Let me start my saying that if this was your first time watching Nashville, I am so sorry. This was maybe the worst episode of the season, due in large part because of how weird the camera angles, quick, dramatic zooms, and stupid dialogue were. The word I’m looking for here to describe this episode is “unsubtle,” I think. From the totally predictable moment where Scarlett tries to visit and maybe reconcile with Avery, only to discover Marilyn walking around his living room in just a bra (who does that? Surely just women more confident than I), to Peggy’s total overreaction when Teddy tells her that for the sake of his mayoral campaign that they can’t be seen together (I mean, if she likes him at all, wouldn’t she be understanding?) to Juliette’s “Are you gay??” accusations toward Sean just because he doesn’t want to sleep with her on the third date, it was a lot of unrealistic cheese for one episode.
But for our purposes, let’s forgive all of that for a moment to focus on what we’re here for, the music. The entire episode was built on the premise that, at long last, Juliette and Rayna would have to face one another despite their mutual disgust in order to perform together at their record label’s 25th anniversary show at the Ryman Auditorium. It’s too bad Rayna and Juliette hate each other so much because watching Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere act together is really fun. Highlight of the night for me: Rayna showing up to Juliette’s home and explaining that the best compromise would be if they wrote an original song together. “You want to write a song with me?” Juliette asks, to which Rayna responds in a jolly fashion “Nope!” but then tells her it’s the only way they’ll survive this. The resulting song and performance of “Wrong Song”, the climax that exploded over Nashville and cemented their status as superstars who’ve still got it, was totally worth the annoying terrible-ness of the rest of the episode. But just to hammer that point home, it was completely unnecessary to cut to the label exec grinning and shouting “This song’s gonna be a hit!” mid-performance. Unsubtle! Of course the greatness of the performance just means we’ll get more of Rayna and Juliette in upcoming episodes.
In the clip below, posted to ABC.com, we get the back story to “Wrong Song,” written by husband and wife Sonya Isaacs and Jimmy Yeary, and fellow collaborator Merv Green. Of course, on the actual episode I was hearing the music but my eyes were distracted by Hayden’s legs and short-short dress, but this was definitely a song worthy of their big, hotly anticipated duet.
In addition to this showstopping number, we got lots of random musical references this week. From the inclusion of Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium (a.k.a. The Grand Ole Opry) and a performance from Buddy Miller on that stage, to the cameo from Wyclef Jean (sure, okay) to Scarlett’s completely weird, terribly lip-synced drunken version of “Ring Of Fire,” backed by Nashville’s own The Cadillac Black, this episode was heavy on the music references that weren’t immediately hitting you over the head. I guess I have to take back what I said about the lack of subtlety, at least in the one area where it really counts.