Too bad the competition is run by the devil
It’s breakfast time in the Jaymes-Claybourne household on Daphne’s first day of Nashville’s Got Talent or Nashville’s Next or whatever the competitive singing show she’s about to be a contestant on it is called. Daphne doesn’t want Deacon to take her after everything that went down between Brad (who’s producing the show) and Jessie and Deacon, so Maddie volunteers instead.
When she gets there, Daph’s the youngest but makes friends with a friendly teenage guy who’s very excited. They’re introduced to their mentors, and Daphne’s is Ilse de Witt (played by Dutch country and pop singer Ilse DeLange). She’s sweet, encouraging, and kind of maternal, which are all good things for Daph since Brad is ready to exploit the fact that she’s Rayna Jaymes’ daughter to make sure she’s noticed on the show. When he comes to talk to Daphne, he tells her she needs to write a song about her mom, since people will be expecting it and she should seize the narrative. Daphne thinks it’s too private, but Brad tells her an artist will always chose discomfort over safety. She agrees to think about it. Rayna rolls over in her grave.
Later at home, young Daphne looks at photos of her mom and tries to write songs about her feelings since her death, when Deacon comes in and catches her teary-eyed. Aware that something’s wrong, Deacon insists on taking her to the competition the the next day. When the next workshop rolls around, Daphne watches Ilse perform and then is picked by Brad as next to play to the group. He tells her to play her song about her mom and she begins to, before he he cuts her off with a, “If your mom was here right now, what would you say to her?” Daphne says she’d tell her she misses her, but Brad says that’s not enough, he wants specifics. Poor Deacon looks horrified but claps encouragingly. Later Deacon brings up his discomfort with the whole thing to Daphne, but she insists Brad’s helping her. Deacon says he’s exploiting her, but Daphne thinks she should be writing about what she’s feeling. Deacon agrees, but doesn’t think she should be forced to do so before she’s ready.
In other not-so-great parent-child news, Jessie and Deacon go to see a very expensive lawyer to find out how to countersue Brad for custody of Jake. She’s full of advice about making him look like a terrible father by putting Jake on the stand to testify, which Jessie is against. It’s also hella expensive. Deacon wants to pay for it, but Jessie is resistant and they end up having a fight about Deacon trying to rescue her. He doesn’t think that’s a problem, but she explains it’s her fault because she always finds herself in this position and needs to work on fixing things for herself. She ultimately decides not to put Jake on the stand, and they come to the agreement that they have to stop their relationship, for now at least. Deacon’s all we’ll see what happens maybe something will change MAYBE BRAD WILL DIE IN A FREAK ACCIDENT. (The last part’s just my wishful thinking.) Jessie breaks down as Deacon leaves to have a good cry in his truck. Ugh.
Elsewhere, down at the ranch or stables or whatever, Scarlett tries to convince Sean to play at a coffee shop. (He has agoraphobia and PTSD from being at war, so this is a big ask.) He finally agrees, but when they show up to the “quiet” coffee shop, it’s packed. Sean tries to bail, but before he can, he’s welcomed up on stage. All the cheering people cause his PTSD to start to kick in, but he gets control of himself and starts to play — beautifully, of course. Scar looks on in awe and tears. She tells him he could have a career if he wanted and that she’s right there if he needs her. Sean takes that as a sign to kiss her, which was not what Scarlett wanted, and when she doesn’t react favorably, he rushes out, embarrassed.
When she catches up to him, he’s spiraling. Scarlett forces him to talk to her, and he tells her he was a terrible soldier, that he was a danger to his fellow soldiers. She tells him it doesn’t matter what happened, he can’t live like it’s still back then. He tells her a story about an explosion that took out most of his team and how he watched his best friend, Billy, get his jaw shot off and die, and he felt helpless the whole time. “While I’m looking at him, he’s already dead,” he tells her. “Dead from a round that was meant for me.” He walks off, leaving Scarlett in tears.
Later Scarlett finds him and apologizes for pushing him, but he seems in a better mood and has decided to keep singing. Then he turns the tables and asks her why she isn’t singing. When she tries to deflect, he tells her that she’s living in the past too. Touché.
Let’s check in with the band and the love triangle or whatever mess is going on there: Things initially seems to be in a better place with Avery and Gunnar back on good terms. They have a cup of coffee and chat about Avery’s situation with Juliette. He says every time the door bell rings, he thinks it’s her. Gunnar feels bad for thinking he was into Alannah and tells his friend that whenever he needs him to come over and hang out or anything, he’ll be there. Cute.
But at band rehearsal, Alannah’s making eyes at Avery, and Gunnar’s making uncertain glances at Alannah. Will thinks they all need couples therapy. Can’t say I disagree. As they leave, Alannah tries to make plans with Avery after practice, but he’s going home to his daughter. Later Avery call and asks Gunnar to come over, but he says he’s on his way to meet some people, a.k.a. turn up unannounced at Alannah’s with a bottle of wine. Sigh. Gunnar apologizes for reacting badly to finding out Alannah had been hanging out with Avery, but she shrugs it off and doesn’t care because she just doesn’t really care about him. Gunnar’s all I want to get to know you better, but she’s not trying to get into anything serious with him. She’s tells him she’s pretty shut-down right now (that whole ex-boyfriend sitch). They (read: she) end things, and Gunnar leaves.
The next day, however, Gunnar passes the breakup off to Avery as his idea, and Alannah — now a free agent — shows up at Avery’s place under the pretense of returning his jacket and ends up going in for a drink. She starts talking about trains leaving the station and wanting to get on and makes her way closer to him. Avery closes the gap and kisses her. NO, NO, NO. Guess the band’s over, then. Poor Will. I really want Juliette to walk in at that moment and be like, hands off my man, b—! She does not.
The idiots are still making out in the street when they arrive at the gig right in front of Gunnar’s parked car. He takes his anger out on the drum set at the back of the stage while Alanna and Avery sing to each other, oblivious to his pain or just him in general. Having had enough, Gunnar abruptly storms off stage, leaving them drummer-less. Avery tells Alannah they screwed up, but Alannah says she’s tired of thinking about the consequences. She explains that every guy who likes a girl thinks she owes him something, and if the girl doesn’t like them back, they get mad at her. She says she thought about the consequences and decided Avery was worth it, and she’s sorry if that was a mistake. She walks out and…
…goes to see Brad instead. GREAT IDEA. He tells her to save everyone in the band the drama of the long, slow goodbye and join him to make a record with all his best producers. He hands her a check to sweeten the deal, and she seems to seriously consider it. Meanwhile, Avery shows up at Gunnar’s place, banging on the door trying to make him listen.
Back at the Nashville Next TV studio, it’s time for the filming of the first episode, and li’l Daphne takes to the stage for her first big performance. It’s staged like she’s never been there before or met the judges, so she walks out, introduces herself, and Brad makes a big song and dance about her being Rayna Jaymes’ daughter. The crowd goes wild. Daphne sings the song she was writing about missing her mom. It’s beautiful, if only it wasn’t masterminded by the devil. Deacon and Maddie cry from the sidelines. The judges are impressed and give Daph yeses all round (shocking!), and she’s told she’s through to the next round, then walks off stage to sob with her sister and dad. Deacon looks up to heaven like, oh boy, please forgive me, Rayna.
Guess we’ll see what round two of Nashville’s Next has in store for us next week.
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