Nashville Recap: 4×13 “If I Could Do It All Again”

 

Previously on Nashville: Maddie told Frankie’s daughter Cash that she and Colt went all the way, and Cash told her to write it in a song; Avery and Juliette got divorced and went public, while Layla gloated in the background; Luke invited an old friend back on tour with him; Will got harassed and attacked when he first tried to perform in Nashville; a girl named Vita showed up and Rayna thought her voice was amazing, but it turned out she slept in a car in a parking lot and Frankie thinks she made off with $500 from the bar.

Morning at the James mansion, and Rayna’s staring into the distance over coffee. She says she wants to get to the bottom of the issue, and asks if Frankie could’ve miscounted. Deacon says Frankie’s sure the money’s gone. Both Deacon and Rayna have tried to call Vita, and she hasn’t answered. Not a good sign! But being the irrepressibly optimistic judges of human nature that they are, they agree to see if Vita shows up for her scheduled meeting with Rayna, or her scheduled shift at the Dead Sister Bar. (I refuse to call it the Beverly and have rechristened it to a more fittingly rock’n’roll title.)

Deacon changes the subject to Riff Bell, referring to him as “our old friend,” which could mean anything from “we used to listen to him on the radio” to “Rayna once had a fling with him,” it’s tough to tell. Deacon says he’s coming out of retirement, and Rayna smiles, “With our old friend Luke Wheeler.” (Well, we know what old friend means in that case.) And thus passes the only reference in this episode to the fact that Rayna once broke poor Luke’s heart because of Deacon. Anyway, Deacon says he invited him to sing at the Dead Sister Bar.

Gunnar springs into the kitchen of the Bro Castle, pouring himself more coffee that’s clearly unneeded, and acting basically like a lunatic on Adderall. He tells Will that he and Scarlett have a “listening party” today. Will promises they’re “real respectful at those things. Or they were back when I had a recording career.” I really hate to take someone to task for complaining about homophobia, but SHUT UP, WILL. It’s not even that he’s being whiny. He’s complaining pretty much the same amount I’d complain if I were facing the level of disappointment, heartbreak, discrimination and hatred that he is. But the character himself has almost nothing else to do except once in awhile be adorable with Cadence. If he ever talked about anything besides how terrible his life is, he would be a lot easier to take.

Anyway, he says he’s been called by a gay label in Atlanta, Three Dollar Vinyl. Gunnar’s brow furrows at why it’s gay. “Queer as a three dollar bill?” Will clarifies. Hopefully he’s grateful that his friend, like his recapper, has never heard of this phrase.

Then Will says almost exactly what I yelled at the screen three seconds ago: for Gunnar to tell him to shut up if he ever complains instead of supporting him on this exciting day. WORD. Gunnar’s face is like, “I really hope I get to take you up on this.” But all he says is something sweet about how he owes everything to Scarlett anyway.

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At a press conference with Riff, Luke announces gleefully that ticket sales have gone through the roof and that their tour is sold out. One reporter suggests that fans are just feeling nostalgic. Luke says no, it’s because Riff’s the real thing, not a “brand-new, auto-tuned pop country act.” Uh, way to turn on Juliette there, Luke.

Deacon’s standing in the background here, and I definitely expected some drama or at least some dick swinging, but Luke acts like Deacon is just any random chisel-jawed brunette, and keeps going with the announcement that Riff’s making a comeback at the Dead Sister Bar.

In what I think is Glenn’s office, Layla’s eyes are wide with happiness as she finds out she has a launch date for her first album. Glenn—who really should have a better Crazy Eyes radar after working with Juliette for so long—listens calmly as Layla rhapsodizes about how much she loves working with Avery, about five seconds from having actual spirals come out of her eyes.

At the playground, Avery is swinging Cadence when an apple-cheeked woman (I say woman, but she’s maybe twenty, twenty-two) comes up to him with a lost toy. He accepts with a little smile, and she starts swinging next to him. The Avery/Juliette fangirl in me falls to the floor in a dead heartbroken faint. The critic in me says something about how I like that single moms are a not-big deal, or some such thing.

The listening party is drawing to a close, and I admit it’s the most suspenseful scene of the whole episode. Everyone from Highway 65 – Rayna, Bucky, Noah, a couple important-looking randos – is listening intently, sometimes frowning or leaning forward or backward, constantly making eye contact with each other in a totally unreadable way. Scarlett and Gunnar look like they’re about to throw up, and I don’t blame them.

