Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nashville Recap: ‘Take These Chains from My Heart’

Posted by on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Will and Gunnar in Emoji
  • Alexis Paulson
  • Will and Gunnar in Emoji
St. Lucia. Cincinnati. Lower Broad. Where and why are these random places? Because Nashville, that’s why.

Juliette
‘Twas a fortnight ago we last saw our young heroine Juliette, and tonight we find her sharing intimate bathroom times (showering, not pooping) with her recently-acquired paramour Dante. She has to move out of the house she’s been renting, and Dante asks why she never bought, what with all her $$$. She said she wanted to wait to buy until she could share it with someone. There was her husband for those two weeks, but that obviously didn’t count. Lots of people have dogs or cats, I think pets count. Luckily, Dante knows a realtor and suggests house hunting. Then Juliette reminds us she has a private jet, and the scene ends.

Back in Nashville, an angel disguised in human form named Jolene is waiting. She’d like to talk to Dante, but he and Juliette jump down her throat and leave her in the parking lot. Jolene sighs, unfurls her wings, and flies home. Later, at band practice, Juliette and Dante are snuggled up, looking for homes on an iPad. Deacon tries to do his job and get Juliette to join the band for a song, but she’s not interested. It’s like a reverse Ricky and Lucy. They’re total dicks to handsome lovely Deacon, and he says that he’s going to finish off this leg of the tour and then quit. “You’re replaceable,” says Juliette. She and Dante are ruining as many days as they can.

Speaking of ruining days, Jolene reappears and lets her daughter know that she saw Dante kissing another woman. On Lower Broad (classy + subtle). Woah woah woah, Dante says, that was just a friend! Who is the realtor! And I used to sponsor her! He turns it back around on Jolene and asks why she was stalking him like a total psycho. She is again dismissed. When Juliette and Dante are looking at a house later (...without the realtor present?), they talk some more about all their problems with Jolene, in particular that Dante thinks she is a lying relapser. Juliette pulls her constantly suffering assistant aside and mumbles something to her that I quit trying to figure out after rewinding the scene four times, NO ONE ON THIS SHOW ENUNCIATES.

I figured out what she was babbling about when her assistant (she probably has a name but meh) trots in Esme the realtor. She is pretty but ostentatiously mousy in a "Why, I couldn't possibly be anything other than a librarian type, certainly not some kind of David Mamet long-con mastermind!" kind of way. She tells a very pushy Juliette that she and Dante were never involved. Like Biz Markie he is just a friend. Juliette says she will buy the house.

Jolene descends from heaven to say that the realtor is indeed the female she saw licking Dante’s uvula in front of one of Nashville’s many fine Western Wear shops. Realtor exists. Dante and Juliette team up to gaslight poor old Jolene and force her back into rehab. Dante found some pills, even, when he was rifling through her stuff; she vehemently denies being the owner of that sandwich baggie of giant horse pills.

Juliette’s assistant returns from dropping Jolene off at her house. Dante has gone, and after the, what, hour (?) between the altercation and the fallout, Juliette has decided to take a closer look at those pills: turns out they are something her mom is allergic to. Yipes! Dante is incommunicado ... because he is on a plane with that realtor and ditching his phone! Who knew she couldn't trust the dude from Hostel? Now $475K is missing from Juliette’s corporate account. That Dante is infernal.

“Call my mom and let her know she doesn’t have to go back to rehab.” How magnanimous. It's practically a Very Special Mother's Day Episode up in here. Juliette is not going to say a word about these MULTIPLE FELONIES committed against herself and her only family because she is too embarrassed, but has decided to keep the house to remind herself to never trust anybody. You know, it’s like my mother always warned me: Never become sexually or emotionally involved with a random dude from rehab and give him total control of your life and finances.

Rayna
Rayna was able to catch up with Deacon on Juliette’s private plane out of Cincinnati, (aka “Cin City” aka “America’s Chili Bowl” aka “I Have Obviously Never Been to Cincinnati”), but as soon as they land they go their separate ways: Deacon to his new girlfriend Stacy the vet, and Rayna to talk biz about meeting up with Scarlett (ugh why) and getting to the studio with Liam.

And oh, Liam in the studio! I love your glamorous ‘70s hair and beard, and am willing to tolerate your multiple (runic?) necklaces. You look like human corduroy and you are beautiful. Playing the sensitive troubadour card, he asks Rayna about her feelings and whatnot. She would like him to play on stage with her again, and she lets him know that she feels soooo free, as a single woman. “How free?” he asks. They kiss and it’s great, but are quickly interrupted by Rayna’s manager Ser Jorah Mormont.

