Last night’s Nashville had plenty of drama, but not a lot of good old fashioned sense or logic. There was some serious head-scratching action as we picked up with the fallout of Juliette’s little klepto incident and Rayna’s endless inner turmoil.
It’s starts all well and good, with Rayna and Deacon between the sheets, making out and marveling at how much they’ve “missed this.” Of course they’re just getting to the good part when reality intrudes and Rayna wakes up to her husband calling her name. She sighs the heavy sigh of confliction and then we flit on over to Juliette’s mansion where reality is likewise trying to intrude in the form of two cops at her door. She thinks they’re joking when they tell her about the now-infamous video, and even when she views it herself, her only comment is “Four million views, not bad.” Seems Juliette is taking the old “any publicity is good publicity” approach, though her manager Glenn is less than impressed as he’s dealing with all the bad press. He calls in her big-wig publicist (“Isn’t she busy with Kristen Stewart?” Juliette snits.) who promptly sets up an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts (Hi, Robin!) so that a curiously resistant Juliette can make a statement.
I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of Juliette here. I found it hard to believe last week that she would recklessly shoplift in such a public way, despite the “cry for attention” being a familiar trope (and all too real in life as well, as the show bandies about Lindsey Lohan and Winona Ryder as examples). Juliette just struck me as far too ambitious and calculating to not have thought it through…and yet, this week she does seem shocked by al l the negative attention and repercussions. Throughout it all, she continues to snipe at Glenn to get her mother out of there…not too unreasonable a request when you figure there’s gotta be a million rehab places they could discreetly check her in to. The insistence on keeping her around to limit the damage she can do just seems to come off as a contrivance to create more drama.
Aside from being a bit of a nag, and overly fond of Juliette’s orange juice, Mama doesn’t actually do much this episode. But that doesn’t stop Juliette from freaking out, accusing mama of stealing from her (Pot? Hey, it’s kettle!), and then pawing through her bag only to break down ugly crying when she sees her mother’s been carrying around a picture of herself with a newborn Juliette. The breakdown is way over the top, with not a lot of impetus for the lightswitch effect it has honestly. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a pattern this episode.
Over in Raynaland, Tandy confides to Ray that Teddy is not doing well in the polls and she convinces her to sing at a fundraising gala at the local country club. Rayna pulls a face though because she hates the hoity-toity crowd who “made fun of her in high school for liking country music.” Which would make a hell of a lot more sense if she went to school in New York or Boston or just about anywhere that wasn’t NASHVILLE FREAKING TENNESSEE. Ahem. She also doesn’t think Deacon will want to play the country club, especially for a benefit for Teddy. But Deacon needs a new pair of shoes! Or, um, a paycheck anyway. (In one of the few legitimately interesting and unexpected developments, we also learn that Deacon’s AA sponsor is none other than Teddy’s opposing candidate, incumbent Mayor Coleman.)
Meanwhile, Scarlett and Gunnar, to no one’s surprise, get “the deal.” The songwriting deal, I guess? There’s no lovely duets from them this episode, sadly—no new music at all in fact, as they’re busy getting acclimated to their new office digs at….I guess, a music publishing company. They’re shown around the lovely manor (free food in the fridge!), and Gunnar sees something he likes—a sassy little assistant named Hayley. The two have a flirty exchange over pilfered yogurt and by episode’s end Gunnar (who couldn’t even get a congratulatatory hug from little Miss Scarlett!) is in bed with her. Have to admit, he’s got more game than I expected.
His timing might leave something to be desired though. Because there’s trouble in paradise, as Avery’s jealousy and insecurity issues come to an ugly head at a dinner with Scarlett’s new coworkers. I’m guessing they’re going to implode much quicker than I thought, even though Scarlett asks him to support her after some wise words exchanged with Uncle Deacon. She also catches Gunnar and Hayley coming out of his house together, all snuggled up, and stares with doe-eyed shock. My guess is these two are going to do a long dance of bad timing before they finally hook them up. In which case, I’m gonna need more good music, stat, because that much quivering lip’s gonna get old.