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But as soon as it ends, Rayna applauds and says, “That’s not just an incredible debut album, that’s a career-making album.” She also says something about the chemistry between them, a potentially awkward moment that they both manage to handle like adults for once. Everyone starts talking singles: Apparently they need to narrow it down to just one, and Rayna says that she votes for the last one because it’s “textured and rich and exciting.” Scarlett and Gunnar agree, but they look alarmed for no obvious reason—I think I asked jd, who was watching with me, “Is that the song that made them make out before?” But that would require some sort of continuity, and we’re not doing continuity with Scarlett and Gunnar right now; we’re just doing a one-off, barely-there little minidrama that I suppose is meant to tread water until some real drama starts happening near the end of the season.

I should mention, though, that the song in question is pretty great, and Scarlett’s voice sounds a lot more jazzy and full than it usually does. I’m excited to download that one.

Then Vita shows up to see Rayna, looking innocently happy to see her. (Or, looking happy because she just got away with $500? Tough to tell.)

Frankie’s doing paperwork at the Dead Sister Bar when Deacon shows up. He never left, he was apparently turning the bar upside down looking for the money, but it isn’t there. Deacon says blithely that Rayna’s going to talk to Vita. “So, we’re not gonna call the cops,” Frankie surmises sourly. Deacon barely even hears the judgment in Frankie’s voice (or hears how ridiculous his own position is). Then he announces happily that Riff Bell’s performing there tomorrow night, which is Frankie’s spot. Which Frankie looks none too pleased about, and Deacon still blithely refuses to notice. He just says this is a big deal and makes Frankie give him a high five, which just adds insult to injury.

Okay. I feel like sometimes, in order to make sure drama lasts through the forty minutes, shows force their characters to be so oblivious that they look like giant assholes. Deacon, in other words, is being a giant asshole and it seems sort of unconnected to his character, just necessary to keep this plot going.

Back at Highway 65, Rayna welcomes Vita and then launches in with the missing money. “That sucks,” Vita says sympathetically. Then she waits just long enough to realize that Rayna’s accusing her. Rayna makes it way too easy on her, immediately declining the offer to search her guitar case and car. Vita does that “Why would I do such a thing to you, my new friend?” thing that manipulative people do. “I don’t know,” Rayna admits, because she’s not a thief; “um… you wouldn’t, would you?” “I wouldn’t, “ Vita says. “So you didn’t,” Rayna says. There we go. I guess Rayna handled it! Not.

Deacon’s on the phone after credits. “They had a long talk, she says she didn’t do it,” he announces happily to Frankie. Frankie is like, are you fucking kidding me? She just asked Vita if she took the money and Vita said no, and you starry-eyed innocents believe her? Frankie says Vita’s not coming back to work; Deacon says something about “innocent until proven guilty” (yes… if this was a court?). He follows this up with, “I’m asking you to let this go right now.” Wow, Deacon is a terrible partner. Life lesson for everyone: Never go into business with someone who wants to rename your business for his mean, trashy dead sister.

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Avery and his new mom friend are chatting by the side of the playground with Cadence while her toddler plays on the swingset, commiserating about parenthood. Avery says something about Emily, which leads to a slight awkwardness where he has to explain who Emily is, a weirdness that is not really addressed later. (Please, let’s not have an Avery-Emily-Layla love triangle; I can’t handle it.) Then Avery’s alarm goes off to send him to the studio, and New Friend asks him to hang out again. He suggests tonight, and she invites him to her place so that she can cook. And we all learned from Ally McBeal that this means she wants to have The Sex.

Noah, Scarlett, and Gunnar are toasting the successful listening party in a studio somewhere. As soon as Noah steps out for a call Scarlett asks Gunnar if he’s “okay with this.” What is “this,” you ask? We finally get an explanation: It’s that Scarlett wrote the song and did most of the vocals. Gunnar says it’s fine, but I am hearing definite echoes of first-season Avery, who didn’t much like when Scarlett outshone him.

Vita’s singing a song about her guitar for Rayna and Bucky at Highway 65. It’s a pretty good song, I guess, but I still don’t get her voice. It’s sort of throaty and scratchy sometimes, and I could swear it’s going flat (though I have a tin ear, so who even knows). Rayna tells her the song is beautiful, and that the guitar seems like part of her. Vita says it’s the only thing she can count on and then looks properly embarrassed, as if she weren’t jumping yet again at the chance to make herself sound tragic and mysterious.

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At Three Dollar Vinyl, which is decorated with a lot of glitzy lights, bright colors, and even some leopard print, an executive is sympathizing with Will about the attack he suffered. Will is putting on a polite smile but is clearly not excited about bonding about their shared experiences of homophobia. And when the guy says Will will be the label’s first country artist, Will’s face falls.

Maddie and Daphne are chatting up fellow plaid-skirted girls outside of their school when Colt shows up to surprise Maddie. He grins at Maddie and tells her actions speak louder than words. She laughs happily when he produces a bouquet, and hugs him—but then Cash shows up with something even cooler than a bouquet, a fancy red car. Maddie’s about to blow Colt off for her big plans to see Riff that night with Cash, but then on a sudden inspiration asks Cash to get another ticket for Colt. “Oh—sure,” Cash says, in that super-casual way that people use to mask irritation, even though she’s an adult who presumably could Use Her Words with Maddie.

Then Colt asks to drive Maddie home, but Cash snippily informs him that he has to be registered with the school to pick Maddie up. Colt and Daphne (who’s been asking to go to the show too, to no avail) stand and watch the car zip away with Maddie in it. “Cash is like her new best friend. Or whatever,” Daphne says with pitch-perfect pre-teen scorn.

Soundcheck. Luke is talking to his manager, Kenneth, and rejoicing over all the good press—until they get close enough to the stage to hear Riff yelling at the band. Luke tries to break it up with his easy-going-dude attitude. He says that the guys have been with him for a long time, and Riff insists that they don’t “understand my music.” Luke points out that this is why they rehearse, but Riff goes full diva on him and storms off. The band members inform Luke that Riff sounds terrible. “It sounds like he hasn’t touched a guitar in fifteen years,” one of them says.

At the studio, Avery greets Layla cheerfully and she presses him gently on his good mood. He tells her he met a woman, and Layla nervously asks if he’s ready, her face openly sad. He says he is, and then suggests they get to work. Layla sighs to herself, because so far she hasn’t done one single thing to advance her plan of making Juliette’s head explode.

Luke finds Riff outside the studio and demands that he get back in there to practice because he’s going to embarrass them both—but Riff is totally pissed and insists it’s the band’s fault. Luke calls Riff “my mentor, my idol and my friend,” but it’s not enough to slow the fight down. Riff says he’s going to his daughter’s soccer game because “unlike yours, my kids actually like having me around.” Luke looks stung, because ouch, but comes back calling Riff a “nasty son of a bitch.”

Back at Highway 65, Vita’s going through a sob story about her experience in the foster system after her mother overdosed, and how she and her sister, whose name I don’t think we even find out, got through it together. Rayna, of course, is extremely susceptible to this. “That’s awful,” she breathes. “You don’t have to feel sorry for me,” Vita says heroically.

It is a very sad life story, but Vita seems extremely manipulative to me, constantly bringing things up like they just popped out of her mouth and then being like LET ME TELL YOU WHY I AM THE MOST ROMANTIC, TRAGICAL BEING. Or, possibly, if she’s not a manipulator—if she turns out, at the end of this arc, to just be a regular old tragic heroine with some issues and a gift for music—then the show itself is being manipulative by trotting out all this information so quickly to make us sympathize with Vita.

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Things get awkward real fast.

Cash, Maddie, and Colt are at dinner. Cash brings up that Maddie says he likes to “make beats,” which I’d totally forgotten about. Maddie gushes that he has a huge Twitter following, but Colt stick-in-the-muds about how he likes to be normal and he’s too busy milking cows on his grandfather’s farm to be interested in such frivolous things as music. Then he quickly sees the expression on the ladies’ faces and says that it’s not that he looks down on music, just the “whole star thing.” Then he comes out with, “My grandfather fought in Vietnam. That’s real. My dad just prances around on stage.” Wow. Everyone else is like, “Uh… that’s nice?” Also I feel like Colt is going to get a nasty surprise if he ever figures out exactly what kind of “real” stuff went down in Vietnam.

At the Bluebird, Vita shows up for work and Deacon greets her like she’s his best friend. Frankie’s standing by, not exactly pleased, and Deacon gives Frankie a defiant look. Poor Frankie.

Kenneth (Luke’s manager, whose name I continually have to look up because he only exists to provide someone for Luke to talk to about his work other than a mirror) and Luke are in Luke’s office. Interestingly, the way they film Luke’s office for the most part, it doesn’t look that huge—there was only that one shot a week or two ago where they zoomed out on a lonely Luke, to show how giant and fancy it is. Kenneth is saying that they need to do damage control, and look into “prerecords” for the tour. Luke protests that he can’t ask a “living legend” to lip sync, but Kenneth says they’re in salvage mode. “But what am I trying to salvage?” Luke says. Deep. I expected him to cancel his tour and go chasing Colt all around the country after this, but I guess he’s not quite that changed yet.

Cash is at the Bluebird and gets up to the mic to tell everyone that her next song is the result of working with “a young writer.” Maddie’s all happy and proud, and Colt smiles at first until they get to the line, “Don’t kiss me unless you mean business.” Then Cash gets to the next verse, “Don’t lie to me just to get in my pants,” and he gives Maddie a nervous look. She’s just boppin’ along with a huge smile on her face. “You wrote this?” he asks. “Pretty much every word,” Maddie agrees happily. Does she not see how this is awkward, when they just had sex and this song flat-out implies he lied to get her into bed? Part of me almost wonders if Cash is singing this on purpose to make Colt uncomfortable, since he was being such a dick earlier, and Cash seems like the kind of person who would do that.

Avery and New Friend (whose name we will eventually learn is Sienna) are on a couch facing each other, clearly preparing to hook up. He admits he thinks she’s pretty; she admits she brought the toy over because he’s pretty; he admits it wasn’t actually his toy. Avery says, “She has one really similar, like, almost identical,” which is pretty cute. Soon enough they go from bantering to kissing.

After the show Maddie is still aglow, and Colt agrees lamely that “It was great” before inviting him back over to his townhouse so they can spend some time just the two of them. It actually doesn’t sound like an invitation for sex necessarily, just a plea to have some time to hang out. But Maddie says regretfully that her curfew is strict now. Colt asks about the next day during the day, but Cash comes out and snots, “I thought we were working tomorrow.” Maddie explains that Colt’s only in town for one more day and asks to reschedule. “Sure,” Cash says tightly, and gets in the car. Having agreed on hanging out tomorrow, Colt and Maddie go in for a goodnight kiss. Literally before their lips even meet, Cash jumps snottily back out and says that she needs to get Maddie home for her curfew.

Okay, serious question. What is wrong with Cash?! Like, in what universe does a full-grown adult get all pissy and passive-aggressive about a young mentee wanting a few damn minutes with her boyfriend? I don’t care what Maddie has said about Colt in the past, or how much Colt was mouthing off at dinner—she’s an adult who clearly has all the power in the Cash-Maddie dynamic, and yet she’s acting like she’s been ditched in the junior-high lunchroom.

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Back at the Bluebird as the staff is cleaning up, Frankie and Vita storm out from the back, in the middle of a shouting match where Frankie is yelling at Vita about why she has the nerve to come back here after taking the money. At least I think that’s what he’s saying – he seems to have been taking a page from Scarlett’s Book of How To Pronounce Words Like You’re Really Really Drunk. Finally Vita spins around and admits that she took it but was going to pay it back. She storms out. Frankie’s about to chase her but Deacon physically stops him, because I guess he’s still protecting her even though she actually stole from him? “I was right about her, Deacon,” Frankie hisses.

The next morning, Deacon’s drinking orange juice in the kitchen when Rayna comes out. He admits he couldn’t sleep and tells her about Vita. “No good deed, huh?” he says.

Luke comes out to join Riff at a spot by a rather foul-looking brown river. Riff says it’s his favorite spot because it “makes me feel like some things aren’t changing for the worse.” I can only imagine he means that the water was already so dirty that it couldn’t possibly get any worse. “I’m giving you an out,” Luke says, and says he can keep his legacy and their friendship intact by bowing out of the concert. “You know you sound like crap, right?” Riff sighs and admits it, then apologizes for what he said about Luke’s kids. Luke asks if he should go ahead and make the announcement. “What I want is to do this with you. But I guess what I need is practice. Think your band can get my ass into gear by tonight?” Luke doesn’t answer. They stare out at the dirty river.