Rayna and Sister Tandy move Lamar back into his mansion of loneliness. He lashes out at his attentive children that he is neither dead nor doddering, even though he was literally doddering (“verb: tremble or totter, typically because of old age”) into the house a moment ago. After the girls exit, Rayna dishes to Tandy about kissing Liam. “Oh my gosh, he is really hot,” says Rayna, and I fully relate to her in that moment.

Liam wants to take Rayna to St. Lucia, and fairly quickly convinces her to blow off her kids and sick father. She doesn’t blow off the doddering, decrepit shell of Lamar just yet, though. She heads over to visit her dad and you guys, there is a full-length portrait of (who I assume to be) Rayna’s late mother hanging over the sofa, clad in a tacky red ball gown. It is a slightly less tasteful version of the portrait of herself Scarlett O’Hara had in her Atlanta house after she marries Rhett for his money. ANYWAY, Lamar is going through some pictures and he tells Rayna he has followed her career and loves her or whatever, and she tells him she knows about her mother’s affair with Watty and he wants to start over with her, but can any of us truly start over now that we’ve seen that picture of Mom wearing Carol Burnett's curtains? Jeez. (I want one of myself, obviously.)

Teddy and Assorted Political Players, God, Why
Teddy is meeting with some of the fine folks from Subway to further plans for Subway Field (“Eat Fresh!™”). Coleman is there for the meeting, and says that even though they’re not using Lamar’s land (or whatever, I forgot and who cares), Lamar will still get some money because his “company” will still get work from their “Metro contracts.” Is that even legal? It sounds pretty illegal. Preggy is there (a typo I intentionally left in to make it seem like I am capable of foreshadowing plot points) and wants to kiss ‘cause she’s professional. Teddy receives a cryptic phone call.

He meets up with a squirrelly-lookin’ dude down by the river, Nashville’s favorite place to hang out and do shady business. Teddy finally finds out that it was Peggy who leaked the divorce details to the tabloids. He confronts her, and she says she didn’t “mean to,” because a reporter tricked her. A regular Kate Major, that reporter. She also lets Teddy know that Lamar knows that she was the leak, and that Lamar told her to convince Teddy to use his land for the stadium or he’d totally tattle on her. Sad Peggy says she loves him, and he asks her to leave.

Teddy pretty much immediately hops to canceling all of Lamar’s contracts with the city. Is that even legal? Is this show trying to demonstrate that governance is nothing more than the petulant acts of egomaniacs driven by petty grievances and retribution, and would be sinister if it wasn’t so pathetic? Did we learn nothing from Spin City?

And Tandy, ugh. She talks to Lamar, who is pissed at her for letting Teddy know about Peggy’s gaffe. (In politics, mistakes are called “gaffes.”) He said he was surprised that it was Rayna who was there for him after his illness, and that Tandy is acting like he’s lost his edge. She also meets with Coleman and encourages him to peek into Teddy’s Cumberland deal. Blah. Blah. Done. May the Capitol building crumble into the Cumberland, I have just about had it with these people.

Scarlett and Gunnar
Scarlett and Gunnar hanging out in the backyard; she is watering flowers and singing “I’m a Little Teapot” to herself, he is reading through his dead brother’s gournal journal. Cowboy neighbor Will arrives on his new motorcycle, because he traded in his truck, because every musician knows that trucks are shitty for hauling gear, unlike motorcycles. He is very excited about his gig on Lower Broad (that place again) that is happening in the AM.

Will is kicking ass at his bar gig. Pretty blonde tourists who are out drinking at 11am just love, and of course Gunnar is there for moral support. A girl (who I can only assume is totally hammered) asks Will for his autograph and it’s embarrassing. She gets his phone number instead, such a ladies’ man this one, right guys? Gunnar is impressed with his “swagger,” which is country-talk for “swag.”

No one on the corner has swagga like Will, and he is teaching ostensible professional musician Gunnar how to play to a crowd so he doesn’t blow his Tootsie’s gig. I wish it was the airport Tootsie’s. But Gunnar learns his lessons well, and performs competently and sexily in his favorite Bruce Springsteen cosplay outfit. And I could be mistaken, but it sounded like one of his lyrics was “head as heavy as a Christmas cake.” A conspicuous glasses-wearing man is watching conspicuously. After the show, Will and Gunnar nurse beers and let chicks hit on them (so many babes, bro! high five!) and then Jack Nelson, conspicuous human, saunters up to let Gunnar know he loved the performance and would like to “lay down a demo,” that’s what she said. High-five Miller Lite!

