Rayna spends nearly the entire episode in a coma. They wake her up. She is fine. The end.
Deacon and Rayna are upside down in a bloody car full of blood and her eyes are closed and he pulls her from the wreckage and sirens are in the distance. Will she be okay? (Yes.) Will he? (Eh.) What brought them here?
A FLASHBACK brought them here. They have just purchased their lakeside dream home and I am guessing it is the late 1990s based on their clothes and the distant, gauzy shots (and wigs and CGI) that make them appear to be in their late 20s. “This is great. We are so young and so in love. Let’s login to Pets.com and Napster right now. Absolutely none of this will ever change.”
But whoops, now PRESENT DAY Deacon is in the dock, somehow pulling off an orange jumpsuit. Teddy is in the gallery (look at all these legit-ass court terms that I in no way needed to look up) talking to his lawyer about how he hates Deacon and wants him to be in jail forever, basically. “It helps that you’re the mayor,” says his lawyer. Ha. Yes. It does. The judge makes his bail one million dollars. Deacon wants to plead guilty and not go to trial and go to jail forever, he doesn’t want a lawyer, and the judge is like, “Ehhhhh ... no.”
FLASHBACK Deacon and Rayna have decided to get married, after he proposes. They have ‘90s sex, and then drive to Blockbuster and rent As Good as It Gets. “I hear Helen Hunt is great,” Rayna says. PRESENT DAY Deacon meets his court-appointed attorney who is so good she should be on Law and Order. The DA wants to postpone Deacon’s charges (or whatever) in case Rayna dies. Deacon says he was drunk and they crashed and it’s all his fault.
Deacon is again in FLASHBACK drinking really hard. Rayna is so mad, she asks if he was “drunk when you asked me” and he was like “asked you what?” Oooooooh bad move. They are now unengaged, though I gotta say, I have to give Deacon props for managing to have normal sex with Rayna while he was apparently blackout drunk. PRESENT DEACON gets a visit from his 8-year-old niece, Scarlett. He wants her to sell his house, she wants to bail him out. She says he’s been like a father to her but he says he is NOT her father (so Maury).
Again we FLASHBACK and Deacon is doing his favorite drunk thing: smashing stuff. He is listening to contemporary radio hit “Tubthumping” and just going to town on every empty bottle he can find. Distressed Rayna is outside with Tandy discussing what a bummer it is that she is currently pregnant. “How can you have a baby with a man wearing that vest?” Tandy asks.
Back in PRESENT JAIL. His lawyer shows up with police reports that indicate Rayna was the driver, based on seatbelt bruises. (“Always wear a seatbelt in case the legal system needs to exonerate your passengers from crimes that were caused by your own negligence. This has been a message from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.”) Based on the fact that he did not actually do any crimes, Deacon is free to not be in jail anymore. Oh. Also. His lawyer tells him Rayna is now awake and confirmed that she was the driver. So he knows she’s not dead. Moving on ...
This is where we learn it has been but a fortnight since the accident (what a long summer) as the family (well, sister and daughters) gathers around to explain what a coma is to the youngest child of the coma patient. Where’s Teddy? He’s hanging out down by the river, Nashville’s hottest spot for a secret rendezvous, to learn of Peggy’s pregnancy. He offers her some money and — that’s about it. He is the mayor with a family and insanely famous wife who is in a very famous coma right now. Tough titties, Peg.
Powers Boothe Lamar is at her bedside, and his recently demoted daughter Tandy comes in. They are watching some local news on ABC affiliate WKRN when Anne Holt, the Greek chorus of Nashville, conveniently mentions that his wife and her mother just so happened to die in a fiery car crash. Lamar asks for 4giveness.
Let’s squish two bad doctor scenes together: the kids arrive just in time to watch the doctors do some weird tests on their mom and watch her shake around, looking very not fine. I also think they mention propofol, which is the stuff that killed Michael Jackson. Coma medicine? Jesus, Mike. Meanwhile, Peggy is getting an ultrasound and is pretty much immediately informed she had a miscarriage. (The miscarriage scene lasted 39.91 seconds. I timed it.)
Maddie is looking through some iPad photos of when her mom and Deacon used to be in love. Teddy is there and she STONE COLD BURNS him with a line about how Deacon used to be her uncle but now Deacon is her dad. Teddy says that Deacon may be her father, but he is her dad, and also can she please cool it on the uncle/daddy thing, because there are enough incest jokes about Southerners as it is. Forget it, Teddy, it’s Nashville-town.
Lamar and Teddy later duke it out over Rayna’s bed as to which of the men in her life has been the worst to her. She starts to code (?) because she is thinking of her accident. Oh, does that sound made up? Well, the doctor stole Maddie’s iPad and basically says that her subconscious is willing her out of the coma. Or something. But they should be prepared for any outcome, like maybe amnesia or a secret twin or a weather machine.
The family gathers ‘round to watch the ... coma un-induction. Rayna blinks understanding that she is at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and that she recognizes her family. Everyone is #holdhands.
Oh and then a U.S. attorney shows up to fuck with Tandy about Lamar probably having something to do with her mother’s death, something they were looking into, I guess? Okay. Your tax dollars at work, everyone. Thanks Obama.
