Previously on Nashville: Juliette was rescued from her crash by a woman she saw at a church just outside of Nashville; Rayna had a panic attack after playing a gig for a Silicon Valley caricature named Zack, who asked why she didn’t record anymore; Rayna took a road trip to figure out what she wanted; and Scarlett and Gunnar got back together.
Scarlett and Gunnar are dozing in bed, naked except for Scarlett’s fairly stupid ribbon choker (if she takes it off during sex, will her head fall off?), when his phone goes off. “Is that her?” Scarlett says. Gunnar plays dumb, so Scarlett clarifies, it’s Autumn, and by the way, according to Autumn’s xo-sprinkled texts which she totally peeked at, he’s free to rejoin her tour anytime he wants. Gunnar protests that he hasn’t been texting her because Scarlett apparently suggested (probably none too gently) that he not text her to send a message. He says he loves her and she loves him. Then she says she doesn’t know if they’re a thing. Gunnar laughs, like yes, we’re a thing. I think being in love generally implies that you’re a thing, Scar. He says they should get back into bed, which they do, but Scarlett still doesn’t look happy.
Rayna arrives home and yells “Hellooo,” as if she was expecting that everything in her home remained in suspended animation the entire time she was gone, just waiting for her to stroll back through the door. Deacon comes down and greets her happily, and she says she drove through Sunday to get home earlier. Daphne’s having a sleepover and Maddie’s out with a friend, so they have the house to themselves.
Will is back! But now that Will Chase, who played Luke, is gone, Will is going to be forced to share his scenes with Kevin, who is so intensely bland that it’s hard to believe the same show came up with Kevin and the equally bland Caleb in the same season. Caleb has decided to take Will out for a highly unoriginal fancy dinner date with chocolate cake for dessert, since it’s his birthday. Just then, a much less bland, equally handsome man comes up to Will and wishes him happy birthday, complimenting him on what he said to Cynthia Davis. Will is completely confused because the guy doesn’t introduce himself, just says he liked Will’s album and he would be happy to help him dress (or undress, is the not very subtle implication). Then he invites him to a trunk show, blows out his birthday candle for him and declares he made a wish for Will, and leaves. Kevin is super psyched about this because he obviously recognizes their interlocutor, even though everyone ignores him throughout the whole interaction. Apparently he’s the biggest menswear designer in the country. OK that is kind of impressive. I mean, I live in New York, I like fashion, I’m obsessed with Prabal Gurung, but I wouldn’t recognize a photo of him… or her… if it was literally labeled Prabal Gurung. The only designer I would recognize is Victoria Beckham, and, well… that’s more because of the obsessive viewing of the 2 Become 1 music video I did as a child than because of her fashion achievements.
Rayna and Deacon fall into bed, both of them thrilled to be in bed with each other. Deacon asks Rayna if she found herself on her trip, and Rayna announces happily that she did: she decided that she and Deacon should write about their amazing relationship. Well, it’s … not exactly Eat, Pray, Love, but I guess if you’re the kind of person who defines herself by men, then this is how you would go about finding yourself? Deacon, hilariously, is like “Like… a book?” Rayna laughs at him and says no, like an album. Anyone less self-involved and oblivious than Rayna (bless her heart) would probably notice at this juncture that Deacon is distinctly unenthused about this idea, probably because if he were going to write a concept album about any woman it would probably be about the dead sister that he’s inappropriately obsessed with. He is enthused about having sexytimes with his wife, but while kissing his neck, she totally falls asleep. They both laugh really cutely and he strokes her hair affectionately and tells her to just go to sleep. It’s really adorable.
We next see Rayna in Highway 65, promising Scarlett and Gunnar that they’re just going through a reset. Scarlett speaks for all of us when she tells Rayna that when she grows up, she wants to be her. Rayna blathers about all the clarity she got from her trip, like how she loves Deacon (ORLY) and Scarlett and Gunnar are great (well, duh). She suggests that their next single should be “All of Me,” which is so passionate, and they should debut it on Shawn Parr’s show. Scarlett clearly hates this idea but pretends to like it—always a good way to milk another few minutes of drama out of a storyline, amirite?
Will is at a bar, singing “Spinning Revolver” (fabulous song, but way better when the huskier Will Chase, aka Luke, sings it) as Kevin enjoys watching—and so do all the other hot guys in the bar.
Meanwhile, Scarlett sits around in her strappy pajamas and her damn choker listening to Gunnar’s song.
That night, back at home, Kevin asks if Will is going to the trunk show. He thinks he should, and says he trusts him. Will’s like, I’m a MAN! I don’t even know what this ‘trunk show’ you speak of is! What is ‘clothes’? Does GQ stand for ‘goshdarn queer’? But eventually Kevin persuades him that he should at least check it out.
At Highway 65, Bucky is trying to convince Rayna to go a little more commercial, because he doesn’t think a duet album is going to sell that well. Rayna is for some reason very insistent that this is not a duet album, but a concept album. Well, I think a concept that involves two people singing is pretty much a duet, dear heart. Bucky pleads that she doesn’t want this to look like a vanity label. Poor Bucky. He could actually do a good job if it weren’t for Rayna’s total lack of connection to reality. When she pushes back, he mumbles something about doing a distribution deal with iTunes, which I think is like the music world equivalent of telling a writer that they should self-publish.
After Rayna leaves, she gets a phone call that turns out to be from Zack, who’s just emerging from his private plane. She asks how he got her number, and he just laughs like it’s a hilarious question. Which is, admittedly, pretty funny. It’s like asking Mark Zuckerberg how he got your phone number, you know, if Mark Zuckerberg were creepy. But then he says he’s interested in getting into the music business, and asks to meet up so he can “hack her cloud.” You know, like pick her brain.
For the record, that? Is not a thing. Both Keets and I code for a living and, like… it’s not just that no one says that, it’s that anyone who used that phrase in public at an actual tech company would be laughed out of the fuckin’ building. Let’s just say if you want cutting satire of Silicon Valley, try Veep, which actually did a pretty good job of what Nashville writers, having apparently never met a software engineer, are trying to do. Rayna agrees, sounding perfectly delighted. “So cool,” says Zack. But she goes home and complains to Deacon about how Bucky is refusing to “think outside the box” and let her do her vanity album, and that Zack wants to come back in and save the business after the tech guys almost destroyed it.
Deacon takes the opportunity to ask if the concept album is how she really wants to spend the money she just earned, since he’s not really a huge draw. She tells him she loves him very much but sometimes he can be a complete idiot. He agrees with that, but then she lectures him that he can’t let fear get in the way. He protests that maybe it’s not fear, maybe he just doesn’t want to do it. Rayna is utterly shocked by that. Deacon explains that the last year hasn’t been great except for their marriage. If this weren’t Nashville, you could possibly have the hope that this was going to be about Rayna’s magnificent solipsism, but of course, it is Nashville, so by the end she’ll have worn Deacon down and proved him wrong, because “don’t give in to the Fear” makes such a tempting storyline for soaps. Rayna gets all pissy that he isn’t immediately acceding to the giant project she decided unilaterally they need to do, and petulantly says fine, then “honestly,” just forget about it. Then literally one point five seconds later she completely backtracks and says, actually, how about you think about it? Deacon agrees just to get Rayna to stop smiling at him in that mildly unhinged way.
Deacon’s hanging out at … his place? … when Scarlett arrives with a laundry basket, planning to shower and do laundry and then go back to Gunnar’s. “You’re the one who lives here,” says Deacon. So I guess, he retreated to his old apartment, where Scarlett still technically lives, to avoid Rayna’s maniacal desire to write a concept album with him Right This Second. Fair enough. Meanwhile, Scarlett confesses that she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop, and can’t enjoy what she has with Gunnar because she’s so afraid of losing it. Deacon, of course, is familiar with this concept. He tells Scarlett about the album idea, and when Scarlett realizes that he doesn’t want to do it, she says the same thing Rayna did: “I really love you, but sometimes you are really an idiot.” Scarlett demands if he’s going to give up songwriting, or write about bunnies, daisies, and beer. (That sounds like a great song, actually.) She brings up the idea that pain is good for art. Deacon says, amusingly, “My pain is just painful.”
