Previously on Nashville: Gabriella made Luke drop Will for being gay; Rayna and Markus worked together and she told him he exhausted her; Scarlett and Caleb had trouble being long-distance; Rayna signed Maddie and Daphne to Highway 65 to keep Maddie under control; and Avery sang one of Will’s songs and got him the attention of a publisher.
We open on tour with Scarlett and Gunnar, with one of their songs playing in the background and the highway skittering by. A montage follows, which I can’t help being excited about, because who doesn’t love montages? [Janes: word.] Scarlett spends a lot of time staring moodily out the window and then scribbling lyrics in this montage. Gunnar spends a lot of time roughhousing with Erin and the other crew members, and sneaking glances at Scarlett. In the background Scarlett’s voice croons, “Only Tennessee can save me now.”
We’re brought back to real time by Gunnar interrupting Scarlett. She pulls off her giant headphones, and he tells her they’re about to come into Charlotte. Only now does he ask her in a friendly way about her writing, and she says she figured she’d better be productive with all her free time. I can’t help but hear a little snootiness in that, like, “Maybe if you refused to socialize with the crew you would be as awesome as I am.” When he realizes she’s written seven songs on tour, he’s obviously taken aback—and maybe slightly embarrassed about that plastic football he’s bouncing around. I guess all that time he was creepily looking at Scarlett he was paying no attention to what she was actually doing. But their show that night is now cancelled due to a kitchen fire at the venue, so Scarlett decides to hop on a plane to Nashville for the night.
Deacon and Rayna are puttering domestically about in their kitchen in the morning when Rayna gets a bunch of texts. Markus has pulled a song from his album even though it’s dropping soon. Deacon sweetly and immediately jumps in to offer to take the girls to school, but asks when he’ll see her now. Rayna says “Knowing this guy, it’s gonna be a long day.” Deacon pouts dramatically, because he totally supports Rayna as long as she never pays attention to another man. But Rayna is too busy rushing off to tend to a different man-child’s feelings, and answering said man-child’s call on her way out the door, to notice his pouting—or even kiss him goodbye.
Gabriella, Luke, and Colt are at an awkward breakfast. At a restaurant. I guess this could all just be part of her publicity work, but still, Gabriella appears to have gone from “I don’t mix business with pleasure” (ugh) to “I’m your fake stepmother now, let’s bond!” in about two days flat. She tries awkwardly to bond with Colt by bringing up his interest in hip-hop, but completely ruins any possibility of that by saying that it’s “where I got my start in branding.” Well, you really know what gets a teenager going, Gabriella. The origin stories of marketing drones! Then Luke goes, “Where I’m from, branding meant taking a hot poker to a cow.” So I guess he grew up in a Hollywood western.
Colt gets a call and escapes gratefully to talk to Maddie, complaining about his dad and his “consultant girlfriend.” Maddie complains that she has been signed to her mom’s label, but the only thing planned is a photo shoot. Colt agrees that hypocrite parents are the worst. It’s at once very relatable and hilariously not, like, don’t you hate when your famous mother agrees to use her fame to make you famous too and then she doesn’t do it right? [Janes: And then Colt’s response: “Yeah, I agree, it’s the worst when your parents are off having sex with their consultant girlfriends while you’re watching a pop star try to commit suicide and accidentally kill someone else, and then they make you lie about it to the police while the consultant girlfriend frets about losing a fraction of a multi-million dollar country-music brand to the bad publicity. Grups, right?]
