So, I have to admit that when this episode began, I became concerned that the reunion of Rayna and Deacon was just going to be boring and that my entire investment in their relationship had been based solely on their mutual tortured yearning. Not so! They continue to torture each other, but ALSO be awesome together because: true love. So shut up, everybody else who thinks that their getting together is a bad idea. It is the best… at least until it becomes the worst again.
But I am getting ahead of myself! Rayna and Juliette are both nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Awards, and Juliette REALLY wants to win. Bobble head dolls are involved. She also REALLY wants to drink, and to make sure that the woeful tale of Dante stealing half a million dollars and more than half her heart never gets out. Her ability to barely keep it together is shattered when she learns that Dante used her credit cards to buy an engagement ring (presumably not for her), and she switches from celebratory mimosas to sad-times vodka. Not good.
Deacon and Rayna are all happy about their reunion until everyone else starts psyching them out. As I said before: shut up, everybody else. First Tandy says that Rayna and Deacon are all or nothing and should clarify if they actually want a relationship or not, because this whole thing could implode rather quickly. Then Cole thinks that Deacon should get back with Stacey since Rayna only messes with his mind. And then Teddy (who is already feeling sensitive about the fact that Maddie doesn't want to go to her school's father-daughter dance with him) freaks out when Rayna tells him that she and Deacon are maybe back on. He tells her to break it off before she spills the guilt-ridden beans about Maddie's true paternity. Which, to his credit, almost happens, like, 15 times in the episode.
Speaking of Coleman, he tells Tandy he's not willing to play dirty with her to take Teddy down, and then resigns as deputy mayor because of Teddy's dickishness and penchant for poor decisions. Cole's wife thinks he's just staying out of the fray so he can take over after Teddy's inevitable downfall, but wouldn't it be more strategic to stay as deputy mayor in that case? And why am I even wasting time thinking about the dull political subplots?
Back to Rayna and Deacon! They have a clandestine makeout session at the studio, which gets mildly tainted by her concern at kid-based logistics and her rather mundane superstar life. Deacon is totally down with spending wild evenings eating s'mores and watching chick flicks, and makes it clear to Rayna that he's not looking for a way out. Neither is she, though she does want to take it slow. And then they make out some more, and everybody wins! Oh, except for Stacey. She shows up inside Deacon's house (which is why you never give the key!) and apologizes for overreacting about Rayna. She is surprised to learn that it was no overreaction and that he's kicking her to the curb. He does give her Sue as a consolation prize, though.
And then a lot goes down at the party Edgehill throws to celebrate Rayna and Juliette's CMA nominations. First the two divas have to pretend to like each other, which is always amusing. Rayna and Deacon run into each other and she's a little weird, having come from the Teddy freakout conversation. Deacon knows she's hiding something and she doesn't want to tell him what it is, and as if things aren't tense enough already Juliette shows up drunkenly screaming. Deacon quits on the spot and goes outside to honk his horn in rage, and Juliette needs a pinch fill-in for her performance at the party. Avery steps up and does a competent job on lead guitar as she gets drunker. He manages not to bang her even when she wants to and generally looks nervous the entire episode.
Rayna runs into Scarlett (accompanied by master networker Will, since Gunnar is off recording a demo and pretending Jason's songs are his own and generally being a huge dick), then is shipped off in a limo by Tandy, who reiterates Teddy's demand to stay off the Maury show and keep mum about Maddie's paternity. And then Deacon jumps in the limo and you think he'd still be upset about the fact that Rayna's hiding something, but in fact he says it doesn't matter. Because: true love. So she can tell him or not tell him and that it's all fine with freakin' Deacon. Allegedly. They go back to his place and sing duets on the couch while she wears his shirt with no pants. Could anything be better? Possibly this exact moment not tainted by the guilt of a 14-year old secret.
Meanwhile, drunkerstein Juliette is taken home by her bodyguard and tucked in by Jolene, who knows a thing or two about sleeping one off. Just when you think these two might bond over their shared miserable experience, a phone call comes in from Dante. We see Juliette say, "What kind of tape?" That does not bode well.
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Previously: Teddy felt strongly that Maddie was his daughter, no matter whose DNA she shared (not his). Gunnar took on a new, rougher image involving armpit sweat and his dead brother's lyrics and caught the attention of a producer. Rayna eschewed a bonefest in St. Lucia with Liam to show up on Deacon's door and tell him that she loved him. Bonefest ensued. You know you're having a good week when any decision you make results in a bonefest. Tandy proposed an alliance with Cole to take down Teddy, and cowboy neighbor Will put the moves on an unreceptive Gunnar. Finally, Dante stole half a million dollars from Juliette and skipped town with his actual girlfriend/partner in grifting. Oh, AND in fabulous news, Nashville has been renewed for a second season! HOORAY!
We enter with Juliette meeting with a bunch of suits in her new house -- you know, the one she bought from Dante's grifter girlfriend disguised as a real estate agent. This whole place has to burn down (with Dante inside) in a "Sunny Came Home" moment, right? I feel quite certain that Juliette also does not believe in transcendence. The suits are from a security firm, and Juliette hired them because she doesn't want the police involved. Nonetheless, they apparently think she should call the police, given that Dante stole $500,000. Juliette explains that she can make the half a million back in two nights. What she can't do is get her reputation (or what's left of it) back, and it will be totally ruined if word of this gets out. Dante also apparently took Juliette's credit cards. The accounts have been frozen, and the firm is tracing any charges that Dante made overnight. While Emily goes to answer the phone, Juliette reiterates that Dante means nothing to her, and the money means even less. She finally gets some good news when Emily tells her what the call was about -- she's been nominated for female vocalist of the year at the CMAs! Juliette is obviously pleased, and cites the award as further reason why the sad tale of how Dante swindled her with new agey talk and sexytimes can never get out.
You know who's having a much better morning? Rayna and Deacon. We join them in bed together, glowing from their reunion/bonefest the night before. They are so cute as they talk about how she steals the covers that it's actually a little disturbing. I've never seen them be in the same room together and not be at least a little bit tortured! They smooch and we get to see Deacon's hunky arms. They smooch some more, and she says she never wants to leave the bed. Deacon tells her it feels like she didn't. I mean, SOMEONE had to learn some new tricks over the past decade, right? What Rayna has not learned to do, apparently, is silence her phone. It's been ringing off the metaphorical hook. Deacon is like, "Do NOT answer the phone when I'm about to give you a morning sexytime, woman," and tells her he's been waiting 14 years for this so wants her all to himself. She's on board with this plan, until they both realize that it's Maddie on the line. She's called with news of Rayna's CMA nomination for female vocalist of the year. Rayna thinks this is, "Awesome!!!" Maddie adds that Juliette is nominated in the same category. Rayna thinks this is, "...awesome." Maddie wants to stay home from school to go dress shopping, but Rayna is all, "Not today! I'm busy boning your biological dad! Kthxbai!"