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I mean, right? It looks super brown!

Will’s back at Three Dollar Vinyl and tells the exec he wants to talk about music. “Which one of my singles did you think was the best?” he asks. The exec tries to cover, saying he liked them all, but finally has to admit that “Country music’s really not my thing.” Which… can’t blame him, since we just learned from the last three and a half seasons of Nashville that country music isn’t exactly friendly to flamboyant gay men. But when the exec says “But there is a market for you,” Will bitterly says, “Because I’m gay.” The exec mentions his looks, and says they can market him and give him a chance to be himself. Will protests, “Who I am is not a gay country singer. I’m a country singer who happens to be gay. And I don’t know if I can sign with a label that doesn’t know the difference.”

Which I think is exactly the problem with this storyline—Will keeps insisting he doesn’t want to be defined by his sexuality, but the show itself has strictly limited his storylines to dealing with this one problem over and over again. It’s his entire identity. I mean, without “heroic country singer who came out of the closet despite homophobia,” all Will really has is “Guy who sits on the couch and complains a lot.”

The exec finally gives way to annoyance and says, “Which leaves you with… what options?” A question that will be answered in Will’s next scene.

Colt and Maddie are about to start making out when Maddie gets a text from Cash and takes a break from the smooching to text back. Rude! Colt, trying to keep a handle on his temper, mentions that Cash is taking up a lot of Maddie’s time. Maddie, eyes still focused on her phone instead of Colt, says that Cash has really helped her with her writing. “You think writing about sex makes a song good?” says Colt. Gauntlet thrown! Maddie gives him a sharp look and says, “It makes it honest.” Colt says it seems like she’s pretending to be something she’s not. Maddie says she’s always wanted to do music, and he’s the one who changed.

Not satisfied with his current high level of sanctimoniousness, Colt ups it by a factor of ten. “There’s more to life than being onstage. Don’t you want to do something that matters?” He yells that music doesn’t matter as much as “helping people. Standing for something. Doing the right thing. That’s what matters. Not basing your life around whether or not an audience loves you.” Maddie promptly dumps him and gets out. It’s sad—he’s obviously going through a crisis because he feels he didn’t stand up for what was right when it came to Jeff’s death, and because his father has let him down, but Maddie doesn’t know that, so all she sees is someone who for no discernible reason has turned into a preachy jerk who just accused her life’s work of meaning nothing.

Scarlett arrives at Highway 65 to talk to Bucky and asks if they can pick a different single. “I’m worried about launching a band that’s a duo with a song that’s really a solo,” she says, “Gunnar and I are a team.” Bucky argues that it feels like both of them, but that he’ll run it past Rayna. This is the kind of scene where I recap it and I’m like, “How do I fill a whole paragraph with this scene?” It happens frequently in Nashville, and I don’t get why. This development would be easy enough to cover it in a line of exposition, and cutting it would give more time to nuanced scenes that might actually delve into the power dynamic between Scarlett and Gunnar, for example, so that we would actually understand why this topic is so fraught for them.

Layla calls Avery from her dressing room, where she’s back in her Full Widow garb, an all-black outfit and dark lipstick. She says she scored tickets to Riff’s gig at the Bluebird and invites him along, but he blithely informs her that he has plans with Sienna, and that the first date “exceeded expectations.” Layla acts casual as she hangs up, then chews out an assistant for giving her water that isn’t chilled. “Is it really that hard to get what I want around here?” she cries. Ah, the timeless plaint of the spoiled starlet.

Maddie and Cash arrive home at the James residence, Cash having picked Maddie up. Maddie’s in tears. Cash promises to stay with her for awhile. Just then Daphne comes out, all excited to play a song for them she’s written. She immediately sees that Maddie’s in tears and asks what’s wrong. Maddie cuts to the quick: “It’s personal,” she says. She just needs to talk to Cash and wants Daphne to leave her alone. The older girls disappear and Daphne’s left alone holding her guitar. God, that hurts. I also think Cash is old enough to recognize some of what’s going on between the two and maybe set a better example for Maddie; it seems like she enjoys coming between Maddie and everyone else in her life. So weird.

