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Daisy Jones and the SixPowered by Reelgood
Daisy’s eventful Greek island sojourn in Episode 7 (“She’s Gone”) left The Six momentarily in the lurch – In LA, grainy “Camila cam” footage from her Canon Auto Zoom Super 8 captures a splashy billboard touting a tour for Aurora from a band down one frontperson – but when she invariably resurfaces at rehearsals with new husband Nicky in tow here in Episode 8 (“Looks Like We Made It”), the group takes her absence in stride as Billy doubles down on dominance mode. He sputters that her chance to weigh in on setlist choices was weeks ago, when they first started rehearsing, and before long it’s time for another parking lot shouting match. Hey, it’s good to be back. But do you know who else is back? Garishly wigged Timothy Olyphant as 1970s music industry creature Rod Reyes, who Teddy Price tapped to manage the Daisy Jones & The Six US tour. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Rod says in the present as Billy and Daisy bicker about separate tour buses, hotel suites for their respective spouses, and other expensive perks. But the record label springs for it all, because it’s December 1976, and Aurora is charting two singles in the Top Ten. The buses are gassed up, and Camila and Julia are curbside to see everyone off.
Whenever Daisy and Billy aren’t spitting and fighting like a couple in divorce court, they really do make some electric music together, and gigs on the initial southwest leg of the Aurora tour go great. Huge, adoring crowds. Lots of press. Multiple sell-outs, dates added, and appearances on American Bandstand and The Midnight Special. “We had to work together,” Daisy tells her interviewer. “We didn’t have to like each other. And we didn’t.” The shows roll on with Rod and Nicky watching from the wings, and the afterparties crammed with crushed PBR’s and passed coke plates contrast with Billy’s routine on the road, which involves tons of jogging and watching The Rockford Files. Rod keeps the tour logistics humming while Warren and Eddie bust Nicky’s balls about the whole Irish royalty thing – “is your face on money?” – and he settles into a dislike for Billy and the tumultuous connection he and Daisy share. “When he’s in the room, you’re not yourself. Have you noticed that? You care what he thinks, and that makes you less you.”
When Camila joins Billy for a portion of the tour, it’s with a white-on-white-on-white ensemble that has to be one of the top fits of Daisy Jones & The Six Season 1. She’s also ready to party, and joins The Six and crew in a hotel suite where champagne flows to the grooves of Kool & the Gang’s “Hollywood Swinging.” Camila also deftly intercepts a drink Nicky pours for Billy, and later, when she steps out for some air, Eddie’s there on the balcony. He wants to talk about what happened back in Los Angeles. He says he can be there for her again. But Camila sighs. “I’m glad it happened,” she tells the curmudgeonly bassist. “It’s just never gonna happen again.”
At a press conference, reporters goad Daisy and Billy with awkward quotes from the Rolling Stone feature and questions about who inspired who on which song. They argue nose to nose like an umpire and a manager. At one point, there’s almost a replay of the The Kiss. And a performance of “The River” becomes a public argument in duet form. Daisy is also using pretty heavily – pills, sure, and booze, but also the vat of cocaine that Nicky keeps bedside – and Billy’s worry over her condition manifests as anger. “I see you still like to watch,” she hisses while snorting lines before a show, and a run through “Regret Me” features a fucked up Daisy doing bumps onstage.
We also see Daisy receive a letter, forwarded from LA to her hotel in New Orleans. She tosses it in the trash only to fish it out, but we never see the contents or who it’s from. Tellingly, it was addressed to “Margaret ‘Daisy’ Jones.”
Now it’s June 1977, a few months out from where we know this whole thing detonated, and it’s confrontation time in the green room of a show in Miami. Daisy’s overdoing it, Billy says. You just want her to need you, Nicky retorts. And fists start to fly. Graham is about to restrain his brother when Warren puts up a hand. Hollup, let him cook. “I’d been wanting to punch that royal prick since Tulsa,” the drummer says in the present. But when Rod finally breaks it up and The Six hit the stage, there’s bad energy percolating. Daisy spins out and tumbles into the drum riser, cutting her leg open in the process, and Billy pulls her off the stage. “You’re done!” he shouts at her in a role reversal of his own drug-fueled onstage meltdown from a few years back. But the crowd is calling her name. Daisy shakes him off and returns to the stage to perform a startling, solo a capella version of “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb),” the original and still most powerful messaging system between the two singers. “It’s not just a song, Rod,” Billy frets later to the manager. “It’s a fucking mutiny.” And he stalks down the hotel hall with a mind to kick Daisy out of The Six.
Not so fast, because Nicky is shifty and in hysterics when Billy bangs on the door. Their latest bacchanal of booze and coke has ended with Daisy in a heap on the bathroom floor, not breathing, her pallor awful. Rod, the veteran tour manager, telephones a special doctor – “toothache in room 1205” – while Nicky hastily packs a bag. He says he “can’t be here,” and bolts for the exit. His new bride, crumpled and perhaps OD’ing? And he runs? Now that is some punchable behavior. And it suggests all is not what it seems with the dashing Irish prince. But there’s no time to deal with Nicky, because Daisy is still unconscious. Billy holds her as the Bellamy Brothers’ “Let Your Love Flow” surges and chimes on the soundtrack, and she finally comes to in his arms. “It’s you,” she whimpers, looking up at her fave argument partner.
There are two episodes of Daisy Jones & The Six remaining, and, at least according to the series timeline, about three months of touring left before Daisy, Billy, and the biggest band in America leave it all on the stage.
Needle drops in Daisy Jones & The Six Episode 8:
Sweet, “Ballroom Blitz”
Boston, “More Than a Feeling”
Daisy Jones & The Six, “Kill You to Try”
Floyd Smith, “The Bump”
Daisy Jones & The Six, “Two Against Three”
The Jam, “In the City”
Kool & The Gang, “Hollywood Swinging”
The Bellamy Brothers, “Let Your Love Flow”
Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges