Last week, Mario Van Peebles van-feebled Oliver Hudson, by firing him from Edgehill. Rayna has heard the news, and she has an extremely human reaction.
Ostensibly she is celebrating extracting Maddie from her contract, but whatever. We all know what’s what. She’s so high off the fumes of lighting people’s businesses afire that she promotes Bucky to Head of A&R at her label. He’s delighted, because he can use the zero dollars they’re earning to sign all kinds of artists they’re not actually looking for. SUPER fun job. Actually, it probably IS. Think of all the Candy Crush levels he can play in one day.
Meanwhile, despite last week’s resolution for Scarlett to be less manic and Deacon to be less of a dour patch kid, Scarlett is being manic and Deacon is being a dour patch kid. She’s nudging him about all the stuff he has to do to forestall dying, and he’s like, “Talk to the hand.” Dude, at least write some monstrously heartbreaking country songs out of this, so that your posthumous album will rake in the dough for your progeny (and your niece).
Anyway, we’re here at Dr. Baby Gap’s office to discuss a clinical trial:
“Mommy says a clinical trial is when you go to Macy’s to that makeup counter and get free samples.”
Deacon is eligible — and is always looking for new moisturizer — but if he accepts, he’s off the transplant list for a long time because his immune system wouldn’t be strong enough for surgery. Deacon is supremely irritated that a wizard has not floated down from the sky and handed him a vitamin that will fix him without him having to do anything but swallow, and Scarlett would love to chit-chat about this for all of eternity. Deacon just walks out. It’s really rude and mean and yet I secretly love that his response to all her nattering is to just… leave.
Teddy is upset that Oliver Hudson has been fired, but only because he’s worried it means Oliver will Revenge Gossip about all of Teddy’s indiscretions. So he’s Sweet Caroline-ing all over Oliver’s voice mail: “Hey, buddy, real worried about you ALSO WE’RE GOOD RIGHT WE’RE TOTALLY GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD.”
Oliver has been hard at work having sex with Layla — who, to her credit, seems very deadpan about the whole thing, and actually asks him if she’s his midlife crisis. His response? “I don’t know.” She then shrugs, like, “Whatever, at least you like my genitals.” Oliver is super bitter about his firing being all over the news, especially because Mario Van Weebles has wobbled and decided to shut down ALL of Edgehill. As in, he’s dissolving the company and dumping all the artists onto the free market. Given that Luke Wheeler — per Luke Wheeler — is the biggest fish in the Nashville sea right now, this seems like a hasty business decision. But, it’s done now. Will, Layla, Luke, and all of Edgehill’s back catalog of music is up for grabs, because I sincerely think Mario Van Peebles is, when it comes to the bottom line, actually Luigi Van Peebles: somewhat more hapless, and green. But don’t worry, Oliver Hudson has an idea.
See, he knows something important about Will. Something that all the labels wooing him — the ones telling him they want to beef up his Lady Appeal, or play up the Wild Boy Bang King image — don’t know, and don’t want to know. But Oliver keeps that close to his vest, and instead approaches Luke Wheeler about the two of them starting a label together. Luke can have final say, but Oliver will handle the money end, and they can go after Will Lexington immediately. To his extreme discredit, Luke does not ONCE say, “So wait, you just ran the biggest label in town into the ground, and now you want to run mine? Piss off, road slime.” Instead, he agrees to put on his thinking ten-gallon-hat.
Scarlett is apparently now someone who wears purple tights, and cardigans as heavy as her burden.
Juliette is having anxiety issues about her size, prompted by a tabloid claiming she gained seventy-five pounds. Her assistant Emily might be an idiot, because when Juliette asks her about whether she looks massive, Emily is like, “This is what pregnant people look like!” No, Emily. You tell her she looks like herself, if she shoved a basketball up her shirt. This is a COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE lie to tell a hormonal and insecure pregnant lady. Anyway, J has a photoshoot for Vogue — uh-huh — and this is the styling. Anna Wintour would take one look at this and sneer, “Are we at InStyle now?” before cancelling the whole thing and replacing it with her eighteenth spread on Kendall Jenner.
