Welcome back to Nashville!
We resume proceedings in Atlanta, where Juliette is awakened from her drunken stupor by some insistent knocking on her hotel room door. She assumes the cops are there to talk about crazed fan and refers them to her manager. The cop informs her that it’s her manager they’re there to talk about, because he’s dead.
In another hotel room, a detective is interviewing a grieving Layla. From his questions, the presumptive explanation of Jeff’s death is suicide, so I guess Juliette ninja stealthed her way back to her room without anybody noticing last night? The detective notes that earlier this year, Jeff was fired and that he was heavily in debt. Layla insists that they were making plans for the future, but the detective muses that people suffering depression often offer false hope.
Elsewhere in the hotel, Luke and Gabrielle have slept together. She doesn’t want to make a big deal of the sex and post-coital banter ensues until the cops knock on her hotel room door.
Over in Nashville, Deacon surprises Rayna with a visit to his new bar, The Beverly. This is one of those times where the Nashville writers treat Deacon as a guy who was born yesterday, because he seems to have no concept of the idea that she may not be all-in on this idea given her history.
Scarlett is ready for a professional to chop off her hair. New Scarlett, ya’ll.
Back in Atlanta, Detective interviewing Juliette and she is characteristically short and uncooperative with them. She says she stayed in her room all night long, and it’s not clear whether she believes that. But she seems to.
Kate, Jeff’s sister, arrives at his hotel room and despite Layla’s eagerly cooperative demeanor, Kate is ice cold, diminishing Layla’s importance to Jeff and shutting Layla out of funeral arrangements.
Luke strolls into Colt’s hotel room, notices the alcohol in there and starts yelling at him, as much for drinking underage as for the damage Colt getting caught might do to Luke’s brand. But a traumatized and teary Colt tells him he saw what went down last night on the balcony across the street. Poor Colt’s been looking for Luke all night. Luke immediately gathers Colt in his arms.
A newly pixie-cut styled Scarlett greets Dr. Caleb, who loves her new do. She informs him that she has a ton of stuff do before she heads out on the road, but they agree to dinner that night.
Deacon is excited illustrating his new plans for this bar with Frankie to Rayna, envisioning a new stage and all sorts of renovations. Rayna points out that Frankie is his sponsor, but Deacon assures her they’ve agreed that Frankie will no longer be Deacon’s sponsor so that their partnership doesn’t get in the way. As Deacon and Frankie go off to talk more plans, Rayna’s phone rings. It’s a sobbing Layla outside her hotel room, and that’s how Rayna receives word of Jeff’s death. Layla just wants to come home. Rayna assures Layla that she’ll call Luke to arrange for Layla to return to Nashville with him and urges Layla to call her if she needs anything.
Over at Gunnar’s, Avery sees Will walk in, and is surprised because he thought he was going to be writing with Kevin all day. Will doesn’t say much but it’s clear there’s trouble in paradise. Avery, it turns out, is browsing online apartment listings, because staying at Gunnar’s was never intended to be a permanent arrangement. Will is a little sad about that, but all is forgotten when Will gets a text from Layla about Jeff. He tells Avery and asks if he’s going to call Juliette. No, but Will is going to call Layla.
Gabrielle and Luke are having a strategy session and Gabrielle is stereotypically cold. Investors are worried about the bad press from Luke having somebody die at his party, and Gabrielle is hoping that Luke can hold off on speaking with the police until such time as they figure out what happened for themselves. Luke, meanwhile, wants to protect his son. Gabrielle believes that they need to keep Colt quiet. In fact, Gabrielle wants everybody associated with Luke’s label to be quiet. No but seriously, where did the rest of Luke’s team go? Right on cue, they turn on the television see Juliette announcing to a gaggle of press surrounding her that Jeff committed suicide. She seems to really believe it.
In the next scene, Gabrielle and Luke march onto Juliette’s private jet. Luke doesn’t want her to be spouting off theories to the press, but Juliette insists she was just repeating what the cops told her. When Luke claims that somebody saw her on the roof with Jeff, Juliette insists she was in her room all night and genuinely seems to believe it.
Back in Nashville, Xes manager Noel is frantically calling around trying to find a sound engineer but can’t due to the last minute nature of all this. He asks Gunnar if he knows anybody and when Gunnar says he does, Noel asks if it’s somebody who wouldn’t mind doing him a favor. Gunnar smiles sheepishly. Meanwhile, Scarlett walks in, and Noel’s shocked at her new hairstyle, seeing as they spent all this money on merch where she looked different. Scarlett suggests taking it up with Locks of Love. For the real and cool reason Clare Bowen cut her hair, see this article.
Now on Luke’s private jet, Colt leaves message for Maddie with Talia. Luke, who is pretty spineless for a guy with as much success under his belt, reminds Colt that he can’t tell Maddie, which sounds like a great, realistic plan. Colt wants to know if Luke is going to tell Layla the truth, seeing as Layla is also on the plane and devastated thinking that her boyfriend committed suicide. Luke goes over to talk to Layla. He wants her to come by for the Jeff tribute before her show. Layla weeps. Luke says nothing to her about what really happened, and Colt shakes his head.
