Oh, Juliette. Highway 65’s new but SECRET hire had to make a scene, huh? And just when she’d chilled out some by her new boyfriend, Yoda.
Horrified by the unfamiliar experience of being physically edged out of a conversation in a professional schmooze-type setting, Baby Barnes decides enough is enough, even though she had barely put up with anything. If Highway 65 isn’t going to use Rayna’s album drop party as a chance to market its new, controversial hire, Juliette is going to do it herself!
Country music’s pariah slithers onstage as Rayna and her billowing polka-dot halter dream of a party dress look on, aghast. Rayna had proposed a “calculated rollout,” but Juliette jumps the gun by announcing to a totally not-havin’-it audience that she’s signed with Highway 65.
“That little… narcissistic… self-destructive… person!” Rayna sputters in safe-for-TV terms. Doesn’t she know mama has a family to support?!
I’m loving the refreshed dynamic of the power foursome of managers and talent, by the way: Rayna, Bucky, Juliette, and Glenn. I know the Rayna-Juliette dynamic is its own flourishing beast, but those guys are great, especially when packed into a small wardrobe area to hash out the biggest PR nightmare imaginable — at least at that moment in time. I love watching the professional wheels spinning in everyone’s heads as fierce personal brands (and humans!) have to battle it out with actual words. Let’s hear it for the managers.
Look, bitch — if you don’t let me do things my way, I lose my house, is the gist of what Rayna tells Juliette, who immediately recognizes her stubborn childishness and feels remorse. The power duo team up for a duet at the Grand Ole Opry, but the crowd’s tepid-bordering-on-dismissive reaction lets us know the damage control cycle has just begun.
The episode ends with an amazing shot of Rayna and Juliette facing each other in dim silence in the dressing room, post-show, in a moment rich with strife, promise, and a big chill all at the same time. Loved it.
Meanwhile, Scarlett is still in love with Liam St. Luscious, and she’s not sure she can trust another tall, dark, and handsome person, or “stranger,” to produce the rest of her album. Would our ethereal doily consider going back on tour, asks Rayna? Hell no — Scarlett doesn’t have nearly enough amphetamines in her magic bottle to do that. Let’s keep it closer to home. Scarlett wants to work with….
….Avery Barkley. She rattles off his resume to Rayna: He produced Deacon Claybourne’s live-to-vinyl compilation and has worked with Juliette Barnes. “Those are great credentials,” Rayna admits. And she’s right — they’re two of the main characters on this show. I know I’m sold. When can he start?
Low blow from Juliette to Avery: “How do Bucky and Rayna even know who you are?”
NEXT PAGE: ‘You don’t wanna ride my coattails, so you can grab onto Scarlett’s with both hands?’