Nashville: “Never No More” (Episode 2.02)

TV Reviews
Nashville: “Never No More” (Episode 2.02)

This week, we got a glimpse of new characters on ABC’s Nashville, but we also got a deeper understanding of the flaws (or, in Rayna’s case, strengths) of the show’s stars.

“I make my own luck,” snaps Rayna to Edgehill’s new head douchebag, and she proves that mantra throughout the episode. Sticking to the idea she left us with at the end of last week, it seems Rayna really is leaving the past behind her, ending things with Deacon seemingly for good this time (although does anyone really want this relationship to end?) and even telling too-sweet Teddy that they’re done playing house. What I thought was interesting was Rayna’s insistence that she get back to work immediately, which echoed Juliette’s similarly speedy comeback after her mother’s death. Rayna’s quick turnaround felt more logical than Juliette’s, a side effect of Rayna’s self-preservation instincts rather than a means of avoiding her problems, but I thought it showed that the two may have more in common than we think. If it was self-preservation, Rayna’s instincts were on-point: Will has indeed been poached from Rayna’s record label by the bigger Edgehill.

Will’s decision to betray Rayna could be motivated by several things; he was taken aback when he first saw his same-sex lover outside the club where his performance caught the eye of Jeff at Edgehill. As luck would have it, Will’s old flame is a public relations rep for Edgehill, and he assures Will that he won’t do anything to hurt his image. I can understand why Will, who in the country music world would risk public scorn for his sexuality, might want to choose the mainstream choice, but I assume this choice will ultimately come back to bite him. Once his secret is revealed (and this is television, so it surely will come out, even if only to Jeff and the label reps), he will surely be thrown under the bus by Edgehill. Maybe it’s because I always assume Connie Britton can do no wrong (I mean, she’s Tami Taylor!), but I feel like Rayna will end up swooping in and helping Will when the truth inevitably comes out.

Juliette gave us another glimpse into her past this week, traveling to her hometown in Alabama for a CMT special scheduled mostly to help her claim the No. 1 single slot (or so she claims). It was interesting to see her shrug off the genuine, enduring adoration of her former neighbor and later relish the superficial and ephemeral No. 1 slot. This is probably why Juliette is far more threatened than Rayna when newcomer Layla, a runner-up on a singing reality show, is signed to Edgehill. If Juliette is going to make such a hard push to produce more mature music that she believes in, it’s growing more and more evident that she’ll have to do so for something other than the number one slot.

Speaking of newcomers to the show, the addition of Zoey seems a bit weird, like she’s the new old-Scarlett: working at the Bluebird, being all cutesy small-town and growing closer with Gunnar under the all-too-familiar cover of just-friends. Fortunately, the new-Scarlett is far more interesting, taking a motherly stand against Deacon’s defeated, self-destructive ways by tricking him into going to the doctor. I’m hoping to see her character develop into something more complex than the serial-girlfriend with a hidden talent.

With the addition of these new characters and the constant shift in power between the show’s leads, next week’s episode will be telling. If we’re lucky, maybe we can get some more dirt on these new characters—including label exec Jeff.

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