Harder to Shine Than Undermine
Nashville Season 1 Episode 2 recap
Guys, don’t freak out.
It’s FINE. It’s the second episode, and that’s the episode that gets made with an actual deadline and a production schedule and episode 3 breathing down its heels. Plus, episode 2 is all about laying enough pipe that we’ll continue on the journey of these people. So okay, it wasn’t spellbinding, and people say Exactly What They Mean. It can still improve, because the show has enough sense to do scenes of Tami – that is, Rayna - talking about important things in a marriage while getting ready for bed in a T-shirt.
But the title of this article is a line from one of Juliette’s surprisingly resonant songs, and it’s true. This show doesn’t shine just yet, but there are moments where you know it could, right?
Let’s start with what’s most bothersome first. Little Miss Oh-I-don’t-write, Miss My-Boyfriend’s-the-genius…I just can’t, here. Am I supposed to feel connected to her and her shyness? I don’t, I can’t. One thing the show has done really well, really fast, is to show us how important Watty White is, and the idea that she had the nerve to not take his offer to record their demo seriously really bugs me, by proxy. Someone who doesn’t want it doesn’t deserve it. Isn’t that true? If it isn’t, shouldn’t it be?
I also think it’s worth mentioning that Scarlett and her someday-love (because the show is laying it on a little thick, with the Rayna & Deacon = Scarlett & Gunnar) seem really, really naïve for what this town is supposed to be. In addition to the “everyone thinks they’re together but they aren’t” throughline, plus the “her boyfriend is an assh*le” element, I’m finding it’s hard to like this girl. Am I wrong? If there’s an opportunity, you take it before it goes away. If you’re not the kind of person who wants to do that, get out of the way! Am I being too simplistic?
But a few of the characters on this show seem more naïve than I would have given them credit for. Deacon tops the list, of course, because he seems genuinely surprised that that pesky, chirpy Juliet won’t stop chasing him, that she really does want to write songs, that she’s better at it than he expected. I really want to like Deacon, because he loves our girl
Tami Rayna, and obviously she sees something in him, but he’s coming off like a dolt, from the way he climbs into Juliette’s little dinky car (I researched, and it’s a vintage Chevy pickup, but it looked like it was made of Playmobil) without thinking of how that would look to everyone else – follow her in your own car, man! - to his temper tantrums at Rayna that not-secretly scream “I want youuuuu”. Also, he screamed at her “If I want to fight like this, I have a damn girlfriend!” Um. You do? Who is she? Does she know about the other two women occupying your heart and mind right out in the open?
Maybe this is the way of things in Nashville, because Juliette is not being subtle, either. I don’t totally buy yet that she is secretly a woman of substance but that’s okay. I do buy that she’s sick of her own Taylor Swift-ian image and wants more than what the 12-year-old-girl fanbase can provide for her. This is who I expect to see around Nashville, and the fact that yeah, she likes guys and sex but she’s really focused on her career, on maturing musically, and maybe on the lack of real love in her life? Sure. I’ll bite. The overwhelming sentiment coming off last week was “Hey, Hayden’s not bad” and I think there’s merit in that. Whether because it’s not far off from who she is herself is a different story, but I understand Juliette. I don’t understand why Deacon would accept the $50,000 guitar (what did he tell his “girlfriend”?) but I understand her.
Which leaves us with Rayna. Do I understand Rayna? Let’s say “sometimes”. I think she’s a lot more full of sh*t than she lets on, and I think that’s a good thing for an interesting show, but despite my jokes earlier in the recap, Tami Taylor she is not.
For example, people who hate their daddies don’t keep on showing up at things. I know, her husband’s running for mayor, but she could have cut bigger ties longer ago. I’m just saying. And then…if you were worried about protecting your marriage, well, would you go on tour with the man who was the love of your life? The one you were still “entangled” with when you met your husband?
Does Rayna love Teddy?
She kisses him and shows up to things and I get how you can love one person but hold a candle for another but I don’t know, something between them feels awfully antiseptic, even before she runs out the door to sing a haunting song of love with Deacon. She seems…a little too willing to jeopardize her marriage. The scenes of exposition near the end of the episode give us backstory on why she and Deacon broke up in the first place, but still. She and Teddy are clinical, right? We also learn in the end that Teddy, too, has something to hide, and yeah, bring on the soap aspect, but...
I don’t really want to save Rayna’s marriage. I don’t really want her with Deacon though, either. This might be a problem. I want them to sing haunting, gut-punch songs at each other and then regret it in silence, but that’s not the same as wanting them together.
Attached - Hayden Panettiere promoting Nashville in NYC this week.