Nashville: I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You) Review

They say that time heals all wounds, but as the second episode of Nashville proves, a broken heart is a hard thing to cure.

Tonight’s show saw the continued rivalry between Rayna and Juliette.  What’s really interesting is that the more they clash, the more it is revealed how alike they are.  Juliette wants the same things as Rayna when it comes to her music.  The only difference is that she’s willing to sell out before she fights to be taken seriously.  From the first few scenes in which Juliette films for her new music video, it quickly becomes clear that her country-pop princess routine is all just an act.  She overhears a crew member complaining about how stupid her song is, and orders her producer to fire him.  Juliette is insulted, but you can tell she was thinking the same thing.

Having already wooed Deacon outside of the studio, Juliette tries to use their newfound…uh…”friendship” to get him to write a song with her and possibly join her tour as well.  In another perfectly awkward meeting, Juliette visits Rayna’s rehearsal to try and snag him away.  The two songstresses swap backhanded compliments like it’s their job.  Rayna is insulted, especially because of Watty’s new idea for her and Deacon to have a stripped down tour with just the two of them.  This is how they performed when they first started out, but it’s also how they performed when they were in love with each other.  Rayna doesn’t know if she’s comfortable going back to that place, but she sure as hell knows she can’t lose Deacon to Juliette.

This doesn’t stop Juliette from luring Deacon away for an afternoon of songwriting and skinny dipping on a piece of land she recently purchased.  The two do make some pretty sweet music, and Juliette shows she can do more than just Top 40 hits.  Deacon, having the agonizing task of choosing between Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, tries to burn the candle at both ends.  It doesn’t work, obviously, and he ends up having a bit of a nasty fight with Rayna that ruins a rehearsal.

Meanwhile, Teddy finds that his mayoral run is going to take a lot more work than he realized.  The biggest thing: a vulnerability evaluation in which he and Rayna both have to divulge any personal secrets they may have.  That way, Lamar’s team can manage them before they get thrust into the political spotlight.  The first thing they ask Teddy is about the bad financial investments he made awhile ago.  He’s pretty tightlipped about them, and later decides to burn what were probably some very incriminating documents.  Not a good move if you’re running for public office.

Rayna, on the other hand, is used to the public attention, but has worked hard to keep her private life private.  She’s just as upset about her husband’s new career ambitions as he is about the new idea for her tour.  During her evaluation, she imparts some concerning truths about her and Deacon’s relationship.  It turns out he had a serious substance abuse problem, and she paid for his stint in rehab.  Not only that, it was during his rehabilitation that she decided to marry Teddy.

In the episode’s weakest plotline, Scarlett and Gunnar are approached by Watty to record a demo.  Scarlett isn’t for it at first because she knows her boyfriend Avery would be upset, but is eventually convinced.  Scarlett and Gunnar have an interesting dynamic, but their story seems to take a backseat to the drama between Rayna and Juliette.  Not to mention, the supposed love triangle going on here seems a little childish since it’s obvious Avery isn’t right for Scarlett.

In the closing scenes, Rayna comes to see Deacon perform at The Blue Bird in a gesture of goodwill.  Juliette is there watching too, and is surprised when Deacon calls Rayna up to perform with him instead of her.  The duet that follows is instantly heartbreaking.  You can see the emotions from Rayna and Deacon’s past slowly creeping back every time they harmonize.  Rayna, suddenly very confused, rushes home to tell Teddy she loves him.  Love is a funny thing, though.  You never know when it’s going to come chasing after you again.  Grade: A-


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