Maddie asks Colt if everything’s OK, and he launches into a passionate speech about how much he loves her and she’s the only thing that matters to him. He gives Luke a skeptical look off to the side and says he can’t talk about what’s wrong. Meanwhile, Luke complains to Gabriella that Colt’s jabbering away on the phone to Maddie and he gets nothing. Maybe that’s because Maddie wouldn’t have made him lie about a death that he witnessed? But if you think Luke’s out of touch, he’s got nothing on Gabriella, who immediately launches into explaining to Luke why he should feel better: they’ve hired a CEO to replace his dead friend and they’ve got all their investors locked down. I guess this is its own way of solving things, like, who needs your old, mad-at-you son when you’re about to pimp your rugged all-American man aura on some beer cans until you have enough money to just buy a new one? Anyway, Gabriella tries to get Luke pumped about a Forbes photo shoot. Luke is still in possession of a few shreds of his humanity, so he just stares off into the distance and asks her to make sure he gets some one-on-one time with his son.
At Caleb’s hospital, where various Very Convincing Medical Slides are strewn up on the walls but absolutely no one is looking at them, Scarlett bounds in and asks Caleb if they could get lunch. He tries to act excited, but it’s an uphill battle, and not only because Caleb lacks the capability of actually feeling emotions: he has a patient due any minute and he already arranged everything in order to be home with Scarlett tonight. Said patient shows up just as they’re about to share what is sure to be a kiss at least as passionate as a lukewarm cup of tea. Scarlett pouts, apparently disappointed at being deprived of this pleasure, and heads out.
Will is signing his publishing deal in some apartment that apparently belongs to a publisher who looks just like Rider Strong, but isn’t. [Janes: Too bad. That would be an even more nostalgic 90s heartthrob crush than Riley Smith.] Since his character is given no name that I can hear and doesn’t even seem to be listed on the IMDB page for this episode, I’m going to call him Not-Shawn-Hunter. He promises that Will is going to have a successful songwriting career, and they clink glasses—and only now that the ink is drying does Not-Shawn-Hunter reveal that Wade Cole is the singer who’s interested in recording Will’s songs. To Will this is a worse coincidence than someone who is actually rude to his face—it’s the betrayal of Wade’s having been nice to him and then ashamed of being seen with him that seems to have really messed with Will’s mind.
It’s afternoon at the Bluebird, and Avery shows up to talk to … someone, whom I believe we’ve never seen before, who essentially is the gatekeeper for booking shows. Avery wants to play again, but the manager says that Avery won’t draw a big crowd unless he’s with the Exes. Avery reminds Unnamed Friend none too gently about getting him the job awhile ago. He gives in, awarding Avery a five p.m. slot tomorrow (clearly not a premium one!) “and no more than a three-song set.” Avery takes it gratefully.
Rayna and Markus are sitting in an unnecessarily dim studio, Markus wearing an amazing scarf that is basically like the fanciest thing at Hot Topic: covered in skulls and crossbones but obviously made out of expensive linen. They’re trying to pick a song when Deacon shows up to check on them. Markus gets puppy-dog excited and asks, “What if your man here has the perfect song to finish up my album, give me a little country cred?”
Deacon protests that they have different sensibilities in approximately the same tone that a Jamesian aristocrat might use to tell the outspoken American girl who married her son that they have different sensibilities. But Markus says since he wrote so many of Rayna’s songs that can’t be true—and as an aside to Rayna he mentions that “at this rate, we’re never gonna make the deadline.” So Rayna is convinced. Deacon has to go along with it or look like the schmuck who doesn’t support his wife’s career venture—though never fear, he’ll be doing plenty of that too.
At the Bro Castle, Will is brooding on the couch with his favorite comfort toy, a beer. Avery bounces in looking more cheerful than he has in weeks, because of his exciting 5pm gig tonight. Will Eeyores all over it, revealing that Wade Cole has put a hold on his song and wants to talk about writing together. Avery can’t tell why this is bad, so Will tells Avery the whole story about Wade not wanting to take a picture with him.
Avery suggests giving Wade the benefit of the doubt, which is both practical given the implications for Will’s career (and Will’s tendency to see the worst side of everything) and also one of those things that people facing homophobia (or sexism, or racism) probably get told too much.
