For most of Season 2, "Nashville" has played up the show's winning elements: sharp dialogue, cheesy musical numbers, soapy drama and climatic endings. Not so in this episode, however.
Viewers were hard pressed to find any element of surprise, be it in plot twist or dialogue, with the exception if how brief Scarlett O'Connor's much-ballyhooed stage fright lasted. (About 30 seconds).
Opening for the arena concert tour of country king Luke Wheeler, Scarlett freaks when the play back in her earpiece is unsatisfactory prompting the masses in Tampa, Fla., to start throwing things at her. Never in the history of the worst concerts ever has a crowd turned so fast on an artist. Don't be dismayed though – the vitriol ended just as quickly as it started when Rayna Jaymes herself led a tearful Scarlett back onstage.
Contributing to Scarlett's meltdown was sly prepping by Edgehill Records executive Jeff Fordham, who sneered to his young starlet just before she went for her debut, "Stadium crowds can be tough – you only get one chance to make a good first impression."
Weepy Scarlett was inconsolable following the show, blowing off comforts both from her Uncle Deacon Claybourne and ex-boyfriend Gunnar Scott. Rayna, playing the matron, eventually catches up with Scarlett, tossing her protégé a signature, "Hey girl."
"I had people yell, 'Show me your boobs' so much you woulda thought it was a hit damn song. But here's the deal – you've gotta be tougher," Rayna matter-of-factly advises.
Speaking of tough, Juliette Barnes is busy in this episode blowing off the awkward sexual advance of Olivia Wentworth, the wife of billionaire Charlie Wentworth with whom Juliette was carrying on an affair. When her manager warns against creating a negative relationship with the power couple, Juliette snaps, "In case you haven't noticed, there's no one I can't say 'screw you' to."
Catching up with Olivia and Charlie enjoying dinner in a swanky restaurant, Juliette sneers, "I'd rather spend the rest of my life in a doublewide than another minute with a billionaire bitch like you."
Juliette finds her peace by crooning with pal Avery Barkley, showing some actual range in her songs, after much talk about how she wants to strike a more mature chord creatively.
Gunnar, who was brought on tour with Scarlett and Luke by Jeff to prove he is a legitimate songwriter, leans on ex-writing partner Scarlett to craft a winning number. Rayna and Luke perform the duet to a receptive crowd and viewers can practically see the dollar signs flash in Jeff's eyes.
In perhaps the most boring, yet most disgusting turn of the episode, Peggy Kenter, new wife of Rayna's ex-husband Teddy Conrad, is forced to mimic a miscarriage when her husband insists on attending a doctor's appointment for her fake pregnancy. In a scene that might bring viewers back to Steven King's "Carrie", Peggy opens a container of pig blood in the bathroom – the rest left up to imagination.
Last episode's plot lines of new couples Avery and Scarlett and Gunnar and Zoey Dalton; Maddie Conrad's daddy drama; and Will Lexington's struggle with his sexuality were all left to rot on the vine.