Oct 18, 201211:36 AMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
TV Recap: Top 5 Things You Need To Know About Episode 2 Of 'Nashville'
Rayna James worries about dredging up her past — which, to paraphrase William Faulkner, she may not really be past after all — in “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You),” the second episode of Nashville, the new ABC series about chasing dreams and spinning schemes in Music City. If you missed all the drama Wednesday evening, here are the Top 5 things you need to know before tuning in next week.
BLASTS FROM THE PAST: Rayna still refuses to “co-headline” with sexy young up-and-comer Juliette Barnes, even though it’s obvious the career-stalled country music icon would lose money on a solo tour. When her advisors suggest a third alternate — that she tour smaller, “more intimate” venues accompanied only by Deacon Claybourne, her band leader and ex-lover — she’s less than enthused. And Teddy Conrad, Rayna’s politically ambitious husband, isn’t happy at all that his wife may be spending so much time away from home (and from his mayoral campaign) on the road with her former paramour. Even so, Teddy is willing to acquiesce if Rayna does something equally unpleasant for him: Submit to questioning about possible skeletons in her closet by consultants conducting a “vulnerability study” for his campaign.
YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT: Juliette also is unhappy that Rayna and Deacon may be spending so much quality time together, because she’s eager to make Deacon a major player in her professional and private lives. She’s certain that, with Deacon as a songwriting partner, she’ll be able to shake her image as a bubblegum pop-country songbird with a mammoth fan base of fawning teen-age girls. But she’s more than willing to interrupt their songwriting session in a secluded stretch of countryside by playing kissy-face, and then stripping to go skinny dipping. (He appears ready to join her in the water just before the episode discreetly segues to a commercial break.) Trouble is, even after gifting him with a $50,000 guitar and offering him… well, everything a pretty young thing can offer a guy, Deacon remains steadfast in his decision to tour with Rayna.
HARD CHOICES: You may remember the scene near the end of last week’s episode when Scarlett, Deacon’s lovely young niece, and Gunnar, a promising young singer-songwriter, collaborated on a song adapted from her poetry and then sang together on stage at the famed Bluebird Café. This week, Nashville music industry gray eminence Watty White — who caught their Bluebird performance, and was suitably impressed — offers to finance a demo recording if Scarlett and Gunnar can write and perform three songs. Scarlett hesitates to accept the offer, because she fears how Avery, her struggling musician boyfriend, would react to the news that she’s been given such a golden opportunity. As it turns out, when Avery does find out about the offer, well, he doesn’t exactly jump for joy, but he doesn’t forbid her to accept, either. Back at the Bluebird, Scarlett and Gunnar reunite just in time to hear an impromptu duet by Deacon and a very special guest: Rayna.
INSIDE POLITICS: Teddy performs reasonably well during his “vulnerability study” interview, but the consultants report to Lamar Wyatt — Rayna’s father, Teddy’s father-in-law, and Nashville’s richest and slimiest power broker — that the mayoral hopeful sounds a little shaky when it comes to discussing the details of a real estate investment that went spectacularly sour. Lamar actually is happy to hear that his son-in-law may be hiding a few embarrassing details about his business dealings. (“I like a mayor with secrets! Makes him easier to control!”) But the ice-cold conniver is noticeably less pleased when he’s paid a visit by rival mayoral candidate Coleman Carlise, Lamar’s former ally and Rayna’s long-time family friend. Coleman knows that Lamar is bankrolling Teddy in the upcoming election because Coleman refused to support Lamar’s plans for a baseball stadium in downtown Nashville. But Coleman warns that he won’t take Lamar’s dirty dealing lying down: “Whatever you give,” he says, “you’re gonna get back.”
INTIMATIONS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS: During her own “vulnerability study” interview, Rayna insists that she and Deacon broke off their romantic relationship years ago, while he was in rehab. Still, they’ve remained good friends and professional collaborators. Which is why, even though she’s a bit miffed about his involvement with Juliette, she drops by the Bluebird to hear his set. (Meanwhile, back at their house, Teddy tosses reams of business documents into the fireplace. Destroying incriminating evidence, perhaps?) But when Deacon asks Rayna to join him on the Bluebird stage, Scarlett and Gunnar (and Watty) aren’t the only major characters in the audience. Juliette also is on hand to witness the former lovers singing a soulful duet that strongly suggests that, hey, maybe their breakup was more apparent than real. Juliet is so shaken by the obvious intensity of the performance that she leaves before the song ends. And afterwards, Rayna and Deacon appear shaken by the reawakening — possibly temporary, but maybe not — of their old feelings for each other. (“Now what are we going to do?” Deacon wonders aloud.) Rayna rushes home, and tells Teddy she loves him. Teddy says nothing about lighting fires or harboring doubts.