Over at Highway 65 offices, Rayna is worried about Layla. Bucky wants to fasttrack Marcus’s album to fill in, since Layla’s album is likely to be delayed now. Meanwhile, Rayna asks after Deacon’s sponsor, Frankie Gray. Bucky scouted him for a label years ago and found him talented, but too heavy a drinker. He doesn’t get why Frankie would buy a bar. For some reason, a decades-old scouting report that reaffirms her views seems to satisfy Rayna.
Meanwhile at The Beverly, Frankie is performing “Holding On To What I Can’t Hold,” written in real life by Travis Meadows and Steve Robson, in front of a bar crowd that’s barely interested. Deacon congratulates him on his set and is determined to transform the bar and its scene into a music-focused, more upscale crowd. He suggests starting a happy hour with music, and wants to try one out the next day. Frankie likes the idea, but asks what the rest of us were thinking – why he didn’t run the whole idea by Rayna first (or, at least, why he didn’t anticipate Rayna’s reservations).
To DOWNLOAD “Holding On To What I Can’t Hold,” cowritten by Travis Meadows and Steve Robson and performed by Mark Collie click HERE!
Meanwhile, Erin has dropped by Gunnar’s after he called, and is surprised to learn that he really did want to talk to him about a job. She has to meet with Scarlett, of course, but she’s game.
Speaking of Scarlett, she shows up late for dinner with Caleb at the restaurant, but he smiles and toasts to her new tour. In the few minutes following, her phone goes nuts with tour-related texts, so many times that Caleb throws in the towel and suggests they order to take out.
Will has driven Layla home, where they discover all her stuff packed up in boxes. Jeff had called the movers, just like he had said. Will buys the suicide theory and tries to comfort Layla by saying what Jeff did had nothing to do with her. But Layla has thought about and just doesn’t think Jeff would have left her like that. She asks if Kevin would mind if Will stayed the night. Will grimaces at the mention of Kevin’s name before telling Layla it won’t be a problem. Their friendship is sweet, honestly.
Juliette’s driver is taking her home and asks if she wants to stop anywhere. She wants to stay in a hotel. The driver offers condolences and asks if Juliette and Jeff were close. Juliette remembers Jeff yelling at her after her run-in with the fan and says, “Not really.”
Back at Casa Jaymes, Deacon apologizes to Rayna for not telling her about the bar first. Says he was inspired by what he saw of Beverly’s life in Natchez, particularly the lounge where she was the star.
It’s concert day in Nashville, and Juliette is still at her hotel. Her security guy brings her prescription to her and asks if he should take her to see Avery & Cadence before the show. Juliette says no.
Speaking of Avery, he is being shown an apartment by a very enthusiastic realtor, a big Juliette Barnes fan who recognizes him and hopes she and Avery will move there.
Over at Layla’s Will was up all night unpacking Layla’s boxes so everything was back the way it was by morning. Layla thanks him and Will says he needed the distraction. Rayna shows up to check in on Layla, and Will excuses himself after a friendly greeting. Layla says to thank Kevin – cue another Will grimace. Layla tells Rayna it’s like she’s not being allowed to grieve for him. She feels lost.
Erin is interviewing with Scarlett and they’re getting along just fine until she lets slip about her and Gunnar. Scarlett warns Gunnar about taking their duo gig seriously, which Gunnar thinks is pretty rich considering that he has been dreaming about this longer than her.
Over at Luke’s, Luke wants Colt to come with to the concert. Colt wants to stay home and not be part of a charade, but Luke is not having it. Colt calls him out on lying and Luke reminds him that he was drunk before ordering him to get in the car.
Rayna finally tells Deacon that she doesn’t think she’ll be able to go to the bar. That’s a strange conclusion to reach over something that’s been developed over about half an episode – surely there was another way to showcase Rayna’s concern? She and Deacon argue about whether he is ready for this.
Juliette is deciding on wardrobe for the concert that night when Layla arrives. Juliette barely reacts to Layla, except to advise her to pretend that their relationship never happened.
Over at his place, Dr. Caleb presents Scarlett with flowers and apology for his mild tantrum over her crazy life. He said that he’s looked over their schedules and that with frequent flier miles involved, the longest they’ll have to be apart is 10 days. They are going to “crush” long-distance, he promises (so of course, they’re not). Scarlett loves it and suggests a dinner re-do that night.
Will is at Gunnar’s having break-up ice cream when Gunnar walks in and is surprised he’s not with Kevin. Gunnar vents about Scarlett’s attitude about Erin joining the tour. Will calls out Gunnar for his lack of self-awareness about how messy the intersections between his romantic and professional life get, and admits that Kevin dumped him. He warns Gunnar about pulling somebody into every part of his life.
Cut to the Beverly, where Deacon’s performance has brought a lot of people into the venue. He urges people to spread the word about the best new music place in town, and starts playing “Like New,” a song cowritten in real life by Justin Davis, Jonathan Singleton and Sarah Zimmerman
To DOWNLOAD “Like New,” written by Justin Davis, Jonathan Singleton and Sarah Zimmerman and performed by Charles Esten click HERE!
