Packing up a suitcase full of Target lingerie, Rayna is getting ready to head down to Tampa and join Luke Wheeler on tour for companionship/sex. Tandy is going to watch the kids (even though their father lives in town and is the mayor and should probably spend time with them) and asks Rayna to compare Luke to previous kind-of boyfriend, Liam. Rayna says that Liam was “fun and simple,” AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, is also going to be on Game of Thrones, a great program that prominently featured horse blood, the classiest of all mammal bloods.
While she's leaving a note for the girls on the fridge (“Gone to Tampa. Pizza money’s on the counter. Mind your aunt. Love Mom.”) the police arrive to yoink her recording masters over to Edgehill, on account of the court order that is apparently a thing now. She will take this injustice to the (state) Supreme Court! She will fight this! She will be in contempt. Fine, then take them! “You can tell whoever signs for this over at Edgehill not to get too attached,” she tells the cop. “Ma’am, no one cares,” he thinks but does not reply.
Down in Tampa, Rayna confronts label guy Jeff about all his mean moves. “My end game is profit!” he explains, and says that he wants to release a Rayna album ASAP to capitalize on how famous she is on account of that car accident that almost killed her. They mocked up some HILARIOUS concept art, with Rayna as an angel/Phoenix rising from the ashes. DeviantART’s top talent was very proud of their work.
Rayna talks to Luke about all of her many life problems, like how Jeff from the label is a meanie to her and Scarlett and a poacher. Luke offers to speak to Jeff on her behalf and she’s like “I can do it!” and he’s like “I find that sexy” and we’re like “Is that supposed to make him a feminist?” They hatch a scheme, when they overhear some strays caterwauling down by the pool, on how to get Rayna’s masters back.
They perform a duet! It is a success. Jeff glowers and Rayna says that he will make loads of money if he releases the duet as a digital single, and then she can get her masters back. He is like “OK.” Avery is in Nashville hovering over them with a match, like “so don’t set this on fire?”
Peg gives Ted a buzz and tells of her “cramps” that are probably just “food poisoning.” She tells him she left a message with her doctor but she’s fine. She hangs up the phone. There is an ominous brown paper bag sitting on the bathroom counter. What oh what could be inside the bag? Just a tub of pork blood. Pork blood: for all your miscarriage fakery.
Teddy comes home to find Peggy crouched in the bathroom corner. “Are you all right?” he asks. “Yes, I’m fine. Oh, wait, I mean, no, I think I lost the baby.” Teddy sees the toilet full of pork blood and believes her miscarriage lie. (Wish I could time travel and tell younger me that one day I will grow up and write that sentence. Dreamz do come tru.) Let’s hope she did something clever to dispose of the container rather than just, like throw it in the trash. Poor ol’ crazy Peggy.
Cuddled up in bed, Teddy gives her some tea and offers to work from home the next day (so chivalrous, this one). He is sorry she lost the baby. (Which she did, technically). “I know you just married me because I was pregnant,” she cries. “Don’t even go there!” says Teddy but home viewers are like “Dude, come on.”
Picking up right were we left off, Juliette is is very “WUT” about this sudden kiss from Billionaire’s Wife. She says that her husband told her to “get to know” Juliette so they could have fun sex things together. Juliette is agog. “Like a threesome???” as if it’s the first time she’s ever heard of the concept and it’s like girl, I am 90 percent sure Blanche Devereaux was making threesome jokes in 1985, drop the Pollyanna face. She is then insulted when deemed “not adventurous” by the wife.
Fleeing back to Nashville, she goes through a songwriting sesh with Avery. The songs are my favorite part of the show, because that means the scene will be longer than 25 seconds and I can take a break from trying to pay attention to the dialogue, most of which is rapidly mumbled. She ignores multiple texts from Charlie the Billionaire. Avery is like, “Looks like it’s time for some friendship advice!”
She tells him about all the stuff that happened. The Avery shares with her all the stuff that happened with his manager lady, saying “I have experience being someone’s toy” and it’s like, what a weird thing to say to a friend. Juliette bucks him up by saying that he was still signed by that manager for a reason, on account of his magnificent talent that we keep hearing about but never actually witness. He tells her to stop letting assorted billionaires push her around.
Good advice! So good she flies back to Dallas and finds whatever restaurant they're eating at, and the wife throws down some trailer insults Juliette’s way. She responds by going pretty trailer on them, throwing out phrases like “narcissistic pervs” and “billionaire bitch.” Remember at the very beginning of the show when she got filmed on social media stealing nail polish from Kroger? That does not happen to her anymore, because she feels really comfortable fighting with billionaires in public. Charlie, meanwhile, has feelings faces.
