Welcome back to Nashville! We join Bucky & Rayna outside as they put the finishing touches on an outdoor show meant to ignite Markus’s album launch that night. It’s time for soundcheck. Markus, though, is nowhere to be found.
Gunnar and Scarlett have returned to Nashville. Gunnar and Erin kiss goodbye. With Erin off to Charleston, they’ll see each other when they see each other, which Scarlett sarcastically observes is “romantic.” Gunnar reminds her it’s casual. Dr. Caleb has hospital stuff going on, so he’s not there for to pick up Scarlett. Instead, Deacon’s going to drive Scarlett home. Gunnar tells Scarlett he’s glad their touring worked – they embrace and Gunnar declares they’re more than friends, their partners.
At Casa Jaymes, Daphne’s performing “‘Til The Stars Come Out Again,” cowritten by Justin Glasco and Garrison Starr on the ukulele for Maddie. Maddie thinks “it’s great” but without much enthusiasm. Daphne notices, and Maddie admits she thinks their sound may need to become more adult to get on radio. Daphne points out they’re not adults. Maddie doesn’t disagree, but you can tell that she feels closer to adulthood than Daphne.
To DOWNLOAD “Til The Stars Come Out Again,” written by Justin Glasco and Garrison Starr and performed by Maisy Stella, click HERE!
Over to Gunnar’s, where Will is blowing bubbles for Cadence, before he has to leave in 10 minutes. Gunnar walks in the door, and Will is so pleased that he forgets to mind his language until it’s too late. Gunnar disses his hug and goes straight for Cadence. As usual, the TV is on, and an entertainment program is talking up Shenandoah Girl‘s Oscar buzz, showing prior footage of Juliette saying “in a way, I’ve been acting my own life.” Cadence giggles at the sound of her mother’s voice, just as Avery walks in and wondering how that’s possible. Gunnar’s been reading parenting books and points out to him that babies recognize their mother’s voices from in utero. But Avery is having none of it – he says Juliette’s off limits to Cadence, and so is TV (Gunnar is with him on the latter).
Meanwhile, Rayna has found Markus’s phone, but no Markus. She spots Markus on the balcony of a building nearby, but just to cover something that reads awkwardly…he’s not on the ledge or anything and this isn’t Juliette redux.
Luke has just gotten off the phone and confirmed that Dierks Bentley is going to cover Juliette’s dates for the remainder of the tour. Gabrielle walks in with photo shoot selects for Luke’s Forbes shoot for Luke to choose from. Luke doesn’t want to use photos of Cole considering Cole’s feelings about the brand but Gabrielle is minimally sympathetic to his concerns. Luke’s assistant walks in to tell him federal agents are here to see him. Luke is surprised, and I am, too, because she either doesn’t know or didn’t share from which agency, or whether she verified that they’re actual agents and not fakes. We learn that the visitors are Special Agents Simon and Madson from the IRS. Luke suggests looping his business manager, but it’s his business manager Meyer Hoffman & Associates that’s actually the problem. Mr. Hoffman has been embezzling from Luke & other clients and has fled the country, leaving Luke with $40 million in backtaxes owed. No, seriously, are we sure this isn’t one of those scams that take place by phone, only in person this time?
Emily shows up at Gunnar’s – she’s to watch Cadence today. She wasn’t available yesterday, and admits that’s because she went to see Juliette at rehab after Juliette texted her. Avery suddenly remembers that Juliette is still responsible for Emily’s paycheck. Emily starts making the case for Juliette to Avery, and Avery finally learns that Juliette went to rehab and, after completing a stint there, is now at a treatment center for PPD. I understand why we’re not seeing the Juliette-Emily scenes from a practical point of view, but they are missed here. Avery concludes that Juliette’s using Emily to manipulate him, and abruptly tells Emily she doesn’t need to watch Cadence today.