The Vogue photographer also keeps calling her baby, and the whole thing is making her irritated and embarrassed, so Juliette chucks him out of her house.
Deacon takes his bad mood to Avery’s studio, where the latter needs some guitar help on Sadie Stone’s album. This of course turns into Deacon trying to take too much command, and Avery having to Lay Down The Law. Eventually Deacon realizes that Avery knows what he’s doing and isn’t just an upstart tweaker — and also that dying has made him into a total crank — and they make up and then record beautiful music together. The end. I enjoy the rare times Nashville lets characters bleed into each other’s storylines. I just wish this one had not been so lackluster, because I like both these men, and they have a complicated history, given that Avery was a bonehead to Scarlett when they dated the first time.
The worst place to run into your embittered ex, who crashed his truck into your wedding cake, is in a tiny enclosed space. Rayna all but recoils from tension, as the two of them eke out a very stiff conversation in which she tries to be very polite, and Luke implies she must be dancing on the grave of Edgehill and all the sad losers streaming out of it without a life.
Rayna is like, “Um, no, actually, I’m super sad, because I basically founded that company, but I AM delighted that you have to stare at me while I have this great hair-and-face day. DRINK IN WHAT YOU CANNOT TASTE, sucker.”
Luke then immediately calls Oliver to accept his partnership in a new Wheelin’ and Dealin’ record label. No, really, that’s what Luke is calling it. I cannot wait to see the swag.
And then, wah-waaaaah: Sadie’s ex is suing the bejeesus out of her, so she has to come clean with Rayna. It will not surprise you that Rayna is awesome about it — which, I mean, of COURSE she is; it’s not Sadie’s fault that her ex-husband beat the crap out of her and now essentially wants to get paid for it — and offers Sadie a place to stay if she’s feeling threatened at her house. Then they sit down and come up with a legal strategy wherein Highway 65 will cash in its insurance policy on her or something, and use the $500,000 to buy off her abusive dipshit. I’m glad at least the show isn’t pretending Highway 65 has a huge cash pile it can dip into for this, because clearly that company blew it all on stress balls and a Keurig.
Rayna gets all bloused up and sits there at the table with Sadie, while Phil — is he Phil? He is now, to me — slithers in and for a second acts like he might tear up the agreement and ask for more. But he doesn’t. He signs it and loudly revels in getting everything he deserves. Which says to me that he is going to be getting a bullet in his face pretty soon.
For good measure, Rayna tells him that if he ever harasses Sadie again, she’s going to harness the power of her empire and possibly of Empire and also of God’s Greatest Follicles, and ruin his life. I’m just sad she did it on a really limp hair day. Seriously, I cannot sign off on what’s happening here. This is the Lady Edith Crawley of hairstyles: disappointing and miserable and argely unloved and with a pig farmer’s wife for an enemy.
Gunnar catches Scarlett sobbing into her cardigan, which presumably she is wearing for maximum absorbency. She won’t tell him the problem, but he cajoles her into making some music again as a team, and doing an impromptu performance of SAG, or GAS, or whatever they’re going to call the ZAGless band that has traded Zoey for Scarlett. He’s very loving and sweet with her, and he’d better hurry up if he wants to tap that homespun munchkin BECAUSE:
Scarlett, having finally taken Dr. Sesame Street’s advice and done something for herself, shows up to ask him on a date. And she does so in an outfit I can’t quite make out, even if I lighten the photo, except for the fact that you can see her thighs. SCARLETT. This is unprecedented sexual tomfoolery from such a ball of wool as yourself.
“Um okay but I have to be home by six for my tubby.”
Also, this goes well, and all three of them decide to play together again for a while. Although part of Avery’s reasoning was that, due to Sadie’s lawsuit that was not yet settled at this point in the episode, he had to cease and desist work on the album and had tons of spare time. But by the end, the album is back on, so… we’ll see, SAG. We’ll see.
