Like any movie about Vietnam, Rayna is having flashbacks about being asked for a divorce/destroying a village. She’s in Atlanta on a tour date and almost doesn’t have the emotional strength to go through with a press junket but then she does have the strength to go through with the press junket. She won’t back down. She’s a survivor. She will survive.
Guess who is also in Atlanta? Her ex-guitarist and sometimes-producer and occasional crush object Liam McGuinness. He’s in town to produce a band, greeting them at the same hotel Rayna is staying at. The band looks like a high school play based on the story of The Black Crowes. I’m sure they’re going to go far.
She receives a call from Teddy, who wants to have a Family Meeting to tell the kids about the divorce. Sounds fun! They should also pencil in letting the girls know that their pet rabbit did not end up on a farm. I mean, while they’re at it. Rayna heads directly to the stage after this call, and you know there is a problem because everything is wonky and in slow-motion. Will she faint? Will she barf? Will she poop her pants? (Guaranteed Emmy for a pants-pooping, Britton, think about it.) No, she misses her cue. It’s no pants-pooping, but it’s apparently pretty traumatic.
Afterparty. Liam shows up and is like, “I wore my greasiest haircut just for you.” Deacon (a character who later accuses others of being immature) also shows up and participates in essentially the following exchange: “Are you fine?” “I’m fine.” “No, you’re not fine.” He’s a bummer. Tandy calls and she’s a bummer. Liam’s back again and is very “Do you like my hat?” He suggests they go drinking.
They find an Atlanta honkey-tonk where apparently no one recognizes the equivalent of Shania Twain out getting wasted with the equivalent of a less Child Catcher-ish Jack White. They dance, and drink drink drink. Back at the hotel, she whines about her four problems: 1. Divorce 2. Kids are sad 3. Deacon kissed me 4. On tour with Juliette. Only the first two are problems, really? Unless being kissed and making money are problems. And, really, isn’t the divorce a good thing? So that’s just one problem.
She’s drunk and he’s got a patchy beard (patchy beards are deadly for drunk women), so they MAKEOUT. She wants to take a vacation from her life (hey let’s trade) and hops into Liam’s room. They drink for another moment before he jumps on her, but she excuses herself to the bathroom presumably to freshen up and insert her diaphragm (REAL TALK), but in reality she mostly cries, all sad-like on the terlet.
She confides in Liam that she is worried about her kids, and wonders if she should stay in the marriage. He reminisces about growing up with parents who didn’t love one another, and then they realize “We should probably finish that album.” You know how it is, when you do half of a thing you are theoretically paid to do and then just quit because you can, that’s
Very grown-up Deacon sees them together the next morning, and continues his streak of mature conversation (it’s good to have all these adult experiences so he can lecture Juliette later) and is like, “Did you and Liam have a good night?” and Rayna is like, “Not like that” and Deacon is like, “I BET” and she’s like, “Ugh what do you want?” and he’s like, “Nothing,” and walks away and is 47 years old.
Back at home, it’s time for the Family Meeting. “Your father and I are getting a divorce, but it’s not your fault, and we both love you very much. And while we’re traumatizing you, I may as well ask what you know about sex.” (Srsly though, speaking as a big sister, when the big sister took the little sister’s hand that was kind of a choke-up moment.) Oldest girl is taking it pretty well, of course, because she’s already been privy to the additional trauma of hearing her dad whisper sweet grossness to Peggy over the phone. She tells mom about Peggy, classic oldest child move, forcing yourself to be a martyr to everyone else’s bullshit. <3 u gurl.
I’m so excited for the upcoming Beyoncé show at Bridgestone. The Super Bowl halftime performance was flawless, and I really hope The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour utilizes those repeating-Beyoncé screens to ultimate effect. I will dance, and cry, and sing along, and probably spend $50 on beer. Unless, of course, Beyoncé decides to be a SRS R-TST like Juliette Barnes and reconfigure her tour to be more acoustic and, it’s implied, legitimate.
Juliette gathers her band and crew for what seems to be a hellish team-building exercise. I assume that 80 percent of the reason these people got into various facets of the music industry was so they specifically did not have to participate in the numbing minutiae of office life. She lets everyone know that there’s been a lot of positive reaction to the new material (“First quarter earnings are right on track”) and hands out the details about the new toned-down elements of the tour (“Take a look at this memo about the new SharePoint policies, and please remember to tell Brenda at least two weeks in advance about any upcoming PTO”).
Glenn, the manager (though he’s acting more like a MOMager), is none too happy about these changes, even though Juliette’s money keeps him in toupees made out of golden retriever fur. He calls another meeting with the crew, informing them that the new polices are not yet in place, and a guy is like “so you’re saying to disregard them?” and Glenn is like “I haven’t gotten the final word from corporate yet so I can’t speak to that, but we’ll send out an email as soon as we know.” It’s middle management hell. There are too many bosses. Someone tell those crew members to hide their cubicle space-heaters before anyone gets written up. TPS reports.
In a darkened parking lot, Deacon ... confronts? ... Glenn about the meeting. Glenn is hyper-defensive about his managerial skills, just like all people on thin ice, and is like, “I have been like a father to her!” and Deacon is like, “Fathers let their kids grow up” and I really don’t want to think any further about Juliette and Glenn’s relationship because it is pulling into Creepy Town Station.
Juliette is talking to Deacon about how she is so grown up now, and hates glitter and is reading On the Road and has totally seen an R-rated movie, and Deacon says, “Uh-huh but did you know Glenn was talking about you behind your back? What is up with him he is sooooo weird I didn’t want to say anything but I’m, like, your best friend and always know I am on your side and did you know he was going to ask Terri to prom?”