BONUS: Check out a live performance of Charles Esten performing “Like New” with Striking Matches (Justin Davis and Sarah Zimmerman):
Back at what is presumably Bridgestone Arena, Juliette is drinking in her dressing room. Luke presents Juliette with her speech, written, of course, by Gabrielle and urges her to try to sound sincere. Juliette is rolling her eyes when Colt bursts in and demands to know why Juliette is lying. Luke grabs him and forces him out of the room while Juliette’s eyes widen with encroaching remembrance.
Back at Gunnar’s, Avery tells Will that he heard about Kevin. Will asks Avery how he’s handling everything so well and Avery says he has no choice because of the baby girl. They commiserate with each other about loss, and Avery gets emotional while reflecting on sad he is about letting go of forever. Cadence starts crying on the monitor, and Will goes to take care of her while Avery finally lets it out and weeps.
Luke is furious with Colt for his lack of discretion and sends him home with his bodyguard. At some point, presumably inopportune for his career, Luke will rediscover his moral and parental compass?
Will “improvs” a lullaby for Cadence, when Avery joins him. It works like a charm, and Cadence dozes off. The song in real life was written at a Nashville songwriting camp by Johnny Hanson, Steve Pasch and Lucy Schwartz, and is called “Lullaby (Sleep Tonight)”
When they finish, Will asks Avery and Cadence to hang around at Gunnar’s for now and Avery seems to agree. Once again, their friendship is sweet and believable.
Bucky is rattling off a bunch of logistical developments with respect to studio time and Marcus to an obviously distracted Rayna. She tells him about Deacon’s involvement in the bar, and Bucky suggests if there’s two people who can deal with bar/Deacon, it’s Rayna and Deacon. Exactly – none of us really believed this was a credible obstacle in their math.
Gunnar tries to break up with Erin or rescind the job offer. Erin lobbies for both, promising she won’t screw this up (so she will).
Back at the Bridgestone, Luke starts off with a few words about people who work behind the scenes being part of a special family and seems to be a bit emotional when he includes Jeff in that family. Juliette freezes and winds up saying virtually nothing in tribute to Jeff, much to Layla’s dismay. Layla rails at Juliette as Juliette goes off stage, but it’s about time for Juliette to do her set and Juliette coldly dismisses her. But just as Juliette’s about to take the stage again when she sees the same billboard that was across the street from the hotel balcony, and she runs off as she starts remembering the events that led to Jeff’s death.
Now with a new crisis on hand, Luke wants to start his set early but they need more time to set up for him. Layla lobbies to do an acoustic set, says there’s something she needs to say. Luke agrees. Layla pays tribute to Jeff before singing the lovely and mournful “Too Far From You,” written in real life by Sarah Siskind. Check out Sarah Siskind singing the song here:
As Layla sings, we get a montage in which Gunnar calls Scarlett during her dinner with Caleb and Caleb says it’s OK to pick up. Gunnar’s in bed with Erin (which he doesn’t mention), but promises Scarlett he’ll make it work. Which means he won’t.
As Luke tries to make arrangements for an expanded set, a weeping Juliette comes to see him and says she needs help. She confesses to Luke that she was so wasted she didn’t remember what happened but now she does. Colt was right, of course.
Over at the Beverly, Frankie sees that Rayna showed up after all. And she’s not being mobbed in a public place? Deacon approaches her and says he gets that this all scares her. Rayna says it does but she’s never let a little fear get in her way. She promises she’ll do everything she can to support him. Of course.
Luke comes home and tells Colt about Juliette’s confession. He’s so sorry he doubted Colt. Colt wants to know if they’re going to tell Layla, the cops, & Maddie. Luke says Juliette’s been through enough and that it’s better for her if her suicide attempt doesn’t become public. Colt asks pointedly if it’s better for her or better for Luke’s brand. Exactly.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle has escorted Juliette to Horizons, a facility where Juliette will hopefully heal and recover. When asked whether she’s ready, Juliette says no. But she walks forward through the doors, anyway. The parallels to her real life are a bit uncomfortable, but if the show can address the recovery process with the realism and heart with which it treats its friendships, that could do some good.
And that’s all for this week! Come back next week, when the drama re-centers on Rayna, Deacon and Maddie, won’t you?
And here’s a preview of upcoming Nashville music. In this video, Jonathan Jackson performs “History Of My Heart,” cowritten in real life by Chris Gelbuda and Kylie Sackley, which is set to be featured in a future episode:
Also, don’t forget to check out EMI Nashville singer/songwriter Kelleigh Bannen’s blog on what Nashville got right and what it didn’t in Episode 6 – there’s good stuff here on the role of an image consultant versus management, artist-label relations, artist-producer contracts and more. Also, check out her Reality Check on awards shows, with great insight into artist red carpet budgets for awards shows, the cuing of audiences at awards shows and what aspects of TV performances are really live.