"Nashville" knows that there's always been something incredibly romantic about a couple singing a duet. The second episode of the new series, "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)," ramped up the intensity of the three love triangles and put the feelings of our main triangle to the musical test. Sure, there was some political intrigue and career drama, but the real hook of the show was Rayna and Deacon rekindling that country music flame on stage, singing their old songs together.
All about JulietteNashville music guru Watty suggests to Rayna that she and Deacon embark on an intimate tour together, capturing the kind of romantic magic he saw from Scarlett and Gunnar at the Bluebird. Rayna isn't sure they can recapture the magic they had when they actually were in love. She also can't help but be worried about any tour, now that her rival Juliette is turning up the heat big time on trying to woo Deacon over to her tour instead.
Rayna is confronted with Juliette's success wherever she goes, starting with a traffic jam on the way to her daughters' school that's caused by the young starlet shooting a music video. Rayna continually has to grin and bear it as people around her, including her daughters and socialites at her husband's campaign, gush over how great Juliette's music is. Then there's the little diva herself, always turning up to snark about Rayna's "little tour" and making no secret of the fact that she thinks Deacon is better off with her.
Grass is greener"Nashville" emphasizes how unhappy Juliette is: A storyline that adds depth to the series. The fact that she's pretty, young, and successful seems to mean she can get whatever she wants in life. Unfortunately, one of the things she wants is to be considered a legitimate artist. She bristles when she overhears a sound guy on her video dissing her as a pop star who only appeals to 12-year-olds. She confesses to Deacon that the person she is right now is whatever persona will sell the most records.
This episode of "Nashville" saved the best scene for last, as Rayna visits the Bluebird after a long absence and joins Deacon on stage to perform one of the songs they wrote together. As Juliette watches them from her seat in the enthusiastically applauding audience, we can see how emotionally crushed she is. Even though she pretends to be superior to Rayna, it's clear what she wants more than anything are the two things her predecessor has -- musical legitimacy and the love of Deacon. So far, no songwriting sessions, bedroom sessions, or gifts of expensive guitars can make the guitarist look at her the way he looks at Rayna.
Politics as usualRayna grudgingly agrees to sit down with her husband's advisers to discuss any personal information that might turn into a political landmine if discovered by the opposition. We learn now that the reason Rayna broke up with Deacon was because of his serious drug abuse. Future hubby Teddy came onto the scene, looking a heck of a lot more responsible, and that was that. We're not sure we quite believe her, however, when she says they never had any romantic relationship after Deacon went to rehab.
She wouldn't be the only one keeping secrets. The advisers report back to her father Lamar, of course, informing him that Teddy seems to have concealed something when talking about his failed land development deals. Lamar seems happy that there might be something to bribe his son-in-law with. We later see Teddy burning paperwork in the fire, so it's a good bet he is hiding something that could be very damaging to the campaign and himself.
Young loveWatty offers Scarlett and Gunnar a demo if they come up with three songs together. With Avery struggling in his own career, Scarlett considers holding herself back for his sake. She and Gunnar have a heart-to-heart, where he wisely tells her that she obviously wants more from life -- and that it doesn't sound like love if her boyfriend won't support her dreams, as well as his own. The young poet thinks Avery really will support her, and so far he has been fair about it, though understandably suspicious of the other guy's motives. After the added push of seeing Rayna and Deacon on stage, she agrees to pair up with Gunnar for the demo.
Meanwhile, the two vintage country stars have obviously found their groove on stage again quite easily, and it isn't long before their heartfelt performance begins to feel very real. Sitting in the car and briefly talking after the show, it's clear Rayna and Deacon have stirred up some old feelings. Rayna gets herself out of there, running to her own car and getting herself home, where she hugs Teddy with a lot of emotion. Common sense says she probably shouldn't tour with Deacon -- the temptation could prove too great to resist.
Tune in Wednesday, 10/25 at 10 PM ET to find out what happens next on "Nashville."
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