Back in Nashville, we’re actually in San Diego. Or “San Diego,” at a press conference for the Rayna James/Juliette Barnes Red Lips/White Lies tour. So let’s get this straight: last episode, the tour was going to start in three days, with Juliette getting married the day before the tour was to start, and Juliette taking off (in a moment where she was unsupervised by her PA and manager) in her private jet as a runaway bride. Now we’re in San Diego for a press conference, with 30k tickets (is there an arena that holds that many people?) magically sold out. OK. But GAC’s Storme Warren is here to ask the tough questions, so he asks about the speed with which the tour came together and whether the ladies can really be ready to play in front of 30k people. Rayna says they have played some smaller shows in Tucson, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and things have gone fine. OK, now I’m really confused about when all this happened. Lorianne Crook steps up and asks a pointed question to Juliette about whether fans should worry about her leaving them high and dry. Juliette takes the question in her stride and says fans don’t need to worry, and that not making it down the aisle was a personal matter. Storme Warren is back to ask how Rayna is going to cope without her longtime lead guitarist Deacon. Rayna says that change is always challenging but she has so much faith in her band and crew she thinks her fans will get the best Rayna James show yet. Juliette snarks that it’ll be the 1st Rayna James show for most of her fans. Rayna laughs that laugh of somebody ready to wring Juliette’s neck.
Meanwhile in Little Rock, reporter Carmen bidding farewell to Deacon for now, wants to meet up after she turns in her article. Deacon gently turns her down, but Carmen doesn’t seem to mind too much. Sy eyes them, and angles for Carmela’s attention. She brushes him off. Sy and Deacon trade barbs over the attention Carmela was lavishing on Deacon.
Back in San Diego, Rayna and Bucky are walking through the arena where their show will go on. Juliette’s soundcheck is scheduled for 4, Rayna’s at 5. Rayna isn’t sure about Deacon’s replacement, the new guitar player. This is a guy who has toured with Brad Paisley and Keith Urban but doesn’t seem interested in understanding what Rayna wants. Bucky promises to talk to him. Next, Rayna video chats with her excited daughters. Teddy shows up from behind, and drops the video to continue their conversation. Rayna asks how the polls are looking and Teddy says the election is tight. Teddy wants to know how she’s doing, but mostly whether Rayna has given much thought to their status. Rayna hems and haws, leading Teddy to conclude she won’t be returning to Nashville to watch election returns. He is somewhat miffed and ends the conversation.
At the Bluebird, Scarlett and Gunnar are cleaning up dishes and tables. Scarlett wants to know if Gunnar still plans on driving home to Austin, because Deacon gave them tickets to the Revel Kings. Gunnar tries to brush her off due to family stuff he has going on, but Scarlett makes herself an invitation he can’t refuse and hitches a ride down to Austin.
Juliette is in her dressing room – signing CDs while complaining to Manager Glenn that it’s pointless because nobody buys CDs anymore. Manager Glenn takes a call from Juliette’s lawyer, who has informed him Sean won’t sign the divorce papers. The public doesn’t know that they’re married yet, and Juliette thinks he’s crazy because it’s a matter of time before the press finds out about their elopement. Manager Glenn suggests Juliette call him. Juliette pensively says she’s pretty sure she’s the last person Sean is interested in hearing from.
Meanwhile in Rayna’s dressing room, Manager Bucky was brought in the lead guitarist. Rayna tries to talk with guitarist. It goes really well because he quits claiming she’s impossible to please. Manager Bucky asks if anybody he finds will be good enough. Lack of continuity alert! Bucky says they have a tour “starting” the following night despite the fact that Rayna had said at the press conference that she and Juliette had been playing smaller shows for the last couple of weeks.
With the election looming, Coleman tells a TV interviewer that he will be out canvassing in person rather than hiding in a gated community (no doubt a veiled shot at Teddy). Teddy, Tandy, and Lamar are watching the interview, and banter about Coleman having run out of campaign cash. Teddy has been able to raise twice as much but Tandy points out that Coleman being a known quantity from holding public office could be enough to swing undecided voters his way. The Conrad name has a less recent history in politics: turns out Teddy’s great grandfather also became a senator by buying votes. Lamar and Tandy lean on Teddy to buy votes to get him into office. Teddy refuses and though Tandy and Lamar remind him how many people have contributed to his campaign and how much he’s sacrificed for the campaign, Teddy walks out, telling them he won’t sacrifice whatever he has left.
