Nashville Review: Rayna Returns

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Named for Hank Senior's 1951 track, "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)" was highlighted by a musical performance that couldn't have gone any better with the episode's title.

We knew there was a history between Rayna and Deacon after the pilot, but this second hour delved much deeper into the details of that relationship and their song on stage at the Bluebird made everyone wonder if their love didn't continue to grow to this day.

The way that Connie Britton and Charles Eston performed that scene was riveting, as the history between their two characters was jumping off the screen with every lyric sang and every strum of the guitar.  Rayna's comment afterward of "I wish we hadn't done that song" was perfect in that it helped show how seriously complicated their relationship is.

Juliette Music Video

It didn't hurt that earlier we learned more about what actually happened between them way back when. They were together for a decade, he abused substances so much that he needed rehab, she started dating Teddy while they were still together, and then she married Teddy while he was still in rehab and they were never broken up.  

Those are a lot of layers to the Rayna/Deacon onion - and there are probably many, many more.

Before letting their positive emotions get the best of them in that wonderful performance, Rayna and Deacon also provided us with a very entertaining blow up of negative emotions. She was obviously angry with his involvement with Juliette, while his frustration probably dealt more with the problems between them discussed above.

Whether it was the warmth of a love song on a small stage or the heat of an argument that had built up for a long time, it's obvious these two have undeniable chemistry that should be fun to watch in the future.

As Rayna and Deacon were connecting to their history, Juliette was attempting to connect with Deacon in the present all episode long. Personally, I loved everything Hayden Panettiere. Whether it was Juliette's catty dynamic with Rayna, her flirtatious attitude towards Deacon, her drive to become a better artist or her disappointment in failing to win over her idol, Panettiere absolutely nailed it all.

She can always fall back into the young, flirty, pop star with an evil side persona, and that smile and laugh will make that a joy to watch each and every week, but it was the complexities of Juliette that we saw in the first episode that continued to keep her interesting in episode two.

Juliette wants to get with Deacon. She wants him in her band. She wants him in her bed. She wants to write with him. Is it lust? Is it idolization? Is it the need to win? I'm sure it's a combination of many motivations, but watching her work through them all was intriguing once again.

The elation on her face when they were writing the new song together, the seriousness she showed when she said that she wants to grow up, and definitely the disappointment draped all over her when Deacon called Rayna up on stage instead of her at the Bluebird, gave us a number of sides to Juliette, and it will sure be fun watching them all come out week after week.

Although it wasn't quite as interesting as the Juliette/Rayna/Deacon triangle, I also enjoyed the Scarlett material this week. Thankfully, Deacon and Rayna's performance to end the night finally pushed Scarlett to accept Watty's offer to make a demo. After that amazing Civil Wars song she and Gunnar performed in the premiere, it would be a shame if those two didn't come back with more soon.

The only storyline I'm not quite feeling at this point is the political stuff. I can see potential for really interesting dynamics between Rayna and Teddy because of it, but for now it's just taking up time that we could be spending with Juliette, Deacon or Rayna.

What about you all? What did you think of "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)?" Was it as good as the premiere? What was your favorite moment from the hour? And what was your favorite musical performance?

Fun Fact: I heard Panettiere's "Telescope" for the first time on the radio Wednesday morning. It's interesting that she may be turning this gig into a music career.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (115 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Was I the only one that could hear the director comments like "and then her eyes narrowed" and "Rayba drives by" and "in the hallway of the record company". I figured there would be lots of negative comment about that cause it was extremely annoying !!! But i see no comments anywhere. So was I the only one who could hear that?


The part that got cut off in my previous comment - I've read several articles and seen interviews where HP and CB talk about the training they went through to do their own singing on Nashville. They may be lip synching when taping the show, but its to their own recordings. HP even cut an album a few years ago.


I don't really find either of the Rayna and Juliette characters very likable and that is the main problem I'm having with this show. Say what you want about Juliette's nightmarish relationship with her Mother and her just knowing what she wants, she is pure trash. She will use anybody in any way she can to get what she wants. Hayden Panettiere said recently on a talk show that she found the role a real challenge because she was nothing like Juliette (thank God!). As for Rayna, all she does is complain about both her personal life and professional one. And I don't think there is any doubt that she will be cheating on her husband with Deacon within the next couple of episodes. But of course that's no biggie because the two have such wonderful chemistry (Ah,the humorous morality of TV Land - gotta love it). So it's liking watching wto villains fight it out. You don't care who wins and really you would prefer they just kill each other. Regarding the singing, I have read several articles and seen interviews with HP and CB where they talk about going through extensive training to do all of their own singing on Nashville. They may be lip synching when they tape the show, but its to their own recordings (HP even cut an album a few years ago).


The lip synching really got in my face this episode ...and I'm guessing every Person on the show is faking it ...
Love Boothe Powers ( Tombstone etc) but I don't want this show to highlight a every segment ...


Loved the ending song! Rayna and Deacon have wonderful chemistry. No matter how hard Juliette tries she can't compete with their history.


Hayden Panettiere is a freaking midget.


I have been wondering if all the singing is actually done by the actors. Although it might not be that uncommon, I watched the singing closely and to me it looked like Hayden was lip just didn't look like she was actually singing.........especially the up close in the studio song..... As to the political stuff, it's actually just a filler arc if you ask me. The main premise of thie show is Juliette and Rayna....and the rivalry between an up and coming star and one whose been in the business for years. I'm in TN and the Nashville news had a story last night about a Nashville couple that's doing some of the songs we're seeing.....


I actually like Juliette more than Rayna. Rayna seems a little bit like spoiled child refuse to grow-up. A rich dad, a good-looking husband, two lovable children, a perfect career, a supportive music partner, I mean there're two many good things happen to her. Another hand, Juliette has a much darker past, she has to fight for what she wants.


I love all Hayden's songs on this show, they're very catchy. It's funny I was thinking the same thing, she could make a music career out of it. They make it sound like she needs autotune to sing, but clearly she doesn't. She's very talented and has a beautiful voice. Connie Britton too, for that matter. Both of them could sing professionally, IMO.

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