'Nashville' recap: Hurry up and wait
This isn't a perfect metaphor, but Juliette and Sean's micro-marriage is a symbol for "Nashville" itself lately: It's rushed, nobody involved understood the motivations, and it doesn't quite work out… but it has some nice moments anyway.
That's right: the marriage is over, and Juliette is over it, dodging questions about it at the pre-tour press conference (which is set up similar to those of title fights; heh). She hasn't spoken to Sean, which her manager theorizes is why he won't sign the divorce papers, but it's actually because he wants an annulment instead. When Juliette skips Rayna's first tour set to fly to Oakland to confront Sean, he gives it to her sugar-free: She knew what marriage meant to him, and he only plans on getting married once, so he wants this one not to count.
It's Juliette, so she digs her heels in at first, but eventually gives in at the annulment hearing -- she admits to the fraud, then says she's sorry after counsel leaves the room. "I was never gonna be the wife that you deserved. I know that you know that; I just wanted you to know that I know it too." Sean isn't buying the penitent routine: "You once told me that I wouldn't like you very much if I got to know you. And you were right." Juliette stares at the table, furious and hurt. Best way (and time) to end the subplot, probably, but we'll miss Sean, and Tilky Jones.
The runaway-bride contretemps isn't improving Juliette's personality; she's her usual imperious and tardy self, including hogging the pre-show sound check. Liam has joined the tour -- basically because Rayna can't adjust to guitarists who aren't Deacon, and has fired two of them before she has to beg Liam to bail her out -- and even if he can't play a single bar, he's worth his weight in BBQ, marching onstage and lying down in the middle until Juliette finally stomps off, all the while mocking her selfishness and her tendency to make her "people" do her dirty work for her. He lays into her later as well, snarking that she's never wrong and can't take responsibility for anything. Love that guy.
Also love that Liam calls Rayna on her Deacon-itis. Rayna's still performing little pre-show rituals she used to do with Deacon, expecting guitar players she barely knows to read her mind about playing the changes; she even gives Liam a pair of cowboy boots before the show. Liam's face: "Um. No thanks."
Rayna IS afraid to move on -- but not from Teddy, necessarily. We don't blame her, as he's being kind of pathetic, asking if she's coming home for election night and then, when she expresses doubts, pouting that it's fine, it would only be for appearances anyway, whatever. Grow up, Mr. Mayor. …Oh, yeah: He wins. Lamar and Tandy both urge him to let them buy him some insurance votes, just like his great-grandfather did back in the day, but he refuses, and they claim to have obeyed him. Rayna comes home after all to watch the returns, and as Coleman Carlisle graciously concedes and thanks his wife, Rayna and Teddy squirm on the couch, envious of a sincere partnership in a political marriage.
So that's awkward, aaaaand then there's Peggy, giving new meaning to the term by popping in to the victory suite very late to say congratulations in person. And her suicide attempt was totally a mistake! She's fiiiiiine! And she could have said all this on the phone, but she wanted Teddy to stare at her lips like they were cookies! Okay, now she'll run off right before they kiss! Credit where it's due: This plot is paced well, and we'd sort of love it if Teddy decided, well, everyone thinks I slept with her anyway so what the hey. Eric Close is killing it with a namby-pamby character, too.
Charles Esten is also trying to kill it in the Deacon subplot, but talk about rushed. It's obvious the lead guitarist, Sy, is jealous of Deacon -- his talent, his obvious appeal to Journalist Lady, you name it. It's getting tense, but instead of exploring intra-band issues in some depth, the show's like, "Nope, this isn't working," and pulls the ripcord by having Sy try to rape Scarlett. She kicks him in the nuts! Deacon throws him through a table, and quits the band! We want Deacon's narrative strand to tie back together with Rayna's too, but this is too abrupt. And yet, we get a nice line from Deacon: "I used to think [Sy] was a jerk 'cause he was a drunk; there goes that theory." Heh.