I’ve Been Down That Road Before
Original Air Date: Feb 6, 2013
Kelly — TwoCents Reviewer
Nashville is like a soap opera for the 21st century—meaning it airs at 10:00 pm instead of 1:00 pm, which is apparently the kiss of death for actual soap operas. It’s got the secret trysts, the fist fights, the shiny dresses, and now, for your modern-era sensibilities, rude live-tweeting reviewers! This truly is a golden age.
But there’s something nostalgic about this show, too: something in it that longs to go back to intimate concert venues, stripped-down performances, and scuffed-up cowboy boots. Even Juliette Barnes wants that, and she’s the flashiest of them all. But is it even possible to find fame on your own terms? How do scuffed-up cowboy boots fit in the YouTube era?
For Scarlett, they fit just fine. I’m just going to subtitle this episode The Rise of Scarlett O’Connor; I hope you’re all cool with that. Our girl is on FIRE. One second she’s spouting out folksy sayings like “what got your fir all backwards in Texas” (more of this please, Nashville writers), and the next she has all the sass and backbone in the world. Living alone has been good to her, except for her inability to make rent. She goes to Avery to collect the money he owes her, but he refuses, because she’s the one who broke up with him. He neglects to mention that he cheated first. To make matters worse, Avery brings a camera crew with him; he’s being filmed for a special on “Avery Barkley’s Nashville.” I can only assume that all other musicians temporarily left Music City, and they were left with no other option.
Gunnar, meanwhile, is having roommate trouble. Very convenient, writers. Scarlett decides to kill two birds with one stone, or whatever the sexual-tension version of that metaphor might be, and invite Gunnar to room with her. Of course, there are ground rules: “Don’t walk around the kitchen nekkid and I won’t play my banjo in the shower.” The partners fist bump to seal the deal. Again, I cannot overstate my appreciation for Scarlett right now. Avery clearly still feels some of that, or at least thinks she might feel it for him. He goes to the old house to make it right, but Gunnar’s there, and he’s none too appreciative of Avery’s patronizing attitude. Avery punches him, but Gunnar has plenty of experience punching back. He hasn’t always been a good guy, but Scarlett doesn’t seem to mind as she tends to his wounds.
And on the other side of the country music spectrum, Juliette Barnes is singing about how she can get free drinks because she’s a girl. It’s possible that Nashville has some gender stereotype issues. The whole song is about how women get all the attention, but I can’t keep my eyes off of fluffy lion cub Will Thomas, backup dancer extraordinaire. Juliette should maybe not hire famous dancers if she wants to make her point. Then again, she doesn’t want backup dancers at all. She wants to get away from all the glitter. Deacon hates glitter (Deacon loves Rayna, though, and Rayna loves sequins, so I guess sequins are a different matter).
Juliette admits to Deacon that she feels trapped in her brand, that she’d rather play the ballads that she writes with him. Deacon’s heard this all before, from Rayna, because Juliette and Rayna are the same person. Seizing his advice and following Rayna’s example, Juliette spontaneously abandons the glitter for a pair of jeans. She starts her next show with a new ballad, Consider Me, which her team mostly loves but a certain live-tweeting critic can’t stand. We live in a society of angry tweets now, and Juliette can mostly deal with that, but not when the music is this personal. She breaks down crying and spends all evening staring at Twitter. (My favorite ridiculous insult: “Juliette Barnes is not above her sparkly pants. #juliettefail.” What does that even mean?) Finally, her long-suffering assistant shows her a YouTube video of the performance, which has almost one million views and mostly complimentary comments. Armed with new confidence, Juliette decides to start altering her brand.
Let’s hope this new Juliette gives Deacon more time in the spotlight, because he could use it. He’s already in trouble for his advice to Juliette, and the guy isn’t doing any better where Rayna is concerned. She keeps calling attention to how awkward things are between them, and it takes him three silent elevator rides before he finally works up the courage to kiss her. Then, as soon as he’s about to have a heart-to-heart chat with Rayna, Teddy shows up at her door. Teddy spends his free time mourning the fact that he still has to pay money for coffee, sleeping with Peggy—which has apparently happened before!—and somehow avoiding all paparazzi, but now he acts like he’s been waiting for Rayna the whole time. He tells her that he’s tired of waiting. He wants a divorce.
So maybe Deacon’s life is looking up after all. Do y’all think the divorce will happen, or will they drag it out a while first? And how much longer do we have to wait for Scarlett and Gunnar? And is there anything more awkward than a televised crowd shot of a fake concert? ‘Til next time, readers! Don’t play your banjos in the shower.