Annndddddd we're back. It's only the second week of Nashville, but I have to say it feels like this show has been on for years. The amount of drama and plotlines broached in last week's episode alone could have been enough material for the entire season. But that can only mean it's about to get really good. If you didn't already READ MY RECAP, let me catch you all up to speed. Tami Taylor Rayna James (Connie Britton) is the queen of country, you see, but suddenly her producers found some wrinkles on her face and discovered Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), a pretty young (blonde) thing, and decided it was time to give RJ the boot. Well, they gave her the option of co-headlining with Juliette, but HA, as if. Rayna's dad is some big-time politician in Nashville (he even had a whole day named after him! Yep!) and let's just say they don't meet eye to eye. Her band leader Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) is also her one true love, but of course it couldn't work out the way they both dreamed it would. And as if Rayna didn't have enough to deal with, her shady-ass husband Teddy Conrad (Eric Close) is now running for mayor under the wing of his controlling father-in-law. OH, and young, perfect, smiling, wide-eyed hopefuls Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) just so happened to take the stage at The Bar, Bluebird, and wow everyone (including RJ's old-timer producer Watty White) with their money-making melody. There was SO MUCH more because, again, it was essentially four series melded into one 40-something minute episode. But I'm just tired, I can't do all the work for you. SO I'M MOVING ON NOW. Are you ready for more cliches?!
Spoiled Young Star
Juliette Barnes is filming a music video in a white pleather number that looks straight off the Strawberry racks when she hears a PA saying her songs are for 12-year-old girls. OH HELL NO. She is so appalled by this comment she demands he be fired. Immediately! "And where is Deacon Claybourne?!" she shrieks. (Isn't it just awesome that his last name is spelled like Jason Bourne? Note to self: Watch that after this.) She's no better than Taylor Swift. Oops. Rating: 3, because there's no way "Juliette Barnes" would agree to wear that sticky, tacky mess of an outfit. Not even Britney Spears would do that.
Back to Your Roots
RJ meets with Old Man Watty for a touch base on Scarlett and Gunnar's mind-blowing performance. "I haven't seen that kind of chemistry since you and Deacon," he says through wise, grey eyes. "You should get back on the road. Just the two of you." RJ flicks her strawberry locks and coyly says that it's a crazy idea, although deep down she's picturing the two of them whispering lyrics to each other in the van, napping against a warm window, watching the scenery pass by as if nothing had changed at all. She's intrigued. Rating 8.5, because I can't think of one country song that isn't about getting back to your roots.
Jealous (But Probably Right) Husband
Not that he doesn't have a reason to be, but of course when RJ brings up touring with Deacon to Teddy he rolls his eyes, doubting his smokin' hot wife. He goes into his campaign trail and how he'd love to have his wife by his side, which is, OKAY, understandable. Actually, RJ is acting a little cray. I mean, she is married with kids and living with a husband going into politics. Is it really her time to hit the road, playing in honky tonks? Maybe, maybe it is the perfect time. Rating: 1, because when is the husband actually right?
Playing Hard to Get
Old Man Watty ain't waiting a second longer before booking Scar and Gungun. He wants them HOOKED. Hell, he even offers to pay for their demos! GG is all like, "OMG, really? That's awesome!" Meanwhile, Scar runs away like a scared little kitten — like he's just asked her back to his hotel room. This is not going to be easy. Nope. And that's just how he likes it. Rating: 5.5, because it's a Goddam singing deal. AND YOU'RE A WAITRESS. Can't think of anyone who wouldn't jump at the chance.