Well, Juliette is having none of that and goes banging on the crew’s hotel doors super late and I just looooove it. The troops gather for their third meeting in what, four hours, and listen groggily as they are told that they work for her, and no one else. She informs Glenn he’ll “be right back at the county fair looking for your next teen queen,” which, again, ew, so he up and quits. “What does this mean for the QED reports?” wonder her employees. Her arms are spread like a victor, or a majestic eagle taking flight. This was the point Juliette Barnes became my spirit animal. She wears demure yet stylish blouses, hates everything, and is blonde. <3 u gurl.
Deacon gives her sass about maturity and she contemplates it for a few scenes. And oh, yeah, GUESS WHO’S OUT OF REHAB??? The beautiful Jolene, our heaven-sent Junkie Mom extraordinaire. Juliette wants her to move in! Oh Juliette, that’s what I want, too!
Scarlett & Gunnar
Speaking of roomies, the dynamic duo have finally moved in together, like mayonnaise and oatmeal, these two. Gunnar is traipsing around in naught but a towel, and they repeat the word “nekkid” to one another and “Do you want to use my abs as a literal washboard for your silken underthings?” is what Gunnar doesn’t say, but should. Watty calls to tell the kids that Rayna is thinking about signing them to her new label. Scarlett jumps atop towel-clad Gunnar because that is what roomies and friends and coworkers who are besties do, NBD.
But not all is well for Nashville’s own Donnie and Marie (minus the sexual tension): Gunnar’s brother appears at the Bluebird. Oh no! “I haven’t said anything to your parole officer and you stole my Gibson,” is how Gunnar refers to his guitar like it is Kleenex or a Band-Aid. Oh, gear. But his big bro just wants another chance with his baby bro. Bros.
Scarlett, a tube of Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker you found in your old closet at mom’s house, spies Gunnar’s brother at the bar, because she is suddenly Jane Marple (minus the sexual charisma) and spotting clues all over the place. “He is crossing state lines and I am not harboring a fugitive and tell him to git back to Texas!” she demands of Gunnar. Miss Half-Finished Knitting Project who was weak enough to apologize for her own sexual assault is now apparently tuff enuf to take a hard line against a known criminal on the run, it seems. Oh wait, that’s not the case at all, because Gunnar talks her into letting his brother stay, because he drove the getaway car but left him behind so it’s like “guilt for my actions but also I want no legal repercussions” and Scarlett is like “okay.”
Brother crashes. It’s the next morning. Scarlett, who is clearly at this point just an Australian making fun of the way of the way Southerners talk, mumbles something about being “raised by wulves?” I think. I’m going to personally hire Henry Higgins to take this entire sorry East Nashville contingent to E-NUN-CI-A-TION SCHOOL. She walks into her kitchen and asks the brother what he’s cooking, which is eggs, one of the most distinct-smelling foods in all of the breakfast world, and I'm pretty sure this is a scene from V for Vendetta?. Anyway.
Songwritin’ time! What compelling narrative will noted adult poetry writer Scarlett sing for us today? “I am a coin and I was in a wishing well and you put me in your pocket and I got some lint on me and I was a Canadian coin but you didn’t notice at first and tried to use me to buy a soda but that didn’t work and I ended up in your change jar for about eight months and then you were low on cash because you are marginally employed and you took me to CoinStar and it accepted me for some reason and now I am gone forever but at least you were able to pay your phone bill and also I love you.”
Brother decided to accompany these clowns on guitar, by the way, and that was all he needed to do to convince Scarlett he could stay a few more days (that and be like “I gave my little brother my guitar” because Scarlett is moved by the sob stories of guitars though the way this brother is mooching on their hospitality he seems more like a drummer ZING) but he has a gun, even though he said he didn’t have a gun, now there’s a gun and a fugitive in her house and THAT is why you don’t trust musicians.
Their home has a “NashVegas” poster, by the way. I assume Scarlett bought it at the airport.
Avery has reverted to his natural habitat, a scumbag motel populated by junkies and whores. He has gotten no dollars for all of his hard work of douching around (singing), and producer Wyclef is disinterested, at best. Couldn’t (shouldn’t) he sell that car? But lo, remember Hayley? The pretty lady Gunnar used to sleep with who works at the publishing company? She wants to give Avery a publishing thingie (bizness lingo), even though I thought she was just an assistant? Unless she got a promotion, or is vying for a promotion? I have no idea how this industry works or should work and none of this makes too much sense to me, forget it Ashley, it’s Nashville-town.
The publicist Avery used to sleep with tells him it’s a numbers game! Like Uno. (Also a colors game.) Why give it away now when he could end up with millions down the road? Another bro shows up at her house (his shift at Urban Outfitters just ended, he is going to make it in this town) and Avery is like “it’s a numbers game for you! If I don’t give you a hit you have a number of others who will.” She, and we, are like “Duh.” No one got anywhere in life by putting all their eggs in the Avery Barkley basket and then having them cooked by criminal Texans in our ex-girlfriend's house.
Anyway he signs with the publishing company and receives a check for $100,000. No one deserves it less. At that point, a drive-by targeted one of Avery’s motel neighbors and he was killed in the crossfire. The check was never cashed, and never found.
My grandma told me that Avery and Scarlett remind her of Snidely Whiplash and Nell, which would make Gunnar Dudley Do-Right, and I guess Horse would still be a horse. Scarlett is definitely simple enough to love a horse.