Rayna, Teddy, and Maddie (Never Poor Daphne)
Rayna is on the phone with Luke Wheeler. They are wheeling (Wheeler-ing?) and dealing, but also flirting. Post-phone call, Rayna talks to Tandy about how all she cares about re: Luke is “Getting Scarlett’s papers signed,” like Scarlett is about to start kindergarten but needs her MMR first. Youngest daughter Daphne enters and says that Maddie doesn’t want to sing at their father’s sham wedding to a lying whore (she doesn’t explicitly say that but it’s implied). The adults are like “Okay we will deal with this” and it looked like Tandy flipped tiny Daphne the bird, but she actually just handed her a strawberry. I double-checked.
Scarlett, a cigar box full of buffalo nickels, comes by and learns that she is going to be on Luke Wheeler’s tour, leaving tomorrow! She’s the pre-opener, and only has to do three songs. Scarlett doesn’t feel ready, and, haha, she is probably not! “Eh, you’ll be fine” says Rayna, and gently presses Scarlett’s paw on an ink pad, then moves it to the dotted line.
Teddy arrives to pick up the kids. Rayna tells him about Maddie not wanting to sing at his wedding. “I think she sees it as you marrying the woman who broke up our marriage,” Rayna projects. Teddy says he is getting married in front of “A Lot of Important People” and basically doesn’t want his kidz messing up that scene. Rayna’s like, “oh, it’s for the press,” and he’s like, “oh, it’s for Peggy,” and then Daphne pops in and says, “Hi dad, I still love you! Better start paying more attention to me before I start experimenting with cigarettes.”
“I know you want the girls to sing,” Teddy tells Peggy, “but Maddie doesn’t want to.” Peggy doesn’t say “Maddie can get over it,” but that’s definitely what she means. It’s all moving too fast! Let’s postpone! We can’t postpone! Politics! Constituents! Senate! Out-of-wedlock child! Hug! What’s Peggy’s long-term plan, exactly? Fake a miscarriage post-honeymoon and then try immediately to get pregnant again? What is this, Sons of Anarchy?
Sad Maddie is up in her sad room, sad about her father leaving them. “Talia’s dad got remarried and he’s never around anymore.” It’s not like she’s living in a make-believe world, these things do happen! She tells Rayna that wants to see Deacon. Rayna has to mull this over, first. “I just want to protect myself,” she tells Tandy, and it’s like wow, wrong instinct! She also just wants to put Deacon “in a box” (WHAT) and Tandy tells her that if Maddie has a relationship with Deacon, so will Rayna. Having secret children is complicated business.
She goes to see Deacon about Maddie. They don’t know what to do. They don’t want to hurt Maddie. “It was so much easier when I was Uncle Deacon,” and god, please stop saying that, it’s gross. “I’m not gonna open the door if there’s a chance you might close it on her,” says Rayna. I know Deacon has had his alcoholic dickbag moments, but he hasn’t really indicated that he’d peace-out on his recently discovered daughter when he gets over it, right? Deacon’s not the one wanting to shove people into boxes, Rayna.
Rayna goes to visit Luke at his farm/mansion. They laff and make small talk. She is telling him about Teddy and Peggy’s wedding, and they are talking about exes, but I am distracted by his necklace that is a guitar-pick dog tag. THEY SHOOT GUNZ. Rayna is like “Wow I haven’t done that since I was ten!” so you know that she is #folksy and #secondamendment but also #liberal at the same time. Nice save! I wish we had been privy to what had to have happened right before this scene, though, when Luke Wheeler has his servants bring out the guns and bottles for them to shoot at. Anyway, they kiss and then do it. He looks like all the other guys she’s been with, so she definitely has a type. (White.)
Maddie tries on her dress for the wedding; it is pretty and age-appropriate (a thing I care about now that I am old). “You look beautiful,” Teddy says. “Go fuck yourself,” Maddie says, only it comes out as “Thank you.” He tries to talk to her about this whole wedding business. “Me like Peggy. Why you no like Peggy?” Compelling points that we should all thoughtfully consider.
Shotgun wedding with nothing in the chamber. (“Do shotguns have chambers?” — My Google search.) Peggy smushes cake in Teddy’s face because of course she does and Maddie and Daphne sing the song. Teddy looks lovingly at Maddie. She apparently misses this, because she only sees him look lovingly at Daphne and asks Rayna to come and pick her up. “We made some decisions a long time ago that are really impacting your life right now,” Rayna tells her. It only took these people 14 years to realize that parenting decisions affect a child. Great job.
