Well, this winter finale did not disappoint. Teddy confessed to Rayna, Gunnar (finally) made a move, Juliette popped the question and Deacon may be leaving Nashville. The episode successfully ramped up a lot of the plots we’ve been watching for the past two months and added a lot of suspense about what may happen come January.
The episode began with a celebration of Rayna and Juliette’s performance and soon to be smash hit single. It was so good in fact that Marshall agrees to release Rayna’s new record instead of the insulting greatest hits he’d previously been pushing. Rayna is the happiest we’ve ever seen her, but luckily Teddy is there to ruin all those good feelings. He insists that they cut the celebration short and head home, he has some news of his own to share. She takes the news that a cheating scandal is about to rock their family pretty calmly. She takes Teddy at his word that it was merely two friends talking, but the doubt is there. (“I find it really hard to believe that anybody, especially Coleman, would try to leak photos of two people talking.”) So she goes straight to the source and confronts Coleman. He shows her the pictures and Rayana is thoroughly convinced that it was more than a friendly heart to heart.
So, Teddy makes another confession, no he isn’t a cheater, but he is a big fat thief. Somehow Rayana fails to see this as a better option. Still, she is a disciple of country music so when the line is drawn she stands by her man at a press conference; though she makes it very clear she is only doing it for the sake of her daughters. In fact, when Marshall, again, pushes the idea of a tour with Juliette (this time with them alternating nights as closers) she is much more receptive to the idea of getting back on the road and away from her family.
Feeling left out of all the husband hijinks, Juliette makes it her mission to sleep with Sean, and given his strong personal beliefs, there’s only one way to make that happen. First, though, she has to meet his family. Sean invites her to church with them and we get to see a side of Juliette we’ve never seen before; a sweet choir girl. It’s almost painful to watch how desperate she is to be included in a loving and stable family. To that end she manages to get herself invited to Sunday dinner, but given the awkward pause before Mrs. Butler actually issued that invite it was obviously forced. And yes, as soon as the matriarch and Juliette were alone Mrs. Butler made it very clear that she wanted her son to have nothing to do with Juliette or her mother. A low blow for sure and it’s usually not a good idea to provoke someone as volatile and cunning as Juliette. Tell her she can’t have something (like Deacon or Sean) and that only makes her more devoted to getting it. A fact she proved when she invited Sean over for a poolside candlelight vigil and asked him to marry her. We didn’t see Sean’s answer, but the upcoming episode clips showed Juliette in a wedding dress. We’ll still have to wait and see if she actually makes it down the aisle.
In other relationship news Gunnar is still in love with Scarlett; although I’m gonna have to side with Hayley, it’s beginning to look a little possessive and weird. After seeing her boyfriend make googly eyes at his writing partner all night Hayley makes the logical decision to give them some space and recommends a band looking for a new singer to Scarlett. When Gunnar finds out he flips out, in a most unflattering way, and breaks up with Hayley. Free from the relationship of convenience, he heads straight to Scarlett, tells her how talented she is and sweeps her off her feet with a passionate kiss. Scarlett, not used to the behavior of non-sleazy men, reacts with shock and pushes him away. She also refuses to take the stage with him that night (forcing him to perform alone and make up for all that unattractive behavior earlier) and suggests they write separately for a while (and its back to unattractive). Amidst all this turmoil their boss calls them in and announces they’ve gotten another big shot! An artist has put their song, “Fade Into You”, on hold which is the step right before they record it. Hayley pours the champagne, but the boss is the only one who looks genuinely celebratory.
It’s a lot to think about for the next month!
– Devin Mainville