Last week’s Nashville was surprisingly pleasant as the return of Juliette Barnes seemed to signal a shift in the show’s tone. This week, things aren’t quite as optimistic, but there’s still levity to ” When There’s a Fire in Your Heart,” which makes it one of the more enjoyable episodes of this season. A little heart goes a long way!
But seriously, any episode that starts off with Gunnar professing his love for James Taylor is fine by me. He and Scarlett have shown up for their first date as the opening act on Autumn’s tour. They sit in on her weekly tour meeting, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It’s not long before things take a turn, though. Autumn straight-up fires a guy who’s been on her tour for six weeks right in front of everybody. That immediately worries Scarlett, and for good reason; it turns out she fired her last opening act, too.
Meanwhile, everyone else is trying to enact some changes in their life. Juliette is feeling good but is eager to get back to work; she just doesn’t know where to start. Then there’s Rayna, who’s planning a benefit concert for a charity for at-risk youth, and Maddie, who’s eager to get her songs out into the world. Things are changing for that whole crew, and by the end of the episode, things have really changed.
Then there’s Layla. She’s completely stuck in a rut, frustrated that Avery has no time to record her album and pissed off that the Exes got the tour slot with Autumn. She’s eager to figure out a plan quick, but just like Juliette, she’s not sure where to start.
Rayna, on the other hand, is starting to put all sorts of plans into motion. With Layla’s spot with Autumn falling through, she has a new plan for her up-and-coming artist: She’s going to bring her on a ten-date tour of her own. That’s right, Rayna James is eager to get back out on the road, partly because she’s sick of being seen as just a businesswoman these days. My question: What about the at-risk youth you were just so excited about?!?
Juliette is trying to do the same thing, essentially. She wants to get her life and work back in order, and that naturally leads her to Glenn. She approaches her old manager and friend with the hopes of rekindling some sort of business partnership. Unfortunately, Glenn has no interest in engaging in that volatile situation again, leaving Juliette to brainstorm other options.
Meanwhile, Maddie is getting a little rebellious, and Cash isn’t helping the situation. She tells Maddie about how she used to sneak out of her parents’ house to play shows when she was Maddie’s age, and SURPRISE, that gets some ideas in Maddie’s head. Who would have thought? She convinces Cash to get her a set at a local underground bar where she usually plays, and surely nothing could go wrong with that.
Then there’s Will. Poor, poor Will. He’s back talking to Luke and excited to work on the album, but not everyone at Wheelin’ Dealin’ Records is excited for him. Still, Will is doing what he can and trying to get along with everyone. That’s a good strategy to have considering Luke decides that he wants Kevin to work with Will on his album. No breaks for Will ever.
NEXT: I loved you too[pagebreak]
Somewhat surprisingly, though, when Will and Kevin get together to work on some songs, things turn out mostly okay. No, they don’t get back together or anything, but Will does go through some personal growth. He apologizes to Kevin, who has a new boyfriend, for the way he treated him and explains how new and confusing the relationship was. It’s a nice moment, and the “I loved you”/”I loved you too” exchange was appropriately gut wrenching.
Back on Autumn’s tour, the country star is getting just a little intense with Scarlett and Gunnar. She can’t stop prying into their lives, as she gets them to tell her everything about their relationship and how it ended. She’s actually the worst in that moment, and yet somehow she gets even worse as the episode goes on.
When the Exes and then Autumn (along with a surprise Rayna duet!) finish their sets and are hanging out backstage, Autumn can’t help but tell everyone about the personal history of the Exes. Naturally, Scarlett isn’t down with that, so she confronts Autumn (nicely! And in a killer dress!) and asks her to keeps things private. Autumn says she admires Scarlett for speaking up, but her evil glare and flirting with Gunnar post-confrontation suggest otherwise. This woman needs to go — and soon.
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Things go a lot better for Juliette, who uses Avery to lure Glenn to the Grand Ole Opry to watch her perform. Juliette has learned a lot over the last little while. Most importantly, she’s learned to ask people for help and to appreciate those that have always had her back. So she dedicates a song to Glenn and then gives him a sincere, tear-filled apology. It’s a nice moment, seeing those two reconnect. Here’s hoping Juliette can stay on track.
While most folks are getting in some solid performances, Maddie’s doesn’t go so well. Sure, she’s doing well onstage, but then Deacon shows up after Daphne ratted her sister out, and things go off the rails. When a man approaches the stage and starts touching Maddie’s leg Deacon loses it, pushing the guy and dragging Maddie out of the bar. Cash tries to explain how she’s helping Maddie reach her potential, but Deacon’s having none of it. And you know what? I kind of can’t blame him. This may be the first time I’ve ever been on Deacon’s side. It can happen, guys!
Ultimately, “When There’s a Fire in Your Heart” ends with a lot of balls up in the air. Layla sees Avery and Juliette maybe starting to make things right and then bombards him with the news that she’s secured an opening slot on Luke’s tour and wants him to join her as band leader. There’s Rayna, who despite losing Layla to Luke’s tour decides that she wants to be on the road for 10 days anyway, so she starts working on tour dates. Then there’s the big moment, as Riff’s wife shows up at Luke’s office and says that she saw him packing a bag a few days ago and now she doesn’t know where he is. Looks like there’s still plenty of chaos left in this season!