Well, this episode of Nashville sure featured a lot of whining. Some of it was merited, but certain characters also just can't seem to get out of their own damn way lately. But then, that's true to life! Let's take a look at how each character fared in "Guilty Street."
Rayna: Poor Rayna's still reeling from her father's death and her deep feelings of distrust and disillusionment in her family. This led to her coming very close to firing Tandy from Highway 65, though she didn't seem ready to take that step definitively yet. I completely understand her frustrations with Tandy, who's been wallowing in the very grief for Lamar that Rayna has disavowed. No wonder it's doubly painful for Rayna to deal with the recent revelations that Tandy knew of Lamar's misdeeds - while watching Tandy express the emotions towards their father that she's trying to keep smothered within herself. It's a painful and deeply sympathetic battle that Rayna's fighting here. Even so, and despite Tandy's foibles, I hope the sisters can patch it up and work together to keep Highway 65 up and running.
Luke, meanwhile, is back on the scene and creepier than ever. I mean, I just don't know how a woman as smart as Rayna doesn't notice that there's practically a blinking neon sign on the man's forehead screaming "beware creep!" I'm kind of hoping that Luke isn't as bad as I suspect, and that this relationship doesn't have too prolonged of a dragging-on period (unlike, say, Megan and Deacon, sigh - more on which to follow).
Luckily for Rayna, Juliette came to her at the end of the episode to ask about getting onto Highway 65. I think that this is a tremendously awesome idea. Yes, it's going to be hard for these ladies to work together. Even though they begrudgingly feel some level of friendly admiration towards one another, their personalities are destined to clash. But if they can work through that, their combined musical genius would yield fantastic results and really cement the label as a force to be reckoned with.
Let's move onto another plotline that also included Rayna...
Scarlett and Liam: I'm extremely disappointed in the way Rayna handled this situation. However, I totally understand the amount of stress that she's under right now, and the lack of patience she has for "breach of trust" issues. It was a perfect storm.
That said, sending Liam packing and then letting Scarlett believe he left of his own accord was dishonest and will not in any way aid Scarlett's continued growth as a person. Scarlett was finally starting to act like a full-grown woman again, an artist with confidence and complexity, thanks to her collaboration with Liam. If he was going to act the fool and break her heart, that was for him to do, and for Scarlett to deal with like an adult. Coddling Scarlett and treating her like the "kid" Rayna labels her is only going to send her right back to the warmed over, self-pitying child she behaved as for most of the season.
We also don't absolutely know that Liam would have hurt Scarlett (though again, if he did, these formative experiences are necessary pains, especially living the life of a successful country artist - how much longer could Rayna have shielded Scarlett from every player who comes along? Yes, I know Rayna feels responsible for exposing her to this particular player, but still). In not even giving Liam a chance to either be a real man or screw it up on his own terms, Rayna's dismissing his ability to step up to the plate.
Given his deep conversations with Scarlett about how he feels isolated and thinks about not having anyone in his life, I'm not sure Liam wouldn't have committed to Scarlett somewhere down the line. Their chemistry and connection, despite the regrettable "pills" tangent that thankfully seems to have evaporated, were well worth pursuing. Knowing this show, though, and knowing how these things tend to go in real life, I don't doubt that Scarlett will one day learn why Liam really left.
I do, however, entirely agree with Rayna's words of wisdom to Scarlett about not relying on others to draw out her talent as an artist. Scarlett does need to stop defining herself only in terms of who she's close to at the time.
Avery, Juliette, Gunnar, and Zoey: Is there some rule saying that once one member of a relationship (Juliette) gets all their ducks in a row, the other one (Avery) has to immediately start making pointless problems for themselves? Le sigh. I adore Avery, but he's better than this week's meandering complaints over Juliette paying for dinner or Gunnar being too gung-ho about the new band. From whence has this sudden ennui of Avery's sprung? He's never had less problems. Dude worked long and hard to reinvent himself from a pretentious, selfish sap to a thoughtful, mature individual of true integrity. Now that Juliette's finally done the same, it's probably okay for him to just enjoy their still-new relationship, as well as the wonderful prospect of the musical project with Gunnar and Zoey.
The reason why Gunnar is so excited about the band is because...it's exciting! These three have the chance to go far together, so to see Avery act so condescending towards him was sad. I know that Gunnar has his own bursts of immaturity, like rushing the first gig or calling Avery out for having a "rich girlfriend," but I expect Gunnar to be like that sometimes. Avery's above such silliness, or at least, he's more than capable of being so.
While all of that was a little bizarre, I did enjoy seeing how things came basically full circle by the end of the hour. Gunnar, Zoey, and Avery played excellently together and we saw the friction between the two guys fading on stage. And Juliette showed how much she values Avery's respect by denying Jeff Fordham's contract (what a relief! I loved seeing her waste that expensive champagne sent over by the infinitely evil record exec, by the way). Since the two issues facing Avery essentially evened out, here's hoping he won't waste any more time worrying about nothing.
Deacon, "Megan," and Teddy: Whatttt. Okay, I'm finally at that level of complete disregard for "Megan" that I must do her the insult of placing quotation marks around her name, which represents my coldest and most disapproving tone. Is she even serious in this episode? Why did she hook up with Teddy? Does she have genuine feelings for him, or is she just sexually drawn to screwed up men dealing with terrible problems (see also: when she first met Deacon)? At best, she's selfishly indulging her own appetites while betraying Deacon and taking advantage of a grieving, confused Teddy (who just found about about the terrible "Peggy's fake pregnancy" plotline). Ew.
This also means that "Megan" now has two men caught in her web of boredom, which can't bode well for future episodes. It's past time the show shed this indulgent, irritating character.
Meanwhile, Deacon was off being completely faithful and noble while avoiding both the chance to party around alcohol, and the well-meaning advances of a sweet past acquaintance (a back-up singer from various Rayna tours). When he ever told "Megan" he loved her, it was beyond wince-worthy. It's bad enough that Rayna and Deacon aren't together, but having them each date such awful alternatives seems indicative of the extent to which they can't romantically function away from each other.
Will and Laila: I just don't know about this little subplot. It's enjoyable to the extent that one can truly sympathize with both of these characters and enjoy the unique, yet problematic bond between them. Seeing Will try to help Laila as she was ignored by Jeff was proof of his kindness, despite his dishonesty in dating her while trying to repress his homosexuality. Clearly, they can't connect on a level past friendship. While that friendship is real, what's left of their relationship is headed down a painful path for both of them.
What did you think about this week's Nashville? Share your thoughts in the comments!