Nashville Recap: Liver Let Die

Beverly gets the result of the test to see if she's a match for Deacon's liver transplant. Photo: Mark Levine/ABC
Episode Title
I've Got Reasons to Hate You
Editor’s Rating

The best thing about AA? Great friendship and support to guide you through your sobriety. The worst thing? Lousy candidates for liver donation.

“No, I’m definitely not interested in any of yours,” Deacon cracks to his AA group. Then he says, “I got faith I can beat this thing. Until then, you got to fake it till you make it.”

Of course Deacon thinks he’s just patiently waiting for a match off the donor registry. Scarlett, who now officially has more hair than any human on the planet, has other ideas, which is why she secretly calls Beverly — proof positive that she’ll do anything for Uncle Deacon. (In fairness, Devoted Niece Scarlett is my favorite Scarlett of them all, far superior to Doe-Eyed Naïf Scarlett, Pill-Popping Scarlett, Hysterical-Under-a-Piano Scarlett, and Homeless-Outreach Scarlett.)

Beverly, however, thinks she’s just in town for a big ol’ family reunion. It’s not until Deacon goes seriously “Narm” on us (I was so scared!) that she begins to smell a rat. Finally, reluctantly, Deacon tells her the truth: He needs three quarters of her liver. (But it’ll totes regenerate, though, so no worries!) And Beverly’s all, “Oh hell no!”

Can I take a moment to kind of, sort of defend Beverly here? So you’re estranged from your daughter and brother — you basically have zero relationship with them. Then your daughter invites you over for some family togetherness time and you’re like, “It’s about damn time!” Then you discover the whole thing is just a trap because they need to harvest your body parts. I mean, I might be a little reluctant, too.

Nevertheless, Beverly grudgingly goes to the hospital to see if she’s a match. (LOL, I just realized that if you gave Deacon’s doctor a little scruff, he, too, could become one of the Indistinguishable Men of Nashville. Do the casting directors even realize that there are other varieties of male faces in the world?) And okay, here’s where I get off the Beverly Excuse Train. After the test — it takes several hours to get the results — they all go back to Deacon’s place and hang out in the kitchen, making fried chicken from scratch and singing Grandma Claybourne’s favorite song. (Slightly off-topic: Scarlett, girl, wear a hairnet in that kitchen.) And it’s like this beautiful moment, sort of like what everyone fantasizes life in Nashville is always like. And then Beverly’s phone rings and she gets the “bad” news that she’s not a match. Damn! Just when things were going so well.

Except ... she’s LYING, you guys! Deacon is totally clueless but Scarlett sees right through her mother’s lie and she rips into her; she will never forgive her, even if new, equanimous Deacon does. And later, Scarlett cries helplessly, her 35 pounds of hair merely adding to her burden. As for Deacon, he goes back to AA and explains that he suddenly has a reason to live: “I got a daughter ... I got a niece ... I got a [incredibly long pause where he decides whether or not to invoke Rayna’s name] ... lot of people I care about.” (Wuss.) And he finally admits that he’s scared. “Truth is, I’m terrified.” Somebody needs to give this man a hug. (The line forms behind me, folks.)

Deacon seems to be handling the whole cancer thing as well as can be expected, but what is up with Rayna? In last week’s previews, they showed her crying at the Bluebird, a little misdirection that made me think maybe Deacon had told her about the cancer. But no. She’s crying because ... memories? She’s at the Bluebird to show the world that she, too, can fake it 'til she makes it — Luke has apparently been continuing his little “I’m Totally Over Rayna James” tour all over town — except the thing is, she can’t. Memories begin flooding back, all soft-focus lighting and season-one hair, and as always, when she begins reflecting on Deacon, she remembers the good (vibing onstage together) with the bad (drunken car crash). She freaks out and leaves, officially neither faking it nor making it. 

Then she goes home and fights with Maddie, but they make up by writing a song together, which gives Rayna the strength she needs to return to the Bluebird the next day, but also inadvertently plays right into Jeff Fordham’s nefarious master plan.

You see, he needs a young artist, a hit-maker, and no, not 20-year-old Layla Grant, because she’s positively ancient. Suddenly, he’s convinced himself that he’s got a fever and the only prescription is Maddie Conrad — and his job is toast unless he signs her before his chairman of the board comes back to town.

“He’ll be here in a week!” his much-put-upon assistant whose name is either Amy or Angie (Jeff can’t be bothered to find out) says.

“I know, you idiot! Get out!” Jeff barks.

And then Amy/Angie takes a letter opener and stabs him in the hand, and as he’s howling in pain and writhing on the floor like a stuck pig, she calmly quits. Okay, not really. That’s just what I wanted to happen there.

So Jeff, professional ruiner of wonderful moments, sees Rayna and Maddie onstage at the Bluebird (Daphne’s up there, too, for what it’s worth) and tells Teddy he needs to sign the consent form or he’ll tell the world about Teddy’s little indiscretion with that soccer-mom prostitute. But Teddy surprises everyone by doing a reverse double blackmail: “Try that and I’ll tell the world that you gave drugs to an underage girl at a party that left her half-dead in your pool!” Okay, not really. That’s just what I wanted to happen there. (Sigh.)

But seriously, Teddy? Grow a pair. I know Jeff made some vague threats about you losing your job and your family, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t go down like that. You’d probably just get a slap on the wrist or have to go into sex-addiction therapy or some shit. (And before you say, "Eliot Spitzer! Eliot Spitzer!" Let me remind you that he practically had an entire brothel on his speed-dial — and besides, he was handed his own CNN show, like, two minutes after being ousted from office.) But of course, Teddy signs the consent papers because he’s ... Teddy.

Meanwhile, that old writer’s adage about the gun over the mantel doesn’t seem to apply to Sadie Stone. Last week, she bought a gun to protect herself and was standing by the door, gun cocked and ready, when her ex-husband knocked. This week, she has another shiner on her eye. Maybe she misplaced the gun? Like, between the cushions of the couch or something? Otherwise, I got nothin’.

Good news, everybody! Micah is still in the picture!! (Extra exclamation point added to make my enthusiasm seem more credible.) He’s been acting out in school and just got suspended, so Gunnar decides to take matters into his own hands and fly out to Austin to see him. Turns out Micah heard from his parents that Jason, Gunnar’s brother, was a bad guy, and now he’s convinced he’s one, too. So Gunnar shows Micah where he and Jason used to hang out — namely, on a bunch of crates in an alley behind a nightclub (inspiring!). They talk about how Micah feels abandoned by his mother and just generally unmoored.

“They want me to see a therapist,” Micah says of his grandparents.

“I think that’s a good idea!” Gunnar enthuses. “And knowing your dad, he’d think that was a good idea, too.” (Really? Because the Jason we knew wasn’t so much a therapy guy as an alcohol-and-drug-fueled-rage-spiral guy. But huh, maybe we just saw him at a bad time.) Anyway, here’s hoping the little tyke works out his issues, partly because I’m a very sensitive person and it hurts me deeply to see any child in pain and partly (read: entirely) because I want Gunnar to have a new story line.

Speaking of characters desperately in search of a story line, I give you: Juliette Barnes. She’s feeling restless and useless, so she decides to finish her album, except the baby is pressing against her diaphragm and she can’t sing. Avery’s all eternally patient and comforting-husband guy, and he finally convinces her to go home. Then he tries to take away her salted caramels and she says, “Touch my caramels and Imma cut a bitch.” No, seriously, this one actually happened. It was the highlight of the episode for her. In fact, the official Nashville Twitter account liked this bit of Wildean wit so much, it screen-capped and tweeted it. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.