A wonderful mixture of drama and romance - witness the rise and fall of fortunes as this episode makes some characters, and breaks others.
The second episode of the new season of Nashville was full of drama, as we witnessed the fortunes of some characters rise while others fell. The episode was largely focused on the problems that both Rayna (Connie Britton) and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) are facing in their lives, while also exploring Will’s (Chris Carmack) struggle with incorporating his sexuality into his career. All the while, the relationships of Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen), and Layla (Aubrey Peeples) and Jeff (Oliver Hudson) face problems.
Gunnar and Scarlett are hardly speaking after last episode’s romantic moment and ensuing fight. Scarlett is as cold as she’s ever been, and fans will struggle to support her in this episode as she protects her relationship with the doctor at the cost of her relationship with Gunnar. Meanwhile Layla is feeling left out in the cold as Jeff prioritises Juliette’s career over hers, and doesn’t even bother seeing her while he’s in town. If Jeff continues this streak of behaviour, he might very well find himself without a girlfriend or a client.
Juliette is still struggling with the problems in her home life after not having seen her husband or child in weeks. No longer able to hide due to her scheduled stay in Nashville, she must face the consequences of her actions, a fact which terrifies her. She expects to come back to a furious husband who can’t forgive her abandoning him and their baby, but to her surprise, Avery (Jonathan Jackson) is willing to give her a second chance. In a scene which will melt hearts, Juliette finally admits how scared she feels about being a mother and wife, and tells Avery that she still loves him. While they manage to get back together and even seem happy, Juliette struggles to find her place again in their family and, in a fit of panic, she runs back to Hollywood and the distraction of her career.
Rayna is struggling to keep her business afloat amidst claims that her label is a flop and she has become irrelevant. Knowing she needs a big name to keep her label alive, she flies to New York to convince a popular rock and roll star known as Martin Keen to sign into her label. Thankfully, while her business life is struggling, her personal life appears to be happy and balanced. Rayna’s relationship with her daughters is still strong (at least for now), and her and Deacon seem to be in a good place. They have not seemed so happy in a very long time and it is refreshing for fans to see this side of their relationship.
Scarlett’s mother Beverly (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) remains in hospital, recovering nicely following her liver donation to Deacon last season. In a pleasant surprise, it seems that her liver is not the only thing healing, as her sacrifice seems to have earned the forgiveness of both the fans and Scarlett and Deacon. This only makes the ending more heartbreaking, as we are left unsure whether Beverly will live to enjoy her new relationships with the two.
While the focus may be mostly on Rayna and Juliette in this episode, one of the smaller stories which will arguably become more important is Will’s struggle to balance his career and his sexuality. At the beginning of the episode Will hopefully waits to hear if Luke (Will Chase) will allow him to come out publicly, but it soon becomes apparent he’s not going to get his desire; even people who privately support his sexuality will never do so publicly. All this highlighted by Luke’s devastating decision to drop him from the label. This just confirms his fears that Country isn’t ready for a gay performer – despite Will’s talent. This will undoubtedly affect his storyline as the season continues, and could potentially have a massive impact on the direction of his personal life and career.
This episode saw massive changes in the characters’ lives which will undoubtedly affect their storylines down the road. While Avery could forgive Juliette abandoning him once, it’s unlikely he can do it a second time. Will might have to choose between his sexuality and his dreams, unless he can find a label which will take him – but at least Rayna might finally have dug herself out of the pit, and found her new star.
Nashville Season 4 airs Thursday nights on Sky Living, at 10pm. Watch the trailer below.