We've really enjoyed Eric Close's portrayal of Teddy on "Nashville." Teddy knows he "shouldn't" feel emasculated by Rayna's success, but he does, and Close has made that sympathetic to the audience while still occasionally having Teddy act like a petulant teenager -- as he does at the beginning of "I've Been Down That Road Before" when he finds out that Deacon has joined Rayna and Juliette's tour. Rayna tries to tell him Deacon's with Juliette and she had no idea, but Teddy isn't having it, and pouts when he finds out Rayna has seen Deacon since firing him. The "we've been friends for 20 years" rationale isn't working for him, either.
Aaaand neither is staying faithful to a woman he thinks isn't really working on their marriage. When he runs into Peggy out and about, he finds out that she's moved out from her husband, and between that and the little lecture Peggy gives him on how he deserves "someone who tells him she believes in him and always has," Teddy decides it's time to plant a big old smooch on her, in broad daylight, even though he's the mayor-elect and she's wearing a horrendous white beret. And he's married. And did we mention the broad-daylight thing? They end up Doing It, and the pillow talk involves Peggy reminiscing about "lying here like this" -- with him? But…we thought they never Did It, back in the day? In any case, Teddy stares up at the ceiling and mutters, "This is wrong." We'll say; the wide shot reveals that he's spread out over three quarters of the mattress. Jerk.
The silent treatment
But "jerk" is apparently what Rayna likes, because Deacon is being a huge one to her, forcing her to endure several super-awkward elevator rides without responding to either small talk or direct questions. He's somewhat nicer to Juliette, who's having a predictable artistic crisis about her elaborate touring show; he advises her crisply that there's thinking about doing something, and then there's just doing it. So, Juliette just does it. On the second night of the tour's Chicago stop, she eschews the glittery outfits, onstage fireworks, and team of backup dancers to sing a ballad she co-wrote with Deacon. It's a nice song (Watty, visiting Rayna on the road, is impressed), but a reviewer who attends the show eviscerates the new material on Twitter, and Juliette's manager reminds her that it doesn't take much to send a major brand like hers into obscurity.
But Juliette's long-suffering assistant tells Juliette that she loved the song -- and so did YouTube -- so Juliette tells her manager that she's growing out of her old image, and he's going to have to adapt, or else.
After said manager finds a way to blame Deacon for the Twit-tastrophe, Deacon stomps onto the elevator and finds Rayna yet again. She's getting fed up with the silent treatment, and demands to know what the hell he's doing on the tour. Deacon says nothing, just kisses her. And kisses her some more. And Rayna kisses back. And IT IS SCORCHING. She tries to talk; he is "done talkin'." At his floor, Deacon gets off (the elevator, you pervs) and Rayna stares at the closing doors and touches her lips all, "WTF."
Twitter was alllll over it:
After some pacing and some freaking out, she texts Deacon to come "talk" in her room. Girl, please. But the long-overdue "reunion tour" of Rayna and Deacon's bedroom is postponed thanks to Teddy showing up, informing her that he's tired of waiting for Rayna to "look at me and just love me." He wants a divorce. Well, look who just grew a pair! Lamar didn't even have to tell him what to say! (Deacon, en route to Rayna's room, spots Teddy in the hall and hangs back, biting his lip; it looks like he might want to say that kiss was a bad idea. Hang in there, dude.)
No kissing between Scarlett and Gunnar this week, just a shaggy-dog plot involving Scarlett's money troubles and Gunnar's fratty roommates that is "resolved" with Gunnar moving in with Scarlett. Avery owes Scarlett money for back rent, and he happens to be in town shooting a version of "Cribs" about his hometown, so he stops by…with the camera crew, to make sure she sees it. Scarlett is surprisingly awesome about it, clomping outside with bedhead to inform him that she's not impressed and is he going to pay his back rent or not? Avery tries the "you dumped me" argument, and Scarlett is like, "Really, cheeseball?"
Later, Avery comes by with the money and an apology. He misses Scarlett; he wants them to be friends. Gunnar appears in the kitchen doorway just then, Avery is jealous, Gunnar is irritated at Avery's presumptuousness, Avery punches Gunnar, and Gunnar comes back with a hilarious Jackie-Chan rapid-fire slap sequence that downs Avery. Scarlett orders Avery out of "our house," and Avery goes to Marilyn's and packs up all his things in a snit. Marilyn points out that he needs to grow up and realize they're using each other to get ahead, but he's having none of it, and flings himself out the door with his guitar. Decaf, Avery. Get the knack.
Odds and ends
Rayna's still getting her own label, and she wants to sign Scarlett and Gunnar, on Watty's advice.
Watty is kind of a gossipy crap-stirrer. We don't mind; we're just saying he seems to know exactly the beehive he's whacking when he murmurs to Rayna, "Weird to see Deacon out there, playing with someone else." Credit in turn to Connie Britton for stretching out a pause like taffy, then snapping, "Yes, it is."
We would say we're rooting for Teddy in that last scene, but Eric Close kills it again; we believe he really did have an epiphany, but he's also obviously very nervous about the conversation. We liked Close on "Without a Trace," but this is much subtler work that usually isn't flattering, and he's owning it.
Watch the full episode right here:
"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on ABC.