One step forward, two steps back. After last week’s quite good episode, this week’s midseason finale feels somewhat anticlimactic with not a lot of real forward moment and a pretty lame cliffhanger.
Rayna’s riding high on the success of her duet with Juliette, even wrangling a promise from Marshall that he’ll release her next album. It’s all champagne dreams and caviar wishes until buzzkill Teddy comes in looking grim and the party’s over. He tells her they better go home and talk, where (in front of some seriously creepy portraits of their girls) he divulges that Coleman has some photos that look like he had an affair with Peggy, but he assures her he didn’t. She believes him, but is none too pleased.
Coleman releases the photos, Peggy overdoses on pills, and Rayna confronts Teddy, saying something must have been going on. He caves and tells her about the bank embezzling scheme. She’s disgusted, but puts on a good face for the public, standing by her man at his press conference and declaring he’s not a cheater, even while she turns and grits her teeth and hisses to Teddy she’s only doing this for their daughters.
Deacon spends the episode running around and checking up on everyone, even though he got an offer from a big deal band called The Rebel Kings to go out on tour with them. But he dithers, because Rayna clearly still has his balls in her purse. He visits Juliette, bringing her a letter from her mother (whom…I guess he’s been visiting? Because they’re so close?) and Juliette refuses to read it, telling him a sad story about having to eat dry pancake mix (Bisquick?) as a kid and fend off the advances of Jolene’s manfriends. Long sob story short: she’s still holding that grudge. She also deals out a little home truth that Deacon should go figure out his own problems if he’s dumb enough not to take an amazing offer to tour with a great band. When he meets Rayna at their picnic table in the park to “check on her,” she also thinks he should go on the tour and says she’s making the best of things for her daughters. The lady doth not protest, so Deacon agrees to the tour.
Hailey tells Scarlet that she should try to audition with bands to be a lead singer after her “amazing” *cough* performance of “Ring of Fire.” Gunnar finds out and is predictably none too happy and Hailey wises up and dumps his ass. So Gunnar gets up his courage and runs to the Bluebird to lay one on Scarlett. Who kisses him back pretty hungrily at first, then freaks and pushes him away. Sigh.
Oh and Avery’s new manager guy is interested in making him a star…but only him. He’d have to leave his best buddy TJ, whom he’s played with since they were in middle school, behind. Ho hum. (Unless they managed to hook him back up with Scarlett, which would be pretty frustrating at this point…I’m not sure why we still need Avery. Yes, he’s got another rise-to-fame storyline but I don’t think anyone would miss him, other than former General Hospital fans, if they dropped him from this already crowded cast.)
Meanwhile, Juliette’s QB1 is still resisting her sexy advances, so she takes a different tack and agrees to meet his parents. She goes to church and everyone smiles a lot and Sean’s little sister is awestruck and they sing a pretty church song and Juliette is thrilled to be part of a real family…until Sean’s mom says she’ll never get her white-trash claws into their family tree. Of course, Juliette takes that as a challenge and goes home, decks out her pool area with candles, throws on her best slinky black dress and proposes to Sean. That’s the cliffhanger, and seeing as how we can already see the writing on this bad-decision wall (like he’s gonna say no)…it’s not all that interesting.
What is interesting is the scene right before the big closer, where Marshall lays out his plans for a tour that would start ASAP to Rayna. She and Juliette would co-headline an arena tour, splitting everything 50/50 and alternating who would close the show. It’s an offer she really can’t refuse and she doesn’t!
All in all, I think they should have saved this episode till after the holiday hiatus and went out on a high note with the duet. We’ve got a half season under our belts now, so what do you all think? I continue to be disappointed with how they’re underusing Connie Britton and I think Nashville really needs to start combining and aligning some of their disparate storylines. This tour still feels like it should have been underway in episode 3 or 4 at the latest, but hopefully it really will happen ASAP after the break. Let’s get this show on the road!
“When the Right One Comes Along,” written by Justin Davis, Georgia Middleman, and Sarah Zimmerman—Performed once as a duet by Scarlett and Gunnar and then later as a solo by Gunnar, this is the gem of the episode. It sounds so radio-ready you’d almost swear it’s already an established country hit. No matter how insufferable I’m finding their love story, Scarlett and Gunnar do make beautiful music together.
“For Your Glory,” written by Kate York, Leeland Mooring and Jack Mooring — This is the song that Juliette sings in church. It’s quite nice, if a bit secular for a traditional Southern Baptist church. It cracks me up that Hayden Panettiere has more emotion and sells it better than Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift combined when she performs. Maybe she should quit this show and actually go on the road.
“Peace in the Valley,” written by Gillian Welch – This is the song Avery’s performing for the label guy. We only really get to hear a snippet of it, but it’s a bit forgettable and jangly, and not nearly as good as the one he did last week.
Editor's note: If you're looking for a compilation of songs from the show, The Music of Nashville original soundtrack will be released on Tuesday.
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.