One left in the season, and the show officially got picked up for a fourth. Laura Benanti is tabbed as “recurring” for Supergirl, which also got the nod, and it IS also for ABC, so… maybe we can hold out hope that they’ll lend her for a few more.
These two are headed for a hard fall, though:
Apparently Juliette has been taking her jet around the country playing guerrilla public shows, and getting fined for it. She’s high on the rush, but note that it’s Emily in the back of the plane snoozing with Cadence on her chest, while Juliette and Avery sneak off into the bathroom. It doesn’t speak that well of Avery right at the moment that he is not the one noticing Juliette’s aversion to their daughter, especially considering that whenever Juliette glances at her, the expression on her face says, “Ew.”
This, by the way, is the storefront — so to speak — for Rayna’s office. It looks like a diner. And the way she burns through money, if you walked in and ordered a full breakfast, someone would probably be like, “Sure, why not. On the house. Have some shaved truffle with it, and a private jet.”
It would seem The Exes are getting mad offers for a record deal, but Rayna wooes them with the sweetest pact of all, and also what legit DOES look like printed menus at the table.
But Scarlett won’t bite right away, and she and Gunnar commence a wildly unprofessional squabble in front of Manager Scott Reeves about what to do. Gunnar manages not to point out that nobody should listen to anyone who wears shoes like that, and Scarlett does not throw in his face that his jeans aren’t skewing nearly as East Nashville as they once did (seriously, those are so Country Music Dad). This ends with them storming off in opposite directions, leaving Scott Reeves standing there IN THE STREET. Their professionalism is truly at an all-time high. By all rights Scott Reeves would call them and say, “You two immature dipshits aren’t worth the quarter I didn’t spend making this call.” Instead, he calls Gunnar — ONLY Gunnar, it would seem — to tell him that they need to work it out, or else he’ll have to cut bait on the band. Which isn’t that far off from my fantasy scenario;it’s just a lot more tolerant of being ditched on the sidewalk by two bratty children who are wearing their tantrum pants.
Layla is furious with herself for drunkenly tweeting about Jade — which she of course does not realize she didn’t do — and Oliver Hudson pretends to console her, and then tells her to use Twitter to get her own back. She isn’t sure, but of course she goes along with his little whim because at the end of the day all she wants is publicity. He then spends the entire episode exorcising his Jade-related demons, blurting out 140-character parcels of vitriol and ratcheting Layla’s follower count up over a million. She gets on the Huffington Post and everything. She is delighted, but Bucky is SUPER peeved, telling Oliver to make Layla stop it. Oliver pretends he’s going to have a talk with her, and then just keeps going. Yes, his entire plot is about a Twitter war, and how he used it to get Layla to sign a contract yoking her to him in perpetuity. There is going to be so much hate sex when she finds out the truth.
Luke Wheeler, meanwhile, celebrates some forgettable ditty that Will croons, and announces to everyone that in ten years he’ll be opening for Will instead of the other way around. There are lots of manly belly laughs about this, and Will exits the stage feeling very happy because life is good professionally, AND he just came from a weekend away with Kevin, so he’s got a raging case of afterglow.
So of course, the homophobic dad who threw him out of a car decides to come back for a visit, and his hat is almost as big as his bias.
Meanwhile, on the day of his gig at The Bluebird, someone leaked news of Deacon’s cancer to the press. He is just quietly smoldering in his glasses, doing exultantly practical things to his guitar — and having a rational and adult discussion with Scarlett about how as much as he didn’t want to see pity in everyone’s eyes just yet, he might as well face the music with music. Deacon, your logic is both infallible and bangworthy.
Rayna, however, is reeling, because Beverly sent her back the check, torn up into pieces. She is so upset that when Juliette comes in to have a discussion about the costs and problems of all these concerts, Rayna can’t even focus, and just stumbles out of there in a fog.
Juliette — who KNOWS Deacon is dying — tells Bucky she doesn’t give a yeti’s ass about Rayna’s problems, and that Rayna is just a rotten bitch. She also informs Bucky shirtily that she will have an album ready for him in two days and expects a proper audience with the queen when she delivers it. Juliette’s hair has never looked better. I suspect that for whatever reason, they are finally letting Hayden Panettiere use her own. I love a good wig, and all, but at least 75 percent of the time her wigs were bottom shelf.
