Nashville: Season 1, Episode 3
Someday You'll Call My Name
Welcome back to Nashville, y'all. This week's episode continued to build on the two main storylines of Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes. We learn a little more about the skeletons in their closets and the episode focuses on each woman making a hard choice between her own career and ambitions versus the needs of her family.

The show opens once again with Juliette's "Telescope" playing (is this going to be a regular thing? The song is catchy but not that catchy). Instead of a music video shoot, this week we see Juliette at a photo shoot. She takes a break from pouting for the camera to check in with her manager: no, Deacon has not signed her exclusive touring contract yet, and Juliette's mom is back! She was looking for Juliette at the record label's office, insisting she would want to see her. Sadly, she's given $100 to leave. Juliette is obviously unhappy with both these updates and reminds her manager his job is to manage these problems for her. When he informs her that Deacon will probably not sign a deal, Juliette says she always gets what she wants and will take matters into her own hands.

Juliette leaves a voicemail for Deacon, reminding him that if he wants to record "Undermine" for her new album then he should come by the studio. Deacon eventually comes to record. While singing, the cameras focus in on both Deacon and Juliette's faces, which give away the emotions the lyrics make them feel. When Deacon asks Juliette whom she is singing about, she admits her Mom but will say no more. Deacon is equally coy about the muses for his lyrics on the track. After this semi-emotional moment, fast track a few hours to find the couple lying post-coital at Juliette's house, continuing the heart-to-heart from the recording studio. Juliette admits to Deacon she was disappointed he did not call her on stage at the Bluebird the other night and that she wants Deacon to respect her musically like Rayna. Juliette deftly moves from this admission to seductively trying to convince Deacon to join her tour. While evidence from prior episodes show that the sentiments behind Juliette's admissions are true, the way she weaves these into her recruitment of Deacon makes you wonder just how calculating Juliette really is, what is real and what is the part she plays. Clearly, Juliette is very comfortable using every weapon in her arsenal to get what she wants.

These plans seem to be on track as we cut to the next morning and Deacon is still sleeping in Juliette's bed. However, she gets an abrupt awakening when her security team notifies her there is a visitor at the gate. Juliette drives down to find her mother pacing outside, shouting her name, and being handled by security. This is actually the second time in the episode Juliette's mom found her and took her off guard. The first was outside the recording studio; Juliette immediately fled the scene without confronting her. In both instances, Juliette has such a physical reaction to seeing her mom; you know there is a lot of hurt in this relationship. I think Hayden Panettiere does a great job in these moments: reappearances by her mother are the Achilles' heel to Juliette's tough exterior. At the security gate, Juliette finally confronts her mom about how her drug addiction hurt her childhood, how she didn't have a mother when she needed her, and how she will now not help her mother when she is in need. Juliette's hardened her pain into a serious survival instinct. She walks away, leaving her mother crying at the gate. It seems as though Juliette as made her final decision to choose her own needs over those of her family. Juliette returns home, only to see Deacon about to leave. She is clearly disappointed: despite her tough front, she wants emotional support and approval. Deacon is not ready or available to fill those needs.

Because of Juliette's earlier ability to completely dismiss her mother, I have a hard time believing she would acquiesce so quickly to her manager's suggestion to have her mother live with her temporarily (maybe she just isn't as hardened as I thought). After the scene at the security gate, her mother is arrested downtown for stealing food and is discovered to have Oxycontin on her possession. While this is certainly better than her being on the streets, it seems like a better (and still feasible, Mr. Manager) solution would be to check her into rehab immediately. But hey, this makes for better TV!

The combination of her mother's move into her home and a final rejection from Deacon sends Juliette back into her self-destructive habits we saw (and loved) in the pilot. Like most twenty something gals, Juliette knows nothing clears your head quite like a drugstore shopping spree. After grabbing bags of chips and jars of queso, Juliette heads to the nail polish section (Stars, they're just like us!). In plain sight of some girls with smart phones (who had the savvy to recognize her despite Juliette's go-to disguise, a fedora), Juliette stashes a bottle of nail polish into her purse.

I am very excited to see this new story line unfold for Juliette. Pursuing Deacon and dealing with her mom were fun to watch but have come to their natural conclusion. Juliette's acting out reminds us that, despite her success, she is still a young woman with a troubled past who has not made peace with her demons. These irresponsible and rash acts are the one thing that can damage what she cares about most, her career.

Switching gears to Rayna Jaymes, this too was an episode of choices. As her tour with Deacon looms, the consequences of going on the tour becomes clearer. A tour with Deacon will mean reliving the scene at the Bluebird, but with a dozen songs a night for weeks on end. Their onstage chemistry was palpable; Rayna recognizes more duets like that can only end one way. A tour with Deacon would be a test to her marriage she would surely fail. However, touring with Juliette would mean becoming the second fiddle and abdicating her throne as the Queen of Country. To make matters worse, a meeting with financial advisors confirms Rayna and Teddy are still in financial trouble, thanks to campaign spending, Teddy's shady 2008 dealings, and their lack of liquidity. Rayna is certainly feeling the pressure.

