Notes on Nashville: Not Ready for Her Close-Up

On the fourth episode of Nashville, the past is quickly threatening to engulf the present for our stars, seasoned but conflicted Rayna and young but vulnerable Juliette. The show has officially finished introducing us to the characters, and moved on to introducing new people in the hopes of further mucking up their lives. Mission accomplished so far.

After (shop)lifting that bottle of nail polish at the end of last week's episode, Juliette wakes to a knock at the door from the police, who have seen the video (4 million hits and climbing), and present her with a summons. Shoplifting is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee, and she tells them to "get a real job."

Over the next hour, the young star manages to erode any kind of sympathy and goodwill she may have accumulated thus far, with viewers and her fans alike. In her defense, her junkie mom is still crashing with her, and her belated efforts of trying to be maternal include making Juliette pink macaroni, formerly her favorite meal. She's not hungry.

Those 4 million hits don't happen in a vacuum, naturally, and everyone from Katie Couric on down is talking about Juliette's light-fingered video. Her no-nonsense publicist has even flown to Nashville from Somewhere Important to give her a talking-to. She arrives while Juliette is doing yoga, trying to "center" herself, only to be blown off: "I have a tour to prepare for... isn't there any other news?"

"Namaste," she says by way of "fuck off." Haha.

Meanwhile, Rayna dreams she's in bed with Deacon, but wakes up to her husband asking if she's going to spend the day in bed. Her task this episode is to sing at a fundraiser for his mayoral campaign, which involves associating with the country-club wives who are hosting it.

Wouldn't you know it, they are old rivals from way back. Not only did they used to make fun of Rayna in high school but one of them, Peggy, appears to have had some sort of past romantic association with Teddy... or maybe they still are.

This leads to the best scene of the episode. At the fundraiser, Teddy, Deacon, Rayna's tycoon dad Lamar (aka Powers Boothe, Texan badass) and Rayna are all in the same room together, with predictably explosive results. At a mere $1,400 a plate, Lamar tells Deacon, "there's no reason for you to look presentable."

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Deacon also squared off against Teddy, who said, "What you know about politics couldn't fill a shot glass." Not sure that's exactly the right place to go after him, but it's probably on the same football field.

Let's get back to Juliette. Watching her self-destruct on camera was both educational and hilarious. Educational just in case I suddenly turn out to be Nashville's next big thing (lol), and hilarious because she nixed the dress they wanted her to wear because she thought it made her look "hillbilly" and "poor." What happened to wanting to be just like Tammy Wynette?

Despite her publicist's best efforts, Juliette does everything wrong during her post-shoplifiting Good Morning America interview, too: Blaming other people ("everybody wants to be young and famous"), claiming she only put the nail polish in her bag because it would have slipped out of the shopping basket (ehhh), and allowing Robin Roberts to bring up her mother's drug bust. Strike three. Interview over, tour cancelled.

The Scarlett/Gunnar/Avery subplot got more convoluted, and is now bordering on tedious since there was no new Scarlett & Gunnar song Wednesday, routinely the best in the show. Instead, Gunnar poached a yogurt from the office fridge at his new publishing company, and may have stolen the heart of the young assistant to whom she claims it belongs. (Eye roll.) Her name is Haley, and Scarlett spied Gunnar leaving her place the morning after the whole publishing crew went out to dinner. Oops.

Rockerboy Avery was a shit as usual, practically throwing a tantrum at that dinner and leaving Scarlet to drive home without him. He would be developing into a real heel, except he's just too damn pitiful. Now that Haley is in the picture, it looks like Scarlett may be stuck with him for a while.

No Classic Country Moment this week, but Rayna did finally get to sing an entire song, a turgid midtempo rocker called "Changing Ground." (I wouldn't turn it off the radio, but wouldn't download it either.) The best part was watching Teddy inch his way to the back of the room while Rayna and Deacon tried to work out their issues using only their eyes. They've all still got a lot of work to do.

Next Week: Someone throws an actual punch. It's about time.

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