Juliette, the best, is watching some local news, like you do. At this point it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Anne Holt is some kind of vengeful god who is trapped in the television, for everything she says shall come to pass: “It’s clear this queen is staying at the top of the charts!” she says of Rayna (who, let’s recall, is currently in a coma). It’s going to be hard to bust out of the tween demographic what with everyone giving tribute to Sleeping Beauty - have you tried being a wrecking ball, Juliette? Her manager Glenn (who is now her manager again on account of he has never blackmailed/murdered anyone) speaks some managerial sense that she promptly ignores. New hot rando shows up for a job interview.
Hot new rando is doing his thing (killer link) with bedtime Juliette, but she is distracted because these people absolutely love to watch the news, all the time. Social media is playing a huge part in Rayna’s coma (OK) and there is a vigil outside of Vanderbilt and it is “trending worldwide.” Juliette demands one thousand candles. I wish this was her plan.
She rehearses for her show at the Parthenon and oh yeah, Avery is her guitar player, I forgot. Scarlett, a Walter Keane painting that has utilized black magic to break free of its canvas prison, shows up with a begging bowl for Unkie Deacon’s bail money. Juliette has had it up to here with addicts and turns her down. During Juliette’s Parthenon party later that evening, she honors Rayna with a photo montage of them being tour besties and talks about what an inspiration she is. She does a song.
She entreats the crowd to march from the Parthenon to the hospital, they have all been given glowsticks (not candles, this is why she has to fire people) and I suppose will hold an impromptu healing rave of #chillvibes. Avery ditches the goodwill publicity tour (this is why you suck at being famous) to go hang at the Bluebird with Scarlett. “She’s just not that into you,” says Juliette, tossing away her glowstick. She missed his head.
Juliette runs into Maddie outside of the hospital. Juliette is very cool and nice and understanding and would fall into the “cool aunt” category were she not a massive superstar. She gives Maddie her number and asks her to call whenever she needs to talk about moms. Maddie gives it up as far as Teddy not being her father, and Deacon almost certainly being her father. She invites Juliette into the coma room and Maddie says she bets Juliette misses her mom. NOT AS MUCH AS I DO, KID.
Will lives with Gunnar now, because Scarlett turned him down. It’s not quite Tim telling the camera crew that Dawn said no (drop everything and watch the BBC version of The Office right now if you have no idea what I’m referencing, it’s on Netflix streaming, seriously, consider this my good deed) but I guess it’s rough just the same. Gunnar tells Will to “quit funnin’ around” and makes me wonder what this show would be like if it were on HBO. Will tells Gunnar to stop being a baby and they are going to have a house party.
They have a house party. Based on the light, I’d say it’s a full-blown rager at approximately 2 p.m. There are girls there, and Will is like “this is my girl” (even though we know he does not like girls) and pawns one off onto Gunnar. Will makes eyes at a cute boy doing shots. Will and cute boy enter either a very spacious laundry room or a bathroom with a washer and dryer, and have a almost fight-almost kiss-actually fight confrontation.
Gunnar tries to make out with a drunk girl, but he feels too many feelings living in the same place he lived in with Scarlett. So they burn the sofa. But burning sofas makes Gunnar feel empty, and he says “I can’t party my feelings away” and it’s like, brother, are you sure the music business is the business for you?
Scarlett, a popsicle stain down a 5-year-old’s dress, is leaving The Bluebird. She is teaching a new waitress how to waitress: New Waitress said she has always dreamed of waitressing at this particular establishment. Turns out she and Scarlett are old buds, because New Waitress seamlessly says things like “I moved here so you can sleep on my couch” and “I’ve known her since the first grade.” In the words of the great Lady Holiday: It’s plot exposition, it has to go somewhere.
Oh, and Avery’s there. He’s singing a song, and boy, is it gentle. It’s whispers of ocean waves and tickles from angels. It’s butterfly kisses and puppydog snuggles. It makes “Baby I’m A Want You” sound punk as fuck. “I’ve always loved that one,” says Scarlett. “Him or the song?” Sex & the City’s the Friend.
Scarlett is very concerned about Unkie Deacon possibly being a piece of shit, since he was all mean to her at the jail. Waitress Friend tells her that she knows she is sad but also everyone is having a party for her on account of being a signed recording artist. So, you know, buck up. Avery toasts her. Gunnar shows up (hasn’t he been drinking literally all day?) which is so rude I can hardly comprehend it. You know who a fun person to have at your Success Party is? Your ex whose marriage proposal you very recently rejected. Avery slinky vagabonds his way into the hall and is like “hm guess you can’t take no for an answer” and Gunnar is like “takes one to know one.”
Scarlett’s coworkers beg her to sing a song, for her talent is like manna and lo they are but waitresses and wanderers. She invites Gunnar up to sing along with her instead of calling the police to have him removed from the premises. They duet, and:
... montage into sad gay Will, being sad and gay
... montage into sad Peggy who LIES to Teddy about still being pregnant
... montage into sad Juliette building a shrine to her dead mother and Rayna
... montage to sad Deacon, in jail, sad about his sad decisions
... montage into coma Rayna for a second
Gunnar and Scarlett mumble to one another and go their separate ways. She has decided to move into Deacon’s smashed-up home of alcoholic nightmares. She’s brought along a beat-up ol’ suitcase full of porcelain dolls and scented candles, as opposed to a garbage bag stuffed with clothes and empty cigarette packs like every other musician who’s ever had to move houses on the quick. Has anyone paid the utilities while Deacon’s been in jail? Find out next week when Scarlett tries to charge her phone.
Anyway, Season Two. Good luck to us all.