Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC Television Group © 2012 Disney    
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Nashville Recap for Season 1, Episode 2: “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)” — The Revenge of Miss Sparkly Pants

The tension is on, and the clothes are coming off! In Nashville Season 1, Episode 2, “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You),” we learn that there’s no problem that a $50K guitar can’t cure. And we also realize that “Miss Sparkly Pants” might just be the coolest nickname ever.

As the episode begins, Rayna (Connie Britton) is driving her kids to school when the traffic comes to a standstill because Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is filming her latest music video. So not only is Juliette supplanting Rayna on the charts, but she’s also making the country legend’s kids late to school. Then again, if being successful means you have to film a music video in which you writhe around on a giant statue in a corset top and hotpants (as we see Juliette doing), maybe Rayna is better off.

Rayna meets with her management team to discuss her lackluster albums sales. Watty White mentions the amazing duet between Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) that he recently heard at the Bluebird’s open mic (because famous radio personalities have tons of free time to watch open mics). It gave him the idea for Rayna to perform a back-to-her-roots tour with Deacon (Charles Esten) in small venues.

Watty then approaches Scarlett and Gunnar at the Bluebird, telling them he was impressed with their song and that he’ll record their first three-song demo. Gunnar is thrilled; Scarlett, not so much. We later see Gunnar flirting with Scarlett, but he gets promptly shot down when she invites him out... to her boyfriend, Avery’s (Jonathan Jackson), show. Ouch.

Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC Television Group © 2012 Disney    

Deacon and Rayna have started rehearsing for their tour — and they’ve squeezed in plenty of time for bickering, too. After their rehearsal, Juliette picks up Deacon and escorts him to her property, which is roughly the size of Alaska. She then shows him a $50K guitar that she wants him to use to write a song with her. Saying that Deacon is impressed is like saying that pizza is tasty — it’s an understatement.

Deacon and Juliette start to write an emotionally powerful song from the bed of her pickup truck — because what’s a better place to tap into your truest emotions than in the bed of a pickup? Juliette decides it’s time for a dip in the lake, sans clothing. We’d love to introduce Deacon to will power one of these days, because it appears that they’ve never met — and suddenly, there’s a pile of plaid clothing next to the lake. (These people really like plaid, don’t they?)

Rayna attends a fundraiser for her husband, Teddy Conrad (Eric Close), where a woman asks Rayna if her album is available at Starbucks. And speaking of Starbucks, we’re thinking that Rayna’s anger has suddenly gotten to be just about venti-sized.

Her frustration increases when her dad, Lamar (Powers Boothe), criticizes her for having recently chatted with Teddy’s opponent, Coleman Carlisle (Robert Wisdom). How does Lamar know they she chatted with Coleman? Uh, he just does, okay? Lamar is like iPhone’s Siri — he knows all.

Rayna learns that Teddy’s mayoral campaign requires her to take a vulnerability study, meaning that a bunch of old guys will ask her really personal questions about all the mistakes she might have made. Sounds like a blast, right?

Upon hearing about the vulnerability study, Rayna is totally pissed off about it reluctant, but she finally agrees. During the interrogation, she reveals that she was dating both Teddy and Deacon at the same time, and that she married Teddy while Deacon was in rehab for his serious (we’re talking Charlie Sheen-level here) substance abuse problems.

And then Rayna storms out of the study, probably because she was afraid that the next question on their list might be, “Are you currently raising your ex-boyfriend’s love child but telling your husband that she’s his?” Okay, so that’s not a very general question, but it could have been on their list, right?

Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC Television Group © 2012 Disney    

However, it’s Teddy’s own study that is the most eyebrow-raising, as he gets very heated when discussing his botched real estate deal. We learn that in 2007, Teddy invested in a tract of land along the Cumberland River. He also happened to have served two terms on the credit union, but he resigned just before the Cumberland deal fell through. Sounds fishier than the Cumberland River.

Teddy claims that this is all on the up-and-up, but Lamar’s goons tell Rayna’s dad that they don’t trust Teddy. They have a point: Teddy later pulls a bunch of documents from a safe and is dropping said documents into the fireplace. We kept expecting his daughters to come running up and say to each other, “Daddy’s burning documents again — time to make s’mores!”

Avery’s band plays, and let’s just that he’s lucky he’s good-looking. Avery isn’t thrilled that Scarlett sang with Gunnar but says that opportunities from Watty are a big deal. The radio host has discovered half the people in this town. At least we think that’s what Avery says — whenever he talks, we just sorta stare into those dreamy eyes of his and forget to listen to what he’s saying.

Juliette does not know the meaning of “playing hard to get,” as she is pulling out all the stops to win over Deacon and get him to tour with her, including giving him that $50K guitar. (We’re thinking he won’t be smashing that one onstage at the end of a concert anytime soon.) Juliette even watches his performance at the Bluebird at the end of the episode, when Deacon says he’s pulling a friend onstage to play with him — but the “friend” turns out to be Rayna, not Juliette.

But we’re glad he decided to sing with Rayna, and that Rayna finally showed up to watch him sing (so cute!). And their song — which was a hit of theirs from 20 years ago — completely blows us away and is incredibly moving. Juliette clearly notices the intense eye contact between the two (heck, we’re perspiring just thinking about it), so she storms out. Maybe Juliette should have try giving Deacon a $100K guitar next time?

And the song also affects Scarlett. She had previously told Gunnar that she didn’t want to record the demo with him because it would make things difficult with Avery. However, hearing Rayna and Deacon’s duet, combined with Gunnar’s pep talk, has inspired Scarlett to record the demo. (Wait a sec — does this mean that Avery might be on the market? So you’re telling us there’s a chance.)

And finally, Rayna and Deacon have a meaningful exchange in a car together before she goes home to hug Teddy. Awkward. Teddy has agreed to let Rayna tour with Deacon, but he might have changed his mind if he’d heard that duet.

Phew! Things were crazy this week, and it was only week two. We love all the secrets. And we can’t wait until Rayna finds out that Deacon has been skinny dippin’ with Juliette — because we’re thinking there will be hell to pay. Long story short, we can’t get enough!

So now we can’t wait for next week’s episode. In the meantime, can you tell everyone to start calling us “Miss Sparkly Pants”? We’d really appreciate it.

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10.18.2012 / 11:25 AM EDT by Ryan Gajewski
Related: Nashville, Recaps

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