We’re back! And hold on to your rhinestones, because more happens in the teaser before the credits in tonight’s episode than in all eight of the previous episodes combined, I think. This is Nashville on speed, y’all! Yeehaw!
You know how we waited and waited for the damn tour to get off the ground? Well now it’s happening in THREE DAYS! Who knows how everyone is going to be prepared in that short of time since they seem to just be deciding it now, but hey, that’s television for you!
Rayna, who was only ever lukewarm on the tour, is suddenly just raring to go, but there’s a hold-up….that wacky Juliette is late to record the actual vocals for that kickass live duet they did. But she has a pretty good reason—she’s off in Vegas consummating her quickie marriage to QB1! Oh, those crazy kids. I bet you thought they’d drag that sucker out for the entire rest of the season, eh? Wrong! But our not-so-blushing bride assures Glenn that she’s not an idiot and there was a prenup. That’s my girl.
The happy couple are quickly realizing that scheduling a honeymoon amid his football schedule and her touring dates is pretty impossible. To pile on more trouble, Sean’s parents are understandably not too pleased—but surprisingly it’s Mama Butler who says they just have to live with it and tries to make the best of the situation, insisting a big, showy wedding happens immediately. And because of the tour, that means two days! She and Juliette face off in an awesomely snitty scene, but I think for once the scrappy singer is not getting the upper hand. Mama B. knows about Jolene’s stint in rehab and maneuvers her guileless son into arranging a visit so the kids can break the news. Juliette insists she’ll handle it herself, and their meeting goes about as you’d expect. Jolene tells her she’s making a terrible mistake, just trying to fill the emptiness inside (as Jojo did with drugs) but Juliette’s having none of that. She accuses mom of just never wanting to see her happy, and when Jolene plaintively asks “well, are you happy?,” Juliette doesn’t have an answer.
Speaking of unhappy, Deacon has found some fame as the newest member of The Rebel Kings (“the hottest Rock ‘N Roll band in the world”, but he’s not comfortable with all the attention. He is, however, comfortable enough for a roll in the hay with his ex, a journalist who comes to interview him. Seems she was around 14 years ago (is that before Rayna maybe? Or after? I need a TIMELINE for this backstory!) and Deacon was drinking pretty bad then. Despite the booty call, Deacon is as broody as ever, grumbling about how loud this newfangled rock music is (what is he, 80?) and staring morosely out the window of his fancy hotel room.
Back at home Gunnar and Scarlett are at odds as well, and can’t write together. In the midst of this, Avery comes back from Atlanta and when he goes to the apartment to move his stuff out, Scarlett suddenly succumbs to his dubious charm and falls into bed with him again. The afterglow is shortlived, though, when she finds out he dumped his former bandmates, including best friend JT, to take the solo deal. She kicks his ass out again, and apparently it does wonders for her stage fright (or was that just Johnny Cash and a lot of tequila?), because then she offers her own talents to JT’s band as their new lead singer. She actually does a surprisingly great job, trading her usual breathy soprano for some growly rocking out to “Twist of Barbed Wire.” (Still find Clare Bowen to be a far far better singer than actor unfortunately.)
Rayna’s new BFF, hipster producer Liam, questions why she’s doing this tour when it’d be a better idea for them to cut their album and she finally admits she’s running away from her crappy marriage and her obnoxious father and all the political shenanigans. She tells Teddy she wants to take the girls with her on tour and he flips out and tells her no. Then Tandy and Daddy come by to put the screws to her some more and Dad drops the ultimate threat: Wouldn’t it be bad if Maddy were to find out who her real father is? Oooh. I’m glad they’re returning to that little bombshell.
The sharpest and least predictable moment of the episode comes when Rayna runs to Teddy and tells him about the threat. APPARENTLY HE KNEW ALL ALONG THAT MADDY WASN’T HIS! For a show that hews so very closely to clichéd soap opera storylines, it’s actually a refreshing twist. Teddy gets furious at this and yells at Lamar for even thinking of spilling the damaging news to their daughter. Awww. Teddy’s a pretty good guy even if he does bore the crap out of you, Rayna! When she thanks him later for protecting their daughter, they have a sort of nice albeit sad talk about how for the past few years neither one of them have been happy, but they’re going to put a brave face on it for their girls, who don’t know. They agree Rayna’s tour is a good cover for her absence, both personally and politically.
Scarlett and Gunnar make up and do another show-closing duet (that’s anviliciously titled “Change Your Mind”) as we see Sean waiting at a full church, and Juliette in her dress and veil in a limo, she’s full of doubt and when the limo reaches its destination, we see her take off a family locket Sean had given her. She gets out…and we wonder if she’s going to march into that church and call off the wedding….but instead she’s walking towards a private airplane. Yup, she’s leaving on a jet plane, folks. Can quickie divorce papers be far behind? Tune in next week for Nashville: YOU GOT SERVED!
We get to revisit some of the more fun songs so far! When the episode starts, Rayna does a nice job laying down her vocals for “Wrong Song.” (That reference to the tequila bottle’s gotta be about Deacon, right?) And then later Juliette rehearses a song we haven’t heard since the pilot episode! That one about boys and buses who keep on coming! (Oh. Huh. That’s dirtier than I originally thought.) I hope that means there’s an iTunes release for this little earworm now! (The original tune was written/sung by Carly Pearce.)
We also get to hear “Twist of Barb Wire” twice, first Scarlett’s growly, sexy version and Avery’s now much more rock-infused rendition. Both are pretty great, honestly, and they’d probably sound fantastic singing it together, but that’s pretty unlikely now, I think.
And the new song tonight is that final duet, “Change Your Mind,” which is just as gorgeous as all the other Scarlett and Gunnar duets. I mean, they’re all starting to sound slightly the same, but still pretty unarguably lovely. And this one IS already up on iTunes.
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.