Thanks be to Tammy Wynette, Rayna and Juliette finally performed together in this week’s Nashville. And their bitchily delicious duet did more than polish Juliette’s image and give Rayna a much needed introduction to a new fanbase: It knit the singers’ storylines into an eminently watchable hour of soapy drama. Bring on the tour! (But first, let’s review the major developments of “Lovesick Blues.”)
THE COLEMAN ULTIMATUM | Teddy’s political opponent still has those photos of him and Peggy, and Coleman takes a page out of Lamar’s backstabbing book when he announces he’s not afraid to release them to the press… unless Rayna’s hubby drops out of the mayoral race by the weekend. Teddy again asserts his innocence. “You know what, Teddy? I believe you,” his former pal says. “I just don’t think anyone else will.” So Teddy ends things, such as they are, with Peggy via phone (stay classy, Tedster). Meanwhile, he says nothing to Rayna. Maybe it’s because they share a love so passionate he’s afraid his admission will cause her to crazy murder Peggy and… no, I can’t even get that sentence out without laughing so hard my eyes blur with tears. Take that scene where Teddy comes home for movie night – you know, the one in which the show’s writers give him and Rayna all the chemistry of two patients in a doctor’s waiting room during flu season. I take back everything I said about Rayna and Deacon’s endless break-up talks; I’d gladly re-tread that charismatic ground instead of watching these two characters politely peck each other hello and goodbye. (And if you tell me it’s just because they’re comfortable with each other after so many years, I have one Mr. and Mrs. Coach I’d like you to meet. That’s how a real, loving, long-term relationship really looks. Well… on TV. You know what I mean.) Anyway, Lamar pulls some nasty strings and gets Coleman’s drug arrest – which was going to be dismissed – back on track. By the time he clears his name, Rayna’s daddy drawls, the mayoral race will be long over.
SING AND BEAR IT | Juliette’s G-rated dalliance with angelic quarterback Sean isn’t exactly boosting her public image, and it’s killing his – a la Tony Romo in the J.Simp era. Marshall at the record label suggests that Juliette duet with Rayna — beloved among industry folk and fans alike — at an upcoming anniversary concert. Juju hates the idea. He also pitches the idea to Rayna, who’s no more enamored of it than her blonde competition. But as much as the two divas moan and kvetch, Marshall is ultimately their boss, so they both agree. (At least Rayna gets a promise that her next album will be full of her collaborations with Liam instead of the greatest hits lineup the label is pushing.) It also doesn’t hurt that Deacon shows up as a sexy voice of reason for both ladies — that man could put me on the straight and narrow any time.
When the Rayna/Juliette song negotiations break down after a particularly nasty outburst from the elder stateswoman, Ju takes off and jumps Sean to distract herself. But this is one QB who’s not trying to score. “Are you gay?” she cries before tossing him out. Don’t worry, he’ll be fine – from the looks of those abs, Sean fills his lonely hours working out with Oliver Queen. Rayna shows up at Ms. Barnes’ house soon after with an idea: They should write an original song to perform at the concert. “You wanna write with me?” Juliette says skeptically. “Nope!” Rayna replies, and Britton’s reading of that line made me howl. But they stay up all night and grudgingly throw together “You’ve Got the Wrong Song,” which I really liked but I’m not sure I would’ve chosen to bring the house down at a concert like this. I’m kinda with Juliette when she says performing untested material in such a huge venue on such a big night isn’t the best idea. But everyone seems to love it, most notably Rayna’s daughters (did you see the joy on their cute faces when Juliette walks on stage? Ha!) and Sean, who shows up to tell Juliette that he’s not sleeping with anyone outside of marriage but he really likes her. Oh, and he’s not gay. (Though I might be now, such was the power of Juliette’s aggressively short sequined number.)
SCARLETT’S WALK | Scarlett is dealing with her and Avery’s break-up by crying to her Uncle Deacon’s songs at The Bluebird and refusing to write with Gunnar. Avery is dealing with it by sleeping with manager Marilyn, playing his biggest gig yet and meeting music biz impresarios. (They’re going to bring Wyclef Jean back, right? That was one brief guest appearance.) For Gunnar’s sake, Hailey spruces Scarlett up and takes her out for the traditional heartbreak cure: tequila shots and slutty dancing. But when Gunnar sees his musical partner working the floor, jumping up on stage to sing the sweetest “Ring of Fire” I’ve ever heard and then making out with a random guy, he gets crazy. And yeah, Hailey totally notices.
Scar breaks a land-speed record running back to Avery, but she barely has time to get out, “I miss you so much –” before Marilyn saunters out of the bedroom in a bra and jeans. And still, Avery wants a Good Doo-Bee award for not sleeping with Marilyn until after they broke up. Ok, dude, here you go: I formally bestow upon you the I Kept It In My Pants for Three Days Medal of Valor. Wear it proudly. At least Scarlett’s shock has an upside: She later finds Gunnar and tells him she’s ready to get back to songwriting.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Do you want to see more Juliette/Rayna interaction? What did you think of the song they cooked up? Sound off in the comments!