‘Nashville’ Season 5, Episode 5 Recap: Things Get Complicated
Just when it seems as though things are settling in or slowing down on Nashville, it turns out that the lives of everyone's favorite fictional country music stars are actually as complicated as they’ve ever been. This week, some relationships blossomed, others began to deal with a little tension, and one in particular got really, really creepy.
Episode 5, titled "Love Hurts," kicks off at Nashville’s historic Riverwood Mansion, which serves as the backdrop for the Exes’ 1920s-inspired video for “All of Me.” Director Damien George (Christian Coulson), recommended by Rayna Jaymes’ (Connie Britton) new business partner Zach Welles (Cameron Scoggins), has Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) in dramatic get-ups — Gunnar’s wearing a tuxedo and eyeliner, Scarlett a barely-there white silk slipdress — and the latter clearly isn’t happy about the hyper-sexualized version of herself that Damien is trying to force out to produce the video’s vintage, sultry vibe.
The making of the Exes’ video -- or, more accurately, Scarlett’s discomfort with being forced to portray a manipulative temptress, two words that decidedly don’t describe her endlessly neurotic, self-conscious self -- is the focus of most of this Nashville episode, Damien begins to grow impatient, and after a long day of filming a scene that involves Scarlett climbing all over a dining room table like a deranged sexpot, he invites Gunnar out for a drink — and to mine him for intel on how to get Scarlett to open up.
Meanwhile, romance is blossoming between Maddie Conrad (Lennon Stella) and charming street performer Clayton Carter (Joseph David-Jones). The two are listening to Arthur Alexander records in Clayton's car, and he takes her to a club to listen to live music, despite his hesitation that it probably won’t really be "her scene." When the two get to the club, it quickly becomes apparent that Clayton's a regular, as the performer onstage calls him “the itinerant poet laureate" and urges him up onto the stage. So, he takes the stage ... and sings a song that is clearly directed right at Maddie.
Afterward, Clayton and Maddie sneak out to a parking lot, where viewers get a little more insight into who he really is: Clayton tells Maddie that his grandfather taught him how to build guitars, and that music gave him, a former wild child, a little direction. However, as Maddie leans in for a kiss, she's rebuffed by Clayton; viewers find out that there’s a bit of an age gap between the two, and Clayton, ever the gentleman, decides that it’s time to get Maddie home.
Over at Highway 65, Rayna is trying to get to the bottom of her escalating issues with her mysterious stalker, and sets her sights on Randall (Jordan Woods-Robinson), who isn’t in the office. She heads to his desk to search for evidence, and finds the trinket box that he lifted from her desk in the previous episode; however, when confronted with that evidence later, Randall bursts into tears and cops to stealing the box (for his mom!), but denies sending Rayna the flowers and letters. Bucky (David Alford) asks him to write a sentence on paper as proof, and Randall's innocence is confirmed when his handwriting doesn’t match the letters that were slipped underneath Rayna’s front door at home.
In this episode, viewerrs also get a little peek into the fledgling professional relationship between Zach and Rayna, potentially setting the stage for some tumult between the two in the coming episodes. While on set with the Exes, Rayna and Zach don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on director Damien's treatment of Scarlett: Rayna thinks that Damien is being a little too aggressive, and Zach tells her to let his artistic vision play out. Rayna eventually gives in, but don’t be surprised if tensions soon begin to flare.
The only time that Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) makes an appearance in this episode is when Maddie visits her at home for a little boy advice, as she’s done plenty of times before. Juliette’s working on physical therapy and is showing progress, and offers Maddie a solid piece of advice -- perhaps the most profound thing she’s said in five seasons.
“Screwed up men are sexy, until they’re not,” Juliette says after Maddie tells her that Clayton has been pushing her away at every turn. “There isn’t a sweeter, nicer guy waiting inside. Trust me.”
Amen, sister. But there’s clearly something more complicated at play when Clayton calls Maddie from bed, a bottle of prescription pills in his hand. And after he winds up at the hospital -- courtesy of Maddie, following a beatdown from two jerks who take offence to Clayton's refusal to play Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy" while busking -- viewers learn what's really going on with Clayton: He deals with bipolar disorder, and refuses to take his medication because it hampers his ability to write and perform music.
Faced with this news, Maddie says that she doesn’t care -- but it’s clear that she really doesn’t understand what living with untreated bipolar disorder is like. Clayton apologizes for leading her on, and tries to walk away, but Maddie isn’t having it. When the two finally do part ways, Maddie goes home to Rayna and Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten), and sulks in her room.
Now, about that music video: The Exes are wrapping up on set, after Scarlett finally has enough of Damien’s bullying to stand up for herself and starts to come into her own. She begins to embrace her sexuality and femininity, and it’s obvious that Damien thinks he’s got a winner (and although it’s weird how that flip happens kind of immediately, that seems to be how Scarlett works). When the video is finished, Damien gushes over Scarlett’s performance, but she isn’t having it; she asks him what makes him think he can get away with being a jerk, and he tells her to wait until she sees the video.
The end of Episode 5, naturally, brings out the episode's two biggest bombshells: First, Clayton overcomes his fears of falling for Maddie and shows up at her house first thing in the morning, after the previous evening's breakup, to introduce himself. Rayna and Deacon are a little surprised, but ultimately very welcoming. And, second, as Rayna is heading into the office for a day of work at Highway 65, her stalker is finally revealed ...
... as the man who accosted her on the street for an autograph a few episodes earlier. He’s standing at the reception desk, demanding to see Rayna and give her another envelope of letters; Rayna is visibly shaken and yells for someone to call 911 while Bucky corrals the irate man into an office. Viewers don't learn who this man is just yet, other than an obsessive fan, but it is nice to not have to wait all season long to figure out who was behind all this drama!
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