Avery and Manager Marilyn are sleeping together, and Avery’s idea of pillow talk is to ask Manager Marilyn whether Dominic has sent over a contract. Manager Marilyn says he has, but it’s a bad deal, only a 9% royalty. Avery thinks that’s standard but Marilyn wants to hold out for more because Avery is so talented, and points out the contract is loaded with deductions that would prevent Avery from seeing a penny from sales for a long time. Marilyn says Dominic knows he can screw somebody like Avery, who’s young & inexperienced.
Meanwhile in Austin, Scarlett and Gunnar could be getting the VIP treatment at the band’s hotel, but Gunnar is taking off to see his brother. Scarlett wants to invite his brother to the show and Gunnar sheepishly says this isn’t his scene. Deacon greets the two, and Scarlett brags about them getting 3 songs written during their 15 hour drive to Austin. Gunnar declines Deacon’s invite for food saying he has family obligations, and takes off. After Scarlett can’t tell Deacon much about Gunnar’s family, Deacon mildly chides her for not knowing her cowriter better.
Back in San Diego, Liam shows up and greets Rayna, who’s sitting up in the nosebleeds taking in the scene for Red Lips/White Lies tour. He has come down to record but Rayna wants him to help her out for the first few shows playing lead guitar. Liam is more interested in her new songs than her old ones but agrees to play 3 shows. Meanwhile Juliette has been running arena steps and runs right into an interview with CMT’s Katie Cook, who asks about nervous energy and about her split from Sean Butler. Though the 2nd topic was supposed to be off limits (as if Music Row reporters would ever risk losing access by violating pre-determined terms like that!), Juliete answers that while Sean is a wonderful man, she thinks it’s important to learn from mistakes before making bigger ones, and marriage would be a big mistake for them. Juliette thinks this is a good way of getting Sean to sign the divorce papers.
Meanwhile in Austin, Gunnar is picking up his big brother Jason from jail. Jason is surprised to see him.
Juliette is signing autographs when she is served with papers requiring a family court appearance for an annullment. Somehow none of the screaming tweenage girls notice the summons or care. I don’t know if that’s just convenient presentation or a pretty good depiction of standom.
Rayna is in her dressing room when Liam walks in and snarks on all the flowers. Rayna’s bought him cowboy boots for his big 1st show.
Deacon and Scarlett are strolling around underneath the Austin arena where the Revel Kings will be playing. Scarlett is impressed by the venue but Deacon says he prefers the Bluebird. They run into Sy, who kind of hits on Scarlett. So, the desperate womanizing was left out of Sy’s pitch to Deacon to join the Revel Kings in the first place. OK I guess.
Juliette is soundchecking. She runs through “Boys & Buses,” but doesn’t want to sing “Love Like Mine,” presumably due to the memories she has of singing it on her private jet for Sean. Problem is, “Love Like Mine” is a big fan favorite.
DOWNLOAD “Boys & Buses” (cowritten by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne) and performed by Hayden Panettiere) HERE.
Back in Nashville, dinner is served at Casa James/Conrad, and Teddy and the girls talking election. Girls are optimistic and telling their dad about people they know who will vote for him. Maddie wants Teddy to wear a special blue tie that she gave him as a gift for the victory party. Daphne wants to know if Rayna will come home for the returns party. Teddy isn’t sure. Maddie is busy on her phone texting with all the kids who are excited about her being the mayor’s daughter. You can see Teddy think about what it might mean to his daughters for him to win.
Over in San Diego, Rayna is waiting for her turn to soundcheck. She tells Buddy to cancel the ticket they had on hold for her to return home for the election returns party. Juliette has run overtime while she is rehearsing Telescope. Liam sasses her, then lies down on stage while he snarks on her for trying to have Manager Glenn or anybody else clean up her problems. I’m not sure why Liam lying down on stage is supposed to make it impossible for Juliette to rehearse, but she storms off, demanding her jet. Rayna is very amused.
DOWNLOAD the live version of “Telescope” (cowritten by Cary Barlowe and Hillary Lindsey and performed by Hayden Panettiere) HERE.
In Austin, Gunnar and brother Jason have checked into a motel room. Jason is not interested in small talk, considering he has been in prison for the last 8 years, without a single visitor, as he says pointedly. Gunnar says he was out of town for 3 of those years. Jason is setting up Gunnar’s guitar, while Gunnar talks about the possibility of setting Jason up with a halfway house for 6 months, which could lead to Jason being free to move to Nashville with him. Jason isn’t really listening, and starts singing Merle Haggard’s “The Fugitive.”
