What happened was truly devastating. I’m talking about when Tami Taylor died Wednesday night on Nashville. Her long, strawberry blonde locks flowing in the wind as she glanced in the distance at her past, ready to give up on everything she’d worked so hard for. A past that consisted of southern football, unexpected pregnancies, strong women, and a wet dream of a husband started flashing before her eyes as she glanced over at Teddy and Deacon, knowing fully well they’d never quite measure up. And who could blame her? If I had to start a new life where I wasn’t held consistently by Coach Eric Taylor I might have ended it all, too. And it wouldn’t have taken me until episode six. But she couldn’t go through with it. She thought she could bear to stand a life in Nashville a bit longer in Rayna James’ skin. She was going to live, she thought. But Rayna had other plans. There she was, in her new producer’s rundown barn-like studio, drinking whiskey like a drunk at a hoedown and blacking out into the abyss. Rayna had decided then and there it was time to end the life of Tami Taylor.
See, It was tricky. Rayna had so much to live up to being permanently placed in Tami Taylor’s shadow. The woman other women looked up to and the woman men hoped to end up with. She was the perfect “Cool Girl” and not in the creepy Gone Girl way, but in an actual “cool girl” way. So, naturally when Tami Taylor landed the role of the almost-as-good-but-certainly-not-the-same country singing Rayna James in Nashville, many were hopeful. Could Tami Taylor live on? Would she be like the sassy, yet lovable wife-slash-mother-slash-teacher-slash-slash-slash who never bailed on her family and always said the right things at the right time? I know I prayed it would be so. I prayed to clear eyes and full hearts and Riggins’ long dirty hair. And then the unthinkable happened: She reappeared.
It was like Tami Taylor never left us. Rayna wore her cowboy boots and graceful walk just right. She was back. Sort of. The loving wife, the frisky singer, the cool-headed business woman. Everything seemed the same. Once I forgot about the meh-ness of her new men (Deacon is hot, but he doesn’t have a varsity letter jacket), I was happy just enjoying a faux Tami Taylor presence, albeit with more hairspray. But she wasn’t happy, you see. Rayna felt trapped, trapped in a world where even her husband went home to watch Friday Night Lights, willing back the real Tami. Don’t you get it? Rayna’s anxiety, the stress she burdened the first five episodes, it wasn’t about Juliette Barnes. Not at all. It was about Tami Taylor. It was all about her fear of never living up to the unreachable standard. And so she did the only thing she could think of to put a stop to it all. No one will ever EVER call me Tami Taylor again her mind started racing. Say goodbye.
When Rayna started whipping back shots and grabbing the mic like a teenage girl at her first karaoke bar I knew it was over. The liquor swallowed Tami Taylor’s country curves and spit back a more reckless Rayna. A woman that will clearly no longer resemble the Taminess we obsessively held onto. If only we weren’t so greedy, I keep thinking. If only we let glimpses of Tami in and out, without needing more. Wanting more. Would Rayna let Tami stay forever? We can’t think like that. JUST STOP IT. We can’t go back in time, can we? We have to accept what’s already been done. As Rayna looked down into her soul at Tami, she winked, threw her hair over her left shoulder and sucked all the “y’alls” out of her.
See you on DVD, Tami. May you rest in peace.
[Image Credit: NBC]
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