Remember how, last week, Nashville blew up everything good that was going on and returned to this season’s signature state of despair and craziness? Well, this week’s episode doubles down on it all and makes sure that as the end of the season approaches, nobody’s life is in order and happiness is a thing that’s elusive at best.
Just look at where this episode starts with its opening montage. Rayna is on stage but she’s super sad (duh), Deacon is doing his court-mandated community service, Maddie looks a little lost at a photo shoot, and Gunnar is feeling shunned as Scarlett turns out to be the focus of the Rolling Stone article they interviewed for. Nobody’s doing well, that much is obvious.
Then there’s Will, whose hard time is getting personal. Not only is he dealing with all the homophobic backlash to his music, he gets a call from his aunt to tell him that his mom has died. That sends Will back home, where it turns out that his father had no intention of even calling him and telling him what happened. He’s embarrassed by his son’s sexuality and wants nothing to do with him, even blaming him for killing his mother with “a broken heart.” Homophobic dads can be so dramatic.
While Will is dealing with his family drama, Maddie is preparing for her first showcase and she’s worried that she’s not ready. Cash assures her that everything is good to go though, and that there will be lots of interest in signing her. When Rayna hears about the showcase she’s determined to make sure that Maddie doesn’t make a mistake. She’s especially worried about the presence of Lennox Hill, a label out of New York that Rayna believes won’t treat Maddie right.
Meanwhile, Avery is back on stage performing again and things seem to be going well with Layla. They even manage to sneak in a little makeout time behind the venue after Avery’s set. The problem is, they’re not alone. A paparazzo snaps a few photos of them playing tonsil hockey and then takes off. I’m sure it’ll all be fine though.
After finding out about Maddie’s showcase, Rayna sees only one option for getting her in good hands. She goes to her friend Doug at Tupelo Creek and asks him to sign her. That way she’ll know she’s with someone who cares about her and her future in music. Doug agrees to do his best, but the competition could be tough.
Maddie’s also getting advice from Juliette, who reaches out and tries to talk some sense into her. She says she doesn’t agree with Maddie’s decision to leave her family, but that she wants to help her make some good decisions. That leads to Glenn making an appearance at the showcase and putting in his two cents, much to Cash’s chagrin. Anything that pisses Cash off is fine by me though.
Meanwhile, Scarlett and Gunnar keep passively fighting about stuff that doesn’t really matter because Nashville doesn’t want us to have nice things. First, Gunnar is upset about the Rolling Stone article. Then, Autumn starts to stir things up (it’s what she does), leading to Gunnar helping her write a song. That leads to Gunnar joining Autumn onstage (she surprises him in the moment), which causes Scarlett to react impulsively and agree to do a commercial for headphones that will feature only her alongside the band’s single. These two just can’t figure it out.
NEXT: Using the Jaymes name[pagebreak]
So, those paparazzi pictures? They get on the Internet pretty quick and that causes some fights. It means Juliette panics and gets Emily to book her a date for an upcoming event, and it means Layla gets mad at Avery when he can’t quite explain why the pictures bother him. Everyone is misunderstanding each other right now! Haven’t these people heard that communication is pretty important in relationships? I thought songwriters were supposed to be in touch with their emotions?
Back in his hometown, Will attends his mother’s funeral service against his dad’s wishes. He takes a seat in the front row and even manages to get up in front of everyone and tell his mom that he loves her. It’s a sweet moment, and it leads to Will and his father kind of coming to an understanding. Will confronts him and tells him what a terrible dad he’s been and how he was responsible for separating him and his mom, showing him a photo she kept of the two of them in her bible. Later, his dad stands up for Will when someone calls him a “homo.” It’s not exactly a redeeming moment, but it’s something. Now, can we get Will back to Nashville and furthering his music career? Thanks.
Meanwhile, Juliette and her hired date run into Kesha (!) and Noah, Juliette’s co-star, and things get a little awkward. It’s only that way for a bit though, as Noah and Juliette end up connecting, spending the night together, and then maybe choosing to see where their relationship goes after they have their own paparazzi photos published the next morning. Still, it’s clear that Avery and Juliette are still thinking about each other, so that story isn’t coming to a close just yet.
Back in Nashville things aren’t looking too good for the Jaymes clan. Maddie performs at her showcase, with “Jaymes” as her last name (as Rayna angrily points out to Cash before leaving), and despite Glenn’s advice to sign with Tupelo Creek, it looks like she’s ready to go with Lennox Hill in New York.
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That leaves Rayna devastated, but there’s a system in place for her to get her life back on track. She has her sister, and she has Daphne. So, what about Deacon? Well, after storming out of an AA meeting with his life in shambles, and learning that Frankie plans to buy him out of the bar, he buys some booze with the intention to relapse. He sits there ready to take a swig, but just as he’s about to open the bottle he gets a call from Rayna. It just might be his saving grace.
That’s where the episode leaves us, but perhaps more interesting is what happens just moments earlier. Glenn calls Layla to say that the paparazzo was at the venue because of an anonymous tip from a woman, and that with the pictures out there Glenn is suddenly getting all sorts of interview requests for Layla. It looks like Layla is using Avery to drum up some publicity for her career. This is going to be a disaster, but that’s par for the course with this season of Nashville.