Dateline, Dallas, I guess? I only know skylines from reruns of City Confidential. It’s the “Wrong Song” duet, and Rayna is stage-flirting with Liam, hiding in plain sight. Very Purloined Letter. Purr your loins later? Rough draft, working on it. Juliette is none too pleased with these middle-aged shenanigans, and is even more offended that she has to share her plane with Rayna. And Rayna, meanwhile, is being courted by Some Lady from Some Kinda Records.
Rayna and Juliette later argue about bean dip.
Pancakes and PJs and private school, Rayna’s back home with the family. A mysterious black package arrives, it is from Some Lady (still) trying to woo Rayna over to Some Kinda Records. It’s a model of a plane, because Rayna wants a plane. This was way more compelling on Lost. Rayna’s marriage is on the rocks, still, and all the model airplanes in the toy store won’t fix that. Some Lady arrives at her house, and plays Rayna like any kind of stringed instrument. “I am also a mom (and breadwinner, wink).” She talks mad trash on Juliette. Rayna loves it. Record label lady is very good at reading people, and Rayna is good at reading People? Rough draft, working on it. Liam really wants Rayna to move labels, too: her current deal is “old and boring like your marriage,” which, what? Outta line, buddy!
Rayna goes to meet with Deacon, who is putting up a “For Sale” sign in front of his house. They blah about the article (more on that later), and about Coleman, and he too faces her about her sham marriage. They blah about rehab, about how she dried him out (for the fifth time) and then ran off and married Teddy. Blah blah, these two, always.
Number One Single Party! She’s talking with people who are probably people, maybe? I only recognize cameos from Teen Moms and ‘70s sitcom stars. The mayor is present to give Rayna and Juliette an award for being so good at singing songs, and the mayor is also Rayna’s husband Teddy. It is weird+awkward. She schmoozes more, and her current label dude Marshall is like, “Liam will get an imprint if he bags you for the other label,” and Rayna is pissed. Liam says the only reason she even has a career now is because of him. She is like, “Don’t lie to your partner!” and he is like, “Tell that to your husband!” and we are like, “Oh no he didn’t!” and Rayna ends her crush on him and dissolves their partnership. SOME PARTY.
Home. Teddy Ruxpin asks if there’s something going on with Liam, and asks how many times he has to apologize to her for his mistakes. “Why must I be punished for my federal crimes, but not for-real punished, you-being-a-meanie punished???” Rayna says she is paying the automo-bills. He says he is raising the kids. They are like “change relationship status — it’s complicated.” They blah about Deacon’s multiple rehab trips, and Teddy is all “Remember how that other guy hurt you? I did all those crimes 4u, baby. 4 us.”
Back to Juliette’s plane, hitting the road. Rayna tells Teddy that as far as she’s concerned, they’re married, whether she is home or away. She chose him. Now they have to choose their future. K. This is all very interesting, I’m sure, but all I can focus on is the fact that there is a Fancy Person part of the airport that I’m not privy to. I bet they don’t have to do ANY security checks. On the plane, both labels call. She wants her own label, will try to finagle it from current label. Juliette arrives on her plane — with Deacon. Her new guitarist.
Teddy saw Deacon arrive and was like “ ... ”
She said she was coming back to Nashville for the party, but is really in town for Junkie Mom Jolene’s court hearing. A law-talking-guy says they might get the charges dropped, basically if they ask super-duper nicely. Deacon, who is there (OK) says he can’t speak for Jolene because of the bad article (again, later), but like, is that even evidence? What is a hearing? “Your honor, move to dismiss on grounds of a mean article! Also I’d like to sue that publication for
So Juliette has to speak for her mom. “Glad she’s getting help. I hope it sticks.” VERY VERY CONVINCING. It was less convincing than hoping that an ex is happy in a new relationship. It was less convincing than trying to say something nice at a Nazi’s funeral. It was less convincing than the character of Scarlett. Deacon burns her on her terrible speech. Juliette burns Deacon on his patchy facial hair and asks him to go on tour, he declines. Junkie Mom Jolene has to finish rehab, and I suggest that after rehab she does a gritty indie film with John Hawkes (JUNKIE MOM UR 2 BEAUTIFUL 4 THIS WORLD). Deacon decides to take JMJ to the the industry party.
Number One Single Party! Juliette is asked condescending questions about how great Rayna is, and keeps eyeballing her mom from across the room. To be fair, JMJ is pounding into those sliders like a drunk at 3 a.m. Avery is there and it is annoying. JMJ introduces herself to Rayna, the enemy, and even though she is acting like a nice and normal non-high person, Juliette pulls her away. “Is there anything you don’t ruin? (Nothing is anyone’s “fault” but that is exactly the kind of sentence that might drive someone to drink, you know?)
