Nashville – I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)

by Alan Rapp on October 18, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Nashville – I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)
  • tv.com: link

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After turning down the label’s offer to tour with Juliette Banres (Hayden Panettiere), Rayna (Connie Britton) returns home to Nashville to lick her wounds only to find Juliette is in town shooting a music video, much to the delight of Rayna’s young daughters (Lennon StellaMaisy Stella). Unable to pack arenas with a floundering album that has no studio support, Rayna’s advisers encourage her to go out on the road with Deacon (Charles Esten), play smaller venues, and get back to the kind of music they used to perform when they were a couple. Not ready to give up on wooing the musician over to her tour, Juliette uses her wiles to try to win over Deacon as they spend time writing a song together.

With his campaign for mayor beginning to move forward against Rayna’s longtime friend Coleman Carlisle (Robert Wisdom), Teddy (Eric Close) is less than pleased with the news that his wife is considering hitting the road on a tour bus with the former love of her life. Against her instinct Rayna agrees to sit down with Teddy’s campaign staff to discuss her past, her relationship with Deacon, and any potential minefields Teddy’s opponents might be able to use against him during the campaign. Although poorly placed in the episode, the scene works well to lay some groundwork (which we certainly could have used last week) and help quickly explain the former couple’s past.

Impressed by their performance the other night, renown producer Watty Whitem (JD Souther) offers to pay for Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar’s (Sam Palladio) demo if they can put together three songs to record. With her boyfriend’s music career floundering Scarlett decides not to broach the subject with Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and initially tells Gunnar no, but seeing Rayna and Deacon perform live gives her the courage to agree to give it a shot.

Although better than last week’s “Pilot,””I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)” still has its share of rough edges. The episode starts to flush out Panettiere’s character as we see that Juliette wants her career to be far more than churning out music for 12 year-old girls. I’m still not sold on either Britton or Panettiere as having a Nashville star voice, and the absence of a performance by Bowen and Palladio (who stole the Pilot with their song to end the show) doesn’t help either. The actors are still better than the material they are being asked to deliver, but this episode does show flashes to make me think, perhaps, there may be a small glimmer of hope in Nashville.

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