‘Nashville’ Season Three Premiere: Double Rings, Double Trouble

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall..."

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall…”

Last season we left Rayna on an arena-sized stage, with a seven-carat rock in front of her and projections in the background pulsing, “Will you be my ball and chain?” It’s like, okay, I know that’s Luke and Rayna’s hit single, but it’s also about the worst way to propose to someone I can imagine. Then, that same night, Deacon shows up and says what everyone ever has wanted to hear from their ex, (paraphrased) “I was wrong, you were right, you’re the best, I’ll never stop loving you, etc. etc.”

So that’s where we are guys. Rayna’s got two rings — the seven-carat stunner from the King of Country and the humble, patterned band of a youthful alcoholic-in-love. How will she decide? Well, she’ll start by staring at herself in a well-lit mirror, pensively. This being a Rayna James staple when big decisions are brewing.

Then we go to Juliette who is in full freak-out mode because she can’t find the goddamn scissors! Juliette pulls a classic Britney and chops off her hair. Unfortunately, she doesn’t go FULL Britney and shave it. It’s just a manic trim and so there’s enough hair left for a stylist to fix it into an on-trend, textured bob later in the episode. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves…

So, we have these weird live performances at the Bluebird. I guess it’s Nashville’s way of saying, “Hey, our actors can really sing!” Okay, fine, I believe you – I’d still rather see the pre-recordings and the dimly lit, set-style Bluebird.

Will does a stand-up job during his live set and I am so glad Chris Carmack’s career didn’t end with the OC. Layla looks on, flabbergasted, when Will dedicates his performance to her. She doesn’t understand how he can lie so easily now that she understands all too well why her husband never wanted to bone her.

Luke shows up and clocks Deacon in the jaw.

And just in case you wanted some answers for all this craziness (I’m still thinking about those scissors), don’t worry, because now we’re rewinding the clock twelve hours.

Tandy, who got a perm in the off-season, wants Rayna to know her decision of whose ball and chain she’ll become affects all of them. Rayna looks in the mirror some more. Luke watches Rayna sleep and then casually apologizes for proposing to her in an arena where she had no choice but to say yes. He tells her that even though it seemed like a publicity stunt (my words), his feelings are real. Rayna’s still sleepy so she chooses to continue this convo later, at his ranch. She looks smokin’ hot in a simple chambray sleeveless (is that from Everlane?) and proves she’s probably the only woman on earth who can still pull off aviators. Rayna, oh so casually, tells Luke that after he conned her into getting engaged on stage, Deacon stopped by and proposed as well. She didn’t say, “Deacon still has feelings for me”, just comes right out with, “Deacon came over, he proposed.” Luke does an angry walk around the stable before coming back and telling Rayna that it’s her decision but she’s still his girl. Luke is such a twerp. He’s the candy corn of country music. Luke LOVES that Country Weekly (or whatever that magazine was) headlined, “King and Queen of Country to Wed.” AKA you’re trapped now, darlin.

Rayna says she “needs to think”. Which we all know means, “I still love Deacon.” She goes home and opens her memory box of letters and dreams. She remembers how hot and right it felt being on-stage with Deacon. She also remembers Deacon missing their sets because he was passed out. Even back in the day, good ole, boring, Luke (with a pony-tail, none-the-less) covered for Deacon and we broadcast, “LUKE IS THE SAFE CHOICE!”

Okay, I do not think women should marry alcoholics who neglect them no matter the chemistry, but guys, Rayna already made the safe choice once. She married Teddy instead of Deacon! Has everyone forgotten about Teddy? She had her kids with Teddy. She became an adult with Teddy. She’s done all that already. So why now, when Deacon’s sober and her kids are getting older, would she make an even safer choice with Luke? Rayna tells Deacon they can’t be together, they must continue “as they are now”. “As they are now” means trying to ignore unsustainable sexual tension for the rest of their lives, okay Rayna, let’s see how that works out for you.

Will is gay so Will and Layla decide to get a divorce (duh!). But then ‘reality show producer’ busts into their trailer and makes a stink about how she has Will coming out to Layla on camera! She threatens that no one wants a reality show about a “gay cowboy and his naïve wife.” Um, sorry, that’s what EVERYONE wants a reality show about. So, Will’s not coming out yet, ya’ll. No matter how much more interesting that story line would be than more pretending to be in love with Layla.

Okay, before we get to Juliette’s big reveal, I guess we, unfortunately, have to talk about Scarlett. Post-national-mental-breakdown, Scarlett wants to leave Nashville and go back to Mississippi to be with family. Nevermind that her only family in Mississippi, her mother, is the one who caused said mental breakdown in the first place. Avery hitches a ride because he can’t stand the sight of Juliette after he finds out she did the nasty with evil Jeff Fordham. (Like, does Avery not remember in season one when he cheated on Scarlett to further his career? And Juliette wasn’t even acing Machiavellian the way he was, she was just in a dark place. However, in season one, Avery was a villain and now he’s a saint so I guess this line of logic can’t be followed.)

Gunner is “kidnapped” into going on the road trip as well, because they needed a way to get Gunner in the episode he doesn’t want Scarlett to leave. Zoe, though not seen, is understandably upset that Gunner is clearly still obsessed with Scarlett. And here we know that Nashville is prepping us for a Gunner/Scarlett reunion. Avery even says to her, “I was never good enough for you, I always knew a better man would walk up someday” (or something that obvious) at the exact moment Gunner walks up to the car from peeing in the woods! Magic!

Some hick at a gas station saw Scarlett’s mental breakdown on you tube. I can’t believe they’ve written her stupid enough to believe that she’ll be rid of her problems by leaving Nashville. (I just can’t restrain myself from again mentioning that her evil mother who caused most of the problems in the first place is in MISSISSIPPI! Where Scarlett’s going to “get away!” Why didn’t any of the MANY characters trying to convince her to stay in Nashville mention this?? Why?????)

So, this stupid detour is just that and they head back to Nashville after Avery accidentally grabs some chick’s boob in a bar.

Now, Juliette, the greatest, — she kills Patsy Cline’s Crazy. She cries while doing it, thinking about Avery, naturally. Juliette thinks she blew the audition by getting so misty, but anyone who’s seen any TV show ever, knows this means she nailed it, as now the producers think she has ‘emotional depth’.

Post audition, she calls a doctor for some Xanax because she can’t sleep. And now, oh no, guys, I thought we were just going to film around Hayden Panettiere’s real life pregnancy. Not the case, Juliette is prego too. Is this how she’ll get Avery back? Or is the growing fetus the spawn of evil Jeff Fordham?

Till next week….