Deacon has taken Scarlett to The Beverly, where he insisted on pews for the front few rows of seating in front of the stage to convey the sanctity of the music. That’s not all Deacon has to show Scarlett, he also reveals the engagement ring he bought for Rayna. What happened to the old one, for sentimental value? Of course, Deacon can afford a shinier one now to symbolize a new start, but it’s a bad case of show amnesia to not at least mention it.
Meanwhile, Rayna finds Markus and he has been overcome with a sudden case of stage fright/cold feet about his move to country. He thinks he’s making a huge mistake and he can’t do this because he’s afraid everybody’s going to see through him. So here’s my question: they’re basically releasing this album out into the blue, without even attempting a single launch/radio tour? And they didn’t preview the album earlier for tastemakers, so nobody on the label side really knows what the reception is going to be? What kind of album launch is this?
Back at The Beverly, Scarlett asks Deacon when he’s going to ask Rayna to marry him. His plan is to do tomorrow night at The Beverly opening, where all their friends and family will be there. And Beverly, who didn’t ever resent Rayna for taking Deacon for her, will totally be smiling her blessing onto these proceedings, right? Scarlett takes it all in and isn’t in a rush to get home. Deacon wonders what’s up, and scarlett says things weren’t great with Caleb the last time they saw each other (and so they haven’t spoken since?). Deacon says “reentry is always tough,” and advises that she shouldn’t put it off.
UK reporter Nick Watts is interviewing Markus and Rayna about Markus’s new album and Markus talks up Nashville talent and how he’s been taking it all in. Rayna’s there to hammer home the message: all that inspiration filtered into Markus’s best music yet. When the reporter asks Markus how he would respond to skeptics calling this country album a “detour,” Markus freezes. Rayna is there to cover, asserting that the lines between country and rock are blurred these days, and that this Markus’s most authentic music, and that’s what people are going to hear. That’s all we get from the interview.
Over at Luke’s, we are introduced to some kind of accountant type, who has now gone through Luke’s finances and found no irregularities with his label or his investments. Everything that was embezzled was from Luke’s personal finances. I’m not familiar with how this works in the industry, so I don’t know if it’s typical to have personal finances looked over by the same person who handles business finances. Regardless, I am still at a loss as to what happened to the rest of Luke’s team…that manager who was with him and all those people who were there to plan his wedding with Rayna. It’s just Luke, Gabrielle and this accountant guy having this discussion now. Anyway, the accountant suggests filing for bankruptcy to protect some of his assets, which Luke says is not an option because it would hurt the brand. Gabrielle says back taxes also hurt brands, and asks if he has the liquidity to take care of the back taxes. Luke doesn’t but he has assets that can be quietly liquidated to take care of the back taxes.
Scarlett went home to Dr. Caleb’s after all, and as she’s unpacking, Dr. Caleb arrives to greet/surprise hrt. He didn’t want to make the same mistake as last time.
Freaked out after his meeting with Emily, Avery’s hightailed it to his lawyer to ask about the possibility of a restraining order. His lawyer tries to calm him down, reminding him that he has the power in this situation by virtue of having sole custody and Juliette having agreed to revoke her parent rights.
Will has turned up for another writing session with Wade Cole, but it turns out his publisher failed to book a room for them. Wade arrives, and Will is about to call Gunnar to see if his studio’s available when Wade suggests that they work at his home. Will asks if his wife won’t mind. Wade says not to worry about it, which somehow gives me vibes either that he’s going to make a pass at Will or that there will be things that Wade’s house that make Will intensely uncomfortable.
Markus rehearses “Tonight Feels Different,” and now is fretting about whether crowds will show and more. The sudden absence of rock star swagger is believable, I guess, but it feels a little contrived. Rayna once again reassures him and says they’ve had a great ride and she wouldn’t do anything different. That’s enough to make Markus smile and calm down.
Onward to the evening, where Deacon arrives for Markus’s show and spots Cashie, Frankie’s daughter. He introduces her to Maddie & Daphne, who are impressed that she’s been touring with Kacey Musgraves. They invite her to join them in the V.I.P. section.