Later, my beloved Junkie Mom is at home, sipping tea, gearing up to put on a motherfucking acting clinic. Guys. Guys. I legit teared up during this scene. It was so good! Juliette admits that she should have told the judge how far JM has come, and that she’s proud of her. Her mom — her mother! — says that she’s amazed that “somebody like you” could care, and that she’s in awe of her. That she is the equal to her childhood idol, and she got there because of her own talent and hard work, and that she is beautiful. All in spite of her terrible upbringing. Guys! No other relationship on this show has exhibited the kind of sincerity and nuance that this one does, and so far half of Junkie Mom’s appearances have been Junkie Nonsense, almost to the point of comic relief. Syliva Jeffries (the lovely angel sent from heaven to give me Junkie Mom) and Hayden Panettiere seriously knocked this one out of the park.
“The Axe Falls Hard on Deacon Claybourne.” Hahaha it's later, now! That’s what you get for sleeping with a journalist. Anyway, I guess she did a follow-up with the rest of the Revel Kangs, because the article included information about Scarlett’s near-rape? Which happened after the journalist left? And Deacon’s physical and emotional defense of his niece actually makes him look good rather than pathetic? Anyway.
Number One “You Are Single” Party! Playing sad guitar alone. Declines a call from Juliette. Calls Coleman and then hangs up. This is an AA thing, right? Look at your chip! One side — “X number of days.” Other side — kittycat saying “Hang in there!”
Because You Do Not Decline a Call From Juliette Barnes, Juliette shows up at his house. Which is all busted up. Deacon’s just sitting there, in a wrecked living room. Why, a lamp is knocked over; a painting is askew. It’s a very televised imagining of “anger and sadness,” when we all know a more realistic version would be Deacon just sitting there, pantsless, eating a footlong chili-cheese dog with his bare hands and hate-watching Celebrity Ghost Stories. “Fuck you, Corey Feldman! I should be on that show, what about emotional ghosts?”
She wants him to go on tour (which he does, you already read that part), he wants her to stop being such a total bitch to her mom, and he also says he only got sober for Rayna, not himself. Uh, as long as you’re sober? The moral is, listening to addicts talk about their addictions is even more boring on TV than it is in real life, unless that TV happens to be on Intervention.
It’s songwriting time with Gunnar, they’re singing about “natural selection,” a scientific truism Scarlett absolutely does not believe in. “God made man from dirt and thunder is the angels bowling and if you wish on an eyelash it will come true.” —Scarlett. Gunnar whines about his life but is also very dishonest about it. “Nice guys finish last and my brother is definitely not a criminal who stole my guitar.” Scarlett, the overwhelming smell of a Bath & Body Works turned into a human woman, wants to play Winterfest. But Avery is playing Winterfest and we hate him. Better not go.
Spoiler alert, she goes anyway. She spies decent person JT in the crowd, last seen wishing Avery “good luck in Atlanta, douche!” He suggests she join the band full time, and bring Gunnar with her if she must. With a full band, they can play gigs at The 5 Spot, one of Nashville’s four music venues.
Gunnar receives a mystery call, believing it is his brother. Nope, it is his brother’s parole officer! He didn’t show up at the halfway house and is now a fugitive on the run from the law. “Yew wouldn’t know anythang ‘bout that, would’ja boy?” the Texan Texans at him. “Uh nope.” Gah, Gunnar, caving into misplaced loyalty is where MADD cautionary tales come from. Scarlett, who always walks as if she is carrying two gallons of milk slightly in front of her, asks Gunnar to join the band with her and JT. He is like, “There is life beyond your music,” because he is mad(d) about his brother. He is brusque though not incorrect!
Anyway his brother dropped off the guitar and he decided to join the band anyway so it looks like everything worked out in the end, huh? The best part was when Gunnar was apparently hanging out in Scarlett’s garage without ever informing her of his presence. “Gunnar can’t make it.” “Actually I’ve been here for like two hours. My car’s right there. Took a dump in the guest bathroom, even.” Those crazy kids.
Speaking of dumps — from the ashes of “The Avery Barker Band” rises “Avery Barker,” an up-and-coming (?) musician who is playing a concert at Belmont, a local institution absolutely no one was clamoring to see. Amongst the large-breasted virgins in tank tops (“Winterfest”) and gay students who are keeping their heads down while mom and dad foot the bill is Scarlett, mourning. But you know how it is, we’ve all cyber-stalked an ex, only she did it in real life, it’s called “irl stalking” or “stalking.”
Number One Single Party! He tries to talk to Juliette. It’s embarrassing, just like every time a normie tries to talk to someone famous. (“Brad, I loved you in Cool World!” —Me, if I ever get the chance.) Avery is later driving his car down an alley sans headlights (smart) and spies Scarlett and Gunnar “jamming” (industry lingo) with his old band. Sad face.
Then his car explodes and a flaming tire flies through the air and whacks Scarlett in the head and she and Avery are now both dead and everyone else lives happily ever after, the end.