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"Nashville" Pilot (TV Episode 2012) - Plot Summary Poster

(TV Series)

(2012)

Plot

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Summaries

  • Rayna, an aging country music star, is upset when her record company asks her to tour as the opening act to a new up-and-coming singer named Juliette.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • "Nashville" - "Pilot" - Oct. 10, 2012

    Welcome to "Nashville," ABC's new drama set in the world of country music and politics in Music City.

    Let's meet our players shall we?

    First there is Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton), a hitmaker for 20 years and the reigning queen of country music.

    Next up is Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), a young country pop upstart who is just hitting the big time.

    Teddy Conrad (Eric Close) is Rayna's husband. He's a businessman who was once successful but a series of bad deals have shaken up their finances and relegated him to house husband and "Mr. Rayna Jaymes."

    Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe) is Rayna's dad, a possibly ruthless and powerful Nashville businessman with his hand in many pots in the city.

    Coleman Carlisle (Robert Wisdom) is a city councilor and old family friend who is counting on Rayna and Wyatt's support for a run for mayor.

    Tandy Wyatt (Judith Hoag) is Rayna's sister and her dad's right hand woman.

    Watty White (J.D. Souther) is "the pope of Nashville," a respected songwriter-producer-DJ who helped Rayna make her career.

    Deacon Claybourne (Chip Esten) is Rayna's longtime bandleader, who was once Rayna's lover.

    Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson), is an up and coming singer-songwriter trying to get Deacon's attention.

    Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) is also a singer-songwriter who works at the famous Bluebird Cafe who already has Deacon's attention and approval.

    And Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen) is Deacon's niece, is a poet who dates Avery.

    Let's begin.

    We open in Rayna and Teddys' big old rock star house. Their two girls are running around while Rayna, her hair in curlers, is getting ready for an event. The girls ask why mom has to go to work, and Teddy says it's because someone has to make money. One says "but I thought we were rich?" Teddy says they are but they are what's known as "cash poor" and it's bad manners to talk about money.

    We cut to Rayna onstage at the Grand Ole Opry singing, presumably, one her greatest hits "Already Gone," with her band including Deacon. It's a concert to celebrate Watty White.

    After her performance she walks offstage and hugs Watty and Deacon re-introduces her to his "little niece" Scarlett who has grown into a beautiful young woman since Rayna last saw her. We meet her boyfriend Avery and Rayna tells them if they need anything to give her a ring.

    We cut to Juliette's very busy dressing room. Stacks of her book lay on a nearby table and she's getting her make-up done. She's told her busy itinerary coming up including spots on "Good Morning America." She is asked to approve a bottle from the nearby cache of perfume bottles. She sprays one on her wrist and complains it has no smell. Her publicist points out that they're dummy bottles with water, she's just supposed to be approving THE BOTTLE. Then her phone rings. The publicist answers and looks stricken saying it's Juliette's mother. Juliette takes the phone annoyed, and even though we clearly hear her mother asking for money she pretends there is no one there and hangs up. She asks how her mother got her new cell number. Her publicist stammers. Then her manager enters and says it's time for her to meet Rayna. She gets all catty asking exactly how it benefits her to go be nice to Rayna. Her manager says it's not for her it's for the label and she needs to kiss the ring of the country royalty.

    Rayna runs into Coleman and his wife backstage and he asks her to come do a song Monday when he announces his mayoral run. She says she'd love to and will check her schedule.

    On her way to meet Rayna, Juliette stops and gushes to Deacon how much she admires him and flirts with him heavily. She tells her manager how much she loves him and he says he's the best there is. She wonders why he's not in her band then. He says he's been with Rayna forever. Juliette then bumps hard into Avery. She takes a look at him and says she hopes to do it again sometime but more slowly. He looks dazed and Scarlett smacks him.

    Rayna enters her dressing room which is filled with Watty and some of the suits from her record company and her manager. Scarlett enters and she makes a beeline for Watty and shines Rayna. Watty then introduces her. She makes a veiled comment about Rayna's age saying her mother was a big fan and used to listen to Rayna when Juliette was in her belly. Rayna retorts that since she has to go on soon Juliette might want to go and tuck in her "girls" in response to her spilling decolletage.

    Juliette departs and the suits get down to business: Rayna's latest album is tanking and ticket sales are soft. They have a proposal: she should jump onJuliette's tour as a "co-headliner." What they really mean is as her "opener." Rayna is completely offended. The suits say it's the new record label bosses idea, and it's pointed out to her that it's better than playing half-empty houses. They'll need her answer by Monday they say.

