Rayna does a whole lot of leaving in this week’s Nashville. At one point or another, Liam, Deacon, Teddy and the kids must deal with the First Lady of Country Music turning tail and taking off – meanwhile, Juliette proves herself the mature voice of reason. (Is it opposite day?)
Anyway, cut your Red Lips White Lies tour tee shirt into a halter and wear it proudly, because we’re about to review the major developments of “You Win Again.”
THREE’S A CROWD | Don’t get me wrong, Juliette does a lot of her usual griping and bemoaning throughout the hour. As the episode opens, we see her, Rayna, Liam and the band closing a tour date with “Wrong Song.” As Juliette works the crowd (and a hot little fringey gold minidress), Rayna focuses her attention on Liam’s sweet riffs. They hustle off stage and make for Ju’s plane, the younger singer complaining all the while that the duo have shut her out like that for the past three shows. I usually don’t agree with Juliette, but here, she has a point: Liam didn’t fill that stadium and buy thousands of your albums, Ray Ray, the people in the seats did. Show them a little more love. While Juliette’s kvetching to Glen, a record company exec named Calista (played by ER‘s Ming-Na) introduces herself to Rayna and makes no secret of wanting to steal her away from Edgehill.
On the plane – I’m sorry, Juliette‘s plane, as she keeps reminding us – we learn that the assemblage is returning to Nashville for the party Edgehill’s throwing to celebrate “Wrong Song” going to No. 1. “I thought we were going back for Juliette’s mom’s court hearing,” blurts Ju’s assistant Emily, earning her a killer glare from her boss. Based on that – and her asking what Juliette’s missing bean dip looks like — I’m thinking someone didn’t graduate at the top of her class at entourage school. A few seats away, Rayna’s shocked when she reads a magazine article that suggests Deacon’s dismissal from the Revel Kings tour was because he had fallen off the wagon.
SEE YA, LIAM | The article’s not right, but that doesn’t mean Deke’s doing well. He shows up at Jolene’s hearing but is afraid to speak on her behalf based on his recent bad press. At his urging, Juliette gives testimony instead, but it’s incredibly short and filled with the faintest praise she can muster. The judge rules that they’ll revisit the charges in three weeks, when Jolene’s treatment is done. Deacon notes that Juliette’s mom doesn’t have to be back at rehab for a while; why doesn’t she accompany him to the “Wrong Song” party that night? Juliette is against it – there’ll be a lot of booze there, after all, and her mom’s little more than a month sober – but Deacon assures her he’ll babysit.
Meanwhile, at Chez Jaymes and What’s His Name, Teddy demands to know whether his visiting wife is serious about repairing their marriage. Unfortunately, he happens to ask just as a fancy gift from Calista shows up. He’s all, “Are we fixing us or not?” And she’s all, “Ooh, shiny! Wait, are the pancakes burning?” When Calista makes a housecall later to aggressively plead her case, she likens Rayna’s professional situation to her own when she quit Capitol Records. “I know how hard leaving is… but it doesn’t make staying right,” she says, and just in case you were distracted by your own glittery bauble (or maybe just the sheer lusciousness of Connie Britton’s hair, I mean how does she get it simultaneously bouncy and glossy?), the camera cuts to Teddy helping younger daughter Daphne with her homework. Oy. Liam later uses Rayna and Teddy’s union to prove how terrible her deal with her current label is: “Think of Edgehill like your marriage: The only way to get through it is to fantasize about someone else.” You may be right, hipster dude, but it doesn’t mean I have to like you.
At the Edgehill party, though, things change. CEO Marshall lets Rayna in on a little secret: Her beloved Liam has worked a secret deal that gives him his own imprint if he lures the redhead over the Calista’s label. Liam can’t deny it, so Rayna dissolves their partnership and fires him from her tour. (Later, she tells Bucky she wants her own label – and if Edgehill will cough it up, she’ll stay.) Elsewhere at the bash, Juliette’s fuming that Rayna’s getting all the attention for their co-written hit. But her attentions soon turn to Jolene, who’s roaming the party without Deacon. Where is he?
DARK DAYS | Let’s rewind a bit to earlier that afternoon, just after Jolene’s hearing. Deacon and Juliette have the first of their two rather sweet (and well acted) interactions when he reasserts that he’s there for her. “Yes, I know you’re here,” she says, Hayden Panettiere packing a lot of meaning into a very little line. She reminds him that he’s “way too good of a musician to hole up and hide behind patchy facial hair,” (ha!) but that’s what he’s planning to do, regardless. An interaction with Rayna later that day doesn’t help matters. She comes to see if the article was right, and he nastily tells her to buzz off. “The good news is, it’s not 12 years ago, so I’m not your responsibility anymore.” Oof. We learn that Deke went to rehab five times before it stuck, and he’s still quite angry that his lady love didn’t wait for him. She chokes up as she recalls all the other times she tried to help him get sober; in her defense and based on her description of dragging him unconscious from hotel rooms, I might’ve given up on him, too. “I can’t do this with you,” she says – making this their three zillionth break-up since the show began – and good god, these two are an open wound, aren’t they?
So that’s why, after the party, Juliette finds the guitarist in a colossal funk at his place. He’s trashed his guitar (“It was outta tune,” heh). He’s thrown things around the room. But he hasn’t had a drink, and she seizes on that as hope that he can turn things around – maybe by coming on tour with her? “I got sober for Rayna,” he says with tears in his eyes. “I was hopin’ for somethin’ that ain’t never gonna happen.” Juliette is super supportive and very understanding, qualities he notes that she does not bestow upon her mother, even though he and Jolene are fighting the same fight.
Later that night, back at her place, Juliette apologizes for not saying more at Jolene’s hearing. Her mom tells her she’s so proud of her, which brings the young country star to tears. “You think I’m Rayna’s equal?” she asks in disbelief. “And then some,” Jolene says. Very nice scene.
In fact, it’s a good episode overall for Panettiere, particularly the stuff with Charles Esten. And there’ll be lots more where that came from, because Deacon’s joining the tour! (Teddy’s face when he realizes what’s happening, moments after his wife kissed their kids and him good-bye and vowed to work on their marriage? Priceless.)
PUT IN HIS PLACE | For Avery, the episode goes a little like this: Ego trip, mean to Marilyn, floppy hair, The Avery Barkley Band, outdoor concert, brushed off by Juliette, joy at hearing his song on the radio dashed by seeing Scarlett and Gunnar happily jamming with his former band. And…. scene!
Now it’s your turn. Are you with me that the way Gunnar is mean to Scarlett when he’s having trouble is not OK? Are you hopeful that Jolene’s rehab will stick? And are you also kinda loving the Juliette-Deacon thing lately? Sound off in the comments!