Nashville: You Win Again

In “You Win Again”, it was a battle of short skirts vs. tight pants as Juliette and Rayna’s tour chugged along. The two country divas may be sharing the same stage, but they’re not warming up to each other.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m on Team Juliette here! I thought Rayna was behaving deplorably towards her in this episode. During nightly performances of “Wrong Song”, Rayna ignored her co-performer and instead focused on a sexy stage flirtation with Liam. I get that Rayna doesn’t like Juliette, but it’s unprofessional to freeze someone out on stage when they’re making the effort. Then Rayna and Liam caught a ride back to Nashville on Juliette’s plane and proceeded to act like Mean Girls the entire time! When someone mentions her mother’s court hearing, Juliette warns them to be quiet and Rayna and Liam start giggling conspiratorially. Right … because having an alcoholic mother is hilarious.

I know Juliette started it. She rubbed Rayna the wrong way from Day 1 when she acted like a self-centered bitch. But no matter what she’s done since then, Rayna refuses to respect her as an artist. I don’t blame Juliette for continuing to lash out at Rayna and Liam because they’re being catty and exclusive. And she’s completely on the money with her complaints about not getting enough credit for “Wrong Song”. She was an equal creative partner in that endeavour, but she’s being treated like she’s a tag-a-long who should thank her lucky stars she was even invited. Part of the premise of this show was that Rayna is an underdog we should empathize with, but the more it progresses I have less and less sympathy for her.

Both women were heading back to Nashville for a No. 1 song party thrown by their record label, but it wasn’t the first thing on either of their minds. Rayna got to spend time hanging out with her daughters … but she also had to face Teddy again. He was frustrated with their marriage limbo situation. They’re putting on fake smiles for public events, but they’re still sleeping in separate beds and Teddy is uneasy with Rayna’s on-the-road activities (cough Liam cough). Rayna isn’t ready to predict their future, but she does make it clear that she’ll remain faithful to him.

It’s unlikely that Liam will become an issue anyway, since Rayna abruptly cut ties with him at the end of the episode. She was being wooed by another record label, Countless Records, who were eager to sign her up after her contract with Edgehill was fulfilled. But Marshall fought back by revealing a shady side deal Liam made with Countless. If he was able to bring Rayna aboard, Countless would pay him a bonus. Rayna was furious that Liam deceived her. She considered him a partner, someone she could finally rely on and he turned out to be just another liar.

I was really disappointed with that story development. I felt like Liam was a really interesting character and he and Rayna really crackled together. He pushed her creatively, he made great insights into her character, he stood up for her … and then he suddenly turned out to be a douchebag. I just thought it was inconsistent, lazy storytelling. Also I found it a little weird that Marshall was fighting so hard to hang onto Rayna when he basically shelved her a few months back. “Wrong Song” is a number one hit, but the buzz and excitement around her new album was because of her new sound. And by turning Rayna against Liam, Marshall just sabotaged that sound.

Juliette was preoccupied with her mother, who took a short break from rehab to appear at a court hearing for an earlier drug-related arrest. Deacon had agreed to speak as Jolene’s advocate, but an unfortunately timed magazine article made him question his credibility. Cy’s final revenge against Deacon was a scathing interview in which he lied about firing him from the Revel Kings and claimed he fell off the wagon. Deacon’s withdrawal forced Juliette to speak on her mother’s behalf, but she couldn’t bring herself to make a glowing speech. She gave a short, cold statement that didn’t exactly sway the judge. Jolene still has to return to court after she’s finished with rehab.

Deacon volunteered to escort Jolene to Juliette’s No. 1 song party and act as her sober companion. Juliette looked like she was ready to clock him. Personally I thought the invitation was unfair to Juliette. If Deacon wants to cozy up to Jolene and become her cheerleader that’s his business, but he has to respect that Juliette doesn’t have a warm and fuzzy relationship with her mother. Inviting Jolene into Juliette’s professional and personal life without her permission is not cool.

What’s especially not cool is that Deacon doesn’t even show up to the party! Juliette spends the entire night anxiously babysitting her mother. Cy may have falsely accused Deacon of hitting rock bottom … but it wasn’t far from the truth. Depression is really setting in for Deacon and although he doesn’t reach for the bottle, he’s doing a terrible job at keeping it together. I think he felt like touring with a rock band would be good for him, but it actually made him more hopeless and lonely. He’s still mourning his relationship with Rayna – the real friendship they did have – and the romantic one he was still holding onto.

Rayna only makes it worse by stopping by Deacon’s house to check on him. I sympathize with her instincts, but the last thing he needs is Rayna trying to care of him. He lashed out at her, “Good news is it’s not 12 years ago so it’s not your responsibility anymore.” Their relationship is SO screwed up, it’s awful just listening to them speak to each other. He’s still harbouring anger towards her because she put him in rehab and was engaged to another man by the time he got out. But she picked him up off the floor FIVE TIMES and dragged him into rehab before it actually stuck. Just how long was she supposed to wait?

After Deacon’s encounter with Rayna, Juliette shows up to yell at him for abandoning her at the party, but finds him sunken into his couch with his apartment completely torn apart. He’s feeling desperate – like he got sober for Rayna and stayed that way all these years for the slim chance that they would get back together. Without that, what does he have left? Juliette implores him to get up and get back to what he loves – performing – and again invites him to go on tour with her.

Deacon facilitates a sweet moment between Juliette and her mother by asking her why she has endless compassion for him as an addict, but none for Jolene. Well, obviously it’s because Deacon is romantic tragic hero to Juliette and her mother is the woman who ruined her childhood. You can’t exactly blame Juliette for seeing them differently. But she does hear what Deacon is saying and actually makes a point of telling her mother she’s sorry she didn’t properly speak up for her in court. Jolene brings her daughter to tears (in a good way finally) by telling her how proud she is that Juliette holds her own up on stage with someone like Rayna and is her equal. And that’s all Juliette really wants to be: equal.

As Juliette and Rayna were sitting on Juliette’s private jet, preparing to head back on tour, Deacon jogged onto the tarmac and hopped on board at the last minute. The horrified expression on Rayna’s face and the satisfied smirk on Juliette’s = perfection!

In other Nashville news, Scarlett and Gunnar decided to team up with Avery’s old band. JT and the boys just want to rock and Scarlett and Gunnar are itching to perform their new material. Plus, they all really want to stick it to Avery, who is blowing up the airwaves and attracting legions of boobie bimbo fans with his new single “Kiss”. Gunnar wasn’t immediately on board, because he was too busy brooding over his bad brother issues. Jason never showed up at his halfway house and is now considered a fugitive. But after Jason returns Gunnar’s guitar to The Bluebird, he perks right up and gets back in a strumming mood. Avery happens to be driving during one of their jam sessions and moodily watches from the road as his old band and ex girlfriend create musical magic. Sucks to be you, Avery.

Favourite Moments:

Teddy talks about the beginning of his relationship with Rayna
Usually I’m fighting to stay awake during Teddy scenes, but there was a great moment with him this episode where we got a glimpse into his side of the story. He’s always seemed like the boring, corporate guy who stole Rayna from her tortured true love, but when he met her she was broken down and destroyed by Deacon’s addictions. All she wanted was to be with someone safe and solid, who wouldn’t let her down. And Teddy gave her that. Later, after his finances fell apart, he worried that he would lose her if he could no longer provide security. It doesn’t excuse the mistakes he made … but I feel like I understand him better.

Avery tries to schmooze with Juliette
I thought it was hysterical when Avery was attempting to chat up Juliette at the “Wrong Song” party. She was trying to make a beeline for her mother when he intercepted her and started rambling on about his music and how she should listen to it sometime. She barely glanced at him before walking off. The funniest moment though was when Avery’s cougar agent warned him “I just don’t recommend approaching Juliette Barnes for no reason.” Hee!

Photo Courtesy of ABC

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