On Luke’s tour plane, Gabriella works on a laptop, and Luke settles down next to an unfriendly Colt to tell him, “I miss you. I miss us. I miss watching football, and playing video games.” He suggests spending their time off having one-on-one time. Colt says he has plans with Maddie, but Luke says that this is important and Maddie can wait. I can’t believe this gets even a little bit of traction, but Colt actually perks up a bit and says, “More important than what you’re doing with her?” At first I thought he meant the sex, but on second watch I think he means the branding (mostly). Luke says, “Of course. Way more important.” And Colt, because deep down he just wants his daddy’s attention, immediately agrees—and asks to put his giant headphones back on. I guess the one-on-one time is going to start a little later, then.
Gunnar opens his door at the hotel to find Erin in the hall with a happy crowd of people. She invites him on a pub crawl, but he declines, saying he wants to stay in and write a couple songs tonight. “Oh, right. Scarlett wrote seven,” she says. He rolls his eyes that everyone knows about this now, but Erin tells him he’s just transparent. She plants a smooch on him and tells him to have fun, and her parade of friends follows her away while Gunnar smiles cutely and waves.
At home, Rayna and Deacon are snacking in the kitchen and she’s apologizing, saying this seemed like something Deacon would want to do. I mean, sure, in theory, but if she didn’t notice how unexcited he was by the idea earlier, she really is paying a lot more attention to Markus than Deacon. But that’s Rayna, blithely going along in life and noticing very little that isn’t aggressively shoved in her face. Deacon says he thinks Markus is “an arrogant son-of-a-bitch.” Rayna laughs and says Deacon’s not wrong, and Deacon cashes in on his brownie points, saying that he’s only going along with this because he knows how much the album means to her.
Just then Markus and Maddie come in, in the middle of a pep talk Markus is giving Maddie. Markus gives Rayna a big hug while Deacon tries to encourage Maddie by praising a recent song, but she comes back with “That was Daphne. And it was lame.” She stalks off, and Deacon is left totally shown up by Markus. But Markus spends a little time “blowing smoke up Deacon’s ass,” as Deacon puts it, complimenting his work and clapping Deacon on the shoulder. He’s found a song on Deacon’s demo, “Don’t Make Them Like You No More,” that he wants to use to complete the album. Markus says that he wants to change the song from acoustic (as it is on the demo) to a “Motown” sound. I expected Deacon to get territorial again, but he just says that he had it in mind back then. “Fellas, I think we’ve got ourselves an album,” Rayna says, once again not recognizing basically anything that just happened.
Daphne bounces into Maddie’s room, where Maddie is holding her guitar and writing. Daphne is wearing an adorable outfit: flower in the hair, a ruffle skirt, and a long-sleeved shirt with a little sparkly shrug over it. She asks Maddie what she thinks of the outfit. Maddie says it’s fine till Daphne says it’s for their photo shoot. “Wait you’re joking, right?” Maddie says. “Those pictures might be used for an EP cover.” Daphne’s face falls. Maddie tells her it’s fine for a Kidz Bop CD and asks if Daphne wants to be taken seriously or not.
Maddie’s presumably resentful that she’s stuck with a pre-teen when she thinks of herself as an adult, and she’s trying to tear Daphne down for not being an adult so that she can prove her point to herself and everyone around her—but that was also just gloriously, superbly, unsurpassably mean. Poor Daphne.
Avery, finishing up another recording session, gets an itty-bitty little check from the producer. He’s disappointed, and the producer explains to him that he finished up in half the time they expected so he got paid half the quote. But Avery doesn’t need the money because he’s married to the superstar of country music, right? Avery backtracks and says yeah, fine, but he just loves recording jingles, is there any more work for him? The producer somehow doesn’t see through this transparent lie and simply shrugs and says, “You know the business.”
At home in Caleb and Scarlett’s apartment, the latter, clad only in some sort of blue lace bra and the usual jumble of necklaces, jumps all over her boyfriend when he gets home, squealing and making an impressive pretense at being excited that his cardboard self has walked in. He can’t match her enthusiasm, and asks for a little time to shower and unwind. She’s nice about it, but as he walks away she obviously looks disappointed.
