Previously on Nashville: Rayna’s dorky social media manager stole her jewelry box, a Zuckerberg type named Zach Welles wanted to be Best Friends with Rayna; Will asked Kevin to move in with him; Juliette felt Cadence pee on her leg, which, supposedly, was a good thing.
Juliette’s in physical therapy, while Avery comforts Cadence. It transpires that she’s forgotten her OxyCodone, but she wants the therapist to push her even farther. She’s done that thing that all medical professionals love: read up on a possible cure on the internet. It’s something that can help you walk as if you’re not experiencing gravity. “I don’t care, just get me in one!” she snarls when the PT, Allyson, objects, and then, belatedly recalling her vow to be a better person, tries restating that with a begrudging “I… would appreciate… if I could try it out?” Hah! Nashville loves to wrap up its storylines lickety-split, but even a soap opera isn’t going to transform Juliette into an angel overnight.
At the Bro Castle, Will wakes up to Kevin telling him about an apartment he likes, and legit rolls his eyes and groans. He so clearly does not want to be doing this, but Kevin is all, blah di blah apartment jargon happy happy joy joy, like, READ THE ROOM, dude. I would feel sorry for Kevin if he in any way resembled a human and not just a cardboard cutout of a Convenient Boyfriend Character. Anyway, then it turns out Will is tired because he had a gig last night, which he didn’t even tell Kevin about. Kevin has the sense to see this is a bad sign. They’re interrupted in their (rather one-sided) cuddling by a shout from Gunnar or Avery, and Kevin says, “I can’t wait for you to get out of here,” and Will just… pouts.
Rayna and Bucky are admiring a music video when Randall walks by, and Rayna compliments him on what he did with the Exes’ website. Left alone again, she and Bucky commiserate on the fact that they can’t find a good music video director. She mentions she’s seeing Scarlett and Gunnar at the Bluebird with Zach Welles this weekend. “Your new best friend?” Bucky says. Or, like, her new boyfriend. Bucky jokes about getting a spare hundred grand from him.
Avery’s making a sandwich while Juliette sits on the couch and complains about Allyson telling her she wasn’t ready for the magic gravity machine. When he brings the sandwich to her, she says—sounding somewhere between annoyed and grateful—he didn’t have to cut the crust off. He seems a little depressed by this. And then when she reveals she’s canceled her therapy appointment for the week, he’s a little shocked. Juliette claims she wants to spend her energy on something more important, getting out of her wheelchair. Avery’s expression pretty much expresses what we’re all thinking, like: homegirl, you need therapy way more than you need to walk again. But when Juliette asks him about his face, he says, “It’s just my face.” And she says, a little snottily, “I guess I never noticed.” Heh. He escapes by going to check on Cadence. Left alone, Juliette experimentally lifts her leg an inch and a half, and then groans in pain and throws away her pill.
Rayna is washing up in the kitchen while Deacon stares at pictures of Silicon Valley Tycoon Zach Welles and wonders why they have to “wine and dine” him. Rayna laughs like no hot young thing has ever been into her before and promises Deacon that Zach knows they’re both taking him out… and that Zach might be able to help Highway 65 out. “And then I think it’s guys like him and the whole digital world that have screwed up the whole country music business in the first place.” Well, thanks a lot, Rayna. But also, kinda true.
Will and Kevin are on the phone, Kevin giving Will an update on the apartment he just sent Will to, that he already saw (without Will, of course, because Will is trying to ghost on his own boyfriend). Kevin says he said they were roommates in case the people were homophobic. I think the new writers may have forgotten which one of these white-bread dudes is which, because last I heard, it was Kevin who didn’t like to play along with homophobia and Will who desperately wanted approval from everyone. Anyway, Will asks why they would want to rent from homophobes. Kevin, hilariously, is like, “Ummm, hardwood floors? Underground parking? Incredible views.” Hah. Then the realtor interrupts the call. He shows Will around, promising that the kitchen is “great for entertaining,” so he is clearly onto them already—pretty sure only ladies and gay men are allowed to “entertain” in Nashville. He shows Will the great views and then, sitting them both down on the bed, mentions all the great clubs… “If you like to go out,” he adds in a sultry voice. Will realizes he’s being hit on and, as the realtor gives him bedroom eyes, makes his escape.
