‘Nashville’ Season 5 Premiere, Part 2 Recap: Strained Relationships, Creative Tussles and Stalkers, Oh My!
Based on the explosive first hour of Nashville’s return to television, there will be plenty to unravel throughout the show's upcoming episodes. In the second half of the TV drama's two-hour Season 5 premiere, things are as tumultuous as ever, with strained relationships, creative tussling and (of course) foreshadowing of plenty of drama to come.
The second hour of Nashville's Season 5 premiere kicks off by focusing on everyone’s favorite constantly feuding couple, Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio), cozied up in bed together. O'Connor's neurotic mistrust of their relationship appears almost immediately: Former tourmate Autumn Chase (Alicia Witt) constantly texts Scott as O'Connor mentally recounts every bad thing that Scott has ever done in the course of their up-and-down relationship.
“Are we 'a thing'?” she asks.
“Yes, we’re 'a thing,'” Scott replies, no doubt inspiring a collective eyeroll from everyone in the viewing audience.
Meanwhile, Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) returns home from her “finding myself” trip across the country, reunites with Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) and immediately pitches him an idea: a concept album that explores their long (and dramatic) story ... which she wants to record together. Claybourne is decidedly skeptical, but he doesn’t exactly put the kibosh on her plans, so back at Highway 65, Jaymes pitches the idea to her manager, Bucky Dawes (David Alford), who’s just as skeptical as Claybourne and wants her to go with a more “commercial pick,” someone who can help her sell albums. (Sound familiar? Even in the fictional queen of country music’s world, the struggle between business and artistry persists.)
As she gets back into the swing of things, Jaymes meets the company’s new social media manager, a decidedly creepy fanboy who has an obvious Rayna Jaymes obsession; she also meets with the Exes, to tell them that she’s set up a radio appearance and pitch a song she’d like them to play. Of course, O'Connor isn’t happy with the pick, called “All of Me." When she listens to the song later, all alone, she realizes that it just might be about a woman that isn’t her -- Autumn Chase? O'Connor's hometown best friend Zoey Dalton (Chaley Rose), also one of Scott's exes? -- and her insecurity leads her to ask Scott to change the tune they'll perform at the appearance.
And then there’s Will Lexington (Chris Carmack), who's returned to the stage as an artist and is in the crosshairs of the “top menswear designer in the country,” Jakob Fine (Murray Bartlett). Fine invites Lexington to a trunk show for his fashion line, and the sexual chemistry is pretty palpable -- so much so, in fact, that Lexington’s songwriter boyfriend Kevin Bicks (Kyle Dean Massey) is quite aware of what could spell trouble for their relationship during the exchange. Lexington, ever the charming cowboy, reassures Bicks that he’s committed, but there’s plenty of room for drama with this couple in the coming episodes.
As she's recovering from her plane crash injuries, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) doesn't appear much in this episode, but still, plenty happens for the wounded chanteuse: Her formerly estranged husband, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) makes plans to move back into Barnes' home with their daughter Cadence, and Barnes travels to the church at which she can hear the mysterious woman who saved her life (Rhiannon Giddens) sing. There, Barnes meets the church’s pastor, who tells her that the woman, whose name is Hannahlee, didn’t want to be in the spotlight after the accident; Barnes gives her phone number to the pastor, and he tells her that God has a special plan for her. In other words, fans shouldn't be surprised if Barnes soon finds religion.
As the episode wears on, Jaymes and Claybourne are still at odds over the proposed concept album, and it’s pretty clear why: For her, the story of their relationship is the ultimate romance — the triumph of love over pain and tragedy -- but for him, writing that album would just be a painful re-living of all the things he’s screwed up. Still, we see him writing and playing guitar, trying to suit her request ... but when Claybourne tells Jaymes that he's going to play guitar on an album for a no-name artist who's being produced by Barkley, not surprisingly, she isn’t thrilled about it.
By the episode's end, many of the issues put forward are wrapped up pretty neatly: Claybourne tells O'Connor to stop screwing up her relationship with Scott, so she heads to the radio station, kisses him and performs “All of Me” without issue. Claybourne also decides to do the album with Jaymes, and plays her a song that he’s been working on, igniting even more smoldering chemistry between them. And Lexington and his boyfriend decide to move in together, and maybe get a dog ...
... but, of course, the writers couldn’t leave viewers without some craziness to look forward to. After Claybourne and Jaymes make up and decide to make the album, a bouquet of flowers shows up at the door; the card attached reads “To the only woman I’ve ever loved" -- only Claybourne claims that he didn’t send the flowers!
As Jaymes walks into her offices at Highway 65, a mysterious figure watches from a car while playing one of her songs. So, is it the overly friendly tech executive, Zach Welles (Cameron Scoggins), who is “Rayna’s biggest fanboy,” or maybe that creepy social media manager? Viewers will just have to wait until next week to find out.
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