Nashville returned on Wednesday with the second episode called “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)”, the title of an old Hank Williams song.
After a stellar series premiere, Nashville gave fans another fantastic episode filled with brilliant music, family secrets, and love triangles. This week, aging country superstar Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton), new chart topper Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), and the inexperienced singer Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) all struggled to balance their personal and professional lives.
For Rayna and Scarlett, it was all about staying loyal to their families and loved ones. For Juliette, it was much more complex. Although she tried to find emotional solace in Deacon (Charles Esten), Rayna’s longtime guitar player and ex-love, he’s still deeply loyal to Jaymes despite the advances of the young Barnes. As we saw last week, Juliette is hell bent on changing her image and Deacon is her ticket.
The love habit
So, before we go any further, here’s how the love conflict stands:
Rayna is married to new mayoral candidate Teddy Conrad (Eric Close), but she used to be in some sort of romantic relationship with Deacon. As we found out last week, Deacon still loves Rayna and they share a storied but mysterious past. But Rayna has moved on and Deacon is stuck in love limbo (cue the Hank Williams title song). When the series premiere came to a close, Juliette, sensing Rayna’s weak spot, made a play for Deacon not only to be her guitar player on tour but also her lover (cue Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever”).
As the new Nashville drama played out, Rayna still had to deal with the idea of a smaller, more intimate tour with Juliette Barnes even though she told her record label to take a hike. The one big catch: Deacon MUST be on her tour.
As we now know, however, Juliette will stop at nothing to get Deacon on her tour (and possibly her bed again). The look on Rayna’s face said it all when Juliette propositioned Deacon right in front her before giving him a $50,000 vintage guitar.
It was enough for Deacon to give Nashville fans the best line of the night. “If I wanted to fight like this,” he said about Juliette, “I’d get a girlfriend!”
Across town, at the tiny Bluebird Cafe, Scarlett and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) got the offer of a lifetime from Rayna’s friend and legendary producer Watty White (played by country music great J.D. Souther). As we saw last week, White spotted the undiscovered Scarlett and Gunnar at the Bluebird and made Rayna listen to the sweet country duo on his cell phone.
If Scarlett and Gunnar can put three songs together, he’ll produce their demo.
Although Gunnar was game on White’s offer, Scarlett was hesitant. As we learned, Scarlett won’t cut the demo because her boyfriend Avery’s (Jonathan Jackson) music career suddenly took a turn for the worse. And since we now have two musical guys and one talented girl, it’s likely someone in that triangle will get hurt, if not all three.
As for Rayna’s personal life, things got even more complicated with husband Teddy and his campaign for mayor. Both Teddy and Rayna were grilled by political “aids” sent on the orders of Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe), Rayna’s father. The aids stepped in to ensure that the opposition won’t expose their secrets to sink Teddy’s bid for mayor.
During Rayna’s interrogation, however, viewers got a little more backstory on her romantic past with Deacon. Her eyes said it all, that she’s still in love with Deacon. But does Rayna love Deacon more than Teddy?
Teddy burning important paperwork.
As we learned, Teddy was hiding a secret about a failed real estate deal. Now Lamar is on the fast track for the secret so he can have full control over Teddy should he become the new Mayor of Nashville.
Back at the Bluebird Cafe, Deacon called Rayna to the stage for a duet on one of their classic songs while Juliette was in the audience. Of course, Juliette thought it would be her instead of Rayna. The romantic chemistry between Deacon and Rayna was off the chart and Juliette stormed out in a huff.
At the same time, Scarlett finally gave in and agreed to record the demo with Gunnar.
When Rayna got home and saw Teddy, she hugged her husband and told him that she loved him. Huh?
What did you make of the country drama in this week’s Nashville?