Fuel is added to the fire when Rayna's father, Lamar Wyatt, sends her a $500,000 check. Rayna is still vehemently opposed to accepting money from her father and becomes more perturbed when he includes a list of conditions that come with the money, namely restricting Rayna from touring or recording more albums. When Lamar, flowers in hand, turns up at the girls' talent show the same day the check was delivered, Rayna is furious. In her eyes, these overtures are only a way to force his influence on her family.

A later scene with Rayna and her sister Tandy (I wonder if her contract stipulates she will only appear in one scene per episode following the pilot) sheds light on Lamar's motivations. Tandy reveals that, when making arrangements following their mother's death, she discovered their mother had a long-term affair with a singer-songwriter. This relationship obviously devastated their father, who now sees Rayna repeating her mother's mistakes and hurting her family. I was a little unhappy with this revelation because I enjoyed Lamar as a clearly villainous puppet master on the show. While Tandy exposes Lamar's human side, Rayna fortunately reminds us how heartless he can be when she confronts her father about the affair. Rayna icily tells Lamar he probably gave her mother good reason to seek love outside their marriage.

Despite Rayna's resentment towards her father, his warning reaffirms her own previous worries. This episode, Rayna and Deacon have also been skirting around each other, avoiding speaking about their Bluebird duet and its implications on their tour. They finally meet to talk after Rayna's scene with her father. Each knows what has to happen, that a tour together may satisfy in the short-term but will only lead to long-term pain for many. Rayna describes saying goodbye to Deacon like saying goodbye to music itself. They have been musical partners for over twenty years. This is more than losing a bandleader or a songwriter; this is the end of a friendship, or even the end of a marriage.

Rayna and Juliette are both seeking independence from the parents they seek to escape. Each woman has a scene where they bluntly tell their parents how their actions let them down in their childhood. However, they also prove they share the same qualities they despise in their parents: Juliette's capability to be reckless and irresponsible and Rayna ability to be as icy and calculating as her father. By the end of the episode and despite their own misgivings, Rayna and Juliette both yielded to the needs of their parents.

During the first three episodes of Nashville, Deacon has been pulled by Rayna and Juliette in two different directions. His function thus far has been to display the wants and needs of the two leading women. I was surprised when Deacon declined Juliette's final offer in the closing scene. Going forward, he will be a free man. Because we know so little about him, I am curious to see what happens with this character.

The secondary story line of the love and music triangle between Scarlett, Avery, and Gunnar also kept moving this week. Gunnar and Scarlett continue to work on songwriting; Avery pouts because he is threatened by Scarlett's promise and Gunnar's presence in her life. I was surprised when he took a turn at the supportive boyfriend role, helping Scarlett overcome her fear of recording in the studio. However, by episode's end we learn his motivations are not altruistic. Volunteering to go to the studio with Scarlett as support also gives him face time with Watty White, the legendary producer. Even if he can't convert this exposure into a record deal of his own, helping Scarlett record can only lead to his own financial gain. Scarlett's devotion to Avery is so strong; I do not see her voluntarily leaving him. When she surely becomes a commercial success (I think her voice is incredible) he will be there to benefit.

Scarlett continues to serve as an interesting foil to Rayna and Juliette. She always puts the needs of her relationship above her own career potential. Rayna and Juliette only make these decisions when they've calculated that no other options are available.

Scarlett and Gunnar's duet at the close of the episode "I Will Fall" did a nice job continuing the trend of framing the episode's conclusion described in last week's review. This song is about an old wound opening again when the memory of heartache returns ("Just when I think my heartbreak has settled down/I will fall, I will fall if you come around"). The song plays over Rayna and Deacon's break up, Juliette's infamous trip the drugstore, and even Lamar looking through old photographs of his wife he kept in the top drawer of his desk all these years. The initial pain a family member or lover can cause never truly leaves the characters on Nashville. This pain haunts the actions taken and decisions made in "Someday You'll Call My Name" and likely episodes to come.

Episode Grade: B

Random Musings:

-While I enjoyed watching this episode, the evolution of each storyline was predictable and characters' emotions stayed subdued. Going forward, I hope to see more shocking plot twists, highflying emotions, or both, from the characters.

-Rayna's girls are precious and have amazing voices! They remind me of a slightly older and country-fied Sophia Grace and Rosie (with a disturbing knowledge of side-boob). Their performance of "Telescope" was great and makes me wonder if there will be any push to make them Country Starlets in future episodes. Lucky for us, this is not the only duet they've revorded.

-Trouble is definitely coming for Teddy. An audit of the credit union where he sat on the board, investigating back through the years of his own financial demise, spells trouble. The question is whether the revelation of his wrongdoing will occur during the campaign or after he is elected mayor.

-I said it before, but I'll say it again: one fedora does not a disguise make. Step up your game, Juliette.
Tags: Nashville
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