This show loves a crazy cliffhanger! Two lives hang in the balance after Mr. Mayor's Music City Music Festival

By Annie Barrett
Updated March 13, 2015 at 07:09 PM EDT
ABC

We’d been told that on tonight’s episode, “Tomorrow Never Comes,” it’d be goodbye forever for one of the characters. Well, after that CRAZY DOUBLE CLIFFHANGER of an ending, I can report that this person is….

Will Lexington or, more likely, Peggy Kenter.

Peggy (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), a.k.a. Pork Blood, has been reviled by the Nashville-viewing community pretty much ever since she first appeared onscreen. It’s fun to hate her, though, because she’s just so tertiary and pointless most of the time, and then all of a sudden, BOOM: fakes her own miscarriage using animal blood. Was that a good idea, by the way? Perhaps for the last time….

How will we go on without the weekly use of this beautiful graphic?!

Anyway, Peggy got caught in the crossfire as Teddy wrestled a gun from a hitman (possibly hired by Rayna’s father Lamar?) clearly trying to kill him. She’s sprawled out on the ground, seemingly lifeless, as Teddy rushes first to Rayna’s car window.

I think we can all agree that the important plot point here is that Rayna James is okay.

Meanwhile, country music’s next big Booze ‘n’ Bonin’ specialist, Will Lexington (Chris Carmack), is full of shame and regret after sleeping with that skinny suit with great hair, Brent, instead of his current show pony, Layla. At episode’s end, he’s standing in the middle of the railroad tracks as a train thunders his way.

What if I was willing…. to take my own life?

My official guess is that Peggy’s dead, obviously. Will’s suffering a crisis right now, but Peggy’s character is a crisis. Plus, scenes from the next new episode on freaking January 15th show Rayna’s entire family mourning in black. Gotta be Peggy. There’s no contest. Right?! (Vote in our poll.)

The Music City Music Festival is just as lame as you’d think, considering Teddy’s running the show. Gunnar’s on toilet duty, Deacon’s off the bill entirely, and the teeming mass of decay that is the modern-day press only cares about headliner Juliette’s role in Charlie Wentworth’s separation. I’m surprised Manager Glenn doesn’t up and quit this week as Juliette is in rare form, demanding he find out who leaked the scoop to the reporters or else.

NEXT: The signature thong neckline of our HOME WRECKer won’t let up {C}Hilariously, Juliette’s relentless pretending that she’s innocent (though she kind of is, in her heart at least) actually works as she deigns to address the tabloid scum for a few seconds. Inspired by a heart-to-heart (and hand-on-arm touch) with Avery, she firmly announces, “I’m done handing out headlines. My private life is just that. Private. And mine.” Girl knows what she’s doing. As she reminds disapproving label head Jeff Fordham — he of the dollar signs for pupils — the tabloids have been “snacking on me my entire career.”

Much to Juliette’s surprise, and just as Glenn predicted, her fans would indeed turn on her as soon as the C-word entered the picture. Petty theft is no problem, but get this: Even though county music fans might like a song about cheating, the audience never actually sides with a cheater. As soon as she takes the main stage wearing….

….YET ANOTHER THONG NECKLINE (!!!)….

….her so-called fans start calling her mean names. My personal favorite is “poor skank” (yeah, hit her where it hurts!) but the main slur here is that Juliette Barnes is a Home Wrecker.

What’s with the haphazard “-er” on the sign, though? Shoddy craftsmanship! I’d almost call it…. CHEATING the letters out of their rightful spaces on the poster board.

Avery jumps in to rescue a shaken, not stirred Juliette (have we ever seen her this upset onstage?) and duets with her on “Trouble Is.” I think their harmony is lovely — her voice is so full and his so soft and lilting that it almost sounds like his register is higher than hers. But it’s an aural illusion! Their chemistry onstage is fantastic, though it could’ve been amped up by the feeling that he was saving her life out there. It’s no wonder Juliette decides, after a final no-chemistry chat with Stupid Charlie, that she’s looking for the real thing.

Later, J-Bird shows up on Avery’s doorstep and in one of the most romantic moments of the entire series, proclaims she wants “to be a person who gets to say ‘I love you’ and really mean it…. So….”

And ugh, Scarlett — here, the human equivalent of a HOME WRECKer sign — appears in the hallway and the moment intensifies. Juliette apologizes and excuses herself, but the tension between her and Avery — heck, even among the three of them — is startlingly strong. Maybe Avery and Juliette don’t know for sure what’s going on between them. But there’s something, and as Avery weakly calls out “Juliette….” from the doorway, we can see him realizing that he is indeed lying to Scarlett by pretending his heart belongs to only her. (She’s lying too, so I guess they’re even.)