Gabrielle arrives in Luke’s office to tell him that the IRS has agreed to their payment schedule and that the issue’s taken care of. Gabrielle thinks Luke should stop punishing himself for everything that’s happened, and tries to comfort him. He’s not much in the mood for comforting, though. He apologizes and asks to be alone for a little while.
There is, in fact, a big, enthusiastic crowd for Markus’s album launch concert (and even if there weren’t, Rayna could have sent out a call for people to show up, so there was never any cause for worry). Marksus is nervous again, and he and Rayna takes swigs from a flask of whiskey. Deacon, Maddie, Daphne, Cashie are front row VIP. Rayna introduces Markus and he takes the stage to perform “Tonight Feels Different,” written by Keelan Donovan and Daniel Tashian. Cashie’s impressed by his performance. Deacon knows he’s good but is back to bleh on the guy.
To DOWNLOAD “Tonight Feels Different,” cowritten by Keelan Donovan and Daniel Tashian and performed by Riley Smith, click HERE!
BONUS: Check out co-writer Keelan Donovan’s version of “Tonight Feels Different”:
Back at Gunnar’s, Will is recounting a productive day writing with Wade to Avery and Gunnar. Will quips that Wade had him walk through the front door not the back, and notes that they’ll be writing at Wade’s from now on. He wonders if this means there’s hope for acceptance of gay people in country music after all. Meanwhile, Gunnar wonders where Emily is. Avery tells them he fired her and explains what happened. He thinks that Emily is too nice and therefore can’t be trusted to protect Cadence from Juliette. But Will says it’s not okay, that Emily’s a way better influence on Cadence than any of them. Gunnar says Avery should get her back, too.
Scarlett’s pillow talk with Dr. Caleb brings the revelation that he got a job offer to head his own department…in Seattle. He seems a bit young for that to happen? Scarlett doesn’t think she could move, being part of a duo. They agree to put off any decisions.
After a successful show, Rayna tells Deacon not to wait up because she’ll be another hour. What could possibly go wrong? Bucky excitedly tells her there have beeen 250k downloads of Markus’s album already (which, in the real world, would be Adele-level, considering the album came out in the last couple of hours). The album’s going to go platinum and this is a huge victory for the label. Markus grabs Rayna to the roof for a toast from a champagne bottle and a giddy Rayna joins him. Let me guess…Deacon will walk in at the worst possible moment? Nope! Markus kisses Rayna, and Rayna yells him for respecting boundaries before walking off.
In the morning, Scarlett says she doesn’t want to leave Nashville. Caleb understands and knows and tells her that’s why he’s going to turn the job offer down.
Over at Casa Jaymes, Deacon has made Rayna breakfast in bed and they’re feeling gleeful about what Markus’s success means for Highway 65 until Rayna tells Deacon about Markus trying to kiss her. Deacon is ready to kick his ass and Rayna is trying to talk him down when she gets a text says Markus is cancelling his upcoming tour and moving back to L.A. Over Deacon’s objections, Rayna rushes to see Markus.
Avery is at Gunnar’s house when Dr. Kiddley, Juliette’s therapist, arrives. She tells him that to have any chance of recovery, Juliette needs to bond with Cadence. But Avery is firm in wanting to keep Juliette away from Cadence. In a surprisingly pointed and guilt-trippy retort, Dr. Kiddley says she hopes Avery is prepared to tell Cadence that when Juliette tried to repair relationship, Avery said no.
Rayna finds Markus in his hotel room and goes inside. Was this all a ploy to get Rayna into his hotel room? Apparently not. Markus explains that he and the band got to talking after they congratulated him on his album’s success, and so they’re reuniting. Rayna reminds him they started this journey because they both needed it. She begs him to stay.
