It's Juliette vs. Layla, Deacon vs. Teddy, and Will vs. his demons in "I'm Tired of Pretending"
NASHVILLE Tired Of Pretending
Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S2 E9
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War time! It’s Layla Grant (the country Katy Perry) vs. Juliette Barnes (the one and only Juliette Barnes, thank y’all very much). After Juliette downsizes Layla to opener-opener instead of second-opener on her tour, Layla tells the tabloids Juliette was having an affair with Charlie Wentworth. BITCH!

But here’s the thing: Those two barely liked each other in the first place! Charlie Wentworth is terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad for Juliette… and for once, she realizes this herself. She’s all, “Stop trying to push this,” and he’s like, “I love you,” and she’s like “I think you love games.” Juliette is so smart. But Charlie doesn’t seem to necessarily value her intelligence. He revels in the proof that she’s in the top percent of the one percent. That’s hardly any way to bring out the best in one’s romantic partner — both Will and Manager Glenn nudge Juliette towards this belief, but ultimately Juliette cuts the cord on Charlie herself.

Charlie’s so in love with games that he files from divorce from his wife and fellow Juliette Barnes stalker, Olivia. Mario ‘n’ Maria told us personally, so we know it’s true. I still feel like this whole Char-livia thing came out of nowhere and I’d be glad for it to disappear at any time. He’s so oppressively intense, and with no good reason. Even she’s not buying his act. Is he? At one point I outlandishly wonder if maybe Charlie’s sabotaging her — like he’s in on some sort of scheme and is, like, Layla Grant’s secret brother or something. But nah, pretty sure he’s just a shady rich-jerk character who’s just as uninteresting as we suspected.

Is Charlie going to die next week?! That would be awesome.

Anyway, Layla’s a monster who also assumes the power to give herself an encore onstage — after which Juliette is almost as rip-roaringly mad as her favorite jeans.

(I hope these are jeans?)

Speaking of Juliette’s elegant fashion motifs….

….she continues to favor a thong neckline! Even in a long-sleeved sweater. Thank God.

NEXT: Will would rather fling his face to the floor than date a female

Layla also questions whether she wants to be Will’s fake girlfriend anymore, after Will decides to get hammered, demands some “serious honky tonk” from a bartender, leaps atop the bar, writhes, then dives face-first into a crowd of people holding up beers in one hand and their iPhones in the other. Will is not doing very well. And to complicate things further, his former flame and Edge Hill company man Brent is now babysitting him. Brent is either “all business or a sympathetic friend,” Will notices after Juliette ambushes him in a duet Layla had attempted to set up for herself. Brent just seems to come and go willy-nilly. Maybe Brent is the one who dies next week, and it’ll propel Will further down his shame-spiral.

Oh heck YES. Maddie and Deacon! Their intricate harmony on “A Life That’s Good” — both music- and smile-wise — pleases me to no end.

At the end of the day

Lord, I pray

I’m in the toooooo-o-o-op one percent of the one percent of about-to-happy-cry TV viewers

Maddie’s new guitar teacher Deacon (who cares if he currently does not play the guitar, that’s not the point) shows up, invited, to his biological daughter’s open mic at Two Old Hippies, and Teddy freaks out. I can’t blame Teddy for getting emotionally heated here. What he said was true — he’s the one who’s been there for Maddie her whole life: birthdays, holidays, highs and lows, hipster glasses phases, etc. Obviously it hurts him to see her share such undeniable chemistry with the guy who was off somewhere else, drunk and disappointing everybody.

The guys nearly come to blows on the street:”Ask her why she’s calling me and not the man that raised her!” Deacon thunders at Teddy. I love all the fatherly passion Deacon’s showing. But do we really want blood shed between Maddie’s two dads?

There’s been enough animal violence already.

To retaliate, Teddy cuts Deacon off from the Music City Music Festival. Whatever. The music in Deacon’s head is its own festival. Put your political event in your pipe and smoke it, Teddy!