Luke has refused to even CONSIDER signing Layla, so Oliver Hudson tells her to pitch herself to Rayna, saying she’s about the only label head who will hear the story Layla wants to tell and not think about the story the reality show DID tell. It’s actually very good advice. So she goes and sits there — you can just barely see her in the center of this shot, miles away from Rayna’s office — while Rayna and Bucky interview and pitch to just about every band on Edgehill’s roster, including what appears to be Chicken Truitt and his brothers. Then Bucky and Rayna have a big fight because he wants to sign the big successful act with a major arena tour, and Rayna is like, “Ehh, it’s not US,” and basically Bucky is staring down the barrel of a gun that will go off in his face like five times a day for the rest of his career.
This is the scene in which Luke and Oliver pitch Luke on joining their label. Oliver is very clear — without saying anything explicit, or even suspicious — that the selling point here for Will should be that Oliver understands him and can protect him, just as he did at Edgehill. There’s a really nice scene later where Will goes to talk it over with Deacon, because Deacon Knows His Secrets but also knows the industry, and I love that the show remembered this and used it. Interestingly, when Deacon suggests that Rayna would take good care of him, Will doesn’t even consider it — he just says Highway 65 isn’t right for him. I assume this is because it is both broke as shit and also currently all female. Deacon ultimately says that he usually picks the devil he knows, and this is enough to seal it for Will. He’s going with Luke Wheeler.
Unfortunately for them, Will delivers this news by phone, and the second he hangs up Luke turns around and fires Oliver. Because apparently he actually used his Thinking Pea, and it told him that the entire industry blames Oliver for the fall of Edgehill and that nobody really wants to work with the dude who killed a major company like that. So, blithely as can be, Luke thanks Oliver for the great idea he’s now going to run with, and scampers away without him. So Oliver has lost his job twice in forty-eight hours.
He does at least get to put the fear of God into Teddy, noting that he has nothing to lose anymore, but Teddy sure does — and saying that Teddy’s secret will doubtless leak out because Wario Von Peebles might decide to gossip about it to everyone he knows. As the beacon of truth known as Heineken glows between them, Teddy inelegantly plotzes.
Bucky didn’t even want to bother with Layla, but Rayna just had a gut feeling about her. Of course she did. Rayna is never wrong, remember. And so she finally gets to Layla, who had almost given up until Oliver Hudson coached her into staying put, and Layla pitches her and hands her a demo and that’s that. The next morning, Rayna listens to it, and she and Bucky are sufficiently won over that they decide to sign her. Well, Bucky has some concerns about the fact that Layla will need rebranding and Juliette sucks up a lot of time and energy — when she’s even working — but Rayna doesn’t care about things like “budgets” so she steamrolls right on over that little objection and offers Layla a contract. Layla responds by hiring Oliver Hudson to be her manager. Rayna is going to LOVE that. I actually hope we get the scene where she finds out. Well plotted, show, even if I am not entirely sure what his credentials are beyond “likes my music” and “had good idea that one time” and “knows where to find my G-spot.”
After some love from Avery, Juliette re-invites Vogue to her house and poses semi-nude for them. Avery loves the photos. Self-esteem: restored. That was easy. Just pose naked with a drape, ladies. It’s that simple.
Teddy’s paranoia is undoing him. He darts over to Natasha’s house, which I guess he had a PI find for him — a fact she lets wash over her a lot more calmly than I would have — and tells her that he’s just CERTAIN someone is going to blab, so they need to come up with a cover story FAST. He’s positively frantic. And sadly for him…
… Natasha’s house is bugged, and being watched. I can’t tell if this is something she KNOWS about, and that she’s helping entrap her other clients, or what. But the dudes in the van are like, “Is that the MAYOR?!?!?!?!” and proceed to watch as Teddy prematurely ejaculates his alibi over and over and over again. Oh, Teddy. Are you the Ziggy of this show? Are YOU the Lady Edith?