So, just for context, Deacon is still banging the nameless lady lawyer. She stays over his house and everything! Scarlett is happy for him and he even seems a little happy for himself, then maybe gets a job in a guitar store. Juliette stops by to see if he'll come back on tour with her, but of course his hand is busted and it's just too painful to be around music if he can't play. She asks if he's heard the rumors about Rayna's voice being gone, and he's shocked.
Juliette knows about these rumors herself because reporters ask her about them at a press conference for her new tour (sponsored by Neutrogena, in big letters). Juliette still hates Layla. She thinks a third, big cowboy-hat type artist should go on tour with them, and of course Will fits the bill just perfectly. He impresses her at a benefit held by hottest-country-star-in-the-US Luke Wheeler, which we'll get to in a minute.
And then there's Rayna. Rayna, Rayna, Rayna. She's working with a vocal coach, but still feels tight and weird of throat, and the coach suggests it might be stress. It very well might be, since Jeff Fordham is convinced that Rayna will never sing again and is demanding the masters for her new album. She pulls out "the Wyatt side of Rayna Jaymes," which really means that she asks Lamar if she can borrow $20 million to buy out her Edgehill contract. He's all, "…Sure!" because now they love each other and stuff.
And speaking of Lamar, he meets with Teddy because he wants to have contracts with the city again. Teddy refuses, given his "political ethics" (i.e., his hatred of Lamar). Meanwhile, Tandy makes a deal with the Feds to get immunity in the case against Lamar, but only if she keeps her mouth shut and doesn't tell anyone -- even Rayna. This makes it REALLY awkward when Rayna talks about that $20 million she's getting from Lamar for the Edgehill contract buyout.
And then there's the big Luke Wheeler benefit show, where a LOT of stuff happens. Scarlett has gone through Edgehill media training, where she is basically ordered not to be the bumbling bumpkin that she is at the benefit press line. She gets notecards to help her craft a "compelling story," and when she and Layla are getting their makeup done Layla takes them and tears them up. She tells Scarlett to be herself and people will love her, also mentioning along the way that she deferred Harvard to go on that TV talent show where she was runner-up. Is Layla scheming, we are left to wonder? Yes. Yes she is. We know this for sure because of her smirk at Scarlett's hopelessness on the press line. All of this does not go unnoticed by Will. Jeff yanks Scarlett away from any press and tells her to go home. Will is peeved at Layla (who is also riding his jock SO HARD) until she tweets something about #laylaandwill that gets him a lot of buzz. Jeff wants the two of them to pretend to be a couple, and Will agrees even though he totally secretly wants to give his heart to the wonderful Brent.
Just as Rayna is getting ready to go to the benefit, Deacon lets himself in her house. WTF? They have that kind of relationship now? What a creepy thing to do. Anyway, he confronts her about her lost voice and she asks him about his hand, and it's all tragedy and just a little inscrutable… but they do not kiss or anything redemptive like that. Back at his house, Deacon plays the piano and Scarlett comes home and they sing together, so music is not lost for either of them. Victory?
Back at the benefit, Rayna takes the stage to invite Juliette to join the Grand Ole Opry. Juliette is stunned and legit honored. And then Luke Wheeler asks Rayna if she'll sing for the crowd. She panics, but he pushes her into it and then the band starts playing. Jeff smirks in the crowd. Rayna starts off sounding fine, but then she sort of stops with a panicked look, and then Luke starts singing along, and then she's ok again, and then she panics again. And then the crowd starts singing along and she holds out the microphone to them. Bolstered by the love -- there are miracles! Rayna can totally sing again! And she sounds way better than last season, even. Good work, vocal coach! After the show, Luke (who is clearly a Rayna fan) tells Rayna that he asked her to sing in part to trump Juliette's Opry invite because he haaaaates her. Juliette overhears and her moment of triumph is squashed, per usual. Also, that was shitty of Rayna not to defend her, and Juliette knows it. Riding high on the confidence of being able to sing, Rayna confronts Jeff and tells him she's buying out her contract. OR IS SHE? As you guessed, Lamar has been arrested and his assets are frozen. He's convinced that Teddy -- who just happened to be in the same bar when Lamar was arrested -- is behind it all and vows to make him pay. Tandy wonders what she hath wrought.
Meanwhile, improbable as it sounds, Avery and Gunnar are playing music together. They have a song that could use a female voice, and Avery suggests Zoey. And thus, Zunvery is born. They sound great together even if she really isn't even singing all that much. And then Gunnar and Zoey totally bang each other. Zoey feels a little shitty about it afterwards, as she should. Avery, meanwhile, declines to come back to Juliette's tour, saying he wants to work on his own stuff. Juliette, who now understands the value of friendship, gives him the keys to her state-of-the-art studio to use while she's gone.
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Previously: Will performed Gunnar's song without his permission, and Gunnar was pissed. Also, Gunnar and Zoey were getting along suspiciously well. Rayna had some lasting throat problems from her coma intubation and cancelled the remainder of the Red Lips White Lies tour, leaving Juliette to invite Layla Grant to open for her. Juliette also insulted Avery when he overheard her saying that he wasn't a boy/friend -- just on the payroll. Deacon got frisky with the hot lady lawyer who got him out of jail, and Tandy gave a heap of evidence against Lamar to the feds when she realized that he probably killed her mom. You know… as you do.
We enter with Scarlett hearing footsteps and saying to Deacon that there's coffee in the kitchen. Except it isn't Deacon who emerged from Deacon's bedroom -- it's hot lady lawyer, wearing one of his shirts. Her name actually is Megan, which I had to Google to remember. But is that something we REALLY have to hold in our brains for any length of time? I'm going to guess no and recap accordingly. Deacon rushes out (gratuitously shirtless -- thanks, show!), noting that Scarlett was supposed to stay at Zoey's place. She just laughs at him and heads out to media training (because she needs it), telling him that she's happy to see he's moved on. Deacon apologizes to hot lady lawyer, I guess because he thinks the sight of a bumpkin niece with her scraggly weave might make her sophisticated ass uncomfortable. But she's fine, and the two of them are in… something. Hot lady lawyer has to go since she has a busy day at the office, and Deacon notes that everyone has stuff to do except for him, and he'll likely spend his time reading the instruction book for his new deep fryer. How is it that he makes having a deep fryer sound so sexy? Like, what would you give to spend a Thursday night deep frying some shit with this guy? Anyway, hot lady lawyer seems a little uncomfortable, but at least doesn't suggest that he sue the city again.
Meanwhile, Rayna is working with her vocal therapist. She sings a thing and then says that her voice is still "catching" and feels tight. The vocal therapist says that this can happen with scar tissue, adding that healing is halted by anxiety, which could be why Rayna is feeling tense and tight. They then do some exercises so that Rayna can feel "resonance in her mask." IS THAT A METAPHOR? In any case, her throat might be busted but her manicure looks on point, per usual.