Meanwhile, Scarlett (a Mulan-branded Dixie cup in your daughter’s bathroom), has dinner with Unkie Deacon and his gf. She is nervous about her meeting with Rayna, and he tells her not to be nervous. “Just think about me banging her like I used to do for 20 years.” That’s not a direct quote but the subtext should have been there. Scarlett’s meeting with Rayna goes well enough: Rayna wants to talk about music, singles, and tours, and Scarlett wants to explain away Gunnar’s failure. She reminds Rayna that she had mentioned she’d be nowhere without Deacon, and Scarlett feels the same way without Gunnar, and I feel the same way about my hands that are now full of vomit from all the puking this scene made me do. “I’d be nowhere without my hands full of vomit,” that’s me when I accept my Pulitzer for Best TV Recap.

At home, Scarlett tells Gunnar in a twitterpated flutter of baby farts and glitter that her meeting went super-duper and Rayna wants to give Gunnar another shot! He takes this very personally, because he is his Own Man now, and though there was a time (two weeks ago) when he would have taken her up on that, he wants to get all raw and real. Sad Scarlett just wants him to be happy, she insists.

Gunnar is soon drinking with Will on the sofa, thighs touching ever so slightly. Will asks where that song came from, and Gunnar admits he stole it from the Chekhov’s Dead Brother’s Journal that was introduced earlier in the show. Things are weird between himself and Scarlett, he says, just dishin’ on relationship woes with your bros. Dicks before chicks, right? Well, Will thinks so, because he kisses Gunnar on his handsome little Gunnar mouth. Gunnar flips and kicks him out. That is a mistake. Will is a better partner than Scarlett for the following reasons, here, I made a list:

WILL
handsome
good listener
shared interests
likes to party
has a motorcycle

SCARLETT
is a human baby suckling on the teat of whimsical desperation
sucks in general

The choice is yours, dude.

Deacon
You remember how Rayna and Liam were talking about going to St. Lucia? Well, Deacon and his girlfriend are putting away canned goods, as lovers do. He lets her know that he is quitting Juliette’s tour, and will stay home and be domestic. She is happy about this. Do we think Deacon is truly happy about this? (No.) We know for sure he is not happy when he can’t stand to watch Liam and Rayna duet on stage. They stage-flirt like crazy, and Liam’s singing voice is a thousand times more grizzled than Deacon’s can ever be. Deacon runs off to “get water” and leaves his girlfriend to finish the show while he mills about backstage.

The girlfriend asks if he still has feelings for Rayna, and he dumbly, ever so dumbly, says yes. She asks if Deacon wishes Rayna were here instead of her, and he said nooooo but he was just trying to be hoooonest and I can kind of sympathize with the vet here? “Do you want to be with me or the superstar that you have a 20-year history with?” Yeah that sucks. Rayna appears (of course) and asks if everything is okay. Deacon goes on about how it’s always gonna be Rayna, but she tells him to call his girlfriend because she is heading to paradise with Liam C U L8R.

BUT THEN she goes to his house and says she loves him and they do it. We'll be right back after this demonstration of 1990s hot-sex montage from Skinemax.

Avery
Avery was too late to play at Tootsie’s (ha ha) but stuck around to watch Gunnar. He spoke to him briefly after the show, and Gunnar filled him in on Scarlett’s record deal (ha ha) and the fact that he and Scarlett are a couple now (ha ha). Scarlett even runs into Avery loading gear (ha ha) at Rayna and Juliette’s concert, and she decides to be a fool and talk to him. “Are you miserable,” she asks, like it’s any of her freaking business. She said it was nice to see the version of Avery that she liked (penitent? a manual laborer?) back from school.

He invites her to stand up on stage, and just then, a lighting rig collapses in a terrible freak accident. Scarlett is crushed to death, and Avery barely escapes the disaster. “Wow, that was close,” said Avery, turning to walk off stage. As he turns, he slips in a pile of dog poop and lands with a smack on the floor, his head and shoes now covered in dog poop. Unbeknownst to Avery, some dog poop got into a small cut in his head and he died five days later of a brain infection caused by all that dog poop.

He was easily replaced.

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