Rayna and Juliette battle for the spotlight as their record label celebrates its anniversary. Whose side are you on?
The sparring between Juliette and Rayna began from the very first time they were introduced. Rayna despises Juliette because she’s young, hasn’t paid any dues, and soared to the charts with the first shimmy of her hips. Threatened by everything Rayna symbolizes – success, staying power, respect, a living legend – and everything Juliette longs to have, she insulted her predecessor, which added to the hate Rayna already felt. The dynamic is intriguing, complex, and pits two strong women against one another.
Each has understandable dislike for the other. Rayna is struggling to survive in an industry that thrives on the hot, the new, the fresh, and the perfectly crafted star. Juliette is struggling to break out of the very identity Rayna hates her for and be taken seriously – not to mention all her personal issues with her mother and that whole shoplifting incident. Rayna’s a veteran, who’s paid her dues and Juliette’s just on the scene, bee-bopping her way to the top of the charts. So naturally when the two were asked to come together for their company’s anniversary, neither woman was very willing. Two people who completely hate each other being forced together should be entertaining, but this just fell flat for me because I’m more sympathetic to Juliette.
Being kind can get a person quite far in life, something neither woman has learned. Juliette felt like performing with Rayna would show she’s accepted by the queen of country and she knows that’s furthest from the truth. Deep down, she admires Rayna and aspires to be like her, but Rayna can’t see this because she’s so damn blinded by her hatred and jealousy of the new girl who’s filled her shoes when in reality she doesn’t know anything about Juliette.
This made their private meeting about their duet face-to-face extremely interesting. Juliette called Rayna out on the deal she’d cut in exchange for doing the duet and Rayna got annoyed. It was only round one of sparring. Who knew picking a country song to sing could be so damn difficult? Rayna doesn’t respect her, believe she’s talented, or even consider liking her. She’s the queen of country, the woman who has laid the foundation for the artist’s coming after her, and Juliette is that artist. Instead of seeing this, Rayna used it as an opportunity to tell Juliette that she hadn’t earned her place and she wasn’t worth anything.
And then Deacon came to her defense. It was everything. Surprise, surprise! Rayna James also wasn’t taken seriously when she came out as an artist and she had to fight for the attention and acclaim she now has. Perhaps Rayna’s real issue is that she sees so much of herself in Juliette and now that she’s gotten Deacon on her side… Well, it’s probably a little too much for Rayna to handle. I, however, love it.
Like a dog with its tail between its legs, Rayna showed up on Juliette’s doorstep and suggested they write a song together since they couldn’t agree on anything else. Five minutes ago, I wouldn’t have been Team Wave the White Flag, but I’m feeling this. The two sat up all night writing a song about a man and headed back to rehearsal with their new song in tow. It was a major life moment for Juliette who had always dreamed of performing at the Ryman Auditorium. I might have felt all the feels when she realized her dream was coming true.
Later the ladies took the stage at the Ryman in all their fancy, short dressed glory – is it just me or did Rayna looked like she got dressed out of Juliette’s closet? – and performed their new song. It was the first time the ladies appeared to have fun on stage the entire season. The record label saw dollar signs and the crowd ate it up like it was an ice cream Sunday. I mostly enjoyed how Juliette kept strutting over and singing to Deacon. I approve this so very, very much.
And just like that, all the respect and understanding I’ve needed between these ladies happened. Thank you, Baby Jesus. Who knew you were such a country fan?
Meanwhile around Nashville, Scarlett began to realize just how sad country music is now that Avery broke her heart. Thankfully her friends took her out drinking and showed her what single life could be like. Gunnar watched her hips swaying from the sidelines of the dance floor and got jealous when she disappeared with another guy and kissed him. Oh, the jealous drama! Teddy was confronted with his “affair” like pictures and he had to cut Peggy loose. Lamar suggested they pursue Coleman’s drug charges. Avery missed Scarlett, but not enough to kick his new agent and all the spotlights she has brought him out of bed. Unfortunately, Scarlett showed up on his doorstep and practically caught the two of them in bed. Juliette also tried to sleep with her football boy toy, but he’s “not into casual sex” and he’s waiting till marriage – like whoa. Oh! And Wycleaf Jean showed up and talked music with Avery.
Needless to say, it was quite a busy episode this week, one that could have fueled handfuls of country songs from its single hour of TV – and dare I say, one of the best episodes so far.
What did you think about the show? Are you Team Rayna or Team Juliette? Sound off in the comments below and I’ll see you here next week for winter break finale.