Welcome back to Nashville!
We resume with Juliette passed out on a bed. Shady Dr. Pal had warned that the injection site may be sore, so Enabler Lindsay is ready with pain killers. More drugs, yay! But Juliette flushes them down the toilet. So we’re going to be getting sensible Juliette for at least some of this episode. This turn of fortune makes primetime drama sense because Avery is poring over the divorce papers and signs them. “It’s you and me, baby girl, just you and me,” he tells Cadence.
Over at Casa Jaymes, Rayna thinks Deacon should go to Naches to help Scarlett clean out Beverly’s house. Deacon thinks Scarlett can take care of Beverly’s house herself, but Rayna reminds him of the closure he may not realize he lacks, and how going through her father’s effects helped her to deal with Lamar’s passing.
Scarlett is in Naches, in Beverly’s house, there to sort through her mother’s belongings and figure out what to do with them.. The woman who let her in didn’t realize she’d ever lived there, but Scarlett says she left on the sofa there for a semester of college.
We head over to another chaotic breakfast scene at Gunnar’s house. Luke invited Will & Kevin down to Atlanta, where he will sing a song that they co-wrote. Gunnar has a characteristically awkward scene whose only purpose could be to hint at romance, this time with P.A. Emily, who is watching Cadence. Avery is off for his first day at work with Marcus Keen. With Cadence fussy from not having quite recovered from the ear infection that landed her in the hospital, Gunnar invites himself along with Will and Kevin for a road trip to Atlanta.
Rayna, meanwhile, is on the phone with Bucky. She has allowed Maddie to fly out to a Luke concert with her boyfriend Colt. Bucky thinks she should be more worried about Layla, because Jeff.
Speaking of the devil, Jeff is getting all gussied up for a trip to Atlanta while a negligee-clad Layla grouses about the minimal media coverage of her Opry debut on account of Marcus Keen. Jeff assures her that Marcus won’t have an album for a year and that she can get out ahead with hers. Layla mentions she is to meet with Rayna today about the album, because Rayna has notes. Jeff advises her that if she likes Rayna’s notes, she can take them, but she should feel no obligation to do so.
Now we join conversations in progress on Luke’s private jet, where Gabrielle has scheduled potential brand partners to coincide with Luke’s show there. They are also in the middle of a CEO search for a lifestyle brand. Luke’s face is already on barbecue sauce bottles, so I’m not really getting the idea that now he’s getting serious about brand management, but OK. Maddie & Colt are bantering about getting some alone time away from the watchful eyes of the on-site parent.
Juliette is still in the throes of sensible thinking and regrets falling for the tabloid crap. She knows that Avery and Emily wouldn’t hook up behind her back because they’re better people than she is. Enabler BFF/PA Lindsay helpfully uses tabloid body language experts to determine that, based on the paparazzi photos, they’re doing it. Juliette mercifully doesn’t buy it and decides to text Avery.
The next cut is to Avery, and is this going to be one of those things where he does something irrevocable that he would take back if he had just seen her text five seconds before? In fact, he was about the messenger divorce papers to Juliette but holds off when he receives Juliette’s text with her new phone number.
Our merry troupe of boys, also known as Gunnar, Will and Kevin are on their road trip and make plans to avoid Juliette out of respect for Avery. Conversation turns to Gunnar’s love life…with Will half-bro-edly inquiring whether Gunnar and Zoe hooked up when she was in town. I mean, just recently, Gunnar was confiding in Will about his unrequited feelings for Scarlett, so hooking up with another former long-term ex is exactly the kind of sensible suggestion Will would and should be making! Anyway, after Gunnar tries to play up his chemistry with Emily, the trio make plans to get Gunnar laid and all concerned are too dorky decent to make me believe this will happen.
Avery is checking in with Emily by phone when Marcus finally shows up for recording…an hour late. But they shake hands and Marcus urges Avery to shoot from the hip with him. As we all know, that means there will be conflict the moment that Avery does just that.
From the lobby of an Atlanta hotel, Juliette leaves an apology message for Emily while Lindsay tells off bellboy for having dropped off one of their party’s suitcases. The look in Juliette’s eyes suggests she’s waking up to what she is, but for how long?
Upstairs, Luke, Colt and Maddie are hanging out in his hotel room, they’re going to head over to the concert venue in half an hour. Maddie wants to change her outfit and Luke absent-mindedly signs off on the issue, which means her outfit will be horrendously inappropriate. And to make sure he doesn’t see the dress, would-be brand manager Gabrielle shows up to let Luke know that Coca Cola’s CEO wants to have a drink downstairs. Colt promises to head down the minute Maddie is dressed. We already know what the expression on Luke’s face will be when he sees her.
