar through the darkness by giving him some worldly advice.  Later, at the Bluebird Café, he premieres his new song, about the pain of his brother’s death.  This brilliant, heart wrenching song makes Will realize that he’ll never be as talented as his roommate.  Also, cue longing stares from Zoe.

In the episodes’ most anticipated moment, Deacon calls Rayna and they meet near the site of the accident.  Deacon didn’t know what else to do, but call his ex to help him through his struggles. Rayna has no choice but to reject his camaraderie.  This is a new beginning for her and they need to save themselves, not each other.  In a heartbreaking instant, she returns the original engagement ring, kept as a memento/reminder all these years.  Deacon tosses it into the flower shrine in defeat.  He wants nothing to do with music anymore, so he decides to sell his guitars.  Scarlett, however, grows an even bigger backbone and calls her uncle out on all of his excuses and negativity.  He reveals the reason he broke thirteen years of sobriety: Maddy.  In an amazing moment, Scarlett tells him that it isn’t worth throwing what he loves the most away: Music.  Deacon, finally seeing the stupidity in his actions, has a reversal and attempts to saw off his cast.

And now for the Edgehill party:

After being assured by his ex-boyfriend that his secret is safe, Will agrees to join Edgehill as a solo act.  He doesn’t see himself as an artist with Rayna, only a front man with Jeff.   Juliette proudly attends the party, as her Country Music TV special gives her reason to brag.  Her numbers are up on iTunes and can flaunt it in Jeff’s face.  But as we’ve learned so far this episode, Jeff’s no good!  It turns out that Jeff has signed a 19 year old singer, who didn’t even win her reality show, to cater toward Juliette’s fading tween demographic.  She even sings a Juliette Barnes song at the party. Rude!  Rayna sees that Jeff is undercutting Juliette, so she wants out as soon as possible.  She wants nothing to do with the label that she helped to build.

Woo! Now this is the Nashville I know and love.  This week brought more of the drama, backstabbing, and genuine feeling.  Rayna, having missed a week last episode, was on an extended screen time rampage!  It was really nice to have her back, as this show can only go so far with out her.  And did she look good after her coma or what?!  It’s like she was never in one to begin with!

What I liked about this week is that with all the new characters and plot we were thrown, we were still treated to a nice sprinkling of character moments.  That’s why we come back week after week, right? For those relationships and wonderful character chemistry.  Rayna and Deacon still have it and their scene, for me at least, stole the show.  Behind all that hurt, there is still an immense amount of love, and that always shines through, regardless of circumstance.

The writers seem to be moving away from the fallout of the premiere pretty quickly with all the new characters and stories.  I hope the ramifications of the cliffhangers linger through the season further than the first few episodes. But, this week we were treated to some really enjoyable plot developments, which, I assume, will make this season all the more interesting.

Some other thoughts:

  • Maddy is turning her sister against the family. Oh my!
  • Lamar and Peggy were left out this week, but I’m sure their time will come.  Honestly, I forgot about their plot lines, as I am not as invested in their cliché nature.
  • The songs this week were a little lackluster, but as forgettable as they may be afterwards, I always enjoy them in the moment.  Gunnar’s performance was the definite standout musically.
  • The Avery and Juliette friend dynamic seems genuine and interesting.  I hope that is explored more before they hook up again. (I mean, come on. It’s going to happen.)
  •  Zoe and Gunnar are just asking for trouble.
  •  I LOVE that Scarlett has developed a real feisty spirit since day one.  Her new backbone is encouraging.

Have a good week and try not to miss Tennessee too much!

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Nashville – I Fall To Pieces (S2, Ep1)

nashville-season-2-premiere-photos-the-aftermath-of-rayna-s-fatal-car-crash
Will Rayna survive the car crash?

Read below or check me out at haveuheard.net! (I suggest going there, as it’s fancier.)

Welcome back to Nashville, y’all! (Too much Tami Taylor in there? Okay, we’ll infuse some more Rayna James for now.)

Last year’s season one finale ended with a bang! Well, more like a crash, DNA reveals, role reversals, mother deaths, CMA awards, pregnancies, proposals, U.S. Attorney Generals, and kitchen sinks.  It was a fun, yet uneven, first season and I can’t wait for the sophomore year of this country soap opera. And please, bring on the new songs!

In the premiere, we start right where we left off.  Deacon escapes the SUV with Ranya in tow, as we flashback to younger versions of our favorite characters.  We get to see a glimpse of the happy couple at the beginning of Rayna’s rise to fame only to find out that she is currently in an induced coma in our present circumstances.

Deacon, on the other hand, is being held for a DUI with an involuntary manslaughter charge looming over him if Rayna doesn’t survive.  His bail? One million dollars.  He, of course, chooses not to retain an attorney as he intends to plead guilty to everything.   Now that the major cliffhanger has been resolved, we are whisked away to the land of the country pop princess, Juliette Barnes.  In the aftermath of Rayna’s tragic accident, her album is holding an overwhelming lead in the charts as the number one album. Ms. Barnes wants her own album pushed back, as she doesn’t want it tainted by Rayna’s condition.  Her manager will not allow it.

We then shift gears to the Bluebird Café, where Scarlett is working her last shift before starting her life as a legit writer for Rayna James.   She gives a longing look towards a performing ex-boyfriend turned friend, Avery, which brings us to our first song of the new season!