In Deacon and Rayna’s living room, all three members of the love triangle that lives mostly in Deacon’s head are bonding over their plans for recording the song. Markus has to go, but before he does he invites Deacon to the recording session tomorrow. Once he’s gone, Deacon reluctantly has to admit that he likes working with Markus. I guess Markus learned from Rayna, who sucked up to him for an entire plane flight till he signed with her label: flattery will get you anywhere, especially with the fragile egos of musicians.
Colt and Luke are fishing on some picturesque pond that is obviously only a tiny slice of Luke’s giant property. Luke starts reminiscing about a moment from Colt’s childhood when he got his lip snagged on a fishhook. Apparently Cole kept telling everyone in the waiting room that “My dad caught me fishing.” They share a little laugh, one that’s slightly more enthusiastic on Luke’s part than on Colt’s. Finally, Luke takes advantage of the nice moment to apologize that they didn’t do things like this more often. “Me too,” Colt says, although I think we all know it’s not really the kid’s job.
“Here you are!” calls a voice. It’s Gabriella, come to ruin everything. “What’s going on?” Luke says. “It’s the photo shoot, don’t you remember I told you yesterday?” Gabriella says. The camera is already click clicking away as the photographer announces this is the perfect place for some candids. “Son, I had no idea,” Luke protests to Colt, but Colt doesn’t believe him. And Luke has only the faintest whiff of plausible deniability here—maybe there was a miscommunication when he discussed this with Gabriella, but if Luke really wanted alone time, he could just say they needed to leave and that Gabriella had misunderstood his schedule.
In bed, Scarlett is telling a post-coital Caleb about some mishap on a tour where someone flew out of their bunk in the tour bus wearing nothing but a thong. Caleb doesn’t find this funny and asks why there aren’t seat belts. Scarlett, seeing her story has fallen flat, asks what’s going on with him. He starts moaning and groaning about some clinical trial he’s trying to get started, and then apologizes for it probably being boring. She says it’s not, then says, “Mm-mm,” a bunch more times, because if you are lying it’s always better to repeat yourself a few times. Finally they make plans to take a walk before she has to leave at three, but it’s all very stilted and polite and painful.
Just break up already guys. I know breaking up hurts, but watching this relationship limp along hurts me. Doesn’t anyone care about me?
Avery’s sitting in the kitchen of the Bro Castle when Emily comes in, bringing him some toy that Cadence likes. He confesses to her that he’s having trouble paying the bills. She starts to offer to get access to Juliette’s accounts, but he won’t take money from Juliette. Then she offers him a loan herself, which: no. Luckily Avery turns this down, saying he has to provide for his own child. He does the thing where he gets a big idea and dashes out and leaves Emily to watch the kid with little explanation. This time, it’s “pounding the pavement.” So… if Juliette no longer has parental rights over Cadence, how long can he keep using Emily as an unpaid babysitter? Speaking of the devil, Emily gets a text from Juliette the moment Avery’s out the door, asking to talk. Emily sighs.
Erin knocks on Gunnar’s door, and he looks manic. His eyes are super crazy and there are papers strewn everywhere. She says it looks like he was very productive and his eyes goggle about ever more wildly as he says, “Want to hear what I got?” He gives her a strum of about three chords. “Keep going!” she says excitedly. He says that’s it. And he didn’t get any lyrics. And he doodled. She stops him and says that she needs to get him out of here because of his crazy eyes. The door slams behind them as she insists he needs to have fun.
Luke arrives in Wade’s bright, airy kitchen and says he was surprised that Wade put a hold on his song. He reminds him of Wade’s refusal to be in a photo with him. Wade looks resigned. “I’m not gonna lie. You’ve chosen a lifestyle that most of my fans have trouble with. Frankly my wife does too… It’d be an endorsement.” Then he says he has no problem with Will and it’s “whatever gets you through the night.” Will seems to be about to forgive him when he sees a bajillion “Pro-family” bumper stickers lying around. And as everyone knows—including Will, from the look on his face—“Pro-family” means “Pro-family-that-looks-like mine.”
