All those storylines that have been dragging along for weeks? They all blew up tonight! Here’s what you missed:
Fake Pregnancy Peggy realized that she couldn’t keep up the FP forever, especially now that Sketchy Teddy has decided to be a good husband and attend his wife’s doctor’s appointments. So, one stop to the local butcher’s later, FPP has a plan and a soup carton full of pig’s blood (think she shops at the same store as the Buffyverse vamps?). She places a plaintive call to Sketchy Teddy saying that she’s cramping, but her doctor’s closed and she doesn’t want to go to the ER, and no no no of course he doesn’t need to come home. Cut to…he comes home, finds her curled in a ball in the bathroom and blood in the toilet (with a few discreet droplets on the tile floor, ew). FPP is FP no more! She has “lost” the “baby.” But Sketchy Teddy swears that although he only married her because she was pregnant, now he rully rully means it, y’all. We’ll see.
When last we left Juliette, she was being propositioned by Mrs. Richie Rich. We return to that same moment, as Mrs. Rich explains that she and her husband have…peculiar tastes and thought that Juliette was “adventurous.” Turns out Juliette is the very last thing from adventurous, if said adventure involves a three-way with a weird rich couple. She’s all, “I don’t share,” and Mrs. Rich points out that, since Mr. Rich is HER husband, Juliette kinda does. Heh. Juliette stalks off in high dudgeon, much to her poor manager’s confusion, and calls Avery to meet her at her place. FOR MUSIC, people! Get your minds out of the gutter.
She meets Avery, they play some songs, and then it’s time to braid each other’s hair and swap dating tips in their jammies. Juliette fills Avery in on her brush with Dangerous Liaisons, and Avery tells her that his last manager was basically his sugar mama. (Points to the writers or Jonathan Jackson for the sheepish inflection he gives “sugar mama.”) Avery tells her not to give away her power, and then hands her his dog-eared copy of Women Who Run with the Wolves. She takes the lesson to heart, puts on her tightest dress, and waylays Goodman and Goody Rich at dinner, where she calls them pervs and chews them out for being soulless weirdos. Mrs. Rich is unimpressed, but Mr. seems upset. We find out just how upset at the end of the episode, when he barges into Juliette’s house (didn’t she used to have a real security system, with a gate to keep her mom out? how has she gotten so lax?) and declares that he’s in love with her. Whatever, dude. Get a hobby.
Back at Rayna James manor, the lady of said manor is about to leave town for a naughty weekend with Luke Wheeler on tour in Tampa. Ah, Tampa, Paris of the Panhandle. (Yeah, yeah, Tampa’s not in the Panhandle. But the line was good!) But before she can skedaddle, the law’s arrived, in the form of two sheriff’s deputies who serve her with papers–New Label Guy has sued to get her masters at last. And since Rayna can’t use her daddy’s money to buy out her Edgehill contract, she’s a bit stuck. Reluctantly, she hands over the tapes and then hops a plane to Florida to seek solace in some cowboy booty.
And now we’re on tour! Everyone’s here–Scarlett, Gunnar, Deacon, NLG, Rayna and of course Luke–and no one really seems to like anyone else. Scarlett’s nervous for her tour debut, and NLG decides to get in her head a little before she goes onstage. This is tantamount to–well, have you seen the Hyperbole and a Half “Dog IQ Test”? Scarlett, of course, goes out there and sucks, partly because she has no stage presence and partly because her earpiece isn’t working and she can’t hear herself. Also partly because apparently Luke Wheeler is actually Toby Keith, and his fans are mostly drunk 30 year old dudes who throw their red Solo cups when they get bored. NLG is practically cackling with glee, but Rayna saves the day by going out, provoking mad cheers from the crowd (which to be honest seems a little unlikely given the quality of said crowd a moment ago), and gives them the most delightful Rayna James-Tami Taylor-Connie Britton scolding before reintroducing Scarlett. The rest of her set is OK, but she’s still devastated.
Meanwhile, Gunnar is struggling to write a song for Luke, who is very businesslike as he rejects everything Gunnar offers him. Not mean, just frank–Gunnar hasn’t learned how to write for other voices yet, and Luke basically warns him there’s a countdown on this gig, and he needs to get it together. Sitting by the pool, he’s trying a new song, but gets a little stuck. Scarlett comes by, helps him with a line and gets things moving again. Soon, the two of them are singing happily, like they used to back before fame and fortune (and ex-lovers, and paroled brothers, and closeted gay roommates) tore them apart. And who should hear them from a hotel balcony? Luke and Rayna, getting their swerve on! They stop mid-swerve (or maybe post-swerve, I suppose) to go listen, and conclude that it’s a hit song. At the same time, Rayna is complaining to Luke about mean ol’ NLG, and Luke (again, being a grownup who actually understands that this is a business) points out that it’s hard to blame NLG for wanting to release the album of his biggest star, and he needs to make his quarterly projections. (Duh, Rayna!) So Rayna offers to sing the new song with Luke on his tour, making it an instant download hit and earning NLG the money he needs so that he can back off and let her have her masters back. Everybody’s happy! (This actually seems to be unlikely, given the weird vengeful characterization of NLG over the past couple of shows–I preferred it when he was just being realistic about the money side of the biz, but maybe they’re back to that? But then Scarlett and Rayna still don’t trust him, so who knows.) The next night, Scarlett goes onstage and is confident and sassy and basically a totally different person; guess Gunnar gave her some sort of brain transplant overnight. (Also, she wore the same outfit as the night before, which seemed weird to me, especially because it was ugly.)
Oh, by the way, Deacon came and brought Scarlett her favorite pillow, without which she cannot sleep. He and Luke also had some vague words that suggest that Deacon couldn’t hack it as a solo artist, but I can’t tell if we’re supposed to read animosity in their exchange.
And that’s it! But next week, Juliette takes on Flavor of the Month Layla, so that’ll be fun. Sharpen your claws and join me, won’t you?