Teddy ‘fesses up to Rayna in this week’s Nashville, a move that makes the prospect of co-headlining a long tour with a bratty blonde suddenly seem attractive. Elsewhere, Scarlett and Gunnar do what we’ve been wanting them to do since the pilot, and Juliette determinedly finds a way around Sean’s no-sex-before-marriage vow. Before the country-music hour goes on a break until the new year, let’s review the major events that take place in “Where He Leads Me.”
THE WHOLE TRUTH? | We pick up right after Rayna and Juliette bring the house down at the record-company’s anniversary concert, with Ms. Jaymes sipping champagne, high-fiving Liam and getting a very happy Marshall to agree to release her new album (and not the greatest hits collection he’s been pushing so hard). Aw, it’s nice to see Ray-Ray all fizzy like this. Leave it to Teddy to murder his wife’s buzz by suggesting that they go home quickly; what we know – and she doesn’t – is that he’s got to tell her about the photos of him and Peggy. “I find it really hard to believe that anybody, especially Coleman, would try to leak photos of two people talking,” she says upon hearing the news, skeptical of Teddy’s claim that he and Peggy were meeting because she was distraught about her husband leaving her penniless. “So she came to you for accounting advice?” Rayna says, her soft drawl doing little to hide her doubt. At Coleman’s campaign headquarters, Teddy’s opponent gives Rayna copies of the pictures and asks, “If that’s not an affair, then what is it then?” Tandy withstands Rayna’s anger about being left out of the seedy loop, then maintains that Teddy is the same good man she set her sister up with all those years ago: “He’s the opposite of Deacon and Daddy.” (Side note: Aha, Tandy! You’re the one to blame!) Meanwhile, Teddy gives Peggy the brush-off when she shows up in tears at his office; her husband doesn’t believe there’s nothing between her and Rayna’s hubby.
The photos wind up on a blog, which means Peggy winds up taking too many sleeping pills and getting an ambulance escort to the hospital. Rayna tells Teddy – how does Lamar not already know this? Half the housewives in Nashville were gawking as the stretcher left Peggy’s house – and he chooses that moment to tell her the real truth about the criminal financing of the Cumberland deal. He swears that’s all there is to the story… but I’m still going to hold off on my Conrad for Nashville campaign contribution for a while, cool? The situation’s only upside is that it precipitates a Rayna-Deacon interaction that isn’t filled with accusations and wound-to-kill barbs. And when Deke tells her he’s been approached about going on tour with the newly sober, very successful Revel Kings — a gig he later accepts — she’s genuinely happy for him. Aw. Eventually, Teddy holds a press conference to give the assembled reporters “the truth” about the pics, and Rayna lends him a little of her wholesome star cred by showing up in support of her man. When he thanks her, she tells him it’s all for their girls.
It’s even more interesting, then, when Marshall gets Rayna alone at the end of the episode and makes an attractive pitch: A tour with Juliette, 50/50 split, closing the show on alternating nights. Why do I feel like Teddy’s opinion is the farthest thing from Rayna’s mind when she tells Marshall “I’m not sayin’ no”?
THE RING THING | Juliette’s so busy dodging both calls and Deacon-delivered letters from her rehabbing mom, she barely has time to try to get into Sean’s pants. Of course, he shuts her down – nicely. (I do love that she thinks she can just cleavage-and-seductive-eyebrow him into giving up a lifelong belief. Our girl is nothing if not determined.) When the hunky QB remarks that celibacy until marriage is just the way his parents raised him, Ms. Barnes wangles an invite to meet them at church that Sunday. It goes as well as it can. Sean may not be the choirboy Ju likes to call him, but his little sister actually is part of their church’s music group. At her request, Juliette sings with the choir, though the way that goes down feels a little self-aggrandizing; was I totally off base to think that, even as a soloist, she might be robed up and in the pews with the rest of the singers? Ju also manages to wedge her way into the Butler family’s Sunday dinner afterward, and it’s painful to see how much the simple idea of being part of a loving family makes her light up with real joy. Mama Butler snuffs that joy right quick during a private moment when Juliette thanks her for the invitation. “Well you didn’t give me much choice,” she says icily. “I’ve read about you. I’ve read about your mother. You, this family… don’t hold your breath, sweetie.” That gets more than an ouch. Yup, even though Juliette is a total bitch who probably karmically deserved that and more, we’re in yeowtch territory. File this under “Oh yeah?”: Not long after, Sean shows up at Juliette’s house one evening to find Yankee Candle Company’s entire inventory lit by the pool and his lady all gussied up with a question on her mind: “Will you marry me?”
IF I DIDN’T KNOW BETTER | Hayley and Gunnar break up after he flips out because she suggests that Scarlett audition for a band looking for a lead singer. He’s mean and creepy about it, and Hayley replies exactly the way I want her to: “That doesn’t sound possessive and weird at all!” (Gotta say, I don’t love how Gunnar defaults to accusatory and pissy when he’s upset. It kills the sensitive, guitar-strummy thing he works so well.) Pretty much the minute they’re done, Gunnar makes a beeline to his blonde songwriting partner and plants one on her. “Sorry. I’ve wanted to do that since the day you walked in.” She’s totally into it for about three microseconds before she starts freaking out, and her conflicted feelings later lead her to suggest that they write separately. His lameass reaction: “Separately? Sure, fine, whatever. Good luck with your new band.” OK, Gunny, that’s going to be at least $5 for the d-bag jar. Anyway, Jeanne is oblivious to her songwriters’ heartache, because she’s got good news: An artist has put their tune “Fade Into You” on hold – meaning there’s a good chance it’ll get recorded. Hayley unenthusiastically pours champagne and they all take part in a hella-awkward toast.
Elsewhere, Dominic flies Avery and Marilyn to Atlanta on his private jet. Long, greasy story short: Dom wants Avery to ditch JT and the band and pursue a solo career. Avery’s not down with the idea at first, but Marilyn cautions him think about his future. He does have a redeeming moment earlier in the episode, when he visits Scarlett and gives her the bottle of celebratory champagne they planned to drink when they hit it big. “We should’ve opened it when you got your deal,” he says and then leaves without additional drama, which makes me like him just a leetle bit. Now we’ll have to wait and see: Will Avery be more loyal to his band and childhood friends than he was to his lady?
Now it’s your turn! Did you laugh when Rayna told Deacon the Teddy situation was “complicated” and Deacon replied, “That’s the last thing I ever thought he was”? Do you think Scarlett and Gunnar will kiss (again) and make up? And is there a chance in hell of Juliette and Sean’s relationship surviving this latest development? Sound off in the comments!