Will and his father hang out at this incredibly scenic cement wall, admiring the wet spots and KIND OF patching things up, with the kind of vague language and lack of probing questions that befits two men who haven’t spoken in years and want to pretend that big elephant in the room is actually just a dust mote. Will’s dad, I think, has decided Will must be straight because he was married to Layla, so he comes over all apologetic and tells Will that he loves him, and Will gets such large stars in his eyes that he invites Pa Lexington to a party. Oh, Will. Aside from the repetition of stories wherein he hates himself for loving dudes, yet is happier once he does it, I actually think he’s one of the most consistently and clearly written characters besides Juliette. He wants his father’s love, and a huge career, and men, and he can’t decide in what order — but he’s trying to make men come last.
Deacon walks in on Rayna sobbing while listening to their records, and his face totally melts as she wails, “Why’d you have to get sick?” She weeps that through all the issues they had, whenever she looked into her future, he was there. Basically, this is her time to let the brave face falter and cry. And when she does, Deacon looks at her this way:
And of course that breaks ME because I love Deacon and I hate it when he’s upset. But it’s so clear that his heart is breaking for HER, not for himself, which is a nice nuance of Chip Esten’s performance. There IS a difference. If this show pulls the shocker and kills him, it will be… very very awful because he is like the warm fuzzy slippers you put on at the end of the day when your feet hurt and are a little bit cold.
Juliette comes home from her meeting and Avery is like, “So, Deacon is dying?!” And she’s like, “Oh, right. He’ll be fine. He’s managing.” Avery can’t believe she didn’t mention it, but she offhandedly swears she did, and he blows this off and says they should go see him at The Bluebird. Juliette then tells her big lie: She says Rayna is the one demanding an album in two days, but then cagily offers to let Avery go out while she watches the baby. Avery stupidly agrees to this, even though the FIRST ALARM BELL should have been Juliette blowing off Deacon’s cancer when everyone on the radio has been saying all day — and we heard this — that it’s terminal and he’s pretty hosed. Avery may have a dim view of Juliette’s actual personality if NONE of this made him worried.
As soon as he leaves, Juliette gives Cadence a look like, “You are a soul-sucking enemy of fun.”
Everyone doing graphic design for TV right now is half-assing it in the extreme. WHAT IS THAT LOGO. Also, in the script, it’s always Wheelin’ and Dealin’, not just Wheelin’ Dealin’, but also, if that shit back there isn’t Zaph Chancery then it’s a close and unwelcome cousin.
Kevin meets Will’s father, and then privately — twice in this hour, actually — expresses loud concerns that Will is forgiving his father under false pretenses, because Pa Lex thinks Will is heteosexual and probably would recant his I Love You if he knew Will still prefers men. Kevin is very nice about it, but makes it totally clear that he thinks Will is opening himself up to more hurt and getting sucked in by a person who once threw him out like garbage. Will is so bruised by the Tough Love that he stomps away and won’t sleep over that night. Kevin does have this strange quality where the expression on his face — or really, in his eyes — is always the same even when he’s correctly modulating his voice. It means I never have any idea whether he’s saying something caring or angry until he’s finished the entire sentence.
These two bring Kylie and Dr. Chuggington to The Bluebird, and promptly behave extremely rudely to each other’s dates, while the dates themselves are polite. I hope they go off and hook up. Kylie DID seem extremely perky when she realized Thomas The Tank Engine was a doctor.
However, Deacon then decides to cancel his gig because of Rayna’s mood storm, meaning The Exes have to fill in — and they’re quite good, and the musical chemistry is obvious, and so yet again Dr. Yo Gabba Gabba looks sad and confused for the duration. Scott Reeves and Avery are watching together, and agree that even when they’re being total pills to one another, Scarlett and Gunnar always bring it on-stage.
Later, they have a Come to Jesus where Scarlett admits she’s afraid to sign with Highway 65 because she already worked with Rayna once and totally fell apart. Gunnar reassures her that it won’t happen, and proposes that they become a business-only partnership. No friendship, no bonding, and thus, no squabbles. Just music. They agree to try, and also decide to go with Highway 65. Oh, and by the way, it’s extremely amusing that Rayna acts like she’s been a fan of Gunnar’s all along, because she had AMPLE opportunities to notice him and ANY of the incarnations of his bands, and never paid him any mind. Now all of a sudden she’s like, “I wanted to sign you as a duo years ago, remember?” No, Rayna. EVEN YOU did not remember, as I believe you INTRODUCED YOURSELF TO HIM when he was on tour with Luke. Or something to that effect. Rayna is terrible at things sometimes.
