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Nashville Recap: Their Lips Are Sealed

Do you know what Nashville needs? More record contracts.

I’m serious. It seems like all you have to do is burp onstage at the Bluebird and someone will thrust a record contract in your face, so why not a few more? I’ll just toss out one example: Gunnar. Remind me again why Gunnar doesn’t have a record contract? I mean, I understand that he got a little irresponsible and ragey last year after the death of his brother and blew his one chance — but couldn’t he get another chance? Does not the collective record signing community (People of Contract?) notice that he’s super cute, has a beautiful voice, plays the gi-tar, and writes his own music? Considering that Edgehill (and now Highway 65) hands out contracts like Oprah hands out Pontiacs, you’d think they’d find a spare one lying around to give the kid. For that reason, his whole “I don’t want to be a songwriter, I want to shine!” story line just doesn’t ring true to me.

And now I’ll toss out another: Maddie and Daphne. Am I the only one who gets a dreamy, blissed-out look on my face every time those cutie-patooties sing? Sure, Maddie has been a bit of a PITA lately, but as soon as she and her sis get to crooning (“I learned a new song. Probably sound better if we sing it together”) — I completely forgive her for her tween brattiness and all my earthly troubles melt away. Are you telling me that no one would want to sign them? For God’s sake, you’d figure they’d have their own show on the Disney Channel and have won several Teen Choice awards by now.

But back to people who do possess record contracts. First, Juliette. She’s scrambling, because Rayna has dropped out of the Red Lips, White Lies tour, allegedly to deal with her family issues, but mostly because of the pesky matter of her voice. So, her back up against the wall, Juliette asks Layla to be her co-headliner. Now, I have no idea if the breathless, geeky, wide-eyed routine that Layla is doing is legit, but I love the fact that Juliette isn’t buying it for a second. “Calm down, there’s no cameras here,” she snarls at her. This should be fun.

And then there’s Scarlett. Okay, I know that two weeks ago I went off on Tough Love Scarlett and you all gave me grief in the comments section about how empowered and fierce she was and how I needed to cut that country girl a little slack. But I dare any of you to defend cowering, cringing Photo Shoot Scarlett! I mean, what was that? Not only did it look like she had never had her picture taken before, it looked like she had never seen a camera. (If Nashville were an hour-long soap opera about an alien brought down to earth to become a country star, that scene would’ve actually made a whole lot more sense.)

And since when is Scarlett so ambivalent about becoming famous? She seemed positively petrified by that guy at the bar who wanted her autograph. And then, moments later, she hopped onstage with Zoey and was all sassy and flirty and bold. She seriously needs to consider getting on some of Carrie Mathison’s meds.

Seeming more balanced, thank goodness, is Uncle Deacon. I’m glad they put a three-episode cap on his self-destructiveness because it was getting a little tiresome, to be honest. But did he always wear that necklace? I became slightly obsessed with it in that one scene where he went out to dinner with the pretty lawyer lady. I actually wrote in my notes: Did Deacon always have a necklace? I’m not sure how I feel about this. These are the concerns, people.

And it makes perfect sense that pretty lawyer lady (her name is Megan, by the way) would want to date Deacon. It’s not like she recently saw him at rock bottom or anything, when he was just a shell of a man who wanted to rot away in a prison cell for the rest of his life. Oh wait, she did. Then again, he does have very pretty eyes. (An aside about Christina Chang, the woman who plays Megan. I loved the scene where she told the sad story of her dead husband and just kind of broke down at the dinner table. She paid for those Method acting classes, dammit, and she was going to use them.)

So while Deacon was getting his groove back over dinner, Rayna’s whole family, plus Mayor Teddy and Peggy, were at this gala dedicated to Rayna’s mother at symphony hall. “We listened to more sonatas here than I can count,” Lamar tells the crowd. Um, probably not. Orchestras don’t play sonatas. (Sorry, music major.) This evening is awkward in a variety of ways — and not just because Lamar doesn’t know his symphonies from his sonatas. You see, Tandy is now totally convinced that Lamar murdered her mama. Makes for strained dinner conversation.

Also, Teddy proposed to Peggy before the gala but told her to keep it a secret. She responds by wearing the ring around her neck on a chain, which is only slightly less secret-keeping than skywriting. Also, I’m still not buying that Teddy would propose to her in the first place. I mean, I get that he’s in a pickle: Out-of-wedlock babies and political careers do not make good bedfellows (so to speak). But, dude, the ink still isn’t dry on your divorce papers from Nashville’s country sweetheart. You think this is going to go over well with the voting public?

So Maddie sees the ring, freaks out, and runs away, leading to my favorite line of the episode, from Teddy: “She’s a 13-year-old girl in an evening dress. How is it that no one has seen her yet?” Everyone thinks Maddie has run to Deacon — including you, including me, and including Rayna, who shows up at Deacon’s place just when he’s about to get busy with lawyer lady. Oops.

But — sneaky show! — Maddie has actually gone running to her new BFF Juliette. I kinda like the twist — and it was also a nice way for Rayna to find out that Juliette knows that Deacon is Maddie’s daddy. “Don’t worry, my lips are sealed,” Juliette says. And for reasons not completely clear — maybe because she has no choice? — Rayna trusts her. As for me? I’m not quite as convinced.

Photo: Mark Levine/ABC