Deacon arrives in Naches, having heeded Rayna’s advice. He has a gruff exchange about Beverly’s belongings that is rife with loaded commentary – Deacon snidely remarks that Scarlett sure doesn’t seem to want to leave much in the “stay” pile and Scarlett retorts with a comment about not pointlessly hanging onto things for the sake of hanging onto them.
Luke is having his drink with the Coca Cola CEO with Gabrielle watching from a safe distance (the optics of the professional woman being left out of a conversation of a bunch of men are probably realistic, but not good). Jeff greets Gabrielle and pitches himself as CEO of Luke’s new lifestyle brand, partially by feeding her gossip items that would disqualify the three people already on her shortlist. He also smoothly interrupts Luke’s meeting and greets the other men there.
Rayna’s invited Layla over to Casa Jaymes, and they are hanging out in Rayna’s music room. Rayna’s going to give some notes about how she thinks a few songs could go deeper, and Layla throws down her “my manager Jeff and I” wall. Rayna takes the opportunity to pivot to their personal relationship, which Layla admits to. But as Layla quickly grows defensive, Rayna pivots back to the music.
Back to the Atlanta hotel, where Maddie emerges wearing a dress with one of those illusion cutouts in front and boyfriend Colt is suitably impressed. They think about hanging back in the hotel room, but decide not to just yet. Since this is still the middle of the episode, something is going to happen.
Over to Nashville, where Marcus is busy telling stories of his glory days instead of working. Avery gets up to take a call from Emily, who mentions Juliette’s message. Avery still hasn’t responded to Juliette’s text, nor has Emily returned Juliette’s call. Emily is inclined to give Juliette the benefit of the doubt, but Avery isn’t so sure. In background, Marcus seems to notice that Avery is still on the phone.
Back in Naches, Scarlett is reliving a difficult memory in which Beverly angrily guilted her for being in college when Deacon walks in with a snide remark about whether Scarlett cares to keep Beverly’s old records. Scarlett finally starts to weep, telling to Deacon to stop acting like he’s the only one who lost Beverly. She tells him to gather whatever things he wants and leaves, but it’s Scarlett who walks out.
Juliette is backstage at the concert venue, convinced her phone is broken since she hasn’t heard from Avery or Emily. She orders Enable Lindsay to get it fixed and dismisses her as Maddie walks up with Colt, appearing to have no hard feeling about Juliette leaving Rayna’s label. Colt goes off to get her a drink and from the look in Maddie’s eyes as she watches him go, Juliette can tell something’s up. Indeed, when they sit down to talk Maddie admits she is thinking about sex, curfews, and not being allowed to performon stage. Basic teenager “my family is such a drag” stuff, and Maddie envies that Juliette was an emancipated minor at her age. Juliette suggests she not wish her family away, that it can be very lonely when you reach out and nobody’s reaching back. People, the fact that she’s gazing off longingly into space when she says this means this is one of those things where she’s thinking about herself, too. #insight Anyway, Juliette promises Maddie she knows just the thing to make Maddie feel better about life.
Meanwhile at Rayna’s, Layla and Rayna are arguing possible lyric changes in a song, and sensing that this goes back to their truncated discussion about Jeff as Layla’s boyfriend, Rayna tells Layla that while she understands the lure of somebody dangerous, Rayna’s seen Jeff destroy women and she as a label head wants to look out for what’s best for Layla. Layla doesn’t argue with her and says merely that she needs some air.
Back in Atlanta, Luke greets Will and Kevin and tells Will he’s glad he can continue working with him somehow. Gunnar approaches, and banter begins about jumpstarting his love life. Gunnar claims not to need any help, and to prove his point, tries to greet the first woman he sees, who in this case happens to be Juliette’s enabler Lindsay. She rejects him immediately. Kevin and Will identify a woman who appears to be a roadie as a better target and when Kevin goes to greet her, she immediately recognizes Will and congratulates him on his bravery. She’s a fan. Will thanks her and introduces Gunnar, who proceeds to fall flat on his face while also revealing that he and Will once kissed (hey, the show remembers!).
Marcus is playing indoor basketball while Avery is on the phone talking to his lawyer, asking how expensive it might be to get full custody of Cadence. Marcus, having decided it’s time to get to work, ends Avery’s call for him.
