12/05/2013 08:34 am ET Updated Feb 04, 2014

'Nashville' Recap: "I'm Tired Of Pretending"


Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 9 of ABC's "Nashville," titled "I'm Tired Of Pretending."

"I'm Tired Of Pretending" centered around a nexus of daddy issues. As Maddie becomes caught up in the implausibly juvenile interactions of Deacon and Teddy, Rayna and Tandy struggle with their respective torment over Lamar's imprisonment. And, once again, the James-Claybourne-Conrad-Wyatt clan tangle themselves into a narrative fit for a backwoods country song.

The Lamar racketeering bit was established so long ago, that it's difficult to recall Tandy's vindication in exposing her father. With the resurfacing of his case, we're refreshed on just how little Rayna knows about her sister's dealings, and with Deacon moping/ dating someone new, and Teddy pouting/ married to crazy Peggy, Rayna is alone. Of course, she has Maddie and Daphne, but when it comes to the world of adult relationships, it's not surprising that she would feel a void, especially when her daddy issues parallel those of her daughter.

Entangled in Deacon and Teddy's immaturity, Maddie's struggles are centralized. It's interesting that the time Maddie spends with her biological father seems to push him back to the music industry ... but the actual time they spend together is not particularly interesting. Ultimately, the drama that surrounds the stage is what "Nashville" does best.

Speaking of, Juliette's rivalry with Layla has ripened into, perhaps, the season's best story line. Layla and Well make marvelous secondary characters, and I absolutely love the fact that there is no need to establish some faux romantic connection between Juliette and Will. Their duet was incredible and the post-show scene in the bar indicated a genuine platonic chemistry between the two. Perhaps that will be an outlet for Will to do some much-needed exploring of his sexuality?

Layla's sociopathic vengefulness is really soapy and a tad unrealistic, but tied to her career and those implicated in it, so it works (lol TMZ). Also, her song was almost as excellent as Will and Juliette's duet.

So, just to be clear here, "Nashville:" more songs, more music industry.

There were some interesting aspects of Season One, where the city of Nashville almost seemed like a character in and of itself. For a while, the political dealings were interesting, but they haven't even felt vaguely purposeful this season. In "It Must Be You" we got a taste of Nashville's upperclass in juxtaposition with the country stars we've come to know. Yet, all of those potentially interesting structures have proved unsustainable as dramatic factors of the "Nashville" universe.

The lack of intrigue associated with non-music-industry story lines is rather clear when you consider the four-way Scarlett-Avery-Zoe-Gunnar love triangle (love square?), "Nashville" is a soapy show. In terms of genre, that kind of thing should be gold for Callie Khouri and Co. Instead, the most exciting aspect of that plot line was trying to figure out whether Scarlett was wearing long johns to bed (false alarm: just a white shirt paired deceptively paired with white leggings).

There is one episode left before the show goes on winter hiatus. So, aside from an hour-long concert featuring mostly duets from Rayna and Juliette, there is not a lot to hope. That said, in the new year, can we please focus on the music industry? Am I repeating myself enough? Also, more songs, please.

As for what's up next, yesterday E! reported an that a "well-known character" would be killed off before the end of the second season. That kind of harbinger could be seriously distressing, especially in anticipating the show's winter finale. Yet, rather than worrying about losing a beloved character, I was debating whether I'd rather see Zoe, Gunnar or Peggy get the axe.

Peggy is probably the most obvious choice here. But, when you think about it, would it really do much damage to pull any character besides Rayna or Juliette? After "Hanky Panky Woman," I wrote that perhaps the issue with "Nashville" this season is it's lack of a concrete opposition, but upon second thought, the "well-known" characters the writers are threatening to pull aren't super compelling themselves.

Loose Ends

  • I wonder how many times Scarlett and Zoe have explicitly referred to each other as best friends. "She's my best friend." "We are best friends." "How are you doing, person that is my best friend?"
  • Also, Scarlett's naiveté has now gotten so out of control that it is symbolized in the form of pigtails. I am so exhausted by that girl, I just want to give her the third grade teaching job she always dreamed of and pull the plug on the whole dopey fame thing once and for all.
  • Juliette using Will's "best version of yourself" quote in breaking things off with Charlie was really vindicating. She don't need no man (and that includes really handsome and rich ones with sexy accents).
  • "It's tough to juggle a diva and a diva-in-training" might be the best wisdom Season Two has to offer. Thanks, Brent.

"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on ABC.


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