NEXT: Zoey and Avery are trippin’ {C}Deacon’s public defender domestic partner Megan continues to be his rock, legal counsel, and sympathetic sounding board. “I’m not trying to get custody, nothing like that. I’m not trying to be a parent,” Deacon sputters, then sort of contradicts himself: “But if Maddie wants stuff from me, she’s gonna get it.” It’s a confusing time. I like that he’s got her right now. Her question for him was slow and simple: “Are you ready to be a permanent part of Maddie’s life?” They both know the answer is yes.

Meanwhile, a terrifying four-way phone conversation situation prompts Zoey and Avery to visit Scarlett and Gunnar on tour, and it’s such a doggone mess and I almost refuse to discuss it because Zoey could have EASILY just said no to this last-minute trip. Maybe she has a phantom friend visiting. Family emergency. Teaching a How to Look Amazing While Working Out seminar. Lamaze class. Would it be so ludicrous to imagine Zoey might have other plans? (Yes!!!) Who is holding down the Bluebird while they’re gone? Will some schmuck steal the Foursquare mayorship from Avery?! Just think of the consequences next time, guys.

But they don’t, so Scarlett’s current (and former) love interest visits St. Louis with her best friend, who’s hooking up with the guy she dated in between Avery Phases. Confused yet? Basically, Scarlett isn’t supposed to find out about all the sex Zoey and Gunnar are having. It’d corrupt her too much as she sofa-stews in her extremely cozy-looking white, heathered onesie. Agh! I just want to hug it. Is that weird?

Tell me our ethereal doily is not wearing the most snuggly thing you’ve ever seen!

She’s just a delicate fish-tailed flower. She couldn’t handle it! I can’t determine what kind of romantic structure this four-way tension is mounted on. Is it a Romantic Rhombus, like in The O.C. (and later Revenge)? No, I think that’s when three people all want one other person. I’ve drawn this Nashville four-way mess out on paper and I think it looks more like a Love X. Or maybe it’s just an X — even though Gunnar and Zoey establish mid-kiss that their fling is a “thing.” One thing’s for sure: It definitely doesn’t matter.

Sidenote: Neither Gunnar nor I were impressed by Avery’s mullet this week.

NEXT: Oh no! Not Tandy! Anyway, obviously Scarlett discovers Zoey and Gunnar making out. She’s upset. Zoey’s turned on. Gunnar looks relatively indifferent, and like an innocent, adorable puppy. What else is new?

Lamar and Rayna’s sister Tandy are in this episode, too. Uh, would you mind not falling asleep like that in front of your screen? Stay with me here. Lamar needs both of his daughters as character witnesses as he begs a jury for house arrest, but Tandy obviously can’t do it since she’s the one who threw Lamar in jail in the first place, STOP NODDING OFF, that is seriously so rude of you. Stay awake: Rayna’s own semi-impassioned testimony isn’t convincing enough and Lamar has to go back to jail. You are now free to snooze. Lamar threatens to wreak havoc against his wrongdoer. Well, goodnight, then. You look so beautiful while you snore.

I start to warm up to Tandy when I think she’s drinking red wine from a stemless glass (great for klutzes!), but then I see the stem. Same old boring Tandy. Doin’ Tandy things.

Loose, Gorgeous Connie Britton Wave of the Night:

Mostly because of its contrast to Tandy’s lesser hair doing its Tandy thing.

Plus the hat.

Bonus amazingness: Juliette’s incredulous finger-points, served two ways

“Seriously? This looks good enough for you?” re: her hair

“Get out. [pause] Y’all. Not him.”

Both lines were right up there with Juliette’s diss on Layla: “All y’all? She’s from Connecticut!”

Next week: Someone DIES. Is that a Tandy thing, too? Who else, if not?

Oh, God, is it going to be Glenn? Noooooo!

What did y’all (I’m from Illinois) think of “I’m Tired of Pretending”?


Episode Recaps

Legendary music icon Rayna Jaymes struggles to maintain her place in the spotlight while dealing with the ambitious rising pop vixen Juliette Barnes.
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