Daphne is bouncing around in her room singing “Telescope” with a fake mic, in a sparkly shirt and a skirt; she generally sounds incredible while looking, once again, very cute and very young. Maddie comes in and demands to know what Daphne is doing, and poor Daphne says that she knows Maddie wanted them to be taken more seriously. Maddie asks, did she steal Maddie’s makeup? “I borrowed it,” Daphne stammers. “Is that my skirt?” Maddie demands next, “all rolled up?” She starts laughing, outright laughing, and asking Daphne if she wanted to look sexy or something. Daphne begs her to stop, but Maddie says, “I can’t help it! Do you have any idea how stupid you look right now?” She can’t even get to the end of the sentence without giggling again. [Janes: This made my heart hurt. Poor Daphne.] Finally Daphne breaks and screams at her to get out of her room. Daphne goes back to the mirror, staring at herself in consternation.
In the stable, Colt and Luke are pretending to groom a beautiful black-and-white pony for the cameras. Luke apologizes sidewise to Colt, saying he didn’t know they’d be here. But then he jovially announces he wants some shots of them riding together like they supposedly do so often. Colt points out out loud that they never do this anymore. Luke is in full branding mode, saying Colt’s just anxious to see his girlfriend, and throws an aggressive arm around Colt. [Janes: Hypocrite parents are the worst!] More pictures click, but Colt throws them off and says he’s done. Gabriella calls a break, about three minutes too late. If anyone thinks this photographer still believes in that brand, they are on the crack.
Markus is singing Deacon’s song, and it’s pretty great. “I’m gonna love you / Like it’s going out of style,” he sings. But then at the next line, Deacon says to Rayna from where they’re watching behind the glass, “That’s not the lyric. Baby I don’t know what he’s singing, but that’s not the lyric right there.” Rayna cuts, but doesn’t let Deacon talk. She goes into the studio alone and asks Markus why he changed the lyrics. “The phrasing wasn’t working for me so I tweaked a few things, you know?”
Deacon objects, and Rayna says that they should at least run it once through as written. But Markus pleads that Rayna knows his style and that this way is obviously better. Torn, Rayna looks back and forth between them and stammers that it’s not the whole chorus, just parts. Deacon stomps out, saying, “Good luck with that.” Somehow Rayna is shocked that that just happened. Markus, who, it now seems clear, knows exactly how much he’s messing with the dynamic between the two of them, thanks her for her support.
Erin has decided to go full Manic Pixie Dream Girl for Gunnar in order to inspire him into writing songs, which is always the reason, isn’t it? She has taken him to a museum—not to appreciate the art, but to touch the naked ladies made out of marble. When he balks, she does it first, caressing the woman’s crotch with all the casual aplomb of a girl who is frequently to be found molesting inanimate anthropomorphic objects. Then she calls him a chicken, and Gunnar, who as this episode proves once and for all has no capacity to withstand peer pressure, gives in. But he makes such a big deal about it—looking around sketchily, reaching out his hand super slowly and nervously—that even the sleepy-looking, thousand-year-old guard at the other end of the room can’t help but notice. The guard yells, and Gunnar and Erin book it out of there. Guys, Erin is so WILD! She likes casual sex AND breaking rules at museums AND wearing funky hats! She is basically the coolest girl who has ever been invented, and no one has ever thought of this character before!
Daphne comes into Maddie’s room and throws her clothes at Maddie. “What’s your problem?” Maddie asks, which—do you not remember what a jerk you were to her about five minutes ago? Daphne announces that she doesn’t want to be like Maddie anymore and throws everything Maddie’s said to her back in her face. Maddie vaguely apologizes that she didn’t mean that, which even Daphne is far too old to buy. “I want to be older too. But I’m not. I’m a stupid twelve-year-old kid!” she yells and stomps out. You go, Daphne. You are literally the only person worthy enough to get Maddie to apologize for any of the absurd, spoiled shit she pulls.