Over in Naches, Deacon is remembering a phone conversation with Beverly on Christmas — he didn’t get back to Naches, and while she pretended to be flitting around parties, she was in reality alone, warming up a TV dinner. Her ringing phone snaps him out of the memory.
Now, Juliette is on stage in Atlanta, and to close her set, she invites Maddie up on stage to sing with her. They duet on “Telescope,” and Maddie has no nerves whatsoever. Colt loves it but when Luke walks up side of stage to see what has happened, he is not amused.
To DOWLOAD “Telescope,” written by Cary Barlowe and Hillary Lindsey and performed by Lennon Stella and Hayden Panettiere, click HERE!
This is a full-circle moment, as “Telescope” was introduced in Nashville’s second episode ever as a Juliette Barnes’ fluff pop/country hit. For Hayden Panettiere’s version of the song click HERE! And then in Nashville’s third episode ever, Maddie & Daphne, both huge Juliette Barnes fans, covered “Telescope.” For Lennon & Maisy Stella’s version of “Telescope,” click HERE!
After Juliette’s set is over, Luke lays into Juliette for making this decision, that Rayna is going to be angry at him for letting this happen under his watch. Juliette needles him about not having been around for his kids when they were younger, but his retort that she should stop trying to be somebody else’s cool mom to compensate for ignoring her own child ends the argument.
Gunnar tries again with the attractive roadie backstage, saying that pretty girls make him nervous. He flames out again when he can’t figure out what to suggest they do or when.
As Maddie comes off the stage, Colt loves it and is proud of her, they have a moment after he calls her an “amazing woman,” and they’re turned on.
Back at Rayna’s, Layla comes back inside and admits everything Rayna says about Jeff is true. But Layla also says Jeff is also kind and challenging and that as much as her head tells him this is a no-good, very bad, terrible idea, her heart won’t let her let him go. She loves Jeff, admits Layla. Layla asks if this means she’s fired. Rayna chuckles that she’d have nobody to work with if she restricted herself to non-complicated people only, and says that what Layla just said right there – that’s her song. Rayna suggests they write it now.
Sure enough, Mercurial Marcus and Avery have their first disagreement of the day (over the tempo of a song Marcus is trying – when did he even come up with this song?) and Marcus blames Avery for the day’s delays in a way that . Marcus fires him.
Over in Naches, Scarlett has made her way to the local bar, where she is drunk-venting to some random townie. The townie looks a little sketchy but seems to be respecting Scarlett’s space. Deacon shows up at the bar and takes Scarlett home.
On stage in Atlanta, Luke performs “Spinning Revolver.” Kevin enjoys it, going so far as to say that it doesn’t get any better. But Will, who has had a taste of the stage as a performer itself (wait, what is Kevin’s backstory as a songwriter, anyway?), it’s harder to appreciate the moment.
To DOWNLOAD “Spinning Revolver,” written by Sean McConnell and Ashley Ray and performed by Will Chase, click HERE!
SPOILER ALERT: This song was also performed by Chris Carmack in Season 3, Episode 18, so it appears that Luke is making good on his offer to cut a Will/Kevin cowrite. Why do they agree? That remains to be seen. For Chris Carmack’s version of the song, click HERE!
Colt and Maddie have sneak onto a tour bus, which Colt assures Maddie his dad never uses. I know you’re thinking what I’m thinking — no time like the present for Luke to suddenly need his tour bus, right? Colt asks if she’s sure. Maddie is.
Backstage, Juliette corners Gunnar to find out why Avery won’t speak to her, and that’s how she finds out about Avery’s phone call.
Speaking of Avery, he has returned home after being fired, and he vents to Emily about being tired of losing, tired of not knwoing when to speak up and when to fight. Emily asks if this is about Marcus or Juliette. Avery doesn’t answer, but flounces off somewhere without answering Emily’s question about where he’s headed.
Now safe in the confines of Beverly’s home in Naches, Scarlett slurs out something about how she blames herself for leaving her mother behind before starting to yell at Deacon for abandoning her when she had to make the most impossible, important decision she may ever face. She calls him selfish.
Now fully awake to what she had surrounded herself with, Juliette fires Lindsay, and when the roadie whom Gunnar failed with giggles in response to Lindsay calling herself Juliette’s best friend, Juliette fires her, too. Hm, we haven’t seen the last of the roadie, have we? Juliette demands her jet – she’s going back to Nashville alone.
Back at Rayna’s, Layla is singing “Can’t Stop A Heart,” written in real life by Sarah Siskind, with Rayna on harmonies, a nice moment of collaboration between the two.