In other news, we discover that Gunnar proposal was turned down, as he and Will begin to start a new roommate bond together after last seasons awkward sexual advancements.  Will tries to cheer up Gunner, suggesting they party, get drunk, and see where the night (and ladies) takes them.

BOOM! We’re in it now! Welcome back to Nashville, y’all! (Better?)

In a smaller plot line left dangling from last season, we are reintroduced to Peggy, as she confirms to Mayor Ted, that she is pregnant, intending on keeping the child.  Ted wants nothing to do with the baby, but will help as much as he can without a big scandal.  As the episode continues, Peggy is heartbroken to find that she has had a miscarriage.

Scarlett, interrupting rehearsal for Juliette’s unmoved release party, asks for help from the young diva to bail her uncle out of jail.  Juliette refuses, stating that he’s an addict and can’t be helped.  She is clearly still haunted by her addict mother’s death.  Later in the episode, Juliette begins to use Rayna’s circumstances to her benefit.  She dedicates a song at her release concert to the fallen diva and invites her audience to hold a candlelight vigil outside of the hospital.  By seeming concerned and distraught, Juliette hopes to boost the sale of her own album.

Gunnar and Will throw a party in their newly christened digs and, of course, Will’s ex-boyfriend appears.  They get into it and just as they are about to get hot and heavy again, Will breaks it up and throws his friend out of the party, alienating him.  We later see Will’s remorse, as he won’t hook up with the random party girl.  Gunnar can’t seem to still get over Scarlett, so they decide to burn her couch, which ends the party abruptly, as the local firemen need to put out the living room furniture.  Gunnar then escapes to Scarlett’s good-bye party.  He doesn’t want to fall into old, season one, bad boy habits.

Meanwhile at the Nashville hospital…

Ranya is taken out of the coma, but doesn’t respond well as her family waits patiently for good news.  Lamar, Rayna’s father, and Tandy, her sister, are still at odds over the family business, but try to be civil for their family’s sake.  Then, in one of the most interesting dynamics of the episode, Juliette tries to genuinely comfort Maddie, Rayna’s daughter, who believes that all of the bad luck is her own fault.  If she hadn’t found out that Deacon was her father, none of this would have happened.  Juliette gives Maddie her phone number, as she believes she knows what it’s like to be lied to by a mother.  Juliette is more affected by this tragedy than she realizes, as two of her motherly figures are disappearing so quickly.

Back at the Bluebird Café…

Gunnar shows up at Scarlett’s party (Scarlett had just returned from seeing her broken uncle at the prison), only to see Avery being all buddy, buddy with their mutual ex.  But in a nice mini twist, Scarlett invites Gunnar onstage to sing, “Why I Can’t Say Goodnight;” a beautiful song to underscore the weekly montage.  Their chemistry is still there, but with new obstacles.  As Gunnar says, he’ll never give up on somebody he loves.

The episode ends with Rayna out of the coma, feeling better, with no memory loss, as she lets Deacon off the hook.  She admits that she was driving and Deacon is not responsible for the accident.  He is released from prison, even before Juliette can help Scartlett post bail (as she final decides to help).

Additionally, Peggy lies to Teddy, telling him that the baby is healthy.  “Always best to leave the past behind,” Lamar relates to his daughter.  They both agree to move on as soon as possible. This all is played out as the U.S. Attorney General’s Office tells Tandy that Lamar may have been behind their mother car accident years earlier.  The past may not stay in the past after all.

Weaved throughout the episode were short vignette flashbacks to the basic history of Rayna and Deacon. We witness it all, from their sober beginnings, to a drunken proposal, ending with the pregnancy cover up.  It mapped the quick escalation of Deacon’s alcoholism and reminded us, the audience, how connected and troubled these two lovers were and continue to be.  It was a nice, understated touch to relate the flashbacks to what Rayna’s mind was cycling through in her coma memory rush.

Overall, this episode had an extremely somber feel, which I hope doesn’t continue as the season moves forward. There was a definite lack of energy that even the three musical numbers couldn’t salvage.  The songs were nice mixture of concert fun and emotional plot, but nothing stood out, other than the chemistry of Scarlett and Gunnar.  It cleaned up and streamlined the outrageous finale, setting us up for some interesting plots lines and character pairings moving forward.  It’s a show that, so far, one episode into its second season, has delivered what it promised.

A few last thoughts:

  • If the Emmy’s had a category for longing stares, Avery, Gunnar, and Scarlett would win every year.
  • I find it interesting that Juliette is trying to sabotage Avery and Scarlett’s flirting.  But what can I say; she has a thing for her bandleaders.
  • In maybe the loveliest moment of the premiere, Juliette recalls listening to Rayna’s hits with her own mom and wanting to be like her Diva Idol.
  • Does the “Lamar and their mother’s death” plot seem too predictable and cliché? A little, but we are watching a soap opera, more or less.
  • It was a very bold choice to keep Rayna in a coma and on the sidelines for most of of the episode.  Thankfully it worked, as we were reminded that both her presence and lack of presence is the centerpiece of this show.  Long Live Connie Britton!

What will happen in Tennessee next week!? I can’t wait because anything can happen in Nashville.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan