Rayna can't sing! Surely the thought's crossed many a mind before: Are we really to believe Rayna Jaymes is the Queen of Country when Connie Britton's crooning, while totally passable, ain't exactly superstar-caliber? But the big bombshell on last night's Nashville is that Rayna literally can't sing. After Liam re-enters the picture, she reveals that her vocal chords were apparently damaged in the terrible accident. Remarkably, that adversity ranked only about a six on the Music City misery scale.
The episode, "I Don't Wanna Talk About It Now," wasn't as much about what our favorite countrified drama kings and queens don't wanna talk about as what they can't face. For Rayna, it's loss of control, over her career, her label. For Juliette, her inability to trust. For Teddy, it's the son he'll (quite literally) never have. For Gunnar, it's fear of fading into the background. And for Deacon, it's the demons he can only quell with a swig of whiskey and a sweet riff.
Let's start with Deacon. Last night's episode gave a sense of his troubled upbringing when he testifies at an AA meeting, telling how, as a kid, he watched his drunk daddy chuck a hot casserole at his mama and then beat her with a belt. "When you're a man you're gonna be just like me," Deacon's daddy told him. "Here I am. I'm a drunk, just like him. And I hurt people I love, just like him. But I ain't never hurt a child." He's still reeling from the revelation he's Maddie's father. There, Coleman gives Deke the straight dope: "The only way for you to cope with being a father is for you to deal with what yours did to you," causing Deacon to backhand a folding chair across the room with his good arm.
Later, Deacon swallows his pride and takes to City Hall to make amends with Teddy, giving him his blessing to raise Maddie as his own. Doesn't matter. Teddy is an unwavering dick, despite Deacon's contrition. But he's right when he's tells him, "Maddie is never gonna stop watching you, Deacon. Never."
Although Teddy's backdoor effort to re-domesticate with Rayna ultimately failed (we saw them sign the divorce papers last night), Peggy's plan to keep Teddy in her clutches by feigning pregnancy with his illegitimate child are paying off for her. Reconsidering his declaration he wants nothing to do with the (imaginary) child's life, Teddy decides to man up and take responsibility, falling into Peggy's trap. "I love being pregnant, with our baby!" she maniacally tells him, "I was thinking of naming him Theodore."
Meanwhile, Rayna's having trouble with her own gestating baby – Highway 65 Records. In a power play to extricate Highway 65 from under the Edgehill umbrella, she agrees to sing at Edgehill's stockholder showcase. Of course, she can't sing, so, as payback at disgustingly dapper, mealy-mouthed Music Row label head Jeff Fordham for poaching, she pulls a bait and switch and introduces Scarlett to perform in her place.
This season, writers are slowly making over Scarlett from wide-eyed, precocious doormat to, well, not-so-wide-eyed woman. For this performance, a stylist strips her of her small town garb and gussies her up to look a lot like Rayna Jaymes. And then she kills it with a smoky, sultry performance of real Nashville chanteuse Caitlin Rose's "Waitin'." The rendition is red-hot and the Edgehill suits (save for Jeff, who essentially vows to ruin Rayna) are as impressed with her as they are with Will's performance of "What If I Was With Him," which sounds like countrified Tom Petty. Gunnar wrote the tune and he didn't want Will – who himself got a makeover that had him looking like a low-rent Tim McGraw – to sing it. For Gunnar, watching Will and Scarlett from the crowd is like watching the love of his life move across the Atlantic and giving a child up for adoption. Filled with envy and regret, Gunnar's totally lost.
Juliette dodges the whole stockholders' circus when she takes a million-dollar gig to perform at suave media tycoon Charles Wentworth's anniversary party in the backyard of his Maryland mansion, and then sleeps with him after the show. In fairness, Wentworth only makes his move after confirming that Avery is just another hired gun, and not her boyfriend. Avery overhears this, later confronts Juliette and ultimately gets himself fired when he calls her out for being selfish and distrustful. The writers have reformed Avery, no doubt, but he was way more fun as hate-worthy fam- whore than boring Greek chorus.
Previous episode: Meet the New Boss
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