Houston. Juliette is walking to her car through a throng of fans, then out comes Layla and Luke. “This is one of those rare times the undercard may be hotter than the main event!” says the DJ on KCUD, which instantly brings to mind a cow thoughtlessly chomping down on some hay in a field. Very evocative station name. “I can’t believe Delmont hasn’t been fired or arrested,” they say of the radio DJ. HMMM.
Guess who is in Texas? Charlie Wentworth, British Billionaire. I HAD TO FLY TO TEXAS TO SPEAK AT A TED CONFERENCE he explains and I laugh and laugh, and it sounds like there’s a Clarissa Explains it All-style guitar. They go into her dressing room and they’re like kiss kiss kiss and she complains about radio guy and he says he owns 800 radio stations and she gives him a blowie.
At “some kind of event thingie” (I’m a diligent note-taker), there is a cutout of Layla next to a cutout of Juliette. The Layla one is much bigger, which is funny, because HP is pretty small. The radio pervert by the name of Delmont is there and he grabs Juliette’s waist and squiggles her around. It’s gross! Then he pulls Layla onto his lap! It’s gross! This guy is gross and I hope he catches on fire. But he’s the biggest country radio DJ in all of Texas so he gets away with it, I guess. Cool industry!
Juliette is mad after her concert. She tells Manager Glenn that “THE PRESS SECTION WAS EMPTY!!!” and I was like “YOU NOTICE US???” They all left after Layla, it seems, which is supes unprofesh (music writer terms). I’m actually trying to think of a time where I’ve seen an opener that was better than the headliner. Been to hundreds of shows. Can’t think of one. (Oh, wait. Janelle Monáe before Of Montreal at Cannery Ballroom few years ago. Never mind. But it’s not like that was an ARENA tour.)
Someone needs to keep Juliette away from Twitter, like, forever. She only ever looks at it when it’s bad news. “Did anyone stay for Juliette?” “Beat the traffic!” says another. She’s still super mad about this radio guy who’s been playing so much Layla. He’s called “Santa,” you see, and young girls have to sit on his lap to get airplay. Again, I highly suggest setting him on fire and dumping the body in a river. “You have no idea what it’s like being a girl in this business,” Juliette says. “You have to play nice and beg. And if you’re pretty, sometimes you’re asked to do more.” I love feminist Juliette. Let’s hold hands and be best friends and destroy the patriarchy.
“Bobby Delmont just got FIRED,” Manager Glenn gleefully tells her. She quickly tracks down C. Wentworth Moneybags and asked if he was responsible. He says she should be thanking him, and I’m like “the firing is good, but LITERAL fire-ing would be better.” She tells Wentworth to give the pervert his job back. Why? She tells him why right to his pervert face. “This billionaire family loves me,” she says, and that she got him fired. And rehired. And he will stop his creeper ways, or he will be out of the business for good. Also, he will play her songs twice as much as he plays Layla’s. That’s our Juliette, sitting at her giant vanity, schoolin’ fools.
Juliette tells Layla that she doesn’t have to deal with industry pervs. That if anyone is treating her all gross, she can come and tell Juliette and she’ll deal with it. It is genuinely good mentoring advice, and the first interaction she has had with Layla that wasn’t totally underhanded. But Layla’s like “GO SAVE SOMEONE ELSE” and we’re all like “Hmmm that was unnecessary.”
Oh and Wentwoth’s wife Olivia shows up. She’s like “I know you’re sleeping with my husband” and it’s like oh no, will the ladies come to blows? “What I don’t understand is why you’re not sleeping with me!” — and then she kisses Juliette. Bob Mueller is still blushing when the WKRN news starts after the show.
Juliette, as far as I can tell, is the winner of this episode.
How’s things going for Kid Will? Weird, is how. He’s get Layla hanging all over him. Then he runs into Label Guy who has brought a date along to Texas. It’s awkward for everyone except Layla, who is bad at reading clearly telegraphed signals. Will soon ends up alone in the elevator with Label Guy, who tells Will that the fellow is actually his boyfriend, not some rando off the street. William, it was really nothing. This entire scene is a subversion of what is known as “Chekhov’s Elevator,” a television and movie trope wherein two people who are attracted to one another end up alone in an elevator, and then kiss. These two fellas? They do not kiss. I guess they reached their gay quota already this week, because lesbian kisses count.
Will is alone at a fancy hotel sports bar. The Label Guy and his boyfriend come in holding hands. The sports fans at the bar (whom we knew were going to be ill based on their boorish interest in sporting) call the pair “nancy” (not in the Ernie Bushmiller sense) and are like “this is OUR delicately lit hotel bar with fine centerpieces on the tables in a major American city and we don’t want your kind here!” Will overhears all of this and just walks away. Label Guy is disappoint.
