Nashville never has any shortage of stuff to hit the fan for its assortment of talented and tormented characters caught up in the throes of Music City madness, and faithful viewers thrive on the simultaneous weaving of ties that bind and unravel at the same time. This week’s 20th episode of Season 2, “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad,” couldn’t be a better example. Every dark cloud has its own silver lining, and Scarlett’s (Clare Bowen) onstage meltdown may have been terrible PR, but it brings a refreshed perspective on what’s truly important to her, and gives her, and those swarming around her, a pause for clarity. Versatile and acclaimed director-actor, Mario Van Peebles, directed the episode.
Scarlett is assisted off stage with great care by Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and a willing stagehand (Chuck David Willis), as Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) does her best to squelch the paparazzi buzz, and arrange clandestine transport to a quiet clinic. Blame instantly ensues over the breakdown, with Deacon (Charles Esten) coming at Rayna (Connie Britton) over pushing Scarlett as her fledgling label’s star, Juliette getting jammed for giving her the hard truth about going on stage no matter what’s messed up inside, and messed up mom, Beverly (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), playing her all-of-a-sudden “I’m here for you” card to the hilt, as she targets Deacon and his long-ago leaving as the trigger for it all. Layla (Aubrey Peeples) is doing her best to bring Will (Chris Carmack) on board to launch a new reality TV show featuring “true lives” of young stars on the rise. He hedges, but wants to please his newly betrothed, and boost his own record sales, fooling himself that his sexuality secrets can stay at bay. The reality producer, Gina Romano (Briana Venskus) completely insists that nothing the couple finds unflattering will be shown, but she doesn’t know what Will is covering, nor does Layla. Rayna curtly relieves Juliette of responsibility once her jet has delivered Scarlett, and Scarlett cannot let go of Avery even for an instant as she’s rushed to immediate medical care. Juliette fumes with being displaced on two fronts.
Beverly battles with Rayna over her daughter, digging in with jabs like “what the world thinks of you has always mattered more than the real people,” referring to Deacon being her daughter’s father, and her relation, but Rayna firing back with “You don’t know me,” and making sure Scarlett gets care. Juliette has a point, relating “I know from crazy moms,” but her intentions are mainly driven by her come back to country radio getting crashed, and getting Avery back where she wants him. Scarlett goes psycho when she realizes she’s in for psych treatment, and Beverly being there only escalates the issue. Rayna tries probing the problem Deacon, who feels he’s being accused because of his history, as he traces the problem back to Scarlett working with Liam McGuinness, and those first “supplements”of courage in a bottle. When Scarlett tries to walk away, wearing nothing but her hospital gown, Rayna coaxes her back for just another 24 hours, telling her she will respect her decision after that. Deacon visits, offering that “your mama’s a handful,” and pointing to himself, too. Scarlett has no time or sympathy whatsoever for Juliette, insisting, it’s “your fault I’m here,” and “I’d like you to leave,” as goodbye. Juliette feels her life capsizing again, telling Rayna, “I’m the biggest jackass now” as no one can escape the video everyone is seeing now. Deacon and Beverly duke out the past, making their own version of a meltdown, Deacon reminding that Beverly only wants someone to blame to give her an excuse, even if it’s at Scarlett’s expense. He reminds her that his decision to leave ultimately provided for Scarlett and her, as she clings to Scarlett’s condition as a mirror of her own. Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson) plays a round of golf with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) in an effort to lure him back to Edgehill, but despairing words about Scarlett, the one who “brought the music out of me,” as Gunnar describes, put a quick decline on the deal, “shove it” to be exact.
A visit from Zoey (Chaley Rose) seems to be most comforting for Scarlett, their history remembered, and recent hurts forgotten. Avery tells Juliette that her words to Scarlett might have been true, but certainly did no good for someone so fragile. Unable to cope with the stresses in the moment and Juliette’s amorous overtures, Avery leaves for the night. Rayna does a radio appearance, and a well-known DJ presents Scarlett’s “crack up” as a win-win for Rayna, but she refuses to let that happen. Beverly’s fingers literally digging in to her daughter, in an effort to keep her confined to illness and a sick relationship, Scarlett searches her own heart. Juliette looks for Avery, but he’s not in, spending the night instead with Scarlett at the hospital, reminding her that she has “a permanent piece of my heart.” Gunnar is moved to create his own love song per se to Scarlett, “Diamonds,” as he and Zoey both wonder about her fate.
At first, Scarlett asks Rayna “When can I get back out there?” but Rayna asks, “What’s gonna make you happy?” She asks the first question to put to Scarlett, “Do you want this?” The truth comes that “I don’t want this, I don’t want to be a star,” and Rayna releases Scarlett from her contract. Signing herself out of the clinic, and sending Mama home, Scarlett declares that “I do have a choice” now. Rayna shoots video for her new song, “Wrong for the Right Reasons,” and Juliette decides to go solo to the BMI party– Juliette being solo at a party usually leads to regret! Jeff advises Will to be very careful about even considering a reality show, knowing the secrets he suppresses. In complete disregard, Will gazes at Jeff as he tells Layla “I’m in,” for the show with a kiss. While Juliette repeats “fill me up” at a flowing bar, Jeff Fordham comes alongside, and they both confess to hating being anywhere. A backroom dangerous liaison commences, and Gunnar witnesses the two leaving from the same room before leaving the party.
Next week, First Lady, Michelle Obama, makes a Nashville debut in a very patriotic episode surrounding a tribute concert to the Armed Forces. The season finale is sure to fan the flames and leave faithful viewers hungry for more!