Poor Juliette! The show opens with her taking a Silkwood shower and weeping with regret after her drunken jaunt with Evil Label Guy.
Then we get a big meeting between Rayna and a ton of radio programmers which serves as an info dump to tell us that Rayna’s livestream worked, they like her songs, but they aren’t happy with Juliette being on the label. They also tell us that Luke is off entertaining the troops in Afghanistan–but there’s been an accident! Rayna cuts the meeting short to rush to his side in the hospital.
Will & Layla are starting filming on their reality show (eyeroll) and a producer invites Gunnar to be on it, but he “hell no”s it, pooh-poohing reality TV. (Hey, step off, Gunnar! Reality TV is awesome.) Gunnar and a sleepy Zoe (she’s working nights now) wander off as Gunnar gets a phone call–from his publisher, who says Juliette Barnes wants to see him about writing for her! Gunnar freaks, and tells Zoe that he saw Juliette and Evil Label Guy getting bizzay at the party, so how could he go to Juliette’s and look Avery in the face? How, indeed?
Back at Chez Homewrecker, Juliette is doing the Guilty Brush-off dance, which is making Avery suspicious.
Maddie pleads with Sketchy Teddy to spend the night at Deacon’s; after much whining, he gives in.
Scarlett, whose “addiction” seems to have been nothing worse than a 24-stomach bug, is recuperating at Deacon’s by reading her journal.
Rayna arrives at the hospital to find a mildly concussed and bruised but otherwise basically fine Luke–it was the truck in front of his that hit the IED. Concerned smooches ensue.
Back on the set of “Newlyweds II: Beard Edition,” filming has begun and Will is serenading Layla, who sits awkwardly in a chair looking “devoted.” The producer thinks they’re reality gold–as we know, she’s right, but not for the reasons she thinks!
Gunnar shows up for the meeting and globs all over Juliette about how great Avery is, making things more and more awkward until Evil Label Guy comes in and makes it even more awkward by being strange and hostile and pass-agg.
Back at the hospital, Luke is sad that he can’t finish performing for the troops, so Rayna suggests doing a show for the local army base and simulcasting it. Luke doesn’t feel strong enough to perform a whole concert, but Rayna does! And she bets other acts will, too. So basically this is the umteenth “I’ve got a barn, let’s put on a show!” story we’ve had in this series.
Evil Label Guy is gross at Juliette, but quickly cuts to the chase–he wants Juliette back, because Howie B the L.A. guy was right–she’s poised to “cross over” into pop stardom. (Um, didn’t she basically have that already when we started all this?) Juliette is disgusted, and there’s some back and forth about whether Rayna can launch her–interrupted by Glenn coming in to say Juliette’s been invited to join the benefit “with Rayna and Kellie Pickler.” Juliette’s in, and ELG is out, out, out.
Or is she? Luke has qualms about having such a controversial figure in the concert, and Rayna is pissed. She defends Juliette, but then tosses the whole thing in Luke’s lap, saying if he wants to cut her, he can. Luke looks a little sheepish, but then Juliette fortuitously connects with a soldier fan, enabling her to tell a long story about how her dad was a Black Hawk pilot who was killed when she was 4. Luke, eavesdropping from way too far away, can nonetheless hear Juliette’s raspy whispered tale perfectly, and looks troubled. Looks like we’re launching the 47th scene of “Juliette gets knocked down, performs the crap out of a song to cheering crowds, is somehow declared a failure the next day anyway.”
Deacon! I love him, but he’s gotten boring since they separated him from all the other characters. We rejoin him at an AA meeting, talking about what it was like to discover he had a daughter–and reflecting on how his actions when he was still a drunk prevented him from experiencing his daughter’s childhood until now. Tears!
Will is working out–badly–when a hottie personal trainer (male) comes up to hit on him and correct his form. Will gets all squirrelly because he senses the pick-up, but the guy still leaves Will his card. Maybe you should call him, Will–after all, he did just save you from a serious lower-back injury.