Meanwhile at Luke’s, a semi-panicked Gabrielle storms in to say the back taxes story is out, and that there is a Forbes hatchet job coming because the photographer did some digging. Yeah, OK, nothing about that makes sense. Interviewers rarely take their own photographs and photographers rarely do interviews. Anyway, Ford and Coke are out as brand sponsors and Gabrielle fears that Luke will be seen as either too dumb or too rich to notice $40 million gone. An exasperated Luke sort of blmaes Gabrielle for not fixing this, saying he did everything to protect the brand, sacrificing what mattered most to him. Gabrielle retorts that his problems predated her and that if anything, she should be angry for betting on the wrong horse. She quits.
Over to the Beverly, where Deacon’s backstage forlornly holding the engagement ring he had planned on giving Rayna when Frankie comes back to say crowd’s waiting on him. Frankie asks if he wants to keep waiting for Rayna, and Deacon says he’s done waiting for her (ruh roh). Deacon takes the stage to introduce the relaunched venue, dedicates the duet he and Scarlett perform, “Hand to Hold” to Beverly. Dr. Caleb, Gunnar and more are in the crowd.
To DOWNLOAD “Hand To Hold,” performed by Charles Esten and Clare Bowen, click HERE!
While they play Cashie greets Maddie, asks if she and her sister are playing there tonight. Maddie says with a 12 year old sister, this is not their crowd (which reminds me…what are they doing there, exactly? I know Deacon is their father, but aren’t they underage?). Cashie agrees that can be a drag and says they should write together some time. Maddie’s game.
Emily arrives at Gunnar’s, reminding Avery that she still has her key. She knows that Dr. Kiddley was there. Avery doesn’t trust anything about this and points out that this is all classic Juliette – hot rock bottom, beg for help and forgiveness, and then take everybody down with her in her next crash. Emily insists it’s different this time and suggests that Avery go to the treatment center and see for himself. Avery reminds her of her impending Oscar nomination (despite not campaigning for it, which doesn’t seem very realistic. She’s pretty much disappeared and we’re supposed to believe the media hasn’t noticed and isn’t asking questions.). Emily tells Avery he’s protecting himself more than Cadence and that it’s fine to want to have nothing to do with Juliette. But nothing can change the fact that Juliette will always be Cadence’s mother.
Next at the Beverly, Tucker Beathard, a new Dot Records/Big Machine Label Group signing, performs “Rock On,” a song he cowrote with Marla Cannon-Goodman and his father, Casey Beathard.
Meanwhile, Scarlett takes Gunnar outside to tell him about Dr. Caleb’s job offer. Gunnar says it’s not ideal but if moving to Seattle makes her happy, they’ll make it work. Scarlett asks, “How?” Gunnar says they’ll figure it out and seems as unfazed as we are, because we all know Scarlett’s not moving to Seattle. Scarlett thanks him.
Still at Gunnar’s, Avery goes through a box of memories with Juliette and Cadence as Cadence coos in the background. This is the show’s extremely subtle way of telling us that Avery’s softening his stance and reconsidering.
Over at Wade Cole’s, Will apologizes for keeping Wade so late. Wade says his family’s out of town and invites Will to stay for steaks and the game. Oh dear. Will says he needs to get to The Beverly’s opening and Wade understands. Wade apologizes for his attitude when they first met and says he admires Will. And then he tries to hit on him. Will is surprised to find out Wade is a closeted homosexual. Wade says he’s managed fine in the closet, and Will could have, too, if he’d played it right. But Will says he’d rather be himself than Wade. Okay, here’s my thing…couldn’t this show have chosen some other way to reveal that a gay man is gay? Why does it always have to be through a gay man making an unwanted pass at another man? More shock value, I guess, but it also sends plays into a repression/lack of control dynamic that is pretty stereotypical.
Rayna finally shows up to The Beverly late and apologizes to Deacon. Deacon lays into her for choosing Markus over him. Rayna tells Deacon that Markus left afterwards, that she couldn’t talk him out of bailing on Highway 65. So she thinks her label’s dead. Deacon is not upset Markus is gone. Rayna blasts him for not understanding and walks off.