Back at damage control central, the GMA interview doesn’t go so hot. First Juliette kind of snottily blames the stealing on the hassles of fame, claiming she planned to pay but didn’t get to because of all the attention and pressure she has to deal with every damn day from fans who are JUS’ JELLUS! Glenn and her fancy publicist are already getting the vapors when Robin R. asks about Juliette’s mama. Oh no she din’t! Juliette storms off camera (live! Fill, Robin, fill! Claim technical difficulties! ) declaring the interview over.
No one’s quite whistling Dixie at the country club either, however. There’s a massive four-way argument between Rayna, Lamar, Teddy, and Deacon backstage before the show that’s mostly just about chest-puffing and territory-pissing. (Which, ew, if you’re Rayna, I guess. She’s definitely the fire hydrant in this scenario.) The performance is well received…except for by Teddy, who leaves the room after he and Deacon have a little staring contest. Backstage Rayna and Deacon have a very strange conversation in which she’s mad at him for “taking the bait with Teddy” and then tells him he’s self-destructive and she can’t believe he put them in this position. Which….wha? I don’t really have any idea what the heck she’s talking about here. It feels a bit like something crucial may have been left on the cutting room floor unfortunately. Regardless, they then get moony about needing each other but not knowing what to do with each other and not much of anything declarative is said until Deacon asks “We done here?” and Rayna says “Yeah we’re done.” And apparently they don’t just mean for the night, because Teddy comes in right after to mope about how he can’t deal with it anymore and “I’m your husband” and Rayna says “I’m firing him.”
Uh….you are? Obviously, I can’t see that lasting, but also the weird thing about all this is….she’s been with Deacon—even if just as coworkers and nothing more—for years since they broke up. At least that’s what the show was telling us. So why is it suddenly coming to a head and they can’t live with it? It’s kind of lazy writing in that, clearly the drama is happening now because the show is happening now. But it does make me wonder how the hell they managed for the last decade or so after he got clean.
Then there’s a thrown in bit where Teddy randomly meets one of the country club wives Rayna didn’t like and they start talking about how this is torture, they can’t live like this and someone’s going to find out. Wait…really? We’re going to make Teddy that much of a hypocrite and a villain? They never fully come out and say the words “affair” or “cheating” so I’m hoping it’s some kind of major fakeout and she’s just, like, embezzling with him or something, but I don’t know. It’s worth noting that the chick, Peggy, is played by Kimberly Williams Paisley, the wife of country mega-star Brad Paisley.
Back at the McMansion, Juliette is finally showing a little remorse, asking Glenn “how bad is it?” Again, I find this remarkably naïve of her. I mean I know she’s young, but doesn’t she remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks—and that was just for insulting a president most of the free world already considered to be a boob! Sigh. I just can’t believe she didn’t know there’d be fallout. Anyway, Glenn tells her sponsors are bailing, and the tour is off, then hits her with another whammy: he wants to quit. It’s this that finally makes Juliette fess up about why she actually shoplifted, and she tells him she used to do it when she was younger as a way of feeling in control of things. Glenn’s kinder than she probably deserves, treating her like the very young woman she is and telling her she has to listen to every word he says from now on, and to go decompress and call a friend. Of course, as she points out, Juliette doesn’t have any friends. So who you gonna call while you’re eating mama’s pink macaroni (and seriously, ketchup and cream cheese? That’s just vile sounding!) and crying in your beer? Booty call! And Deacon sounds more than willing.
This ep was quite light on new music. We only got one performance, Rayna and Deacon’s Changing Ground. The song itself sounds a bit dated to me and not as melodic or catchy as the other tunes we’ve heard so far, but lyrically it’s another perfect fit. The song cleverly describes not only Rayna’s rocky emotional state, but could be a good (if a bit low-key) political anthem for Teddy, as the non-incumbent candidate promising a new regimen, as well as the idea that Nashville the city is on the verge of transformation.
Next week: Slapping! And a whole lot of home truths are getting told! Oh yeah.
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.