Culture of Pop

‘Nashville’ Recap: Episode 2, ‘How Far Down Can I Go’

This week’s episode of Nashville, “How Far Down Can I Go,” was riddled with misunderstandings and poor communication, so much so, they should have added a question mark to the end of the episode’s title. Rayna wants to start doing interviews to help promote her new album but she definitely doesn’t want to talk about her private life! Juliette finds out she’s pregnant, seemingly with Jeff Fordham’s baby, and takes action to terminate the pregnancy. Or does she? And is it Jeff’s? Just how do those OB/GYN sorcerers figure out when someone conceives a child!?

Gunnar asks Zoey to move into his new house with him, which sends her into a tailspin and looking to Avery about advice, especially as it relates to Scarlett (who decided last week that she wasn’t leaving town after all). Scarlett and Gunnar write a new song but Scarlett definitely doesn’t want any co-authorship credit! I guess she’s forgotten how much people love their songs or how much Gunnar gets paid for his tunes. I guess sitting in the big house that one of his royalty checks bought him isn’t helping to clue her in either. This all makes it difficult to understand why she even decided to return to Music City in the first place.

Layla is still reeling from the realization that her husband is gay and the marriage is a sham, while Will can’t understand why she won’t just smile and pretend for the cameras until they finish taping their reality show. She of course decides to blackmail Will, forcing him to have Jeff Fordham get her an audition for the Patsy Cline movie that’s being cast in Nashville, even though the role is Juliette’s to lose (she even dyes her hair—or maybe wears a wig, since she is pregnant—for her callback audition!).

Deacon is trying to understand how Rayna could turn down his marriage proposal even though he almost killed the both of them in a drunk driving accident at the end of the first season and fell off the wagon again in the middle of last season, and has unresolved anger issues in general. And now it’s also Deacon’s job to try and explain to Maddie why she can’t have the fairytale ending of her birth parents finally marrying, since Rayna didn’t tell anyone but her sister (and stupidly, Luke) about Deacon proposing.

Juliette and Avery try very hard to avoid one another after the fallout of her sleeping with Jeff Fordham, but when she tries to drop off a bag of his things at his apartment, Avery engages her in a shouting match in the hallway. Other than that, he seems perfectly happy to be manning the soundboard at the Blue Bird. And don’t get too worried for him, since he later winds up making out with the new waitress at the bar.

Broadway actress Laura Benanti finally comes on the scene! She plays Sadie Stone, a singer that Jeff Fordham immediately tries to woo over to Edgehill Records, after having been chewed out in a board meeting by his superior (played by this week’s director Mario Van Peebles) and accused of having a problem with women.

Luke Wheeler is trying to figure out his bride-to-be and asks Rayna if she’s ready for the media circus she’s about to be a part of. He’s talking directly about her promoting her new album, but obviously he’s gently persuading her to get on board with the media frenzy that their engagement has ignited. He helps to explain how “Luke Wheeler” with the name in lights and his face on bottles of barbecue sauce isn’t the same everyman Luke that she knows and loves. But Rayna of course lives in a fantasy world where press and P.R. should be handled no differently than how it was done in the 1980s. And you only have to do soft-lit softball-type interviews with major news outlets and be done with it. She can’t believe all the radio stations she’ll have to visit in New York and New Jersey, and the general idea of social media seems to really turn her off. Hint: this is why you have Bucky, your manager. This is not stuff you should concern yourself with, Rayna.

She’s done a great job of isolating herself from the rest of the industry by launching Highway 65 and acting as its sole performer (Juliette doesn’t really count at this point in the game). She put all her faith on the shoulders of Scarlett, who totally cracked under the pressure last year, and has no other artists on the roster to show for it. The record company in real life would already be deep in the red. But at the top of this week’s episode there’s Rayna, giving an interview and showing the reporter the giant unfurnished space that’s to become the future home of Highway 65. That’s an amazing waste of funds, if you ask me.

As to the title of the episode: it left me wondering who the “I” in “How Far Down Can I Go” was supposed to be. Almost everyone here seems to be in the dumps in this episode (except for Gunnar, and probably Daphne, Rayna’s youngest daughter. But that’s because she’s about 10 years old and why would she be sad).

Some other thoughts about the episode:

  • I hope in next week’s episode Juliette finally reveals she’s pregnant so they can stop the dizzying handi-cam shots every time she’s in a scene. It’s OK for the viewers to realize that Hayden Panettiere is pregnant in real life.
  •  Since Edgehill Records still only has one artist (Will), why does Jeff Fordham hate on Layla so much? Put out an album and milk her reality show-appeal while it lasts!
  • Why is Juliette going to separate singing and acting auditions for the Patsy Cline movie? She’s a major music star. Why wouldn’t they have her audition the role in full in one visit?
  • Now, due to a clause in the contract, Deacon is forced into servitude on Luke’s tour. He really needs to get a better lawyer (definitely better than the one who cheated on him with Teddy last season) to read his contracts.
  • Why is Rayna so taken by the fact that her father hung her platinum record in his little dressing room? Not a very prominent place, for starters, but also it seems like just about anything can give Rayna the sads. She’s always pining about the past in some form or another each week. It’s getting tired, girl.
  • To that point: Rayna, you’re a grown-ass woman with TWO DAUGHTERS. Be a better example for them by acting appropriately with your emotions for Pete’s sake! We know you aren’t in love with Teddy anymore, and that’s fine and you both seem to be good at co-parenting, but get your act together when it comes to mooning over Deacon while making out with Luke. Yuck. You’re a Mom.
  • Of course Avery is going to have revenge sexy-time with the random new Blue Bird waitress who helpfully admitted in one of her first lines of the episode, “I’m new here.” Someone should be getting some.
  • Bucky looks like present-day Peter Gabriel
  • Rayna needs to start hocking some BBQ sauce or maybe a jewelry line on QVC if she wants to maintain sales/ her fan base and avoid doing all that icky social media and press.

This week’s episode featured several musical characters and yet not a lot of music. Thankfully Scarlett knocked on Gunnar’s door and wound up helping him with the fantastic song “When You Open Your Eyes.”

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