    We then cut to Juliette performing one of her poppy tunes onstage with all the girls in the crowd singing along. Rayna watches in her dressing room and turns it off in disgust. The next day Rayna rushes to show up at event honoring her dad. The mayor is dubbing it Lamar Wyatt day for his great philanthropy. She shows up and Lamar gives her a hard time for being late. He grumbles that he asks for so little and she rolls her eyes. After the event Tandy thanks Rayna for showing and says it means a lot to their dad. Rayna says not to ask her for any more favors like this because she's going through a tough time right now.

    We cut to Juliette recording a new track in the studio. We learn that Auto-Tune is her friend. Her producer has eyes for her. (It turns out that he's Rayna's producer too.)

    Driving her girls in the car they ask to go on tour with her as back up singers and sing a bit of one of her songs. They sound pretty good. She says they're hired, once they graduate college. (They look to be about 9 and 11). Juliette's song comes on the radio and they crank it up and start singing along in a nice harmony. Rayna snaps it off. They protest and she says "Mama's got a headache."

    Back at home Rayna stares in the mirror distraught pulling at her face. Teddy comes in and tells her to stop doing that and if she ever gets a facelift he'll leave her. She spills the news about the tanking record and the Juliette Barnes tour. He wonders if it's really such a terrible idea. She says it is because she'll have to lie and say she likes Juliette's music. He says she's lied for worse. She is stricken. He tells her she doesn't have to put herself through this. She says she does if they want to keep living in their house. This is clearly a conversation they've had because he says he's sorry about his bad deals but he's not the first guy to go bust and he's working on some deals to put them in better shape. In the meantime, he points out, she could borrow money from her dad. This incenses her saying she will never do this and he doesn't know her dad like she does and she can't go there and that she'd rather wait table. She says she doesn't want to be like her sister, a handmaiden. He points out that when Lamar dies Tandy will be one of the most powerful people in the state. She says that isn't the point. He says he gets he's a lousy dad but it may be time to swallow her pride. Rayna refuses.

    She goes to see her producer and says maybe it's time for her to cut some of those radio ready songs he suggested and release one as a bonus track. He says all those songs are gone. He also lets slip he's producing Juliette's record. She's annoyed. He tells her he's in no position to turn down work. She tells him to stop getting married and just date. She then gripes about Juliette's music wondering why anyone likes it since it sounds like feral cats to her. We cut to Juliette in the producer's bed overhearing all of this.

    We then head over to the Bluebird where Deacon is performing in a songwriter's night. Juliette, incognito listens to his sad ballad and wipes away some tears. After he finishes he signs autographs and chats with Scarlett. Avery asks him if he's heard his demo, it's alt-country. Deacon gives him a hard time and tells him to worry more about being worthy of his favorite niece. Gunnar approaches and compliments his show. He was running the sound board. Deacon compliments him and says it won't be long before Gunnar's songs are getting heard since Deacon thinks he's very good. He tells Gunnar to keep an eye on Scarlett. Outside the club Juliette is waiting for him. She flirts some more and asks him if she can record the song he just sang and if he'll come play it in the studio with her. She asks him to be in her band. He says he's with Rayna. Juliette says she heard that tour might be off. This is news to Deacon. She says she will work around his schedule and she'll pay double what Rayna pays because she wants the best. She says they could write together and "have a lot of fun on the road." She says Rayna's not the only woman in the world. He points out that she's a girl. She says "that too" and then hops in an SUV and zooms off.

    The next day standing in a field Tandy and Lamar meet with folks who want to build a major league baseball park in Nashville. They think Coleman will oppose the deal so Lamar says he's going to run his own candidate: Teddy Conrad. He asks Tandy how badly he thinks Rayna will try to screw it up for them. Tandy says she's absolutely going to lose it.

    In tour rehearsal Rayna doesn't like the in-ear monitors and gets frustrated. Her manager tells her that he told Coleman she would sing two songs at his announcement and that the label head Marshall wants her answer.

    She and Deacon take a walk. She talks about how not that long ago she was the future of country music. He points out that she's been saying she's been wanting to take a break for the girls. She says yes, but she wants it to be her choice. She says she's not ready to hang up her rhinestones and she doesn't want to screw her crew, especially her. He tells her about Juliette's come on. Rayna wonders what he said. He said not available until otherwise notified. She points out that she's got Randy her producer doing her records, wants Deacon and wonders if she's coming for her house next. He says Juliette wants to write with him. Rayna says that she got him in his soft spot. He says he wondered why she never cut one of his songs. She says she figured they were all about her and that would be weird. He says they are. They talk in a way that makes it clear that they used to be an item, and a pretty hot one. She wishes for a do over. He asks what she would change. She says nothing. Then everything. She says she needs a drink and asks him to walk her to Tootsie's. He says he can't, he's got a "meeting" i.e. an AA meeting. She wonders if he ever misses the wild old days, he says he does, but not the headaches. She says she doesn't want to hold him back and wants him to be happy. He says he can't be, he lost the thing that would make him happy a long time ago.