Avery arrives back at the bro castle, where Cadence is nowhere to be found but Emily is waiting in the kitchen. He says he stopped everywhere but couldn’t find work. And he can’t tell anyone he actually needs work because he’s supposedly married to a millionnaire. He starts basically screaming at Emily, complaining that he wants to tell everyone he has no idea where Juliette is and that she’s ruining his life. Emily, resigned, is clearly in the process of realizing that she might actually make that vein in Avery’s forehead pop if she tells him about Juliette’s text, so she just quietly sympathizes. Avery gets a call and cuts her off, excited that he might have gotten an offer. It’s Ryan, the formerly unnamed producer, saying his top singer isn’t available for a Diet Coke spot tonight and he needs Avery tonight at exactly 5pm. Well well well, what a coincidence!
Avery can’t pass up the three thousand dollars, so he calls his old friend at the Bluebird and begs for a later slot. He has a job he can’t pass up, but he really needs to play. “You can’t want it that bad if you’re bailing,” the friend says. But you can’t be cool and thumb your nose at Diet Coke just because you have a slot at the Bluebird when your tiny, fat-faced, adorable baby daughter needs food and diapers.
Will’s still in Wade’s kitchen, looking at a press release about him, where he and his wife and his perfect blonde children beg other redneck Americans to join them in protecting the traditional family against the radical homosexual agenda. He also finds a video of Wade telling everyone to vote yes on Prop 8. That has to hurt.
Rayna arrives home to Deacon banging around in the kitchen. “You want to tell me what happened?” Deacon whines about her “picking his version over mine.” She protests that that’s not what happened, and honestly, I don’t know how the etiquette usually goes when a singer buys a song from a songwriter, but I’m guessing you’re allowed to change the lyrics if you want to? Rayna says exactly this, and it’s pretty clear she’s just managing a difficult artist anyway; it’s not like she said it sounded better. But Deacon is intent on being as much of a baby as possible: now he’s mad that Markus wants to sleep with her. “No guy just texts a woman that he doesn’t want to sleep with. More to the point, someone that he thinks he might have a pretty good shot at sleeping with.” Ugh, gross, Deacon. Let me tell you about a little something that you may not have heard of called “blaming the victim,” and how you shouldn’t do it.
Rayna says Deacon’s out of line. Deacon says Markus is, and Rayna should tell him that. Rayna is insulted, but then Markus texts something goopy and offensive about how “Your man seemed pissed today” and “I’m here for you.” She gives the magnificent eye-roll of a woman surrounded by babies. And Rayna’s no paragon of maturity herself, by the way, but by contrast these guys make her look like Tami Taylor herself.
Colt’s sitting in his room when Luke stalks in and grabs his phone out of his hands. “Who do you think you are, talking to me like that in front of all those people?” Colt pulls the hypocritical-parent thing, saying that first Luke didn’t want him to talk and then he did and then he didn’t. “Make up your mind, Luke!”
Luke does not like this at all. He goes on a big-man rant about being respected and being Colt’s father. [Janes: Yeah, you know you’re losing an argument when “I’m your father” is all you can come up with.] “I have zero respect for you,” Colt says. He’s about to stomp out when Luke grabs him and draws his fist. “Get off me, you son-of-a-bitch! Do it! Because you can’t hurt me any more than you already have.”
Luke, panting, hesitates one long moment and then pushes Colt off, letting him go. Then he stands alone, hand over his mouth and tears in his eyes, horrified at himself.