To DOWNLOAD “Can’t Stop A Heart,” written by Sarah Siskind and performed by Aubrey Peeples, click HERE!
Back in Atlanta, a disheveled Maddie is backstage, the deed having been done. So Luke didn’t catch Maddie & Colt in the bus, then? Luke is going to fly her home immediately.
The newly-fired roadie finds Gunnar and grabs him for a makeout session. I’m still not sure of her name, but it’s probably Latest Contrived Roadblock To The Inevitable Gunnar/Scarlett Reunion.
Meanwhile, when Luke tells Kevin and Will that he wants their song for his next album, Will waits until Luke is out of earshot to admit to Kevin this is their song and he doesn’t want to give it away. Kevin, who up until this point has been very evolved and understanding of what Will is going through, is given this moment to suddenly go clueless.
Deacon and Rayna catch up by phone, and Deacon admits that he’s glad he listened to Rayna about going back to Naches. He’s going to hang around for an extra day, which of course Rayna understands. They have an utterly believable conversation in which Deacon rationalizes wanting to hang on to hope for Beverly. Rayna is able to provide a little bit of comfort and reinforcement before they are interrupted by Luke’s call, which she is sure is about Maddie.
Meanwhile, Layla calls Jeff and tells him that, contrary to what he had told her to expect, Rayna was awesome. She can’t wait to see him and is giddy when Jeff informs her that he wants her to come to Atlanta and has already booked her a ticket. Gabrielle overhears enough of this. Jeff, ever the opportunist, continues to pitch himself as the right candidate for the CEO job, citing everything from his Harvard Business School background to his work with Clive Davis to his short stint atop Edgehill, where he simply ran into some “corporate downsizing” issues. Uh huh. Despite the Edgehill disaster, he was apparently atop Gabrielle’s list before Luke nixed him. Gabrielle says she can try to make the case for him, but she remains concerned about the way he mixes business and pleasure. He promises her he can draw the line when he needs to. Gabrielle wants him to prove it. Well, Layla, I hope that you haven’t lost Manager Glenn’s number!
Across town in Nashville, Rayna has picked up Maddie and a conversation about permission ensues. Maddie is all “I’m an adult and I want to be cool like Juliette,” to which Rayna retorts, “If you think that’s cool, we have so much bigger problems than you getting up on that stage tonight.” They certainly have much more to discuss!
Back in Atlanta, Gabrielle informs Luke that Ford & Coke are on board, which prompts Luke to scoop her up into a happy hug. It ends just a little awkwardly as Luke realizes what he did, so he invites her to a drink. Gabrielle is quick to tell him that she doesn’t mix business and pleasure. Luke accepts that, remarking that he’s not even tempting. But Gabrielle leaves him hanging by saying it’s not that she wasn’t tempted. Eh. Sometimes I wish that every new recurring character who joins the show didn’t immediately get slotted into potential love interest for the first person we see them with.
Meanwhile in Naches, Scarlett is quite hung over. Deacon is there to advise her to drink a lot water. He takes that opportunity to talk to her about Beverly. Deacon tells Scarlett she made the right decision and apologizes for not being strong enough to help her make it and be there for her. Scarlett crumbles in gratitude for his understanding, and they embrace and weep together. It would have been nice if we had been able to see more of Deacon’s journey to that understanding, but then again, Scarlett’s journey to that painful decision remains somewhat of a black box, too.
Again in Atlanta, Juliette is rushing out the hotel door to fly to Nashville, but it turns out Avery went to Atlanta to find her. And since they didn’t just miss each other and this is still a primetime drama, we can only assume it’s because Avery is there to end things with Juliette. But Juliette doesn’t realize this as she embraces Avery in relief and tries to explain what happened the other night with Cadence. Avery calls her out on drugs and how she surrounded herself with enables, and finally says that it’s too late. Avery tells Juliette he wants a divorce and sole custody of Cadence in exchange for Juliette being able to spin this publicly any way she wants. He can’t have Cadence growing up thinking she can count on her mother when they both know that she can’t. Understandable but unless this is what Avery feels like he has to do to make Juliette seek the treatment she needs, why exactly did he stop believing that it matters that she is ill?
Well, maybe we’ll find out next week, where teasers hint the drama’s ramping up even more. Join us then, won’t you?
And don’t forget to check out country singer/songwriter & EMI Nashville recording artist Kelleigh Bannen’s blog for an inside look at what last week’s Nashville episode got right about things like what it’s like to play the Opry, how radio interviews are run, how album signings go and how introductory conversations between artists and potential producers would go here!