If last week was love and marriage, this week is its inevitable successor: family. In the House of James, Sketchy Teddy is on the brink of marrying Fake-Pregnant Peggy, who wants the two little Jameses to sing at the wedding. (FPP, like Mellie on the equally soapy-delicious Scandal, is a political animal who understands the importance of optics.) Maddie, unsurprisingly, is not so keen on celebrating her sorta-dad’s union to the woman who broke up his marriage, and is refusing to sing (or maybe even go). She also asks her mom if she can see Deacon (who, as you’ll recall, is her newly discovered bio-dad).
Out on the road, everybody’s on tour! There are like, no musicians left in Nashville. On the Juliette Bus, she’s pissed because FOTM (aka Sneaky Layla) is getting more attention and praise than Juliette herself. Layla’s getting pretty cocky, bailing on the show after her own set’s done, and kissing up to all the radio guys, including a creepy one called “Santa Claus” because he makes nubile young starlets sit on his lap. She’s also all up on Will’s jock, and he’s practically shoving her off, but still wants her for his beardy-beard, so they go out to eat.
Rayna purrs over the phone at Luke until he sends a contract to add Scarlett to his tour, and then she agrees to come to his place (which happens to be an estate the size of a country club) for a fun “Forget My Ex is Getting Married Today” afternoon. There is more than a whiff of quid pro quo around this exchange, frankly, but I’m not sure that’s what the producers intend. Anyway, they stroll the grounds (just like Elizabeth & Darcy! It was seeing his grounds that turned her head…), admire the lake, shoot bottles off a fence (which made me wonder who comes and cleans up all the broken glass), and then take a tour of the bedroom (bom chicka wah wah).
There are some hijinks when Deacon wakes up and discovers that Avery slept over. Awkwardness, missing milk, and hasty goodbyes are the order of the day. But it sets up a moment later in the show, where Deacon asks Avery to play guitar for him at an open mike the next town over–he’s ready to get back onstage, but wants to do it where no one can see him, since he’s without his beloved guitar. The impetus for this is in part the fact that Maddie wants to see him, and Rayna wants him to prove he’s worth letting into her daughter’s life. After a sweet heart-to-heart (and a fruitless trip to the open mike club in Murfreesboro, only to discover it’s now a comedy club), Deacon asks Rayna and Maddie to come see him sing at the Bluebird, where all his friends are there to welcome him. Awwwww.
Pushy adulterer Charlie is still sniffing around Juliette, who’s sniffing right back. She jumps him in her dressing room, working out her fury over Layla, Santa Claus, and the fact that after she stands up to the creep (at Charlie’s urging), he blackballs her in the press. Good think Juliette’s sleeping with the sexy TV equivalent of ClearChannel. She has an impassioned, if post-coital, speech to Charlie about how hard it is for a young woman in this business, and reveals that Santa Claus is a handsy lech. And whaddaya know, suddenly Santa Claus is fired! Juliette tears into Charlie for fighting her battles, and makes him re-hire the dude. Why? seems like everyone would be better off without him. (We’ll find out why in a minute, as it happens.)
Back in the junior varsity, Gunnar gets a call from New Label Guy (whose name is Jeff, which is easier to type) pushing him once again to sell his song for Will. Gunnar parlays that into the offer of a mentorship, a chance to travel with a tour, and a spot in the music festival to perform in front of label execs. He then sensibly takes the money and runs, and Jeff has himself a song. Gunnar has himself a tour…and oh look! Guess whose tour it is: Luke’s. So he’s riding on the same tour bus with…Scarlett. Nope, this won’t get awkward at all.
Will and Sneaky Layla are out to dinner at the same restaurant as Will’s gay A&R guy and his date. Will was poorly concealing his jealousy earlier, but is still closeted, and so A&R guy rightly brushes him off. But when two Generic Southern Thugs start menacing A&R couple for being seated and gay, will Will step in to defend them? Nope. He just settles his tab and marches up to Layla’s room for some good ol’ fashioned closet case-on-beard fornicating. Yeah, that’ll probably fix things, Will. Good luck with that.
Juliette summons Santa Claus to her dressing room, and dresses him down but good. She has her best smug smile on as she explains to him that the Wentworths LOVE her, and she had him fired, and then rehired, just to demonstrate that she could. She then extracts a promise that he won’t lay his hands on another girl…oh, and that her records would get twice as much airplay as Sneaky Layla’s. Santa scuttles off, and Juliette twirls her metaphorical mustache or flutters her superhero cape, depending on how much you think was driven by self-interest. Getting into the elevator, Juliette finds herself alone with Layla. In a rare fit of empathy, she tells Layla that if anyone on her tour ever gets out of line or treats her like a whore, to let Juliette know. But Sneaky Layla’s not having it, and swans out of the elevator saying, “I’m not YOU.” Juliette mutters (delightfully), “Guess nice just isn’t my color.” Ooooh, I cannot wait for the Harvard vs. Trailer Park cage match! They’re probably saving it for sweeps.
So once again, what have we learned from tonight’s Nashville? Keep it in your pants. See y’all next week!