At Juliette’s place, Juliette is unsuccessfully trying to feed Cadence. Avery suggests doing the airplane, and Juliette gives him an enjoyably withering stare and gives up. He realizes what he did by mentioning airplanes and apologizes, but encourages her to remember she has him and doesn’t have to do this alone. Juliette doesn’t believe he’s going to want to take care of a cripple and a baby for that long, like, no, that’s you, Juliette. You’re the one who can’t be trusted to stick around and care for helpless beings. Avery’s done a great job. But Avery’s too nice to say this. Juliette says she wants to see the woman who saved her, but she can’t be seen in public, so Avery has to do it. Avery encourages her, saying everyone admires her and doesn’t judge her for being in a wheelchair, but Juliette just rolls her eyes bitchily and sighs, “I’ll do it.” Heh. Some things never change.
Deacon is trying to enjoy two seconds of peace and quiet at home when Rayna comes over and innocently asks for his thoughts. He asks if she has a topic, and she duhs, “You said you’d think about it.” Deacon, too much of a wuss to admit that he’s not done thinking about it and that frankly he doesn’t want to do it, gives her a shit-eating grin and says he’s still thinking. Rayna asks him what his biggest concern is, clearly planning to completely dismiss his concern as soon as he says what it is. Deacon asks to be left alone to think in private, but Rayna protests that they should communicate. I mean, I see her point and he’s doing a terrible job of communicating the fact that he CLEARLY DOES NOT WANT TO DO THIS. On the other hand, trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t give a shit about your feelings unless they agree with her feelings is generally understood to be a losing proposition. Deacon decides to make out with Rayna instead.
Avery is on a similar mission as Scarlett, back home to get his stuff. He tells Gunnar and Scarlett that he’s not sure if he’s moving in with Juliette permanently, just taking it one day at a time. He congratulates them on Shawn Parr and having a song out there that’s all about them. As soon as he leaves (bidding them an affectionate “Love you”) Scarlett asks Gunnar who the song is about, since she doesn’t have golden eyes. He pretends it’s not about anyone. Then he tries, it’s about him and how he’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. She asks him what’s real, and he says it’s the fact that she’s driving him crazy.
Rayna arrives at Highway 65 and is introduced by Bucky to their new social media manager, who is a complete fanboy and can’t hold it together in front of Rayna. Rayna is reasonably nice about it. Then Deacon shows up, to tell her that he has a gig with a young woman named Ashley Willerman who’s famous on Youtube, and that Avery’s producing it. Rayna protests that he’s supposed to be thinking about their record, instead of going off and doing something with someone else. I see why she’s hurt, actually. Because (as unreasonable as it is) she hasn’t given up hope, and instead of being honest that he doesn’t want to do it, he’s just pretending that she’s not a priority for him. That said, if she were listening to him at all she would have let him say no in the first place.
Will arrives at the trunk show and is offered a glass of champagne. He immediately realizes this isn’t his scene, chugs it and tries to leave. But the creepy designer catches him on his way out and offers him another drink. The next thing you know, they’re alone in a dressing room and the designer is dressing Will, and taking the opportunity for a lot of shoulder stroking. All of a sudden their lips are approximately two millimeters apart (man, Will is not exactly standing strong here, this took approximately five seconds from shoulder pat to almost-kiss), and Will finally says he can’t, because he’s taken. Creepy Designer patronizingly thinks this is very quaint, and tells Will if he ever changes his mind he’ll be around.
Gunnar finds Scarlett sitting awake in the living room and is utterly shocked that hse can’t sleep. She tells him she doesn’t want to do the song, and he protests that it’s just a song, and she’s sang it with him before. She tells him it bothered her the whole time, and that ever since she said no to that ring, he’s been getting involved with people who were right in her face, and she always had to deal with them. He says he wasn’t trying to hurt her. “Cause it worked! You got me!” she says, which is pretty mean. Then she tells him that singing the song makes her want to slap him, and he says, “Well that’s just great!” and… the scene ends. Is that how you end a scene?! If that was the whole comeback, it… was not a very good comeback, even by Gunnar’s not particularly clever standards.
Someone else who’s sitting up tonight is Deacon, trying to come up with a song. He says that since she wants him to do it, he’s trying to do it. She says that’s not what she wants. Um, BEG TO DIFFER. “Where’s this coming from?” she asks. Deacon tells the story of the episode back to her, including the part where he didn’t want to do it. Rayna argues that he said he’d think about it, not that he didn’t want to. She really does only hear what she wants to. He declares himsel fthe luckiest guy in the world, which is a beautifully charitable way to put it at this exact moment, but that he shares her beautiful life, and she makes all the decision. She sympathizes that that has to be hard, but that’s all behind them now and what should they do now, together? He bitterly says that they do it her way, and she pretends she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Then she gets mad and leaves.