Out in the giant meadow that is yet another part of Luke’s property, Gabriella tells Luke the photographers are gone, but they have “serious spinning” to do with the Forbes people. Luke says he can’t spin, he needs to take a break and be with his son for six months, maybe more. Gabriella’s horrified: what about their investors? “You’ll think of something. You always do,” he says. Gabriella tries to squeeze out some emotion and manages to look vaguely puzzled.
Caleb runs into his and Scarlett’s bedroom, apologizing for being late. He says they can do anything she wants, take a walk, whatever. She says she’s just going to go to the airport and that she was being unrealistic thinking she could just drop in on him. He gets pissed off and starts playing his favorite card, the I’m-a-fancy-surgeon trump: “I got a very real, very important job.” Oh, you don’t say? I didn’t realize, because you don’t mention that every five minutes. He says he tried to work around her just showing up, “But I’m dealing with people who have cancer. Okay? I’m not just driving around, singing for a hundred people a night and getting free beers out of it.”
Scarlett is too sweet to get as pissed off at this as I would, or too in denial about how much of a dick he is, but she says, “Is that what you think I do?” He says no, he’s just tired, and things will be better after the tour. She gives in and lets herself be folded into his arms. If he says something as awful as that and doesn’t fall over himself apologizing, Scarlett, he isn’t sorry. Come on now. Just dump him. This is not doing anyone any favors.
Erin and Gunnar are wandering around Charlotte eating cart hot dogs and crowing about their exploits. Gunnar thanks her for getting him out of his room, and as they settle on a picturesque bench in front of a fountain, he announces that he’s realized why he’s been so blocked. “I am on the edge of my seat,” Erin says with just the right balance of sweetness and a little bit of sarcasm, like, Tell me more about your process, you Great Artist you. I like her for it. Gunnar hardly lets this make a dent in his self-importance: he announces that Scarlett was his muse and that he doesn’t feel it anymore. “Well, this almost makes me cry,” Erin says, taking this burbling admirably in stride. “Maybe you’ll get a song out of it. A sad one, anyway.” Gunnar says he might.
Daphne’s playing on her guitar (or maybe a banjo?) and Maddie comes in to apologize. Maddie says, “There’s nothing wrong with being twelve, OK? Look, I know it’s weird, cause for a long time we were the same. Like our ages really didn’t even seem that far apart. But now … things just start changing when you get to be a teenager. We’re just experiencing different things.” Daphne asks nervously if this means that they won’t play together anymore. But Maddie says passionately that she loves making music with Daphne and that she’s sorry for making her feel bad about herself. I love this! This might be the first real apology Maddie’s ever made. She says she and Daphne should never have to change for each other or anyone. “But I do think you need a little help in the fashion department.” They giggle and start to pick out outfits. I love this scene.
Markus is hanging out in a bathrobe and seven necklaces when Rayna knocks on his door. He apologizes, saying he just got out of the shower. Apparently the first thing he does when he gets out of the shower is put on a bunch of jewelry and then pour himself a drink, which, OK. That doesn’t sound like a bad life actually. But why does everyone on this show seem to see underwear + your entire necklace collection as a complete outfit? Then he passive-aggressively remarks on Deacon, saying “I would have thought he would be a little more professional.” Oh, gross. Rayna starts awkwardly talking about boundaries, and saying, “Deacon is my guy,” and that she loves working with Markus, but… He cuts her off and says “No misunderstanding,” with an easy smile. [Janes: I guess there was no harm in her saying this, but in context, I hate that she felt the need to just because Deacon was being an immature jerk.] They grin at each other, and agree to see each other the next day. Rayna doesn’t look too embarrassed, so I think she knows he’s covering. But when Markus closes the door behind her, he looks very smug indeed. His evil plan to break up the Nashville OTP is working!
In the kitchen of Bro Castle, Will is pacing and ranting to Avery that Wade is a big old homophobe and he is under lots of pressure to make a deal with him, but he can’t. “Then why are you wasting time even talking about it?” says Avery. “Why you gotta be a jackass?” Will counters, and I must say it’s quite a reasonable question. Avery is mad because he can’t make ends meet and doesn’t want to hear about Will’s “high-class problems.” Chastened, Will says he’s sorry and asks when Avery was going to tell him. Avery says rudely that Will was too busy flip-flopping about Wade Cole.
