It's the midseason finale, though last week's Rayna/Juliette duet seemed like the perfect way to go out for Christmas. Instead we get this episode that tied up a lot of loose ends that I guess people were clamoring for? I'd have been happy waiting a bit, especially after seeing what happens with Juliette, but let's start with everything else first.
Scarlett made such an impression with her horrifically breathy rendition of "Ring of Fire" that Hailey thinks she should front a band, so she sets her up with info to audition. Scarlett has a pretty voice, but the mousey girl is way too shy to really be a front person. When Gunnar gets wind of this, he gets pissed because he thinks it will take time away from their songwriting. Well, he really thinks that it will mean that he won't get to moon over Scarlett as she terribly lip-syncs all day long because she'll be busy with her other interests. And Hailey catches on to Gunnar's real purpose, so they split up. Hailey can definitely do better than this knock-off Zach Gilford. This all makes it so Gunnar can go kiss Scarlett and make everything all weird and awkward between them, so that she won't even sing the song they wrote in public together. Yeah, that's frontwoman material right there. But the two of them did manage to make some progress on their songwriting career, and it all gets celebrated in one of the most painful toasts of all time.
Avery, if anyone actually cares at this point, plays for Wyclef John and gets invited to Atlanta on his private plane to do some recording with him. Well, that's all contingent on the fact that Avery has to dump his band, which is comprised of dudes he's been friends with since middle school. Awkward. Also awkward was Avery bringing Scarlett a bottle of bubbly that they were saving for when he made it big, and the toolish guy finally admitting they should have celebrated when she got her writing deal.
Deacon has some friends in a newly clean and sober band called the Revel Kings, and they want him to go on tour with them as their guitarist. The one dude has a cool guitar-shaped pool, which is how we're able to tell that this band is big time rich. Well, that and the fact that every time Deacon name-drops the band, people flip their lids. He waffles for a long time, talking to Juliette and Rayna, who both tell him he'd be a dumbass not to do it since they've got their own shit going on and don't have time for him anymore.
Rayna's shit consists of her former friend Coleman showing her the pictures of Teddy and Peggy in compromising positions. She naturally goes and calls Teddy out, and finds out that he wasn't having an affair (allegedly) but that instead he is a total thieving liar and everyone from her dad to her sister knew about it and kept it under wraps. After Peggy ODs, the affair thing becomes more and more suspect. And after Coleman leaks the pictures, Rayna ends up doing the whole good wife thing, making a grand public statement about how she loves her husband, all so she can protect her kids and family.
Also in Rayna land, her single with Juliette is doing gangbusters, and the two of them are invited to co-headline a major stadium tour. Well, duh. Who didn't see that coming from about 200 miles away?
As for Juliette, well, this one's a doozy. So she's ignoring calls from her mother (her only family, as Deacon points out) and has insinuated herself into Sean's family. Going to church with them, singing with the choir, gifting his sister with a pair of expensive cowboy boots, inviting herself to Sunday dinner, etc. But Sean's mom is wise to Juliette's corrupt reputation, and puts the kibosh on that, saying that Juliette's actions are just for publicity, and that she fully intends to keep the trashy gal away from her son's public image at all costs. So, Juliette does what any insane person would do: She invites her good Christian boy over for dinner, and then tempts him with sex and then proposes marriage to him. Good lord. -- Angel Cohn
Previously: Scarlett butchered "Ring of Fire" in a way that will make the ghost of Johnny Cash haunt the scraggly curls of her weave for all eternity, and this somehow made everyone love her MORE. Tim Tony Tebow Romo was all about purity and wouldn't have sex with Juliette, while Cole pressured Teddy to drop out of the mayoral race or risk having his incriminating photos with Peggy revealed. And Juliette and Rayna did a fantastic duet that is totally going to thwart their goal of never having to interact with one another again.
We enter post-Ryman show, with Rayna walking backstage and saying that her duet with Juliette was a lot more fun than she expected. Liam puts his arm around her shoulders in a rather intimate way, lending credence to my theory that these two are eventually going to bone. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later, to be honest. Bucky gives raves and Liam notes that it wasn't half bad, apart from the company. And here I thought he wanted to nestle himself in Juliette's pert bosom? Or maybe he's talking about Deacon. Marshall declares that Edgehill is going to release "You've Got the Wrong Song" as a live single. He's otherwise speechless, but Rayna only has to engage in the mildest form of arm-twisting for Marshall to agree that he's excited to release her new album. He welcomes Liam to Edgehill Republic, and Liam's too-cool-for-school reply is, "Yep." Okay, so he IS kind of a jagoff. But still, top quality boning potential. Everyone is so happy, what could possibly ruin this moment?
On cue Teddy walks in, like the Debbie Downer he is. He tells everyone not to let him stop the celebrating. In response, everyone except for Rayna leaves. WAH WAH. On his way out Marshall tells Rayna to make sure that Liam behaves, but she says she can offer no promises on that one. Liam then gives her a flower and a kiss on the cheek, because: future boning. Rayna wants to stay for a glass of champagne, but Teddy says they can have one at home. Cut to home, where there is no celebrating to be had. Teddy has just told Rayna about the pictures. She can't believe that anyone -- especially Coleman -- would leak photos of two people talking. BUT WHAT IF THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT STEALING ALL KINDS OF MONEY? Teddy says that a fabricated affair is not going to make him drop out of the mayoral race, which prompts Rayna to ask if the affair was indeed fabricated. He says that he did not have an affair, and Rayna quite legitimately wonders what he was doing wandering around in a public park at night with his ex-flame. Teddy makes up a lie about Peggy's marriage being in trouble to deflect Rayna's question, which does not seem like the right way to go. She worries about the effect that it's going to have on their children, and then wonders why Cole would do this. She asks if winning this election is so important and Teddy says, "Apparently so," in the calm manner of one who has sold his soul to the devil and so has the devil's help in appearing to act genuine.