Will has also come back to his place to tell Gunnar about the fashion designer, and admit that he wanted to do something. Gunnar says that’s part of life, but at least he didn’t act on it, “unlike me.” I mean, but he wasn’t with Scarlett when he slutted it up, so it’s not really an analog, but hey, I do love these boys and their sweet friendship. Especially when Will says, “Sorry, buddy,” in a hilariously indulgent voice.
Scarlett meets Deacon for breakfast and confesses that she’s ruining things with Gunnar. Since Gunnar can’t change the past, it’s silly to punish him. Deacon protests that he was in pain (get it? It’s a parallel!). Scarlett says what she’s doing is basically like shoving a dog’s nose in its pee from hours before, or a horse. The dog or horse doesn’t understand because it was in the past, so they just think you’re mean. “Uh, well, he’s not a dog, he’s just a guy, who I’m sure feels very bad because he hurt your feelings,” says Deacon drily. He suggests that Scarlett bring him some carrots and apologize. Heh.
Juliette waits in her handily rigged-up van for Emily to bring the church pastor out to her. She asks about the woman who found her in the field, and he agrees, “I know her very well.” She doesn’t want any attention, and that’s why she didn’t reach out to Juliette. Juliette asks for her number, but the pastor will only agree to take down Juliette’s and give it to her. Juliette gives him her cell phone number, and he tells her the woman’s name is Hallie. Juliette says, her voice breaking, that she wants to thank her for saving her life. He touches Juliette’s hand and assures her that God has a great plan for her. Which only served to remind me that Nashville is on CMT, which hasn’t been shy about throwing the religious stuff in there in a way that ABC never did. (It’s more realistic this way, to be sure, for a show about country music, that at least some characters would have a Christian and probably an evangelical bent just like this.)
Scarlett arrives to the radio show to find Gunnar already warming up, kisses him aggressively, and declares that she’s getting over it. Gunnar smiles and kisses her again. Just then Shawn Parr arrives and teases that they don’t look like exes. On the show, they play “All of Me,” but Gunnar changes the lyrics that made Scarlett mad to being about “blue” eyes instead of golden one. Scarlett smiles. She is still wearing that dumb choker, for anyone who’s keeping score.
Rayna arrives home with flowers, looking thrilled. The card just says, “To the only woman I have ever loved.”
Will bought Kevin a jacket at the trunk show, and Kevin loves it. “He didn’t pressure you into it, did he? Or anything else?” he asks. Heh. Kevin’s no idiot. But Will pshaws it off, saying he’s just a salesman. Then he promises Kevin he can rest easy. Kevin takes it completely seriously, praising Will for his maturity in making his relationship a priority. I feel that this scene does not bode well for Kevin. But Kevin does score a point for realism, asking Will to tell him if he ever feels differently. Instead of confessing that maybe he is interested in playing the field, Will decides to up the stakes by suggesting they get a house together. And a dog. Well this should work out great. Some great reasons for moving in with your partner include: 1) loving each other, 2) being ready for a big commitment, and 3) being in denial that you almost made out with a creepy fashion designer yesterday.
Rayna, pacified by the flowers, finds Deacon and apologizes for pressuring him and getting too excited. It’s a pretty decent apology, but Deacon undoes all of the hard-won lessons he’s taught her by whipping out his guitar and singing a little ditty that he wrote about them. Rayna is touched, and thanks him with tears in her eyes. He tells her he decided to do it because the pain and the passion is valuable, she was right. He promises her he’s “all in.” She goes off to work, and thanks him for the flowers. He calls after her that he didn’t send any flowers, and then realizes he should send flowers.
Rayna gets out of her car and enters the Highway 65 offices. Meanwhile, someone watches from across the street … through a windshield with a bullet hole in it.
DUN DUN DUN.
So what do you think guys? Who are the flowers from? What with the bullet-riddled car, my first guess was Vida, although it could also be that horrible blonde girl that was five seconds from becoming Maddie’s stalker as well as her kidnapper, or Teddy, who, being a lifelong criminal, easily could’ve gotten a bullet in his car and is a much more likely candidate for the flowers. Or is it Zack? But why would Zack have a bullet in his windshield? SO MANY MYSTERIES.
God, I hope it’s not Vida. She was the worst.