I mean, on the one hand, Will’s constant whining does grate. On the other hand, I feel like a straight bro telling his gay bro that his ethical quandary about whether to work with a homophobe who doesn’t support his right to live a self-determined life “flip-flopping” is pretty low. Plus, Avery is also a big old whiner, which is why they get on so well together. Anyway, Cadence starts crying before they can sort it all out, but before going to get her, Avery says, “What we want to do and what we need to do, don’t always line up.” That’s the moral of the story, folks. Thank goodness we have Avery to interpret it for us.
In a messy studio somewhere, Erin is listening to Gunnar’s new song and bopping along to it and giggling. I guess he’s found a new muse. And I must say this song is a lot less dreary than a lot of the ultra-slow numbers Gunnar and Scarlett sang together.
Scarlett, looking sad, walks by and sees Gunnar singing. A little smile touches the corner of her mouth, and she stops at the doorway as Gunnar finishes up his song with a weird, “Oooo” dog-howling noise. She claps and totally interrupts the dynamic. Gunnar and Erin ask politely about her trip. She says it was good. As soon as she leaves, they go back to giggling and bonding.
Luke, alone in his room, leaves a message on Wade’s voicemail saying that he really enjoyed their session and is looking forward to the next one. But he hesitates right at the beginning—I think he was planning on leaving a different message. As he hangs up, he shakes his head to himself.
Avery is laying Cadence to bed, but she squeaks a bit. He sits down to play her to sleep. “Want to hear the set I was going to play tonight?” She squeaks and grabs her feet. It is the highlight of the episode. “I’ll take that as a yes,” says Avery.
Deacon’s playing in the living room when Rayna comes in. “I love you. I’ve loved you my whole life, and I’m gonna keep doing that till I die,” she tells him. [Janes: Hey, remember Teddy? Yeah, me neither.] He apologizes for being jealous. “I’m not used to you being all mine yet.” Aww. That almost makes it not annoying. Almost. Rayna says that she talked to Markus and said that Deacon was her guy. “He acted like I was crazy,” she smiled. “You do keep choosing me, how smart is that?” Deacon agrees. Softened up, he says that Markus can change all the lyrics since he has the real prize. They start making out, and Markus’s evil plan takes a little hit.
Wheeler Estate. Colt’s on his way out the door, wearing a backpack, when Luke comes up to him and says he’s sorry for raising his fist, that it’s no way to settle things. I mean, that’s not exactly as dramatic as an apology as I think that moment requires, but OK. “There’s nothing to settle,” Colt says. Luke says there is something to settle, it’s eating him up, and starts blathering about counseling and/or a camping trip. Colt says he’s called his grandfather to stay with him and that his mother has given permission. “Everyone’s on board except for you. Surprise, surprise.”
Gutted, Luke breathes out. But then he says, “He’s a hell of a lot stricter than I am,” trying to play on his buddy-buddy schtick with Colt. Colt sees right through it: “Well at least he stands for something. Which is more than I can say for you.”
The last scene is a short little one. Emily’s lying in bed alone somewhere when the phone rings. She picks it up with another scared little sigh and says, “Juliette?”
And that leaves us with one more episode to catch up on for the season so far. Coming up to the mid-season finale, this was an episode that was basically just plodding along in the same tracks laid by the previous episode. Caleb begins to show his true colors to Scarlett, and Markus to Rayna, and Luke to Colt—and Juliette makes an appearance, if only textually—so it’s definitely got its moments. And everyone is learning their moral lessons from someone younger this week: Maddie from Daphne, Luke from Colt, even Avery from Cadence in that quiet little way. But I’m looking forward to recapping a lot more drama in the midseason finale. See you “next week”!