Oh my God, where to begin? Well, how about with Rayna and Deacon making out. They are so happy and innocent, just making out in Rayna's dressing room and talking about how Deacon should come over to have dinner with the girls. And then when Deacon DOES come over for dinner, he starts to sing "Ho Hey" with them and it's magical until Teddy comes and ruins everything, as is his custom. He freaks out and serves Rayna with a restraining order, whereby the girls can't get within 100 feet of Deacon. Rayna is all, "WTF?" And in response Teddy actually notes that he's grown a pair. More like a baker's dozen! But Lamar shows that he's more powerful than the mayor in at least some aspects as he calls in a favor and a judge throws out the restraining order. Rayna goes to see Teddy and proposes being reasonable adults, telling him that she'll never do anything to jeopardize his relationship with Maddie. But alas! Her promises are in vein because Maddie, who earlier had overheard Rayna telling Deacon that she loved him and had been informed that the two were dating, pulls a top secret box out of the bottom of her mom's closet and finds a paternity test. And, well, you know what it says. Meanwhile, Rayna Jaymes couldn't put that shit in a safe deposit box or something? I won't get into next week's preview other than to say that everyone is going to FREAK THE FUCK OUT. Including me.
Anyway! Gunnar is still being a jackass as well as a fake outlaw, but is really camping up his rough and tumble image at the urging of his producer. He does a radio interview whereby he says he does what he wants in his life and relationship (THAT does not go over well on the home front!) and plays a show at some dirty rock club. When he's called out by a patron for his actual lack of outlaw cred, he and Will (who's there to basically give Gunnar a big WTF) resort to fisticuffs with the heckler and land in jail. At this point I think that's a boon for Gunnar's bio. Because they're in jail, they miss Scarlett's debut at the Opry. And yes, Scarlett gets to do a number on the Grand Ole Opry stage as Rayna announces her new label (to which, it seems, Will is also going to be signed). Though Gunnar is absent, Avery is beaming proudly in the audience as Scarlett crosses her eyes and opens her mouth wide enough to swallow the whole Opry in its entirety. Her scraggly weave has grown to Rapunzel proportions, and all the chipmunks of the forest scamper on stage to sing sweet harmony. The audience gives her a standing ovation, and at that moment I was hoping SHE was the one who would end up dead, via a falling chandelier or some such thing. Sadly, it is not to be. She does, however, dump Gunnar after bailing him out of jail.
And THEN. You guys. Juliette has a brief foray into flirting with Avery while professing not to believe in love, and also enjoys acting like a brat while rehearsing CMA presenter dialogue with Rayna. At home, of course, Dante is blackmailing her with the threat of releasing their sex tape. At first he wants $2 million, but later changes his demand to $10 million. Though she was willing to go along at first, Juliette eventually decides that the whole world knows she's a train wreck anyway, so she might as well let him release it and give an exclusive to The View (and, I imagine, get a cut of the profits herself). And THEN. Sigh. Jolene goes to her old dealer and asks for some Oxy, along with an ominous "something else." She calls up Dante to say that Juliette won't give him the $10 million, but she can still access the $2 million. She makes it like she's still in love with him, which may be partially true. And then, because Jolene doesn't want to embarrass her daughter with bad press, she shoots Dante (who is also strung out) and then overdoses on Juliette's couch. Cue "So You've Had a Bad Day."
Previously: Back when Avery and Scarlett were together, he had her sing into a whisk in their apartment. Thank you, whoever puts together the "previously on" for this show, because were it not for you, none of us would have remembered that scene. Subsequently we'd have been like, "Why is some crazy kitchen-tool-obsessed stalker sending Scarlett anonymous presents?" three-quarters of the way through the show. Both Juliette and Rayna were nominated for CMA Awards, and while Juliette got the news in the middle of a Dante-related crisis meting, Rayna found out while in the bare arms of one Deacon Claybourne. Reow. Avery denied a drunken Juliette's advances, but in a really considerate way. Gunnar has taken a shine to stealing his dead brother's songs and passing them off as his own. And finally... "What kind of tape?"
We enter in Charlotte, with Rayna just coming off stage. She's happy that this leg of the tour is ending, so she can get back to Nashville and see her girls. Bucky reminds her that she'll also be having auditions in Nashville, since they can't just open a label on the strength of Scarlett alone. Marshall has given them until the end of the month to close the deal. Rayna insists that the acts have to be perfect and she's not settling... except when it comes to settling her lips into the lips of Deacon. They're backstage in her dressing room, making out like... well, I was going to say like teenagers, but really they're making out like hot adults, which is even better. Less sloppy! Deacon asks Rayna how long they have to do this in private. She says just until she can tell the girls, and get them used to Deacon being around, professionally and privately. Deacon notes that his work schedule has opened up dramatically, and everyone has visions of sugar plums dancing and Rayna and Deacon finding happiness both off stage and on. I just thought to myself, "I would watch that show, about Rayna and Deacon being happy all the time!" But that is probably a lie. I WAS hoping that we'd get more than two episodes of their post-reunion bliss, though. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Rayna invites Deacon over to the house for dinner with her and the girls tomorrow, and he gets a Cheshire Cat grin and says he'd love to. And then they go back to making out, as it should be.
Meanwhile, Juliette exits the stage and Avery is there to help her take off her ear monitor. This involves unzipping her dress, in a not particularly suggestive manner. Avery hums a tune and smiles, and Juliette gives him her patented nasty grief for smirking. He explains that he's not smirking, but is actually humming the new song that she's been working on. It turns out she's been humming it for days, and Avery suggests that she get it down on paper before it disappears. She tells him that he did a great job playing lead guitar the other night, which she would have told him earlier if he hadn't bailed on her / refused to take advantage of her in her sloppy state. Juliette asks if his rejection was because "they" told him to stay away from her or because he couldn't keep up. Avery says he bailed because she was a little... overserved. E.g., a hot, drunken mess. Apparently this is a ballsy thing to say to your boss, and Juliette tells him he's lucky he's cute enough to get away with it. She then asks if he wants to help her get her lyrics down before they disappear. Can she not write a song without the help of a hot guy? Actually, she probably couldn't even find paper or a pen.