Frankie’s hanging out alone at the Dead Sister Bar when Deacon comes up with a ready-made apology for not listening to him about Vita, and for giving away his slot to Riff Bell. But the apology doesn’t seem that sincere when Deacon immediately asks if they can put this behind them and focus on making the Dead Sister Bar “the place to be.” Because of Riff. The guy who stole Frankie’s spot. I’m just saying, Frankie has on a sour face for a reason.

Rayna waits for Vita in the motel parking lot and ambushes her. “I’d love an explanation,” she says. “You looked me straight in the eye and lied to me about it.” Vita says her sister was in trouble and “it was five hundred dollars or her life.” Rayna is skeptical, but Vita says she didn’t want to be the person with the crap life anymore, so she lied. I guess she was OK still being the person who lied, though. Vita asks to start over, and Rayna says, “I feel for you, I really do” (really? I don’t.) “but I can’t take the risk.”

Layla’s at a photo shoot in an amusingly awkward “sexy” pose with her guitar balanced against her hip for no apparent reason. It does look good on the computer screen, but she clearly feels silly in real life. Someone asks her to move, and she responds hilariously – and brattily –“Or maybe you could move around a little bit, so I don’t have to stand in these unnatural positions.” Glenn wisely calls for a break, and Layla takes the opportunity to complain. He cuts her short. “I have been down this road with Juliette, in terms of the bad behavior, and I’m not interested in doing that, so let’s just find out what you’re actually worried about and we can nip this attitude thing right in the bud.” Nice, Glenn.

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Glenn manages to temporarily calm Layla down.

Layla immediately breaks and confesses she thought she and Avery were friends and now he’s found someone else. Glenn gives her a very kind little talk about feeling a void when you lose someone. She might think that working closely with someone on your music is “an answer to that void,” but it’s an illusion. Layla doesn’t look super reassured, but she does ask him to kick her if he ever sees her acting like Juliette again. I mean, he’s a middle-aged dude, Layla. I don’t know if he wants to be kicking a nineteen-year-old girl every single minute of the damn day.

That evening, Gunnar arrives at Scarlett’s place and asks her why he has a meeting scheduled about a new single when he said he was fine. “You don’t seem fine, you seem highly agitated,” Scarlett says. I can’t decide if that’s obnoxious or funny. Maybe both. Gunnar says, “I just wish that you’d trust I was confident enough to handle it.” But Scarlett flips this on its head and says that she owes him her confidence, that he got her into songwriting and so every song she writes is because of him. Which is a neat little parallel to what he said about her before.

At the Dead Sister Bar, Deacon’s looking for Frankie but can’t find him, so he springs up towards the front and hops onstage. He and Luke have a collegial conversation about making history, and pose for a friendly, fraternal photo for the paps onstage, arms around each other. I guess they’re over it! Deacon tells Luke that Colt’s coming, and Luke tries to hide his surprise. Meanwhile, Frankie has appeared in the background and looks on, displeased. Yikes. On the one hand, Deacon was looking for him, so it’s not like Deacon completely forgot about him – but on the other hand, Deacon didn’t exactly conduct the world’s most thorough search before leaping up onstage by himself either!

Rayna comes to fetch Daphne for the show, but Daphne is despondent and tells Rayna that all Maddie wants to talk about is Cash. Rayna sits on the bed and says Maddie’s having a hard time, since she broke up with Colt (I’m actually surprised Maddie bothered to tell Rayna about this). Daphne pleads, “Why wouldn’t she talk to me about that? I would do anything for her. This just makes me feel like I’m nothing.” Oh, that’s so sad! (Much sadder than when Pacey said it to Joey, eh?) Rayna gives her a hug and gives her a little speech about how Maddie totally still loves her and promises to stay home from the show with her.

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A much-needed chat

Kenneth and Luke are looking on as the show is about to start, talking about how much Riff’s been rehearsing – and how Kenneth’s been trying to lower everyone’s expectations. Deacon looks on from one side, Frankie from the other, Frankie still looking insulted for some reason. We hear Luke telling Kenneth that Riff’s coming up to the part he always struggles with. He nails it, judging by the screams of the crowd. Luke jubilantly announces that Riff’s coming out on tour.

