'Nashville' Winter Premiere Recap: Unhappily Married

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The songstresses of the South returned to our television Wednesday night with the winter premiere of ABC's Nashville. Rayna James (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) picked up after the success of their forced but fabulous duet “Wrong Song.”

Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode, “Be Careful of Stones That You Throw.”

Fresh off a successful concert, Juliette looked like she could possibly be headed for a happily ever after when she proposed to her NFL boyfriend Sean Butler (Tilky Jones). Why all the impulsivity? Well for starters, Juliette doesn’t have a lot of stability in her life and she is desperate to hold onto anything that makes her happy.

Then there’s the small issue that Sean won’t have sex until marriage and Juliette uses sex to numb her painful emotions. I’m not saying this with any kind of background in psych, it’s actually her favorite thing to turn to as evidenced on previous episodes. In fact that’s how she found out that Sean was saving himself for marriage in the first place. So she met his loving family, saw a challenge, and the next thing we knew we saw her romantic proposal before the credits rolled for the holiday hiatus.

Obviously their elopement wasn’t going to sit well with Sean’s religious and overprotective family. When his mother told Juliette that “you don’t just marry the man, you marry the whole family," I couldn’t help but think who was there to warn Teddy (Eric Close) before he married into Rayna’s family?

That Lamar (Powers Boothe) is one nasty father-in-law! I’ve been waiting for the subject of little Maddie’s (Lennon Stella) paternity to come up again since the pilot episode. I was wondering if maybe that was something that the writers decided not to go with after the pilot, but then we saw they were just biding there time. Not gonna lie, I was completely floored that Teddy was aware of the fact he wasn’t the biological father. That knowledge actually makes Rayna and Teddy’s bond seem stronger than it did before -- especially when they told Lamar to screw off.

I know that some may question my logic, but in my opinion the less secrets these two have from each other the stronger a chance their marriage and family has. Rayna was pissed when she threatened to take the girls on tour, but ultimately as she said she does love Teddy and she knows that keeping the girls in their normal routine is the best shot they have.

As for Maddie’s biological father? Well, we all think it’s Deacon (Charles Esten) right? I mean that has to be the obvious choice. Speaking of Deacon, who pissed in his Cheerios? That boy was in a foul mood and it couldn’t have just been because they slapped makeup and hair gel on him before a photoshoot. Is it the high pressure of being on the road with all of those guys? Does he miss Rayna? He did not seem happy to find out about her tour.

Here’s wishing he could’ve been in Nashville to give his niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen) some advice before she slept with her grimy ex Avery (Jonathan Jackson). Singing the lead with Avery’s band was one way to teach him a lesson, but honestly I really just enjoyed that scene because she finally seemed liberated. Scarlett walks around like a pushover, torn between Avery and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and never does what she wants. She finally looked happy up on that stage.

It takes a little more to have me invested in Scarlett, Avery and Gunnar’s storyline because it doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the show, but if they keep up stuff like they did on this episode I could get really into it.

The fallout for next week should be epic. Avery knows about Scarlett’s stunt and Rayna and Juliette are finally out on the road. I at least thought Juliette would’ve done a few circles around the church or called Sean, but nope. Payback is going to be a bitch… maybe an even bigger bitch than Juliette herself!

Buzz Moments

OMG: Juliette’s limo pulling up to the tarmac and her private jet. She didn’t even call Sean or anything!

Thank You, TV gods.: Scarlett finds some balls! Loved seeing her up on stage with Avery’s old band jamming out and being happy.

Awkward: The fact that Juliette knows her mother is right about her life and marriage.

Hotness: Limo sex. Always a plus on TV.

Fabu-lous: Rayna’s line: “I only hate hangovers and sunburns. This is just business.”

Can.Not.Wait: Juliette gets served. Uh oh!

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 7. Solid return. It took me the whole episode to feel invested in Scarlett’s storyline and Juliette’s plot was a tad predictable.

-- Leigh Raines

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