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Here's A Concept For Nashville: Shut Up

Rayna wants to do a concept album with Deacon about their relationship, and they spend the episode bickering about it like a couple of Maddies.

First: read our coverage of the first half of Nashville's season-opening two-parter, sneak-peeked last month.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    Full Of Sound And Fury

    God. All right, so the episode begins with Gunnar and Scarlett in bed; he, of course, is happy and carefree like a big golden retriever (NO REASON), rendering him oblivious to the fact that Scarlett has reverted to prime Season 2 chipmunk face. I will say I can't entirely blame her, given that Autumn is still blowing up Gunnar's phone:

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    GOD, Autumn, now we can add "can't take being ghosted with a shred of dignity" to your lengthy list of faults. But in a meeting at H65 the next day, the chipmunk visage is even more pronounced, as Rayna suggests one of their dumb songs to be the Exes' next single; later, Scarlett takes Gunnar to task because she knows he didn't write it about her, and he gets frustrated, because this is stupid. And it is also not over, as you will see below.

  • Character Study
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    A Perfect Fit

    Name: Jakob Fine (played by (good-) Looking's Murray Bartlett).
    Age: Mid 40s.
    Occupation: Menswear designer extraordinaire.
    Goal: To fit Will with pants, then get into them.
    Sample Dialogue: [blows out Will's restaurant birthday candle] "I made a wish for you."
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    Sowing Oats

    So after getting hit on (most shamelessly, given that he did so right in front of Kevin) by the above-mentioned Jakob Fine and surreptitiously not being all that mad about it, Will -- urged on by Kevin, who I think might be testing him even though he's acting supes chill about it -- goes to a "trunks show" at a private estate, whereupon Fine picks up right where he left off and tries to plant one on Will. Will weakly rebuffs him, but Fine, calling Will's shaky fidelity "quaint," keeps the door open for the future, and as much as it would pain me to see Will hurt Kevin, this is a dude who's newly popular, hot af, and finally comfortable with his sexuality. He's not going to be monogamous, and I don't think it's likely the show is going to explore an open relationship, so I'm guessing Kevin's going to be out of the picture again soon. (It'd be interesting if Fine assumed more of a gay mentoring role for Will, but I'm not sure I see that either.)

  • Family Matters
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    The Moment Of Conception

    Who's causing a family crisis? Rayna.

    How? She had this big revelation on her road trip about how she and Deacon should record a concept album about their relationship story, and she basically won't shut up about it; telling Bucky that it ISN'T a vanity-label project even though it's pretty much the definition thereof; nagging Deacon (albeit sometimes cutely) every minute after he asks for some time to consider the idea; flapping her arms at him when he accepts a paid gig while he's supposed to be thinking about the concept of the concept album (read: deciding to do it). It's exhausting, frankly.

    Which relatives have a problem with it? Deacon, who -- having been through a terrible year (I mean, we'll all be glad to be shut of 2016, so welcome to the world, Deacon) -- isn't anxious to relive it by singing through the pain. Also, he doesn't want to drag down Rayna's brand with his inferior level of fame, and you can practically hear Bucky nodding vigorously wherever he is but Rayna don't care.

    Who's an unlikely ally? Scarlett, who thinks the whole thing sounds amazing and that Deacon's being an idiot, but while I always enjoy how sugar-free Scarlett gets when dealing with her uncle, maybe she shouldn't be singing (sorry) the praises of making music with your SO in this particular episode.

    Spoiler: Someone's going to give in, but not before he explicitly calls someone else on how she always gets her way.

  • Phone Call
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    That's What The Voicemail Is For

    Zach calls Rayna (and seriously, what kind of famous person answers her phone if she doesn't recognize the caller?), and after merely laughing when she asks how he got her number -- it is a ridiculous question, but his reply does nothing to make me less wary of him -- he says he's coming to Nashville in a couple of weeks because he's thinking of getting involved in the music business, and he'd love to "hack [her] cloud" -- ew -- about the business. Rayna's like, k? Rayna, go read The Gift Of Fear, or at least watch Misery, because I have a bad feeling about this one.