Avery and Sienna are walking along together (what happened to the babies? Maybe an invisible Emily’s watching both of them?) and Avery’s complaining about how easy it is to walk around, compared to being with Juliette. Sienna gently calls him on talking about Juliette too much, and says that they’ve moved a little too fast—he’s not ready. He looks sad and says he wants to “get past this.” She kisses him on the cheek and says she’ll see him at the swings. He sighs. All of the fans cheer that he’s free for Juliette once again.

Riff, in a break in the set, calls someone he “came up with” to the stage: Deacon. And to add insult to injury, he calls Deacon the owner of the bar. Ouch. Then Frankie conveniently overhears two people saying, “Deacon’s really turned this place around.” “It was a dump!” Another ouch, but so contrived that jd outright laughed when he saw it. I guess Frankie doesn’t find it so funny, though. He decides to rush to the back, open a case of liquor, and start chugging one of the bottles. Well that’s going to cause some awkward inventory problems. Hopefully he can lay the blame on Vita!

But the real question is, how do you play a drunk convincingly when you couldn’t pronounce words clearly when you were sober?

After the show Riff gets congratulated by Deacon, then by Luke. Luke wants Riff to have a drink with him, and sneaks one longing look at the hot ladies nearby but says that he needs to get home to his wife and kids (why aren’t they here?). Left alone, Luke tries to call Colt, who’s walking down a darkened street and looks almost tempted when he sees the number on his caller ID.

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Maddie calls Cash in tears, saying maybe she was being too judgmental to dump Colt. Cash says Colt is the judgmental one, and he isn’t “supportive” of Maddie or her “career.” Crying more, Maddie says that Colt used to be supportive: he put her music online and came to every show. “What happens to him? Maybe something’s wrong,” she pleads. Cash says that they’re young and trying to figure things out. Then she says, “Girls mature faster than boys.” Oh my god, shut UP, Cash. I hate that. How hard is it to say, “I know you and you’re very mature, and maybe Colt isn’t there yet”? Why do you need to trot out a bullshit gender stereotype when you are talking about a specific pair of people? Cash is starting to annoy me more than Scarlett. Unless this is all leading to a passionate May-December love story between Cash and Maddie, in which case janes and I agree that this whole thing is actually fabulous and the perfect nutty soap storyline.

Meanwhile, Cash decides not to answer Luke’s call when he sees a giant poster for the US Army in a shop window. Oh, Lord.

Deacon arrives home to find Rayna on the couch, Daphne presumably in bed. She apologizes for missing it, but he understands. Deacon brags about how well the show went and says, “Hopefully this will calm Frankie down a bit after all that stolen money business.” (Oh yikes. Deacon still doesn’t get it at all, does he?) Rayna uses this to segue into telling him how she turned Vita down—but she’s obviously having second thoughts. She totally buys Vita’s whole foster-care story and wishes she could do something. Deacon suggests she does try to get them into a shelter.

Will’s buying a coffee when he notices a CD on sale with an album cover portraying the barista. He asks her about it, and she says it was “a couple grand out of pocket” to self-release her album. Looking excited, Will buys it.

Scarlett and Gunnar show up to a meeting with Noah that is apparently intended to be them signing their publishing contracts. But they look at each other and, in concert, push the forms back to Noah. Noah’s like, “…Or not” with a wry face that I’m sure he has to make a lot, working with two exes. They announce that they want fifty-fifty credit on every song they publish no matter who wrote it. Another scene that we didn’t really need to see, right?

Layla arrives at the studio and asks Avery about his date in a voice that doesn’t tremble with suppressed psychotic rage, so I guess Glenn’s talking-to had an effect. He admits that Sienna told him he wasn’t ready because he spent the whole time talking about his ex-wife. This does not in any way discourage Layla from dating him. Calling him “Friend,” she invites him out to the Beverly “sometime” to “listen to some music.” He agrees, and she smiles.

Rayna arrives at the motel and finds the parking lot crawling with cops. One officer comes up to her and says there were “Reports of an altercation,” but when Rayna asks if anyone was in the car, he says no. Rayna can see Vita’s precious guitar lying battered on the ground. No sign of Vita or her anonymous sister. Dun dun dun!!

Looking forward to the episode tonight!

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