Juliette flies back to Nashville to dish with Avery about how awesome it is to tell meanies off. They reminisce about #friendship for a moment until Avery takes a phone call from Scarlett (the picture of Scarlett on his phone was appropriately dorky). Juliette looks warmly at Avery while his back is turned and it’s like GIRL DON’T. Hopefully she won’t, because Charlie Billions flies to Nashville to apologize and tell her he’s falling in love with her. These people’s sexcapades are resulting in an alarmingly large carbon footprint.
Luke Wheeler is teaching Gunnar how to not suck at writing songs, giving great advice like “fit my brand” and “write a hit.” Oh, okay! Scarlett finds Gunnar writing sad songs by the pool and they work it out together, why not, and a post-coital Luke and Rayna overhear them. (Country superstar Luke Wheeler’s third-floor Tampa hotel room has a very fine view of the pool.) Luke loves the song, it will be a duet with Rayna, Gunnar gets a writing credit and reminds Jeff from the label that he gets to do a showcase now. It was exactly as compelling as it sounds.
Our heroine Scarlett O’Conner, a YouTube video titled “Funny Cat Versus Butterfly” that only has 450 views, chats with ex-whatever Gunnar for a second about how crazy it is that she’s opening for Luke Wheeler and he’s writing with Luke Wheeler and they get to experience the glamorous life of tour bus rides to Tampa and radio station meet-and-greets.
Unkie Deacon greets her backstage before the big stadium gig, and the last time she was backstage with Deacon he was saving her from sexual assault from his bandmate (REMEMBER???). Wearing her finest freshman-year rastacap, she graciously accepts her pillow that Unkie Deacon brought down to Tampa for her. He also gives Scarlett her toothbrush, phone and a box of tampons, because I guess she straight-up didn’t pack.
Scarlett is very nervous about her big stadium debut! Oh, and this bodes well: After her rehearsal, she mentions to Deacon that she can only hear “drum and bass” (thought she'd love that now that she's been Rasta-fied by 10 percent) and that when she told the monitor guy, he was too busy to fix it because he had to open the doors, because that is the sound guy’s responsibility at a stadium, I guess?
Jeff from the label arrives right on time to psyche her out even more. He reminds her that she only has one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything she ever wanted, in one moment, will she capture it, or just let it slip? She only cares about impressing Rayna, which is probably a bad idea? He says that HE is her boss, by the way, so don’t fuck it up, kid!
The hype man has the crowd suitably hyped. They're psyched. Scarlett is nervous and vomits up spaghetti on her arm. She has totally forgotten she performed at the Opry, and oh, guess what, she can’t hear anything because her monitor is messed up! She is failing! The crowd boos! They are throwing stuff at her! A tub of Peggy Kenter Brand Pork Blood whizzes by her head, and she exists the stage in a full-on panic attack.
Rayna, watching from the sidelines, grabs a mic and is like “GIT BACK ON THAT STAGE.” She joins Scarlett back out to cheers. She bippity-boppity-boo’s Scarlett’s life once again and tells the crowd to stop being dicks. Scarlett tries again (gotta impress those noted Tampa tastemakers) and does not suck this time. It is pretty humiliating!
Gunnar tries to console her but she is understandably freaking out and wants to be left alone. Deacon is waiting for her, though:
Scarlett: “They hated me.”
Deacon: “They don’t even know who you are!”
Scarlett: ”They threw things at me.”
Hmm, compelling point.
Soon enough Rayna joins her to talk some more about her public embarrassment. Rayna tells her that “if at first you don’t succeed, etc. etc. etc!” and Scarlett counters with that "you only have one chance! She failed in Tampa! Her career is over! Rayna reminds Juliette that Jeff from the label is a total meanie and that she must tuffen up. “The thing about bullies is they secretly want to be stopped,” and while that may be true of a 10-year-old acting out after a divorce, that is certainly NOT the case for adult bullies who typically rise to positions of great power in finance, politics, law enforcement, and PTAs.
Deacon and Rayna convene to discuss Scarlett’s future for her. Deacon thinks she’s not ready, and that the beer and truck-lovin’ Luke Wheeler fans will eat her alive. Rayna says that Scarlett is strong and that she really wants this success. And it’s like, does she?
Scarlett goes out to sing on the next show. This time she is CONFIDENCE and YELLING and COUNTRY MUSIC and NOT A FAILURE and Deacon is like “oh, Rayna, you were right, I keep forgetting that my niece runs hot and cold as far as basic competence is concerned — I sure did expect her to blow it! And I am her relative!” He congratulates Scarlett when she’s done. “They didn’t boo!” Oh my god. Set the bar higher. Scarlett needs a therapist. That’s not a joke.
Scarlett and Gunnar have a quick hotel hallway chat about how, if they’re lucky, this will get to be their life for years and years and years! Scarlett goes to her room and leaves a message for either “Mama” or “Mamaw” about how she’s just not sure she’s cut out for this life. She curls into fetal position and that is the end of her story this episode.
She’s been on tour for two days.