'Nashville' Recap: Knockin' on Hell's Door - Rolling Stone
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‘Nashville’ Recap: Knockin’ on Hell’s Door

Lamar cheats death, Gunnar also cheats death and Dante takes over Juliette’s life

Powers Boothe as Lamar on ABC's 'Nashville'

Powers Boothe as Lamar on ABC's 'Nashville'


Brad Paisley ain’t the only Nashvillian who’s having a bad week. The happy rays of spiritual sunshine that graced our favorite cast of country characters on last week’s Nashville were inevitably short-lived. Last night, we picked up pretty much where we left off: between the sheets with Juliette and Dante in a New York hotel room. The pair’s post-coital pillow talk is interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s Rayna. She’s gotta cancel the next night’s show and tend to a family emergency.

And in related news: Lamar survived his heart attack (as predicted). “I must be in pretty bad shape for you to miss a show,” he tells Rayna at the hospital. “I can see you’re all full of piss and vinegar, so you must be feelin’ better,” she counters. And she’s right. Lamar totally looked death in the face and spit in it like it was a waiter fucking up his lobster order at the Palm. Lamar is a lion. Hospital gowns and EKGs be damned, the bed-ridden power player is barking orders, calling for the heads of his enemies and making moves to get his baseball stadium built.

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Later, Lamar – fed up with not being able to get a milkshake at a hospital he practically owns – attempts to abscond. As RayRay, Tandy and the gang hold him back, he spots Watty White in the hall and has a total meltdown. That’s when Watty drops the bombshell of the night: He was the mystery paramour Rayna’s mom cuckolded Lamar with years ago.

The backstory: Mama Wyatt “wasn’t easy on the men in her life,” and the night of the fatal car accident, her bags were packed. Four years later, Lamar kicks 16-year-old Rayna out of the house, and that’s when Watty discovers her superstar potential, thus explaining Lamar’s resentment towards her career. The revelation brings father and daughter closer together in a touching bedside scene, after Lamar actually has another heart attack and almost dies, again, but doesn’t.

Tandy is running Daddy’s affairs while he recovers, and wondering why multiple missed calls from Peggy pop up on his cell. Long story short, Tandy figures out Peggy leaked the divorce to the tabloids and tells Teddy. So, expect a second suicide attempt from Peggy next week.

Meanwhile, Rayna’s absence throws the Barnes camp into upheaval, or rather, throws Juliette into a tailspin of prima donna tyranny. She’s set to headline their last night in New York and, instead of doing the sensible thing – booking an opener or cancelling the show, as Deacon suggests – she decides to stay the course and extend her set by 10 songs. At soundcheck, she’s drilling the band with the wrath of Buddy Rich on a bad night or Casey Kasem cold-reading a dog’s death announcement. She and Deacon first get into it, and he calls her out and tells her how insane she’s acting. To blow off some steam, she bounces to bone Dante on her tour bus.

Avery sees a one-of-kind, intimate Juliette Barnes show when he quietly walks in on the couple mid-fuck, but only Dante notices. What’s Avery doing there, you ask? Remember, as implied last week, he took a gig as Juliette Barnes’ roadie. What’s he doing on the singer’s bus? Getting hazed. As a “do what you’re told guy,” a crew superior sent him on a scavenger hunt to find Juliette’s in-ear monitors. Dante – who’s swiftly risen from the role of Jolene’s sober companion to Juliette’s consigliere – unilaterally fires Avery. Call it sympathy for the devil, but I actually kind of felt sorry for Avery. That makes Dante Nashville‘s latest love-to-hate villain.

Deacon, warmed up from his spat with Juliette, tracks Dante down and lambasts him for thinking he has the authority to fire Avery (who lives to see another day). “I don’t remember the part of the program where you screw around with your client’s daughter,” he says. Dante calls pot-kettle-black on Deacon and reminds him of his own Biblical history with Juliette. Backstage, after that night’s show – during which Deacon pointedly and passive-aggressively avoids eye contact with Juliette as the band performs
her brand-new country/bossa nova hybrid, “Hangin’ On a Lie” – Jules and the Deke get into another knock-down-drag-out row. “I don’t need your boy-toy shrink knowing all my damn business!” he snaps. “Is it because you’re not my ‘go-to’ guy anymore?” she snaps back.

It’s not.

He’s Rayna’s go-to guy again. RayRay leaves him a rambling message, and he rushes back to Nashville to provide moral support – “I just heard something in your voice in that message. It just sounded like you needed me.” Awww. Nice knowin’ ya, Stacey!

Jolene, on the other hand, is so super jealous that Dante isn’t her go-to guy anymore, she tries to make out with him in Juliette’s dressing room just as she walks in. So . . . Jules fires Dante as Jolene’s sober companion, sends her back to Nashville where a new one awaits, and hires Dante as her manager. Terrible call, Juliette!

Here’s all you need to know about last night’s Gunnar/Scarlett arc: Scarlett closes her record deal and the couple celebrates with a full day dedicated to sleeping, screwing and drinking. Gunnar, numb, is haunted by his brother’s death, and can only feel joy vicariously through Scarlett’s success. He hasn’t written a song in weeks; she notices. She should probably go look up the words “grief,” “depression” and “trauma” in the dictionary, assuming she’s heard of the dictionary, which is assuming a lot.

Later that night, Scarlett and Gunnar join their good ol’ boy beefcake neighbor Will for some honky-tonkin’. After Scarlett passes out drunk, Will takes Gunnar out for a good time. Turns out Will is a crazy redneck and his idea of a good time is racing to dodge trains with his pickup truck. On the back roads, the pair narrowly escape death, but the experience reminds Gunnar he’s alive. It’s kind of like a Springsteen song. Gunnar starts writing again.

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