BUT NO WORRIES. Will beats them up in the parking lot. Then he goes to Layla’s hotel room for some underage whatever. Weird decisions, William!
Deacon and (Get This) Avery
Deacon is out of milk for his coffee. Avery is there. He used the milk for his cereal. It’s like The Odd Couple, but I guess both Deacon and Avery are the Oscar and Scarlett is the Felix? The important thing is, who cares. Avery buys a carton of milk (with three people in the house sucking down milk like a newborn you may as well start buying gallons) but Deacon doesn’t care about the milk, he asks if Avery still plays guitar. Since Avery has not recently broken his hand or become the victim of Gilligan-style amnesia, yes, he still plays the guitar.
You see, Deacon wants to play an open mic night, but not in front of his friends or people he respects, so of course he needs Avery’s help. Avery tells him that everyone at The Bluebird knows Deacon, though, what’s he going to do, don a Maxwell Smart-esque disguise (I miss old sitcoms) to trick them? “No,” says Deacon, “We’re going to Shotgun Sally’s in Murfreesboro.” I laughed out loud. Avery says “Murfreesboro. Why?”
(For our out-of-state readers, Murfreesboro is a large-ish town about 45 minutes southeast of Nashville. It is the home of Middle Tennessee State University [my alma mater], my grandparents [my grandparents], and a handful of crazy people who want to burn down mosques. Consider it the Petticoat Junction to Nashville’s Beverly Hillbillies. I guess Smyrna, Tenn., is the Green Acres in this scenario. What was my point? Oh yes, Murfreesboro is hilarious.)
The professional musicians begin an intense rehearsal for the open mic night in Bucket City. (Murfreesboro has the World’s Largest Cedar Bucket. Evil people burned down the bucket once, but it was repaired. Six years later. Writing this out feels like writing about Pawnee, Indiana, but this entire aside is true.) Alas, handsome, handsome Deacon has terrible stage presence. He’s got lockjaw like a tetanus patient and his arms are as stiff as Al Gore on SNL. “Try moving,” suggests Avery. Deacon flaps his arms like wings. The mic stand falls down. The two bros look at each other and shake their heads while smiling, the audience laughs and applauds. A voice says, “We’ll be right back after these commercial messages.”
Driving to The Boro (that is what Murfreesboro is called sometimes, “The Boro,” also the name of a bar across the street from campus that I definitely never entered while underage) (hi grandma), Avery asks, “Why Shotgun Sally’s?” Deacon tells a story about his life, and it’s boring. Avery asks Deacon if he misses the people at The Bluebird, since he hasn’t been back since the accident. “There’s a look that people get when you disappoint them,” says Deacon. Avery doesn’t respond to this, but should, because he is probably an expert at receiving that look, on account of his personality.
They arrive at Shotgun Sally’s, which is now a comedy club. “It’s a sign,” says Deacon. Rayna calls him, and he clearly wants to GTFO. Avery is wondering if he has enough jokes about how white people drive like this, but black people drive like this to fill up four minutes. The pair head back to Nashville and end up at The Bluebird. Rayna and Maddie are in the audience, and Deacon throws up his feelings before he sings the song, because open mic nights are cheaper than therapy.
Post-show, Deacon heads over to Rayna and Maddie’s table to make small talk. They connect over being awkward freakazoids. Rayna goes to order some chicken fingers for Maddie. Deacon says “fangers.” They discuss ocular matters, and Deacon tells Maddie not to grow up too fast, because he just got here. “Aww,” says the audience, “This is just like My Two Dads.”
Gunnar and Zoey
Gunnar talks to the label guy and the label guy puts him on a tour in exchange for his song that’s so great or whatever and it’s Scarlett’s tour. “Whooo” goes the studio audience. Zoey was there in some scenes. The end.
VERY IMPORTANT SIDEBAR:
It seems that Trisha Yearwood has a cooking show. It’s called Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, it’s on The Food Network, and it’s really good. Like, I’ll make a smart-ass joke and then she makes the same joke! It’s a television miracle. Long story short, I WANT TO BE ON THAT SHOW. So far all the guests have been people she knows in real life, but I’m willing to play the game, Trisha. Maybe you used to be my babysitter, or I’m a “fan” who “wins” a “contest.” I don’t care. I have a few recipe ideas, even though song puns are not actually the format of your show:
* How Do I Liver and Onions
* She’s in Love with the Boysenberry Tart
* In Another’s Ice Cream
Just spitballing here. Call me.