Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 5 of ABC's "Nashville," titled "Don't Open That Door."
The music industry is an unforgiving world, filled with confusing vendettas, strategic love affairs and sometimes even #hashtags, but at least Rayna James can sing again.
It never convincingly seemed like Rayna would be "silenced" for good, but the solution still made for an A+ "Nashville" moment. Unintentionally cornered into singing at an award presentation, the usually calm and confident Rayna looks like she is about to cry. Aware that she's struggling, the audience chimes in for the chorus, and it's enough to heal our protagonist's figurative and literal scar tissue. As her vocal coach (?) so wisely said, "Healing is halted by anxiety."
Meanwhile, Jeff "Bean Counter" Fordham's reaction to Rayna's ability to sing is officially his most illogical deviousness to date. He is strangely vengeful with Juliette, decidedly mean to Scarlett, and absolutely overreacting with Will, but being angry that one of Edgehill's biggest stars can actually use her vocal chords is not cruel, it's just stupid. I mentioned last week that Jeff could be set up to function as a symbol for the dark side of the music industry. Instead, he's starting to feel like the sort of character who is evil, because he's cranky and wants everyone else to be cranky too.
Jeff's main nemesis Juliette is also known for her weird revenge plots, but they are always triggered by something at least remotely based in reality. For example, she feels deeply burned by Rayna, because veteran performer Luke Wheeler called her a "flash in the pan" (while talking to Rayna). Juliette's claim to Avery, that Rayna "doesn't have her back" is unfounded, but it is clear that she is frustrated by her inability to garner respect. [Side note: the fact that the crappiest thing Rayna has done so far is overhear someone use an idiomatic insult is pretty much proof that she is an angel.]
Despite her reactionary nature, Juliette has definitely done some maturing. There is still a ton of wrong-headed, sassy pouting, but the character development has been long grown, and it is very satisfying to see it play out. If she is successful in being more than a "flash in the pan," Juliette will likely grow into the Opry membership she has been awarded and allow the officially terrible Layla Grant to be the new princess of glitter and manipulation.
Although, it's also possible that the once "fresh from the farm" -seeming Layla Grant is much more deceptive than Juliette ever dreamed of being. Her anti-Scarlett ploy at the red carpet event was Bean Counter brand cruelty in the sense that it was malicious while yielding no calculable gain. Music is not a zero-sum game, especially when you are on the same record label.
The illogical nature of Layla and the Bean Counter is only echoed by the clear cut Lamar situation. He (falsely) believes Teddy exposed his racketeering because he blackmailed Teddy. Now he is setting out to get revenge. That's misinformed, but it makes a ton of sense. Both Jeff and Layla could be awesome villains ... but only if their villainy is tied to some reasonable outcome. But hey, maybe they're planning a grand takeover of the industry / world, and we just don't get it yet.
- Deacon really put the nail in his hillbilly characterization coffin with the line "Probably gonna read the instruction booklet to my new deep fryer."
- The Gunnar-Zoe make-out scene was one of the least sexy things I have ever seen. Who rips off clothes that methodically?
- Scarlett and Deacon's uncle-niece / surrogate father-daughter chemistry was a really sweet note in the episode's wrap-up.
- Also, apparently Clare Bowen is adorable in real life:
— Clare Bowen (@clarembee) October 24, 2013
"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.