Nashville: You Win Again Season 1 Episode 11 Review

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Nashville triumphs this week, with its strongest episode yet since the series premiere.

As the show has progressed, one thing has become abundantly clear.  It’s at it’s best when dealing with anything related to Rayna and Juliette.  The dueling divas carry the show so well that the rest of what happens just seems like filler.  Luckily, this week put the two songstresses front and center and kept the background noise to a minimum.

Due to the success of their duet “Wrong Song,” both Rayna and Juliette are invited back to Nashville for a party hosted by their label.  The two aren’t exactly on the best terms, particularly because Juliette feels Rayna and Liam are excluding her when they’re onstage together.  She isn’t wrong, but one look at their performance will tell you that it’s more about the growing chemistry between Rayna and Liam than it is about pushing Juliette away.  Of course, the ladies don’t have too much time to bicker with each other.  While back in their hometown, they each have to deal with the personal messes they left behind when they went on tour.

First there’s Rayna’s troubles.  Connie Britton has always been great on this show, but the actress truly shines in this episode as she confronts the various men in her life.  She rushes home to see Deacon, who isn’t in high spirits after a negative article is written about him.  They engage in a heartbreakingly honest conversation, which really shows how much Deacon still feels for Rayna, and how hard it was for her to let him go.  Next there’s Liam, who encourages Rayna to join another record label, but only because he’ll get a signing bonus if she does.  Rayna is insulted that he doesn’t seem to view their pairing as a partnership and immediately fires him.  He’s able to get in a few jabs at her husband before he goes, though.  This leads to Rayna’s final encounter with her husband Teddy.  The two finally open up to each other, and agree that though their marriage isn’t perfect, it’s definitely worth fighting for.

Meanwhile, Juliette must attend her mother’s court hearing to determine if the criminal drug charges against her will be dropped.  After she gives a halfhearted speech in her defense, the court determines that another hearing must be held after Jolene completes rehab.  It seems as though Juliette is once again pushing her mother away from her, but after a touching moment in which Jolene admits how truly proud she is of her daughter, she finally begins to let her in.

The B-plot this week involved Avery’s old band asking Scarlett and Gunnar to join them.  Scarlett is very gung-ho, but Gunnar is too preoccupied with his fugitive brother to care.  I’m all for multidimensional characters, but this new layer they’ve added to Gunnar seems unnecessary.  He’s supposed to be the nice guy foil to Avery’s bad boy character, and it seems out of place for him to be yelling at Scarlett too.  Not to worry, this part of the episode was dealt with in a very minor way, unlike last week’s melodrama. Gunnar ends up joining the band and all is well.

The greatest thing about Nashville is that, although there is a lot of conflict, it all plays out with a relaxed quality that makes it seem very realistic.  This week’s episode truly showcased that, as none of the fights that occurred felt forced or over the top.  Of course, just when it seems as though everything has been patched up, another wrench is thrown into the mix.  Juliette invites Deacon to come tour with her again and he accepts.  This move brings back up the trust issues between Rayna and her husband, and further deepens the rivalry she has with Juliette.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.  Grade: A-

By Mike Papirmeister

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