    Rayna is on the radio with Watty talking about her favorite songs including Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man." We learn she lost her mom when she was 12. She and Watty talk about her next move, he says to keep an open mind and to reinvent herself a bit. She asks if he thinks Juliette's a flash in the pan. He does not.

    Juliette is late for her recording session with Randy. She's in tears dealing with her mom on the phone. We cut to her mom who is clearly an addict and begging Juliette for money. She hangs up with her and Randy enters and they start making out.

    Lamar and the bigwigs take Teddy out to lunch to win him over. He wonders if his financial ruin and inexperience won't work against him. Lamar says he's got faith in him and, really, that's all that matters he says to not let his failures define him but to refine him. Teddy asks him not to hurt Cole Carlisle who is a good man and tells him no dirty tricks or rumors. He doesn't want to destroy Carlisle's family or reputation. Wyatt agrees. They say they'll announce on Monday and Lamar tells him to tell Rayna, that his first job as a candidate is to grow a pair.

    We cut to Teddy and Rayna arguing about it in their kitchen. She knows it wasn't his idea and says that he doesn't want to be owned by her dad and he'll regret it. He says if it goes well she can take a break or retire. She scoffs at this, at the idea of standing on the side of the stage smiling and shaking hands. He carps that she can't tell him anything about standing on the side of the stage that he doesn't already know. He says he knows he wasn't her first choice and that she settled but he's been there every step of the way for her and maybe it's time that the spotlight shone on him for a change. She is chagrined. She tells him that she told Cole she'd perform at his announcement. He asks what she's going to do. She says nothing and he says he'll go check on the kids.

    Back at the Bluebird Gunnar compliments Scarlett's book of poems and says they are songs. She says her inspiration was a break up with Avery. He wonders what she sees in him. She says she's tried to be without him but can't. He's the one. Gunnar doesn't believe in that. He asks if she thought about putting them to music. She says she does a little. He asks her to sing the melodies she hears while he plays. They begin working something up.

    The next morning Rayna waits in the lobby of her record label, Edgehill Republic, where one of her album covers is dwarfed by Juliette's. She goes in to meet with the suits and asks why the loyalty she's shown to this company for 21 years, one she helped build with her success-- which brought her multiplatinum records, Grammys and CMAs-- isn't being returned to her. He's basically like, yeah, yeah, yeah what have you done for us lately? He thinks she and Juliette will be a huge event. He says she has to find her place in a new market. She says so if she doesn't open for their little ingenue who wouldn't make it as one of her back up singers they won't support her? He says those aren't his words but he needs her decision. She says he can kiss her decision as it's walking out the tour.

    She then goes to confront her dad and Tandy about Teddy's mayoral run. They claim their trying to help get back in the game. Rayna wonders if she's trying to lure him with money because they won't accept it. Lamar says he knows he's too proud to accept anything from him but maybe she should consider how she got to be so famous in the first place and implies that maybe he gave her a little help behind the scenes at the beginning and paid for her first album. She is aghast. He then says he wants her by her own husband's side. He then implies that he knows one of her children, Maddie, is not Teddy's and that this news would be hard for him to hear. Rayna freaks out and says she can't be bought and won't be there. He tells her not to make him her enemy because his enemies don't fare too well.

    She goes and sits on a bridge in her car in a thunderstorm.

    Randy goes to the gated community where Juliette lives in the same thunderstorm.

    At the Bluebird they've run out of open mic participants and Gunnar goads Scarlett to come sing one of her songs with him. It just so happens that Watty White is in the house. As they sing their very beautiful song he makes a call.

    Randy shows up at Juliette's door but she turns him away. She's busy entertaining... Deacon.

    We cut to Coleman Carlisle's campaign announcement and see Rayna walking through the kitchen. We then cut to Teddy's announcement. And just when Rayna's about to go onstage Watty's call comes through and he holds up the phone to Gunnar and Scarlett singing. She is floored. He says he'll call her back and he has an idea.

    Just when we think she is going to show up to Coleman's announcement we see she has gone to support Teddy instead. She smiles and waves. Lamar and Tandy look on approvingly.

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