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‘Nashville’ Series Premiere Recap: Rayna & Juliette’s Rivalry Is Born

Wed, October 10, 2012 11:00pm EDT by Andy Swift 5 Comments
Courtesy of ABC (2)

Did the ‘Nashville’ pilot leave you wanting an encore? Read our recap, then drop a comment with your review!

The series premiere of ABC’s Nashville introduced us to two women at very different points in their country music careers. Rayna James (Connie Britton) has been the industry’s undisputed queen for more than two decades, but declining album sales and a shift in the business threaten to snatch her throne right out from under her. Then there’s Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), an up-and-coming pop-country pixie of Taylor Swift proportions — who also happens to be a raging bitch. Needless to say, Rayna and Juliette aren’t exactly rocking friendship bracelets.

There’s some not-so-subtle sexual tension between Rayna and her bandleader Deacon (Charles Esten), who clearly still carries a torch for her. And judging by the way she acts around him — lingering glances and girly hair flips abound — I’d say Rayna hasn’t quite let go of their past, either. Honestly, I was surprised they made it through the entire pilot without ripping each other’s clothes off. But maybe they’re saving that for sweeps.

The other drama in Rayna’s life comes from her family, a well-connected pillar of the Nashville community. Tensions ran particularly high when Rayna’s dad convinces her husband Teddy (Eric Close) to run for mayor, forcing the spotlight-minded songbird to — as the Tammy Wynette classic suggests — stand by her man. During a particularly heated confrontation, Rayna’s dear ol’ daddy even suggested that Teddy isn’t Maddie’s dad. Cue the thunder.

After overhearing Rayna refer to her music as “adolescent crap,” Juliette kicked Operation: Destroy Rayna’s Career into high gear, offering Deacon a position in her band — and her bed. Granted, that bed’s getting awfully crowded, as Juliette is also knocking cowboy boots with Rayna’s producer Randy (Burgess Jenkins).

To be fair, Juliette’s got some demons of her own to battle. Her crack-head mother (Sylvia Jefferies) is constantly hitting her up for money — no matter how many new numbers Juliette gets to avoid her — and rather than face her feelings, she masks them with sluttiness.

But not everyone on Nashville is selling out stadiums just yet. Deacon’s niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen) is waiting tables at the Bluebird Café — the city’s country music Mecca — while dreaming of launching her own writing career. And even though she’s currently dating bad-boy Avery (Jonathan Jackson), her emotional duet with good-guy Gunnar (Sam Palladio) proved he makes a far better match for her.

Connie Britton’s “y’all” count: 4 (Did I miss any?!)

What did you think of Nashville? Did it earn a front-row seat on your DVR, or are you considering this a farewell performance? Drop me a comment with your personal review of the pilot!

— Andy Swift

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