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.


Overall the cast is good and the story lines are interesting, especially the one between Juliette and Rayna. One suggestion would be to phase-out scarlette's story line, as it's not really interesting and she seems to be a terrible actress.


In all musical shows the actors are lip syncing....question is, did thr actual actors do the recordings?
One exception is the upcoming film les mis. They talk about the live recordings of the is very difficult to do. So yes it is all synced.


I love this show. That is all. The music is phenomenal, the acting is fantastic, the characters are complicated and layered...if all I get is one season, I'll be happy.


Nashville. i like that all of these characters are both likeable and unlikeable. each character already in only 2 episodes has had different sides of them exposed. i actually like Juliette more than Rayna now also. And i definitely want to see more of Avery, with or without Scarlet. Gunnar is no angel and he is just more naive than Avery. We also need to see more of Avery's singing performances. Im looking forward to more episodes of


I thought this episode should be put in a time capsule! It was THAT good! I noticed the ratings fell after the pilot. WHAT!? Seems ratings rule over great programming. I last commented I could dispense with "country." What a transformation...I LOVE the HP music. She is simply TERRIFIC! Haven't "bonded" with any character, yet. Could be the series' downfall...likability. However, I'm definitely hooked. Could be the next "Dallas."


I love the fact that Juliette is a driven character who knows what she wants. However, I hate the fact that she's somewhat demonized because of it. Not everyone gets their chance of success handed to them on a silver platter, like Scarlett. But I think that's what draws me to this show: the fact that it attempts to tackle the many harsh realities of the music industry. Rayna is obviously facing her mid-life crisis. It's too bad that the timing coincides with her husband's mid-life crisis. Both of them will be on strange territories starting now and they don't have each other to ground themselves back. It'll be interesting to this relationship unravels. And hopefully, it doesn't unravel just because Rayna and Deacon have "amazing chemistry". Because there are kids involved in Rayna's life now and she has a lot more to consider than chemistry and sparks ignited by love songs.

Sarah silva

I am still not in love with this show. I will keep watching as it has potential. I liked Hayden on other things but so far I find her really annoying on this show. However she has an incredible voice! I hope they make her likable down the line.
Rayna's father is so awful, I can not imagine having a dad like that! Juliette has a druggie mom and Rayna has a rich, pwer hungry, cold no feelings father. I think these two could become friends if they were not competing for who is the best singer!
I love Deacon!


I'am still trying to get a handle on this show there is a lot that is confusing we don't know what went on their past life and we got Juliette who want Rayna song writer and she will do anything to get him. they are the onlything that Ilike so far is the kids who are going to cut a video the are refreshing well one more show and then I give up!!!!!!


Yes these actors are all doing their own singing...please people-gone are the days of casting someone cuz they're pretty and then having someone else do the singing> But like all (most) television shows, the singing is pre-recorded and they must lip-synch for a myriad of reasons. I actually thought the sound editor did a great job with the singing Juliette and Deacon did in the truck bed. It has a "live" sound to it but was mostly likely also pre-recorded. So IS their singing and it's a show about Nashville and its music and it should sound good. It's not a concert, it's a television drama with music and I say "hats off" to HP on the fine singing and the fine acting. NO she is NOT anything like Juliette and that character is as serious as a heart attach and will stop at nothing to get what she wants...and she wants it NOW! I, too, am fascinated by HP in all the nuances of her smile, her eyes and all that attitude coming out of that little volcano like lava! She's teeny tiny alright but there's nothing tiny about her talent. I missed hearing Scarlett and Gunnar last night but thank goodness that is in the cards and that boyfriend of hers needs to get a life and not stand in the way of her success just because he's struggling with...what kind of music was that??? Heavy Rock? Strident maybe...whatever. The Politics is definitely an extra added semi-attraction, but I'm having a hard time following who's trying to do what to whom, but I can clearly see the inconvenience it's already causing for Rayna and all the skeleton's in her closet. She's suffering a mid-life, mid-career, mid-marriage and mid-relationship crisis, so life for her is on the edge and falling. It's always harder to stay on TOP that it is to get there...everyone should know that, especially Rayna!


David you have something set so the visually impaired can know what is going on. check your tv settings.

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