At the hospital, Juliette is being strapped into the magical gravity machine, which basically has Juliette suspended from a harness above a treadmill. Allyson mentions that it might be difficult, since, you know, Juliette is not actually ready. “Well, the medical director didn’t seem to think it’s too soon,” Juliette says. So apparently she went right over Allyson’s head and used her fame to get what she wanted. This whole redemption thing is going great so far! Allyson lets go of her, and Juliette almost immediately hurtles into a flashback of the crash as Allyson’s voice asks her if she’s in pain. She finally yells that she can’t breathe.
Once she’s out and back in her wheelchair, Allyson comforts her, telling her it’s a flashback. “I know that it’s easy to get so focused on fixing your body, you forget that your soul needs to heal, too.” Juliette just wants to know when she’s going to be back to normal. Then she sighs and says, “Thank you for not saying I told you so.” Allyson promises her that she will be ready someday.
Rayna and Deacon are waiting at the bar when Zach arrives and gushes, “I can’t believe I’m shaking hands with Deacon Claybourne.” He also gives them an update that his flight over was “pretty chill.” Then someone named Meghan joins them, who is apparently a friend of Rayna’s as well as Zach’s. They joke that Zach knows everyone. The whole group takes a seat so they can watch Scarlett and Gunnar sing their new song, “Take Me Now.” Scarlett, by the way, has ditched her usual lace-and-ruffles bit but is still wearing something that resembles a Pilgrim’s nightgown.
After the performance, Zach’s random friends are gone, so I don’t know why we wasted any time on them. Scarlett and Gunnar have joined Rayna, Deacon, and Zach and Zach compliments them on their “epic pipes.” Oh my God, this guy is the worst, and I just want to reiterate that tech people I know (and I know a lot of them) do NOT speak like this. Zach, of course, pays for everyone’s drinks, and after Scarlett and Gunnar take their leave he asks Rayna about her plans for them. She mentions her search for a director for the music video, and Zach doesn’t take the bait directly but does propose that they should work together. He says he’s reached a point in his life where he only wants to do what he’s passionate about, and he thinks he and Highway 65 could “make a good marriage.” Rayna acts all surprised, like that wasn’t exactly why she agreed to go out with him in the first place.
That night, Rayna rubs lotion on her GORGEOUS legs while Deacon complains that Zach has only known her for like three hours and why would he want to jump into going into business with Rayna? Rayna drawls that he’s doing what he loves. Deacon snarks that that’s not how you become a billionnaire. She agrees that it’s a little weird and she’s not committed, but the idea of having some money is exciting. Deacon finally kisses her, stares at her in the mirror, and repeats, “Make a good marriage?” Rayna says drily, “That was a figure of speech.” Hee!
At the Bro Castle the next morning, Will is still vying for Worst Boyfriend of the Year Award. When Kevin rings at the doorbell he makes Gunnar lie that he’s not there. (Very convincingly, by the way—“Uh, no, he… he left. Earlier.”) But then Kevin, complaining that he has been trying to get ahold of Will all day, texts Will. And Will, who is not great at being stealth, has forgotten to turn his phone volume down, even though everyone in the world has had their text message alerts set to vibrate for the last twelve years. Gunnar has to admit that uh, maybe Will did come back already, and Will pretends to be just coming down the stairs. Kevin, still not catching on to how suspicious all this is, asks Will if he liked the apartment. Will hedges that it was “fine” and acts totally unexcited. Finally he pleads a headache, so Kevin tenderly touches his forehead to Will’s and breezes that he’ll fill out the application. “Cool,” says Will, not sounding like it’s cool at all.
Rayna and Zach are eating ribs, and Zach—with sauce on his face, as happens to real humans—compliments her on Highway 65, “so special, so pure of intent.” Rayna, who has magically kept her face clean while eating the messy ribs, presumably using the same superpower that makes her hair look like that, graciously tries to signal to him to wipe his face by wiping her own face. He pitches that he’ll lay out a certain amount of money each year in exchange for 20% of the company. She makes the decisions, and he just has the right of consultation. Finally Rayna says it’s an interesting proposition and tells him he has sauce on his face. He jokes that when you’re as rich as him, no one will tell you you have sauce on your face.
Back at Juliette’s place, she’s trying to get from her chair into the toilet, which is specially outfitted with a handicapped seat. She falls—luckily she hadn’t pulled down her pants yet—and screams, so Avery rushes in and tries to give her a pill. She refuses, saying, “I can’t rely on a drug to get me through the pain, OK? I’ve been through that.” Avery pleads that the doctor said it was OK as long as she was monitored, but she says that’s easy for the doctor to say, and he has no idea what it’s like to be tempted to escape the pain with pills. She yells that she’s helpless but the only thing she can do for herself is keep her off the pills. Poor Avery shouts back, “I’m trying to help you!” She tells him to stop helping, that she hates it and she knows he doesn’t want to do it. “God, you are such a pain in the ass!” Avery yells, “And don’t worry, it’s not about you being hurt because you’ve been like this since the day I met you.” Hee! Point to Avery. He tells her she’s pushing everyone away so she won’t need anyone, and leaves Juliette alone, presumably still having to pee.
Will and Kevin are hanging out in bed when Kevin finds out that the apartment has gone to someone else. He can’t believe it, since Will sent the application Monday. Will agrees that he did. Then he says that he didn’t like the apartment that much anyway, and mentions a weird smell in the kitchen. Kevin says he didn’t notice that, and then says, “Back to Craigslist.” I can’t decide who’s dumber: Will for not even silencing his phone while he’s trying to dodge his boyfriend, or Kevin for not noticing that Will has absolutely no interest in actually moving in with him.
Juliette wheels herself into the church where she’s seen her rescuer, and watches one woman praying. The pastor approaches her and says he’s here if Juliette wants to talk. She hesitates and then says she hardly ever prays, and she doesn’t know how to. He tells her it’s just a conversation between her and God, and just to say what she feels. Left alone, she says, “I just have one question. Why me? Why me and not the other people on that plane?” She starts to cry and says that she’s lost, and asks for help. It can’t be said too often: Hayden Panettiere’s a fabulous actress. Scenes where people pray alone are not easy to pull off, and she makes it feel quite real.
In her kitchen, Rayna opens the mail to find a deranged, handwritten love note. Her phone rings with an Unknown number, and she jumps and answers nervously until she realizes it’s Zach Welles. He’s apparently in the middle of a hike with some anonymous friends, and says he has the perfect director for her: Damien George. Rayna demurs that he’ll never say yes, and then that she isn’t even sure she’ll accept his offer. He apologizes and says, “I’m honestly not trying to pressure you or influence your decision in any way. I respect you too much for that crap.” He promises that he’ll hook her up with Damien if she wants, even if she rejects his earlier offer, no strings attached. Rayna, not quite trusting him, says she’ll get back to him. Meanwhile, Deacon has entered and found the letter, which was hand-delivered—no address, just “RAYNA” written on the envelope. Uh-oh. This would be scary, if, you know, this storyline weren’t totally stupid.
Bucky has arrived at Rayna’s and is marveling at the letter. He reminisces briefly about Rayna’s earlier stalker. “Remember that woman who sent you her socks?” Heh. “It sure was easy to keep your address private before the internet.” And I guess that’s Zach Welles’ fault too. Bucky suggests that they could beef up their home security, but he’s probably harmless. Bucky cares more about Highway 65—he wants to know if Rayna’s thought about the offer. Deacon says that he actually thinks it’s a good idea, and Bucky’s clearly into it because: money. They agree they’ll have their lawyer look at the contract, and Rayna says she’ll need to make sure she and Zach want the same thing for the label.
