Nashville Recap: Hurts So Good

Connie Britton as Rayna, Charles Esten as Deacon. Photo: Jake Giles Netter/Country Music Channel


Hurricane Season 5 Episode 7
Editor's Rating 3 stars

Thanks to this Deyna-tastic episode, Rayna and Deacon fans will forevermore celebrate February 9 as a national holiday. They will make their family and friends watch the episode an annoying number of times, all while pointing enthusiastically at the television, “See?!? This is what I’ve been talking about!” They might even stop writing fan fic, because honestly, who needs it when an episode like “Hurricane” exists?

The reason for this giant Deynapalooza? Well, Rayna and Deacon are finally collaborating on their duet album and it is, as Deacon predicted, dredging up old issues. Reliving the incredibly rocky, tumultuous, and painful years of their relationship might be good for their art, but it’s bad for their marriage. The tension is exacerbated by the fact that they’ve reluctantly agreed to let some videographer tag along as they work. (It seems to me that two people who recently emerged from a stalker ordeal might not want to be followed around by a creepy dude with a camera.)

The songwriting isn’t coming as easily as it used to, and to make matters worse, Deacon has forgotten the details of their first kiss: He confuses Rayna with some rando named Samantha Beasley, which is a major relationship foul, as far as I’m concerned. Rayna keeps having flashbacks to one particularly bad fight they had at the lake house. Those flashbacks, by the way, are hilarious. There was a time when Nashville splurged and attempted, with limited success, to make Deacon and Rayna look younger in flashbacks: Bad ’90s hair for her, no stubble for him. Now the flashbacks are just really hazy long shots. YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE, NASHVILLE.

So Rayna and Deacon decide to clear their heads, take a break from their bickering, lose videographer Gene Buckholder, and go on a date. Of course, they leave Maddie and Daphne behind. Maddie immediately invites Clay over and, for reasons unknown, decides to bake a cake, or as I like to call it, Deus Ex Duncan Hines. “Whatever you do, take the cake out of the oven in one hour,” Maddie says to Daphne, leading Clay upstairs. Raise your hand if you think Daphne will remember to take the cake out of the oven in an hour.

Meanwhile, our country music lovebirds are free at last, except not quite, because Gene Buckholder is still following them, camera in tow. Nope, this is totally normal, not triggering memories of Rayna’s stalker at all. Deacon makes a dangerous right turn that somehow manages to lose this very committed videographer. (The guy’s internal monologue, apparently: I wonder if the car that just made a sudden turn off the road belongs to Rayna and Deacon? Nah, probably should just keep driving straight ahead.)

Now free from the clutches of Gene Buckholder and the anxieties of songwriting, Rayna and Deacon do what any red-blooded American couple might do: They go bowling. (No, really.) The bowling scene is actually cute, although I wonder how they’re able to just bowl among the hoi polloi without security or guard ropes. After that, they stop for a quick make-out sesh against the side of the building — this was the fan-fic-iest scene of them all — and Deacon suggests getting a room. That’s when they get a phone call. The smoke alarm has gone off in their house! Who could’ve possibly seen that coming?

I’ll get back to those star-crossed lovers in a bit, so let’s check in with our other troubled couple of the moment: Scarlett and Gunnar. I honestly can’t get a read on these two this season and that’s probably because the writers can’t either. Are they still in love? Is there too much baggage between them? Are they meant to be together? Why is Gunnar’s IQ about ten points higher this season? Bring back Sweetly Dopey Gunnar!

As we all dreaded and feared, there’s a little somethin’ somethin’ going on between Scarlett and Damien. Over dinner (to celebrate the fact that the “All of Me” video got more than a million hits on YouTube), they squabble and flirt and Damien tells Scarlett more things about herself she doesn’t know. You see, Scarlett contains multitudes and Damien alone can see those multitudes and it’s his mission in life to make sure that Scarlett sees them as well. (Related: Damien George is the worst.) Later, outside Highway 65 in the rain, Damien tells Scarlett that he’s going to Brazil and they hug good-bye and exchange a kiss that is slightly more than friendly, slightly less than “get a room, you two.” But no worries, he’s leaving the country and she definitely doesn’t need to tell Gunnar she’s developed feelings for him, right? Right?

Honestly, I don’t blame Gunnar for being a little pissed when Scarlett comes clean. She basically says the only reason she’s not pursuing Damien is because he’s going to be in a different time zone. Her reassurance isn’t, “You’re the only one for me, Gunnar!” It’s, “Chillax, Damien’s on a plane to Brazil.”

That night, Scarlett and Gunnar have diffident sex, at the end of which Scarlett’s phone blows up. It’s Damien. “Guess what?” he texts. Then he adds in a follow-up text, “I’m here.” Next text: “I never left.” Final text: “I need to see you.” Trouble is on the horizon. Also, someone needs to teach Damien that you can use more than one declarative statement per text.

Anyway, back in Deacon and Rayna’s Very Special Episode, the fire department has arrived and it was just some smoke. Turns out Daphne, who was sulking over Maddie ignoring her in favor of Clay, forgot to turn off the oven. (Can I just formally object for a moment here? The girl is 13 years old. I’m pretty sure she can manage to take a cake out of the oven. Also, why didn’t anyone answer the phone when Rayna and Deacon called? Did billowing smoke temporarily jam up their cell phones? So many unanswered questions.)

After the firefighters leave, Clay tries to be all charming, but it’s futile. He’s definitely going to be blamed for this, even if it wasn’t his fault. This is what happens when you’re a grown-ass man dating a 17-year-old.

Post-fire, Deacon and Rayna discuss their writing difficulties and Deacon makes the reasonable suggestion that they retreat to neutral corners. Once they’ve got some better ideas, then they’ll regroup to see what they’ve each come up with.

“You’re so good at this,” Rayna says, sharply.

“At what?

“At quitting.”

“That’s not fair,” Deacon replies. (He’s not wrong.)

“Things get real, you get gone,” she says. (Geez, Rayna.)

They each storm away — Deacon to his man cave (okay, the Music Room), Rayna to the bedroom — but neither can sleep. At one point, Rayna lurks outside the door to the Music Room as Deacon stands tentatively on the other side. Their heads both touch the door, a slim block of wood between them. It’s a metaphor, people.

In the morning, Rayna knocks on the door of the Music Room and curls up on the couch with Deacon. Thank God they’re back on cuddlin’ terms. Neither of them got any sleep and they’re both soooo sorry and they both wrote songs — well, Rayna just wrote lyrics because … nah, I won’t be mean about it. (In fairness, Connie Britton’s singing has really improved over the course of the series. She’s even harmonizing now!) Rayna starts reciting her lyrics and Deacon seems to think it’s a crazy coincidence that they wrote similar songs. Honestly, though? They’re not that similar. He wrote about hurricanes and she wrote about the “twists and turns and tumbles of our love” so I guess there’s some overlap, but c’mon.

Anyway, in Deacon’s song, he refers to Rayna as “my favorite hurricane,” which seems backward to me. She’s the sturdy tree; he’s the hurricane. It’s still a beautiful song, possibly the best duet they’ve done together, and the montage of them writing it is hella cute, so who am I to complain? They go off to the studio to record it and thus ends Christmas in February for Deyna fans.

Nashville Recap: Hurts So Good