  • Character Study
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    Here Comes Randall, He's Not A Berserker

    Name: Randall St. Clair.
    Age: Green.
    Occupation: As of now, H65's social media and marketing manager.
    Goal: To work for Rayna, whom he apparently idolizes, as so many people his age obviously do.
    Sample Dialogue: "I'm your biggest fan."
  • That Quote
    "Singin' that song makes me want to slap the livin' hell out of you."
    - Scarlett, who's being unfair on the merits, but haven't we all wanted to smack Gunnar at some point? -
  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Rayna vs. Deacon

    I MEAN, IT'S EVERY MORNING. Rayna keeps nagging at Deacon so much I had to expand into a new Particle for it, but when she hectors him for the nth time, he sighs that he's stuck between the choices of giving in or living with disappointing her: "It's your world; you make all the decisions." Rayna says she's sorry, but she doesn't really seem to grasp his point, and honestly, if she's not going to Al-Anon meetings or getting some kind of outside help in dealing with a husband with as many issues and triggers as Deacon, she kind of doesn't have a leg to stand on when he eventually feels forced to say they're just obviously going to do it her way and she feels butthurt about it. Get someone to mediate your conversations, you two. Offscreen, preferably.

    Winner: No one, really, but since she gets her way in the end, Rayna.

  • Meeting Time
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    Like Mother, Not Like Daughter, We Hope

    Who called the meeting? Scarlett, let's say.

    What's it about? She needs to unload to Deacon about her sudden anger issues regarding Gunnar and that stupid song.

    How'd it go? Deacon -- always better when he's dealing with problems that aren't his own -- tells Scarlett that she's still in a huge amount of pain over everything that happened with her mother. Scarlett confides that while she's never been a jealous person, she's been going to dark places, and she doesn't want to punish Gunnar because it's exactly what Beverly would have done. That revelation only adds weight to Deacon's observations, but what really makes the scene is when he compares punishing Gunnar to punishing a horse or a dog, because I never before realized how much Gunnar is like a big dumb golden retriever, but now I'm not going to be able to see anything else when I look at him, which is great.

  • Alert!
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    Dear Gunnar

    Alert Type: Guilt Alert.

    Issue: Will has confessed his almost-sin to Gunnar.

    Complicating Factors: Will wonders if he should tell Kevin about the almost-kiss, which is obviously the worst idea ever, and Gunnar shows me up for the golden-retriever comparison by saying so in no uncertain terms.

    Resolution: Gunnar prevails on Will not to be an idiot in this particular way.

    Spoiler: That doesn't mean Will can't go to the other extreme.

  • Meeting Time
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    A Higher Love

    Who called the meeting? Juliette, by getting Emily (yay!) to take her back to the church in which she saw her savior sing.

    What's it about? She wants to talk to the woman, so in aid of that, she meets with the church's pastor.

    How'd it go? Comfortingly, I'd say? The minister gently tells Juliette that he can't give out the woman's contact info, but her name is "Hannah Lee" (she goes by "Hallie"), and she's a lovely but shy person who shunned any media attention for her part in Juliette's rescue. Juliette, palpably desperate to try to find some meaning in the wake of her survival, assures the minister that she doesn't want to disrupt the woman's life but only wants to thank her, and the minister agrees to pass Juliette's number on to Hallie. Sensing her quest for understanding, he then assures her that God has a great plan for her, and she should ask Him herself if she doesn't believe him. Juliette says she will, and while I don't love the idea of a full-on born-again storyline here, Juliette coming to some spirituality in her life would actually be kind of a joy to watch, frankly. (And really, if being with Avery isn't enough eventually to make her believe someone's looking out for her, I don't know what will.)

  • Wrap It Up
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    Scarlett tells Gunnar she's over all her issues! It's great and completely realistic when problems such as this go away right at the end of an episode! They then perform on the radio, and Gunnar changes one of the words to make the song more about Scarlett, which is nice! But I still pretty much only hear barking when he opens his mouth now!

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    Rayna comes in to apologize to Deacon and says she's only disappointed herself by causing him pain, which is mature and way more like how these two should communicate! But in response, Deacon sings something he already wrote for the album! WAY TO STAND YOUR GROUND! Rayna then thanks Deacon for sending her flowers with a card that reads, "To the only woman I have ever loved"! This leads to them doing that TV thing where Deacon ineffectively calls after her disappearing form that he didn't send her flowers, and when she's gone, he's like "Sounds like none of my business!"

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    Will comes home with a sport coat for Kevin, which is nice! Kevin then acknowledges that Will is going to face temptations, and asks that, if Will ever feels like he wants to step out, he tell him! Will's practical, measured response is to ask Kevin to move in together, and while I am rooting for these two, this feels rushed JUST A BIT!

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    Rayna walks down the street, and SOMEONE INSIDE A CAR WITH A BROKEN WINDSHIELD WATCHES HER FROM NEARBY! Is it Luke? Liam? Dead Jeff? Come on, the show can't afford any of those people! See you next week!

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