At Highway 65, a man with a British accent (which, you know, means he’s a genius in TV land) is pitching his idea, apparently, for the music video. He says it’s a “visual love letter” to a woman who’s “messy” and “passionate” and “a wild creature who doesn’t know how to be in the world.” Scarlett—who’s wearing a long-sleeved blouse last seen on an actress playing Laura Ingalls Wilder—seems dubious.
Avery and Will are playing pinball at the bar while Will rants that he’s a terrible person. Avery, who doesn’t seem SUPER invested, stares at his game while promising Will that he’s not a bad person, that he was just trying to avoid temptation. He diagnoses Will with FOMO (no he literally says “FOMO”) since he hasn’t slept with a lot of dudes. Will says that he only ever wanted to be with Kevin, and confesses that they do a special thing where they touch their foreheads together. (Something that never happened before this episode, as far as I recall.) “That’s nauseating,” Avery deadpans. Will agrees happily, then decides that moving in together will probably fix all his problems. Avery warns him that moving in together has never fixed anyone’s problems. He says Will has to figure out what he really wants, not what he thinks he should want. As Will ponders this, there is a literal ding ding ding! Avery has won the game. Very subtle.
Avery arrives home to find Juliette watching a home shopping show on the couch. They both start to talk at the same time, and Avery goes first, saying he’s sorry for yelling. Juliette says he was right. “I don’t want to need you, but I do. I always have.” Aww! He sits down in front of her and takes her hands in his and says she could never be a burden to him, and he knows how hard it’s been. She says it’s harder for him, but he promises her that he wants to do all this, and takes her face in his hand. Then they kiss. She pulls him over to the couch, and he laughs that her arms are getting strong. They start making out, and she goes for his belt. Avery pulls away, and Juliette complains that she’s too broken for him to touch. He says, “You’re the most beautiful woman in the world to me,” but that everything that’s happened makes him nervous. “I wouldn’t trade it, not for a second. I don’t think you have any idea how much I love you.” God I love these two. Can I just watch their parts and stop recapping Rayna’s stupid stalker storyline, (especially since I’m so far behind and we now know HOW MUCH STUPIDER it’s gonna get before it plays out)? He says he needs time, and Juliette accepts this with a teary smile.
Rayna and Bucky are meeting with their lawyer, who says it’s straightforward and this is as close as it gets to “free money.” The scene ends in literally six seconds. Classic Nashville.
Will arrives at Kevin’s with flowers. Kevin doesn’t look thrilled. He holds up the wrinkled application and says, “I found this in the trash. You never sent it.” I love how Will is trying to be one of those sketchy boyfriends who ghosts on his relationship but he’s TOO DUMB to actually do it properly. Hi, throw out your incriminating evidence somewhere OTHER than the wastebasket your significant other uses every day? Anyway, Will admits he didn’t know how to tell Kevin that he doesn’t want to live with him. Kevin just can’t believe it, and says he thought they were happy. Again, really can’t decide which of them is more dumb. Will says he just needs space but doesn’t want to break up. Kevin pushes him off, and asks if Will would’ve told him any of this if he didn’t find the application. He says Will isn’t ready for a real relationship, and Will hesitates, tears up, and says, “I’m sorry.”
Will’s got a gig that night, and he comes out with his black cowboy hat and totally freezes when a song comes on. He apologizes and says he’s not feeling that one, and says he’s going to play a song he wrote with “someone special: my first love.” It’s a slower one, and he takes off his hat to sing it. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Gunnar are listening in the back.
End-of-episode montage time! AS Will sings, Rayna and Deacon stare at the contract in bed, and she signs it. I… think you’re gonna need a notary, dude. Well, maybe there’s one in the corner. Kevin angrily stuffs Will’s clothes into a bag, throws it on the porch, and goes back inside, trying not to cry. Then, Avery comes into the living room, scoops Juliette up from the couch, and brings her into the bedroom.
Good-bye, Kevin. You were the most boring boyfriend this show has ever come up with, so I can’t say I’m sorry you’re gone, but I’m sorry Will was so mean to you.