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Nashville Recap: Teddy Bared

NASHVILLE - "Where He Leads Me" - Rayna needs to take a look at what's really important to her after hearing Teddy's side of the story about Peggy; Juliette feels a sense of belonging with Sean's family that she has never experienced before; Gunnar risks his partnership with Scarlett when he confesses his feelings; and music producer Dominic Wells invites Avery to Atlanta to work together while Deacon gets an amazing offer to tour -- but both opportunities come with a price -- on "Nashville"

There’s been a lot of Internet hate going around for Scarlett lately, and I think I know why: Because once you start noticing her doe-eyes and her halting baby talk and her constant pouting and her perpetually stunned look (“the Taylor Swift”) and her thicker-than-a-jar-of molasses country accent and her frickin’ banjo and her endless sniveling indecision, you can’t unsee it. But that’s just a guess. Anyway, more on Scarlett in a sec. Because with last night’s “winter hiatus” episode, the Teddy/Rayna situation finally came to a head.

I think the biggest problem with this storyline is that we’re not invested in Teddy and Rayna at all — a true botch on the show’s part. All love triangles have to have a couple that the majority of fans are rooting for (in this case, Team Deacon, of course) but they work best when both options are viable, not when one side of the triangle is completely flaccid. I can’t imagine that anyone is on Team Teddy, partly because Connie Britton has more chemistry with Lou, the key grip (made up crew guy, but you get my point) than she does with Eric Close, the actor who plays Teddy. (An aside: Didn’t Connie Britton look gorgeous in last night’s episode? Her hair, her makeup, her endless supply of strangely colored leather jackets — all on point.)

So Teddy comes clean to Rayna about the photos — that I continue to insist are neither shocking nor incriminating — and she marches all over town trying to get to the truth. First she goes to Coleman, who says: Open your eyes, woman! The photos don’t lie. (Uh, okay, if he insists.) And she ends up at Peggy’s house, where the paramedics are taking Peggy out on a stretcher because she ODed on pills. I’m not sure Peggy did this because Teddy rejected her or because her husband knows about the alleged “affair” (or both), but it briefly made her seem very woman-scorned-ish. Nice touch. Ultimately, Teddy comes clean to Rayna about his embezzlement and the cover-up and she’s none too happy about being married to a criminal. (As opposed to the overwhelming joy she experienced being married to him earlier.) Rayna’s going to have some serious soul-searching to do.

Last night’s episode also featured not one, but two characters being solicited to play in a band. (And one character being asked to ditch his band.) I absolutely love the fact that Hailey tried to get rid of her romantic rival Scarlett by pawning her off on a band. It’s just so Nashville. But Gunnar saw right through Hailey’s gambit and accused her of foul play. “I just prefer that my boyfriend be more interested in me,” Hailey sniffs. Then she breaks up with him on the spot by saying, “It’s over. It’s always been over.” (Rayna might want to borrow that line when she separates from Teddy.)

Now I’m not saying that Hailey was onto something when she suggested that Gunnar was too moon-eyed over Scarlett to be dating her, but he literally went directly from the breakup to the Bluebird Café where he planted a kiss on Scarlett. “You can’t just go around kissin’ people because you feel like it,” Scarlett says, which is a very Scarlett thing to say. “Then when should you?” Gunnar counters. Good point.

As for Avery, well he’s one of the reasons that this love triangle is done right. Sure, we’re mostly rooting for Team Gunnar, but one could plausibly be rooting for Team Avery. He was awfully sweet when he came over and presented Scarlett with that bottle of champagne they were supposed to drink together if one of them made it big (though she was somewhat less sweet for taking the bottle and not offering the poor guy a drink). And he seemed genuinely torn up on the private plane when Wyclef Jean — I mean, er, important Atlanta music producer Dominic Wells — told him he’d be better off as a solo act. (Have you learned nothing from Lauryn Hill, man?) Of course, I’m sure ambitious Avery will eventually dump his bandmates like a bad habit, but at least he was sad about it.

Deacon’s offer comes from the big country act the Rebel Kings, who are all about the sex and the rock and roll, but not the drugs. They’re sober, which is obviously a great scenario for Deacon to be involved in. (As for going on tour with a known werewolf — Yes, that was Daniel Buran from True Blood playing the Rebel Kings' lead singer — that’s another story all together.) Of course, Deacon is hesitating because he’s still pining away for Rayna. So Juliette basically tells him he’s being a schmuck. (Preach, girl.)

Last night’s Juliette story was both puzzling and intriguing. Her quarterback cutie Sean invites her to church and she agrees to go — and then when she gets there, she lays the charm on super-thick with his family, especially his kid sister, who is completely starstruck. (This leads to a “spontaneous” version of “For Your Glory” with the church’s gospel choir, the most Glee-like moment the show has ever broken out.) I really couldn’t figure out Juliette’s angle, especially when she worms her way into the family’s Sunday dinner. Is she really just so enamored with the idea of being part of a real family that she’s trying her hardest? Or is she playing the “nice card,” as it were, to win over Sean’s parents?  Either way, it’s irrelevant, because Sean’s sweet Christian mama is actually a calculating witch. “We’ve worked hard to build Sean’s brand,” she hisses to Juliette. “And we won’t see it tarnished just because he got himself tangled up in repairing yours.” (For the love of Dolly, is there not a single decent person left in Nashville?!?)

Juliette seems genuinely hurt by this exchange, but she gets revenge like only she can. In the finals minutes of the show, she sets up a big seduction scene and then proposes to Sean. (Raise your hand if you saw that coming.) Holy plot twist, Batman.

So, when all is said and done, we’ve got things set up pretty niftily for the second half of the season:

  • Rayna and Juliette, whose duet is climbing up the charts, might be going on tour together, after all.
  • Deacon might be going on tour with the Rebel Kings.
  • Juliette might be marrying God’s quarterback.

And there might be one scrupulous person left in Nashville, but I sure as hell hope not.

Photo: Jon LeMay/ABC