Scarlett, meanwhile, is weeping outside when Dr. Caleb finds her. She feels really guilty. Why? She tells Caleb that Gunnar gave her the green light to move to Seattle and that she felt bad that she wasn’t giving Caleb what he was willing to give her. Caleb tries to reassure her that it’s fine but Scarlett tells him he has to take the Seattle job, that he’s brilliant and doing important work and that she can’t allow him to throw away everything he dreamed of for her when she wouldn’t do the same thing for him. Yep, she’s breaking up with him. Dr. Caleb is a bit bitter, says she wouldn’t have given him a shot if not for Deacon and instructs her to pack her things while he’s at work and leave the key by the door. Wow, so how many contrived plot distractions did we take care of in this episode? Markus, Gabrielle and Dr. Caleb makes three.
Emily comes to meet Avery at his request and he apologizes for taking his anger on Juliette out on Emily. Emily is understanding, she agrees that Juliette needs to prove herself but needs Cadence to do that. Avery makes Emily promise that she’ll be in the room with Juliette the whole time she’s with Cadence and agrees to supervised visits as long as they have no bearing on Juliette’s parental rights. Avery feels sick to his stomach, but Emily tells him he’s doing the right thing.
Luke has flown…somewhere to see “Sarge,” Colt’s grandfather, his ex-wife’s father. Luke apologizes to Colt for everything but the cover-up and asks Colt to come home, to not throw away everything he has in Nashville because of Luke’s mistakes. Colt doesn’t think what’s wrong can be fixed, but Luke insists that it can, that he gets that he shouldn’t have done the brand thing. He pleads with Colt to give them a chance to start over and reveals that the brand is gone, Gabrielle is gone. Colt coldly replies, “Well, I guess you lost it all then, didn’t you,” and turns his back and closes the door. No but seriously, what about Colt and Maddie?
Scarlett joins Gunnar inside The Beverly, and he asks when she’s moving. Scarlett tells Gunnar they broke up and she’s not OK about it. Will comes up and doesn’t allow Gunnar to avoid a hug and a kiss this time. He plans on getting drunk tonight. Avery joins the grou and tells them, much to the boys’ relief, that he made up with Emily and agreed to allow Juliette supervised visits with Cadence. Scarlett tells him he did the right thing. Gunnar suggests toasting to Cadence, which Avery is not super-comfortable with, so they toast to themselves. Friends! Again, this is what the show does well.
Rayna is up on the roof of the Beverly staring forlornly into space when Deacon arrives. Deacon tells he does support Rayna and her career, but he just got jealous because all that studio time, all that intimacy through music, that used to be the two of them. Rayna misses that too and says she needs him. Deacon wishes he could do everything all over again and change everything except for them. He gets down on one knee and proposes through tears, and Rayna accepts through tears. And that’s it for this week!
Next week, come back for a Nashville devoted entirely to the show’s biggest asset: its music – it’s Nashville On The Record. And then the drama resumes in a few months, March 16, 2016 to be exact. So join us to celebrate the show’s music next week to cap off the year, won’t you?
To DOWNLOAD “Too Far From You,” written by Sarah Siskind and performed by Aubrey Peeples, click HERE!
To DOWNLOAD “Plenty Far To Fall,” written by Sandy Chila, Alex Dezan and Garrison Starr and performed by Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio, click HERE!
To DOWNLOAD the Nashville: Original Soundtrack, Season 4, Volume 1, click HERE!
Also featured in tonight’s episode will be a song called “Breaking the Law,” cowritten by Jacob Bryant and John Davidson.
Don’t forget to check out EMI Nashville singer/songwriter Kelleigh Bannen’s blog on what Nashville gets right and what it doesn’t about Nashville and the music industry. Her blog on last week’s episode includes discussion of the going rate for studio musicians, whether it’s realistic for an artist to want to drop a song from an album being released the following week, whether songwriters tend to have a problem with artists wanting to change lyrics of their songs, whether checking to see if a song is on hold is the simple matter of checking a database, and talks about life on a tour bus and Grimey’s in Nashville.