I mean, REALLY, Juliette is young enough to be RJ's daughter. And now they're both after the same guy. DEACON, of course. Aren't you guys paying attention? RJ and Deacon are about to record a song when Juliette pops up and makes some suggestive comment about finishing what they started. He brushes it off in front of RJ because he wants us all to think he's a true gentleman. But no. Juliette sits out back in her teal pick-up truck, listening to her own songs and crafting a Rayna voodoo doll, patiently waiting for Deacon to exit the studio. And as soon as he does, she pounces. It's time for an adventure, apparently, and Deacon is so stoked he forgets RJ is a mere 4 inches away, then hops into her car like a horny teenager. I mean, honestly D? We want to like you! We're rooting for you! ANYWAY, she drives him up to some large plot of land and talks about fairy tales of building a home there, a place where she can be herself. It's all very Notebookesque, only she's Ryan Gosling's and Rachel McAdams' unborn child, not one of the actual characters in the love story. Because, again, she's a baby. "Ready to get started?" B asks, and that's all Juliette needs to hear as she wraps her lanky arms around his neck and gets right to it. FRENCH KISSING. Just like she learned in the basement party she was at last week. He finds it adorable. Rating: 9.5, because this exemplifies all that we hate, but love at the very same time.
Snooty Southern Moms
What's the point of setting a show in Nashville if you can't stereotype passive aggressive women with accents? No point, no point at all. So, it's only natural that when RJ comes to some political gathering of sorts, she run into the polished women of the town. "You should really put out another album," one of them says to RJ. She shortly replied, "It's out." Mom No. 2 innocently asks, "Do they have it at Starbucks?" at which point RJ whips her perfect ponytail around and walks away. Rating: 7.5, because Starbucks, really? That can't be right.
Juliette and Deacon. That's all. Rating: 10, because.
Some lawyers in matching suits and ties are cornering Teddy in an office about some sort of money shadiness. It's all very brief and confusing, but something is sketchy. And that can only mean one thing: corruption in politics! How unusual! He's got secrets all right, lots of them. And he's quite handsome, so, well okay, no real point there. Back in the big office with Lamar Wyatt, he explains that his main message to the people who have worked under him is to not mess with him. Man, he is one scary wolf-like creature. He's talking to a man who's presumably been working with him (and if I should know his name, I'm sorry! THERE ARE SO MANY STORYLINES IN THIS SHOW BAHHHH) and he counters that Lamar's main message is that, "Loyalty is a one way street with you. Whatever you give, you're gonna get back." Touche? Rating: 8.5, because where there's country music, there's shady biz.
Juliette casually has a messenger drop off a gagillion dollar guitar as a gift for B while he's working with RJ, and he's all, "Oh, it's nothing!" And RJ's all like, "Stop hanging out with Miss Sparkly Pants!" And now they're in a fight. She makes a dramatic exit — trying to emulate Juliette's high school behavior, perhaps — and slams the door. Rating: 9, because girls will be dramatic no matter how old they get.
Was waiting for this one to come out. So, RJ almost absurdly opens up about her past and current relationship with D. She says he's still in her life, very much so, but romantically, things ended when he went to rehab. OF COURSE HE WENT TO REHAB. This explains everything, right? Right? And now he's sober. But is he? IS HE? RJ looks out into a dark cloud and says, "If he hadn't gone to rehab, he probably would not be with us today." And guess what? She paid for his treatment. So it's like she was bribing him, too. For his love, if you didn't get that. She swears she didn't continue sleeping with D while he was in rehab. But she is an awful liar. Oh, such an awful liar. Rating: 9, because drugs, alcohol, country, of course!
Back at the Bluebird (where else), D is strumming and singing along with a huge crowd. RJ and Juliette are both sitting in the audience, dreaming of him playing there naked, looking into their eyes. D's song is over, and he introduces a very talented singer up to the stage with him. Only it's not Juliette. NOPE. She looks as crushed as a 17-year-old boy being turned down by his crush at the school dance. I really almost feel for her. She's trying to be "Cool Girl," but she's not. She's just "Girl." A girl looking for a little country love of her own. Anyway, RJ hits the stage with D and they say they're going to sing a song they performed nearly 20 years ago. Only they don't sing, they just eye-f*** each other for a solid four minutes, and it's quite erotic. It even turns Scarlett's mind around about singing with Gungun, because she sees what they could be. Hell, even Old Man Watty is getting turned on in the corner. EVERYONE IS RED IN THE FACE. Jesus, is this Rated R? Rating: 9.5, because Juliette being so jealous she runs out of the bar is a memory just about everyone can remember from high school. Also, young love never dies.
[Image Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thorton/ABC/KATHERINE BOMBOY-THORNTON]
Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl