Rayna, Deacon and her precious daughters are cuttin’ up at home. The eldest pokes her again about wanting to be on the label. They tease Deacon for being old. They talk about a pie, and laugh and laugh and laugh. Deacon starts to sing with the girls. You know, just a good old-fashioned living room sing-along with your secret daughter in your celebrity lover’s mansion. Relatable family fun. Rayna looks on approvingly from the kitchen. (“I need an open floor plan.” —Rayna on House Hunters.) But then TEDDY walks in (boo, hiss) in his waistcoat and tie like some kind of square, not a fun guy like Deacon! Because Rayna didn’t want Peggy around, he doesn’t want Deacon around. He also doesn’t want the girls to know about Maddie’s paternity, which is kinda fair enough, but also We Should Not Be Living Lies. Eleventh Commandment.
Rayna got served. Teddy doesn’t want Deacon within 100 feet of his daughetrs, and, to quote directly from my notes, “She mad.” She confronts Teddy about his legal action and he literally says, “I am the mayor of this city!” and it’s like, you know how Juliette does everything in her power to avoid legal action and thus scandal? Teddy is the opposite of that. Teddy is the guy who’s been on Judge Judy four times. Deacon, meanwhile, is taking the restraining order with typical laid-back Deacon aplomb. Basically, he makes sure it’s OK he can still see (read: have sex with) Rayna. Maddie overhears Rayna on the phone with Deacon, and she hears her mother say that she loves him. Girl is all the time walking into these conversations! “I walked by the science lab today and I think I heard Mr. Elkins tell Kayla Unger that he loved her.” Typical Maddie Wednesday. Rayna explains that she and Deacon are dating, but Maddie’s not old enough to understand, and she’ll tell her everything when she’s older. (Note: I think she is older? Anyway.)
In court, over the restraining order. Rayna pulled some strings with Lamar and got the case on the docket, using the magic of Rich White People. Rayna’s argument — the kids call him Uncle Deacon! (That’s going to get awkward.) Teddy’s argument — he’s an alcoholic, and also, fuck that guy. He also kind of sasses the judge, which is not smart. Didn’t he learn anything from all of his appearances on Judge Judy? “Um” is not an answer! In any case, the judge thinks the sidebar won’t work. (Oh, is that what a sidebar actually is? I say “sidebar” all the time.) And they will reconvene in a fortnight, aka two weeks.
Too late about keeping Maddie’s paternity a secret, by the way. She’s gone a-snoopin’ and has found a paternity test (that was kept in a lockbox, why?) and is sadly dishing about it to her best friend, Kayla Unger. Kayla’s got enough problems, girl.
Tandy and Lamar
Fasten your seat belts, it’s about to get Cumberland Deal over here! That’s right kids, it’s everyone’s favorite plot line, “What should we do with this tract of land by the river?” Retail? Mixed use? Giant bouncy castle? Topiary maze? A scale-model replica of Berlin circa 1925? Tent city? Lollipop farm? Scarlett’s burial site? Government warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is stored? Cornfield housing a monster-god? Well, Lamar still thinks it should be a BASEBALL STADIUM, but he already tried that and it didn’t work. Tandy wonders if her dad is up to the task of running a land business.
In fact, she has a double-secret board meeting about it. It’s a long way until her father is fully recovered, she says, and she would like the board’s support. One board member is like “I don’t have time for this, I’m parked at a meter, are you asking for our support if you try to take over the business?” Tandy hems and haws and the lady is like “No one wants to feel stabbed in the back. Even if that’s what’s happening.” GLARE. Wow, board meetings are tense.
Then there’s like, another board meeting. “You’re in my seat,” Lamar says to Tandy. Man, too bad for Nashville this basic exact thing recently happened on Game of Thrones and was incredible. Lamar is like Tywin Lannister, HE WISHES. (Sidebar [see?]: I am considering doing this with my time. Feel free to discuss this major life decision in the comments.)
Scarlett, Gunnar, and Will Who is Good
FYI, Gunnar is the new Avery. He’s terrible now. He stumbles in from an all-night recording session, and we know this is what has happened because Scarlett, the girl who told everyone she was going to be on the local news tonight because of that fire, said, “Ever gonna have a recording session that doesn’t last ‘til dawn?” She says “that producer guy” (if the characters can’t be bothered to learn names neither can I) has him working up all night because he thinks he’s some kind of outlaw. Outlaws are known for their diligent work ethic. Drinkin’, fightin’, screwin’, filin’ taxes before the end of February.
Scarlett’s playing at The Opry, by the way, her big debut for Rayna’s label. Gunnar is a real cool cat and reminds here that it’s a BFD and tons of people will be watching her. Judging her. Scarlett frowns. He gets a call from “Vandy Radio” and says people keep calling in asking for his song (not true, never true) so he’s going to do an interview. Will shows up as Gunnar leaves, and Scarlett tells him that Rayna’s still on the lookout for one more act for her label. Will puts on his listening/scheming face.
Gunnar with his emo Spiderman hairdo and stubble are on WRDY, Vandy Radio. The pretty radio DJ is like, “Oh, you seem so dangerous and outside of the law with those songs you sing in the middle of the day on Lower Broad for tourists. Tell me more.” Gunnar’s all, “I do what I want.” He also basically says he does who he wants, and Scarlett listens sadly from her car. “Nice interview” she smirks at him later at home. He’s just trying to build a following! (“lol @ this dumbass on WRDY” tweets the city) Well, she cares about him and just doesn’t get it. Stolen lyrics, a new wardrobe, a fake past! She thought he walked away from that kind of life! She says if The Opry isn’t OUTLAW enough for him (it’s not, it’s by an IMAX) then he doesn’t have to come. He wants to, though!
Meanwhile, Will Lexington has crashed Rayna’s audition. He says they “saw guys in boots they bought downtown,” but he can “rope a steer.” (Note to self: gay thing? Look up later.) He sings a ballad and the show does my favorite thing, that thing of where it’s just a person and a guitar but the full band magically comes in with drums and pedal steel and whatnot. No wonder he won the audition, he has a ghost band. He tells Scarlett he thinks he nailed it, and she congratulates him on his “moxie” because I’m 75 percent sure the people who write for Scarlett are just fucking with us at this point. Anyway, she asks him to talk Gunnar out of being a dick.
Gunnar’s out a bar slingin’ songs. He’s sweaty and gross and asking for shots and the camera is right up in his face. He is also wearing a quilted leather jacket. “I want something tuff, but also something that reminds me of my Nana.” Will is there and tries to be a friend. Gunnar gets bitchy about fashion. “That hat and that buckle, that’s not the scene, man.” Haha, mods vs rockers, here! Sunni vs Shia! Mary Kate vs Ashley! A bar patron asks Gunnar where he “did time,” and Gunnar, rather than just continue to use his brother’s life stories as his own, is like, “None of your beeswax!” So then there’s a bar fight.
Scarlett’s at The Opry. She gets a magic dressing room for first-timers, and Unkie Deacon is there to quell her nerves. He goes to grab some “herbal tea” for her, she specifies peppermint, but actually Scarlett’s entire persona makes perfect sense if you just read her as totally stoned, all the time, to an unhealthy degree. She’s not a 7-year-old Japanese girl living the life of a shy white country singer in Nashville thanks to the intervention of a Wishing Bean, she’s just stooooned. So stoned. Anyway, Gunnar has yet to arrive, but Avery sent her a whisk they shared a moment with on a “Previously On ... ”
Obviously, Gunnar and Will are in a holding cell. It’s not Will’s first rodeo (in the jailhouse), but Gunnar is all, “I don’t know what’s like me anymore!” The stakes have never been lower! They finally bring up the time Will tried to kiss him, and Will brings up his Sad Gay Life. When he was 17, his father caught him with a friend and told him to “explain himself,” and kicked him out of the house. He left town and hasn’t been back since. “Did you ever figure out the answer to his question?” asks Gunnar. Uh, what? “Explain yourself” isn’t a question, and the answer is either “I am gay, deal with it” or “42.”
Scarlett does her performance, it is good. She is never nervous onstage even though she talks about being nervous all the time. Avery is there, and very well-lit for a random audience member. After her big-time country debut, she goes to bail out her boyfriend and the upstairs neighbor, which is pretty much the most country-music shit in the world. Scarlett fails to appreciate the serendipity of this kind of folksy trashiness, and breaks up with Gunnar while still at the jailhouse. Bummer. “I fell in love with you, not your brother.” Will they get back together? Will she return to Gunnar? The stakes have never been less interesting!
Avery is mic’ing up Juliette before her performance, and notices that she’s working on a new song. He blabs about songwriting and putting words down on paper. She says he “bailed on her” after the label party. He says he bailed because she seemed “over-served,” which is a polite way of saying “I am not a rapist and would not like to be perceived as a rapist, by your or anyone.” Juliette tells him he’s “lucky he’s cute enough to get away with” talking to her like that (...) and she’d like his help putting lyrics to paper.
Aaand then she’s watching her sex tape. Her lawyers can get it from Dante for $2 million, but she wants it totally destroyed because of awards. K. No cops or scandals or other nonsense like that! Also, Jolene was in the room (!) while she was watching the video. Jolene is very, very upset.
Juliette is making Avery write her songs down. They talk about love. Juliette doesn’t believe in love. Everyone is a liar, she says, love doesn’t exist. Oh Juliette, your mom loves you, just as much (if not more!) than I love her. She asks Avery if he has ever been in love, and how that worked out. His hair seriously needs cutting.
Juliette’s lawyers never got the SD card with the sex tape, because Dante never showed up to the meeting. He calls her, though, and demands $10 million now. He is standing next to a BMW and constantly rubbing his nose, which are two classic television indicators of cocaine. Mirrors, celebrities, dance music, Europeans and television in general are also classic television indicators of cocaine.
JOLENE GOES TO BUY OXY, OH NO! SHE ALSO NEEDS “SOMETHING ELSE,” OH NO!
CMA rehearsal with Rayna. They do a bad awards-show joke about starting a girl group together. “IT’S STUPID,” Juliette pouts, but, like, she’s right? Anyway, to further highlight the fact that Rayna is Totes the Best and Juliette is OMG TEH WURST (even though she is going through some tuff times right now you guys), a dude hands them each a bottle of water. Gallant thanks the man for the bottle of water. Goofus says, “This water is warm are you new” and shoves it back. Rayna gives her a speech about respect or whatever.
Juliette is taking with her people about how to get the money for Dante. She’s decided to let him sell the video, she’s just call The View (ha ha The View, really?) (Oh yeah, ABC) — and do a crow-eating interview before it gets out. They already counted the CMA votes ,so what does it matter? It matters to Jolene. Jolene is sad about this turn of events. She takes Juliette’s phone, which has been left behind on the sofa, and copies Dante’s most recent number.
JOLENE SNORTED THE OXY NOOOO.
She immediately calls Dante, and tells him she’s got the $2 million. She says that Juliette is going to go to the press anyway and give him nothing, but she’ll give him the money because she knows Juliette “triggered” him and that she loves him, and the thought of him with her daughter makes her sick. Jolene I am scared 4 U.
Dante arrives. “Where’s the money?” “Where’s the SD card?” Jolene grabs the gun she got from her dealer. She’s sparing her daughter the humiliation of going on TV and having to confess to the fact that ... a con artist surreptitiously filmed them having sex and then stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and tried to blackmail her for millions? Anyway. She shoots him in the gut. I hope his death was painful.
Juliette is juuuust about to do her interview. Jolene calls. “Baby, I’m sorry,” she says. Oh no. “Are you using?” Juliette asks. Oh no. “I don’t know if I ever told you, but you had this beautiful light about you,” Jolene reminisces about baby Juliette. Oh no. Jolene puts the SD card in the garbage disposal. Juliette cancels the video and rushes back to find ... the bodies. Oh no. Garbage Dante, bloody on the floor. Jolene, angel, sweet precious lovely one, OD’d on the sofa. Nooooo. “Mommmmma.” :’(
Juliette ends her segment ugly-crying in bed, while Anne Holt tells the story of poor dead Jolene, complete with terrible mugshot. You deserved better, Jolene. LUV U 4EVR.