NEXT: Jeff Fordham emerges, dripping wet, as Rayna’s biggest rival{C}Meanwhile, Rayna announces to Jeff Fordham that against the advice of her sister Tandy, her partner in sex and moneymakin’ Luke Wheeler, her ex-husband Teddy (with his eyes), and likely anyone with half a brain she’d have asked, she’s going to buy herself out of Edgehill so she can release her beloved new album the way she wants to on her own label, Highway 65.

Rayna and Jeff’s best interaction occurs when Rayna marches right up to him and a lady-visitor skinny dipping in his lake-sized pool (Jeff’s housekeeper is a big fan, Rayna marvels) and the guy doesn’t even bother to use a towel after emerging from his private pond. Why would he, really? That thing is probably heated to specifically ward off… you know. Shrinkage.

Game face, Rayna. Hold it together.

“People don’t care about albums,” Jeff smugs (a verb, if you’re Oliver Hudson) to Rayna as true music fans die a little inside and iTunes says, “Cha-ching!” Jeff wants to drop a few tracks from Rayna’s new album — the one produced by Liam St. Lucia — and he has the market research to prove that this is financially a good idea. She’s all, “F*ck your paperwork,” and he’s all, “Fine. Give me a check for $20 million.” Twenty million dollars. As if!

Rayna’s new maybe-boyfriend Luke Wheeler drops her as a love interest instantly, with a mere dainty kiss of the hand, when he finds out she’s ditching the label to take control of what she loves: her career. See, Luke Wheeler only loves two things: Money and Jeff Fordham. The way he brushes her off makes me think Jeff might have put his best buddy up to romancing Rayna to boost sales. Not like a direct order or anything, just a suggestion. And after testing the waters a bit, Luke was like “Oh, she’s awesome and hot and talented and can still sing after surviving a car crash? Great. Money. Sex! Duet. Money.” Etc.

Maybe Luke will hook up with Tandy in that new $$$ corner office of hers. Gross.

Speaking of whom, Tandy solidifies her status as The Worst by offering to come run the business side of Highway 65 with the most cringe-inducing line ever: “Do you think three million dollars would buy me a corner office?” Ugh. Tandy. Doin’ Tandy things. She’s still keeping quiet on how she turned their father in to the feds, and obviously her guilt is overshadowing her better judgement in terms of Rayna’s independent label.

Do you think three hundred pennies would buy Lamar a treat from the prison vending machine?

NEXT: Deacon and Gunnar: Barely Legal Over on the outskirts of the festival, Deacon and Gunnar form a two-person Club of the Rejected, a club for which I would happily record the minutes of every meeting if it meant I could gaze into their two dreamy faces instead of my computer screen the whole time. (Deacon would have no use for my notes anyway. He can barely text!)

Deacon and Gunnar both emerge as solo artists on a privately owned riverfront stage bordering the festival. This is a huge deal for Deacon’s character, obviously — he’s played for other people his whole career — but I quite liked the symmetry of the two performers as if they were both starting out as amateurs.

Hey, Rayna should sign them both to her label! Well, Deacon, definitely. Aw, what the hell, why not both? Gunnar knows how to do “that Tweetering thing.” So it’s pretty much a win-win.

Scarlett is being super annoying about Gunnar and Zoey’s new relationship, which both of them insist to her is a real thing. I still think it’s clear she’s in love with Gunnar and that’s why she’s so upset, but she gives Zoey some spiel about how “Being a good girl suited you a lot better,” and how maybe Scarlett was stupid to think Zoey could come to Nashville and be her best friend (even though they’ve been best friends for 20 years?!), and ZZZZZ. Zoey gets more gorgeous every time she’s on-screen. That’s my biggest takeaway from this mess tonight.

Look at the outline of her hair here! Divine.

Meanwhile, Deacon hilariously insists on staying out of all this love triangle nonsense by brusquely advising Gunnar, “Don’t crap where you eat.” He would know!

Loose, Gorgeous Connie Britton Wave of the Night:

More like loose, gorgeous wave of the smile and eyes (smize) — which were signaling to Deacon “I still love you!” if he ever looked over during his performance.

So, what’d you think of “Tomorrow Never Comes”? Did Will or Peggy die?

And did you really expect me to not comment that in scenes from Jan. 15’s next new episode….

….the paint thrown on Juliette resembles — you guessed it! — a thong? (Barely. I know.)

This show is pure madness. I love it.

Discuss!

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