This episode was going to be a little cheesy right from Scarlett and Deacon’s first exchange. Was Deacon having a nightmare? “No,” he panted. “Just livin’ one.”
And so begins the hour-long dramafest that is this season’s Nashville. In the next scene, a very tired-looking Rayna and defeated Teddy are finishing up their divorce proceedings, with Rayna once again taking the (slightly patronizing) high road. “You’re a good father, and a good man. I want you to be happy.” It seemed like this episode, Rayna was making a conceited effort to sever the ties binding her, whether that meant finalizing a divorce or digging into the details of her hairy record deal with Edgehill. I respect that she is taking the loss of her voice, which we still don’t the full extent of, with courage and moving forward rather than clinging to what she’s already got. Rayna isn’t a woman who just lets things happen to her, and it drives the men in her life crazy: particularly Liam, whose romantic build-up with Rayna last season ended abruptly when she wouldn’t allow herself to be whisked away to St. Lucia.
But despite being a little pissed, it seems Liam is back, rolling his eyes, brooding just as much as ever. His attitude really is the perfect cover for Rayna’s vocal problems, especially in terms of delaying the release of her new record. Rayna and Liam sleeping together is fine, too (as long as he lays off the fedoras and the scarves, woof), but I hope they tone down the sappy dialogue. “I love the album we made together,” followed by “I love that you love the album we made together” can only go on so long because it’s just a gooey mess.
Speaking of messes, Peggy was back in a big way this episode. She was “nauseated” by “morning sickness,” and it seems that she’d even decided on a name for her imaginary baby! Once Teddy got done divorcing Rayna and hearing what a great father he’s been, he marched right over to give Peggy a check. Peggy decided to ignore Teddy’s insistence that he not be involved with the child, even proposing that they name the boy Theodore, and somehow parlays this strong come-on and overt neediness into a second shot with Teddy. How is this possible? How long can she keep this up? I thought it was interesting that she offered for him to look at the documents from the doctor.
Deacon is continuing to play the anti-Teddy, fleeing fatherhood in any way he can thanks to an abusive, alcoholic father that we somehow just heard about this episode. I feel like the show is allowing Deacon’s alcoholism to become more and more of his identity as a character, and I hope that his story gets a little richer than that in these next few weeks.
Juliette, whose relationship with Avery I’d hoped would remain playful and platonic, manages to piss off just about everyone possible by skipping the Edgewood party to perform for a wealthy couple’s anniversary, subsequently talking down to Avery and sleeping with the happy husband. Maybe soon, Juliette will stop reacting to every criticism—in this case, Avery telling her she’s emotionally unavailable—by making rash, heartless decisions. I’m interested to see how this one comes back to bite her: her newest conquest is a powerful guy when it comes to radio play, and a part of me wonders if he’ll play that to his advantage in the coming weeks.
Scarlett got quite the makeover, and something about her hair or her makeup makes her look older and vaguely less bumpkin-esque. She saves the day by keeping Rayna’s secret and singing for her at the Edgehill party for the stockholders, along with the ever charismatic Will performing Gunnar’s song. Gunnar looked pretty pitiful in the crowd watching his friends soak up the glory (his awful facial hair didn’t do him any favors; maybe if he’d lose the ‘stache people would put him on-stage, too?), but by the end of the night he and Zoey paired off thanks to their “lousy dates.”
As new characters, Zoey and Layla were both hopelessly boring this episode, and overall, the coolest part of the whole hour was Rayna’s gold pants. I’ll be back next week, of course, but I’m hoping for a little more plot development and a lot more original music.