‘Nashville’ recap: ‘I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You’ (or can I)
Scarlett and Gunnar pass the hat
Rayna's getting triangulated the most; she's still refusing to open for Juliette, so her management team suggests she go on a smaller tour — with Deacon, the way the two of them started out. Watty White remembers "those love songs you two used to write," but of course that's the problem. Teddy, the hypotenuse of both a Rayna-Deacon and a Rayna-Lamar isosceles, is well aware of the dangers of such a tour, and doesn't like the idea, but Rayna reminds him that she's going along with his mayoral run even though she hates it. "It's important to me; can't that just be enough?" he asks, exasperated. "You'd think," she snips back.
Can't buy her love — yet
Meanwhile, Juliette hasn't given up trying to seduce Deacon onto her tour — literally. She buys him a $50,000 guitar; she takes him to a skinny-dipping spot on her land -- that Tammy Wynette used to own -- to "write songs." Okay, they do work on a song together, and they do have good artistic chemistry, but that puts Deacon at the center of a triangle of his own. Should he go on the road with Rayna, his great love, and sing the songs he still means? Or should he take the big money and help Juliette out of the triangle she's caught in, between big-money pop success with the tweens and the artistic cred she craves?
Watty White puts Scarlett into a love/work triangle when he tells her and Gunnar that, if they write three songs together, he'll cut the demo. It's a no-brainer for Gunnar, but boyfriend Avery's band is struggling (and for good reason, based on the generically yelly song shown), and she doesn't have the heart to act on a great opportunity she fell into when it's Avery who really wants it. When Avery finds out about the offer, he's bent out of shape, but more gracious than you'd expect: "Watty White discovered half this town… Congratulations, seriously." Nice bit of nuance for the character, which the writers then waste on Gunnar asking Scarlett if she really wants to be with someone who won't let her be who she is.
Deacon and Rayna argue: about the Juliette offer, why Rayna never comes to his Bluebird gigs, and how dare he imply that she's never been there for him — a reference, presumably, to his past substance-abuse problems, deftly brought out in exposition by a "vulnerability study" the mayoral campaign is conducting on Teddy and Rayna's pasts. (Teddy's last real-estate deal could prove problematic, especially since Teddy seems to think that throwing a bunch of paperwork into a fire while brooding over a glass of Scotch is actually going to hide any improprieties.) Questioned closely about the timeline of her final tour with Deacon, Rayna abruptly ends the discussion, and later shows up at the Bluebird to hear Deacon play. Juliette has also come, and when Deacon invites a "very special and talented friend" to join him on the mic, Juliette is leaning forward to rise from her seat when Deacon says Rayna's name. Burrrrrn.