Teddy is wearing a wire to try and bust some state senator, in exchange for having his case go away entirely.He goes for drinks with the dude and Teddy sucks up to him, telling him how he wants to work with him the way Powers Boothe did back in the day, and of course Senator Screwed sits back and says that he didn’t actually even work with Powers Boothe that much — most of his dealings were with Tandy. Teddy gulps and sits back in his chair. I wonder if this twist means that TANDY will take the fall and somehow all the net worth she poured into Highway 65 will be seized somehow. I DO recall us all agreeing that Rayna taking funds and business advice from a woman who was her crooked father’s second-in-command was a SUPER poor decision, so our chickens may finally be coming home to roost. Let’s name them Micah and Natasha, in honor of two characters I never need to see again.
Rayna calms down and convinces Deacon they should play The Bluebird, because he’s not dead yet. It’s a nice performance, but I often at these times wonder what would’ve happened if they’d cast someone else in Rayna’s role. I like Connie Britton a lot, and it’s not her fault that her voice doesn’t have much depth or range; she obviously works really hard at this, but that’s just the tool she was given. Someone with a more inescapable talent could’ve given us some REAL range in all her musical numbers. Connie Britton can’t break my heart through song unless she’s playing with Deacon — and while that’s great, I think Rayna Jaymes needed to be grittier, messier, and ultimately, the MOST undeniable singer. Because then, musically, the character could go through so much more.
But, here, she does very slowly and pointedly say into the mic, “Hey, y’all.” That is a total Tami Taylor shoutout. She just needs a white wine.
We do get more fake archival photos, for those of you who enjoy The Olden Days. I assume Rayna is laughing about the fact that she might be wearing a sparkly shirt AND sparkly pants.
While everyone is at The Bluebird, Emily comes to Juliette’s — for reasons I am not clear on, given that it’s night — and finds Juliette deep into her music with headphones on, while Cadence screams like a banshee. Juliette hasn’t fed or changed her since Avery left, and waves a hand and insists she’s just letting the baby cry it out because she read that somewhere. A horrified Emily calls Avery, and they all stage an intervention. As you might imagine, it goes EXTREMELY POORLY. Glenn points out that her fuse is shorter than normal (“While your fiery personality is usually an asset…” he begins, which is why I love Glenn), Emily laments that Juliette was totally ignoring the baby, and Avery says he can’t even remember the last time Juliette referred to the kid by name. Her doctor tries to explain how normal post-partum depression is, but Juliette rages that they’re all horrible and that she’ll show them all, and stomps back to the studio in a raging tizzy. I am CONSTANTLY worried Juliette will do something that almost kills the baby, so… just one more episode to panic about that and then I’m free for the summer.
Once more with feeling: Scarlett insists her passion for Gunnar is just irritation, and frustration, and not because she still wants to sleep with him.
And Kylie goes all WOE IS MEEEE I RUINED YOUR MEMORIES OF JASON on Gunnar, who insists that he’s glad she told him the truth because it means their old relationship is pure. He is SO HUNG UP on the purity of their past, and of course, Kylie kisses him for that. I keep waiting for Will to get home, since he’s not sleeping at Kevin’s, and interrupt this. Cockblock him, Will. For the love of all that is holy, COCKBLOCK THIS CHEMISTRY-FREE WRETCHEDNESS.
Will is about to have bigger problems with his genitals, though.
A tabloid has pictures of his liaison with Kevin, and while they’re only about as suggestive as this, the whole story is about Will being gay. Luke Wheeler is given a preview by his manager, and he sucks on his cheeks and frowns and looks seriously displeased. When Pa Lexington finds out… I’m nervous this is going to end in a rage-pummeling of Will by his father. I am as worried about Will as I am about Cadence.
I’m not sure whether or not to fret about Deacon, because his guardian angel arrives:
Beverly storms in and shouts, “I WANT TO SAVE YOU!” And I wonder if she is the one who leaked the story to the press, so that she could come in and be the hero and get all the publicity for it. Which wouldn’t go over well if she accepted money for her organs, although she could “inadvertently” cop to he press that Rayna tried to pay her for it, as it is illegal, and get Rayna in a world of trouble. Why do I think that?
Because I got this screen grab a fraction of a second too early, and as soon as Beverly’s face lands on Rayna, her expression goes from sisterly joy to HARD AS STEEL. And Rayna sees it, and her smile falls away, and my friends, I fear that IT IS ON. Whatever “it” turns out to be. Its power switch has been flipped and the lights are slowly firing up and the orchaestra is beginning to tune its instruments, and a cellist and a tuba player are having sex in the green room unbeknownst to the conductor who is married to one of them and DRAMA WILL COME.