Liam visits Rayna getting primped in her dressing room, and wonders whether Juliette will come back in time for her set (that’s right, she jetted off on the day of the big show. The concept of time is lost in Nashville!). Liam isn’t wearing the cowboy boots, and tells Rayna she can’t turn him into Deacon. Liam says he can tell she’s scared about taking the stage and it feeling different without Deacon. Rayna denies it but of course Liam is right.
Meanwhile in Atlanta, Avery’s decided to meet with Domino. They banter about the contract, with Domino smoothtalking Avery saying Marilyn’s trying to make more money for herself while Domino’s investing in Avery. Domino suggests they go for a drive in his sweet car, and even lets Avery drive.
Scarlett is gushing over Deacon’s show when Sy sends him off somewhere and, while he’s turned around, escorts Scarlett to the Revel Kings private party. He works Scarlett over by showing her some fancy artwork.
Juliette has flown to Oakland, so I guess the Nashville writers are at least trying to be semi-realistic. It’s already dark though so time is short. Juliette is waiting outside Sean’s bus. Sean lectures Juliette for not taking responsibility for what she did, for embarrassing his parents, for breaking his sister’s heart, and for not apologizing. He says he will only get married once, to the right woman, and she is obviously not it. He demands an annulment in which Juliette admits to fraud.
Sy has the security guard clear out the room now and starts coming onto Scarlett and isn’t taking no for an answer. Deacon gets blocked by the Sy’s bodyguard but gets past and throw Sy off Scarlett. He quits the band and Sy fires him.
Juliette has made it back to San Diego, where she runs into Liam backstage. Liam needles her for not taking responsibility for anything around her.
Gunnar has returned to the motel after a longer than expected excursion for Chinese takeout. While he was gone it seems Jason has been up to something that includes pawning off Gunnar’s guitar in exchange for something that is a parole violation. The brothers fight and we learn the backstory: Gunnar was 16, saw Jason rob the store, ran off. Gunnar feels guilty about leaving his brother but doesn’t understand how the big brother who looked after him and taught him how to play guitar turned out like Jason. They embrace, and Jason leaves.
Crowd is going wild for Rayna in San Diego. Rayna introduces Liam, then a new song (“Buried Under”). Juliette is in her dressing room, looking at her engagement ring.
Back in Nashville Coleman and Mrs. Carlile have a cheery heart to heart the night before the election while Teddy is home alone depressed. The news says the polls show a dead heat.
Juliette brings “Love Like Mine” back into her set, to the wild cheers of the crowd. She seems to get a release from singing it. Watching from the side stage: Manager Bucky says Juliette is good, Rayna doesn’t disagree. Bucky tells Rayna she’s better, and Rayna chuckles. Rayna says she needs to home for the election returns. Bucky is on it.
Scarlett has made the hotel bed. Deacon and Scarlett apologize to each other. They talk about Sy. Deacon says some guys don’t know how to be humble about their talent.
Right on cue, we cut to Avery driving up in a new car, chastising Marilyn for not making him any money. He has signed the deal with Domino. Marilyn chastises him for it, and Avery tells her she works for him, so she can either get on board or not.
Gunnar has come to pick Scarlett and Deacon up at the hotel. Deacon isn’t going to join them. Scarlett finally asks Gunnar about his family. He tells Scarlett that his brother served 8 years for armed robbery. The only other family is a grandmother in Fort Worth. Scarlett tells Gunnar she’d like to hear all about his history on their drive back.
In family court, Juliette gives Sean his annulment and admits to fraud. Counsel and judge leave the chamber, leaving Juliette and Sean alone. Juliette apologizes to Sean and tells him she knows she was never going to be the wife he deserves. Sean has the last word, telling her she was right when she told him he wouldn’t like her very much once he had gotten to know her.
It is time for the election results to be revealed. Rayna has arrived at the party. And….Teddy wins! Coleman concedes and promises to continue to fighting for the public interest against the greediest interests. Coleman ends with a grateful shoutout to his wife, while Teddy and Rayna watch glumly.
Lamar tells Tandy Rayna’ll come around because there’s nothing more attractive than a powerful man. Tandy wonders if Lamar bought the election for Teddy but Lamar says Teddy did it on his own and that being mayor suits him.
Alone in a hotel room, Teddy thanks his assistant and lets him leave. But he has one more visitor. It’s Peggy! She congratulates him, and says the pills were a mistake, not a suicide attempt. She doesn’t seem to want to leave and this time, Teddy doesn’t seem to want her to leave. But she does leave. This time.
BONUS: Check out Clare Bowen’s performance of “When The Right One Comes Along” from today on The View!