Will makes amends to Juliette and asks her to sing WITH HIM at the benefit. Ooh, it’s like having the finest duchess in the ton pay a call on the slandered lady to show that she’s still good society! (I figure that’s what most Nashville viewers are thinking, right?)
Gunnar is trying to tell Avery about Juliette, but he hasn’t worked up to it when Zoe barges in. Guess what! She got a job as Juliette’s newest backup singer! Why does poor Juliette have to be musician welfare for everyone in Nashville? She can’t hire everyone in town, people.
At the Bluebird, Scarlett’s waitressing again, which she thinks she wants–until a table recognizes her and sympathizes that she was really good and is now “back to waitressing.” And then they order chicken fingers! Heh.
At Rayna’s house, she and Luke are recapping the day, and he tells her that his near-death experience made him realize that he loves Rayna…but he’s not sure she feels the same. Rather than saying, “Frankly, you’re fun, but I’ve got about 5 priorities before you (and what about Deacon???),” Rayna acts surprised and promises him that she loves him, and she’s “all in.” Eccch. He’s still creepy. I wonder if that’s an effect of the actor rather than the writing? This guy also infused his character on the late lamented Smash (I miss it so!) with a weird creepiness.
Concert time! It’s apparently chilly there–OMG, we’re getting a video message from Michelle Obama! How can this show get such big guest stars and still be on the bubble? Anyway, while Michelle Obama speaks, we cut to Daphne, asking Sketchy Teddy if “this is how it’s going to be from now on–me and you, and Maddie with him?” Awww, that’s sad. But Daphne, you’ve got about another year before Maddie hits full-on teendom and refuses to acknowledge you, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Also, way to respect the First Lady, people.
Quick visit to Will & Layla’s–he freaks about the cameras, scaring Layla. He yanks one out of the wall, and somewhere at Bravo, an alarm goes off that things are getting good.
Finally, the singing! Juliette comes out in an adorable camo hat and jacket, and she’s singing “Don’t Throw Dirt on My Grave Just Yet” as a duet with Luke. I love this song, it must be said. And conveniently, this lets Deacon sidle up to Rayna to apologize for being nasty to her about keeping Maddie a secret. They both get misty and look beautifully leathery and OMG GET TOGETHER YOU TWO YOU’RE MEANT TO BE ahem, I mean, it’s great that you’re mature co-parents and I hope you’re both happy.
Avery is getting clingy with Juliette because he can’t figure out why she’s so distant. Of course she won’t tell him, but she promises him that he isn’t losing her.
Zoe and Scarlett are talking after her shift, and Zoe shares her big news about the job with Juliette. Scarlett is thrilled for her, and says that it makes it easier for Scarlett to leave Nashville, “because there’s nothing more for her there.” Um, what happened to songwriting, you ninny? That’s what you wanted to do in the first place, right? You don’t have to be onstage. But whatever, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Back at the Endless Concert of Military Support, Broken Dreams and Reconciliation, Deacon has now moseyed up to Sketchy Teddy to ask him to tell the story of when Maddie was born. This is while Kellie Pickler’s playing, by the way. Even the show doesn’t care about Kellie Pickler. Anyway, the two dads seem to be forging a tentative detente.
Juliette has time to run into Evil Label Guy (doesn’t anyone have to be in the office in country music?), who tries to get her back for Edgehill and when Juliette rebuffs him, threatens her with exposing their one-night stand to her boyfriend. Wow, don’t hold back on the hard sell or nothing, dude.
Big finale! Rayna comes out with her girls to sing “A Life That’s Good,” and Maddie importunes her to invite Deacon up to sing with them. Awww, it’s the country music family that should have been! This will probably undo all the good work Deacon just did with Sketchy Teddy, but whatevs. Looks like Luke’s not psyched about it either. Enjoy, military families! We sing this song of family, all while casting knowing looks at the 78 people involved in our relationship.
And with that, I leave you. Five minutes means something longer in Nashville, y’all. Bless your hearts!