Everything is going just great for Rayna -- she's relieved that Lamar is dead (thanks, Teddy!) and Luke is making her pancakes. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, Tandy has become a rather negligent CFO and Highway 65's checks are bouncing all over town. And I mean, it was probably hard for her to keep track of things in witness protection but, like, pull it together girl. Tandy mostly wants to cry about Lamar together, but Rayna tells her to try being competent at her job instead. I am with Rayna on this one. Because of the bounced checks, the much-wanted band Cadillac Three signs with Big Machine instead (which is the label that releases all the music from Nashville… meta!) and Rayna wants to excommunicate herself from her family.
In the middle of all this, Rayna goes to the studio and catches Scarlett and Liam about to bone. Much like me, she is not happy at this development! Rayna gives Scarlett a talking-to, but Scarlett says that Liam "opened up" something in her. I'll say! And then Rayna gives Liam ten kinds of hell for boning Scarlett when she's too fragile to handle it (…metaphorically), and in turn jeopardizing her label. She instructs him to break Scarlett's heart before she gets in any deeper, and then fires him. Even though she's already paid him! So, maybe she has a hand in her own money problems, then. Liam heads off to Tokyo while telling Scarlett, "Thanks for the fun time!" and then she and Rayna are all like, "MEN!" And despite her newfound policy against lying, Rayna is not exactly forthcoming with Scarlett about the fact that she fired Liam and pre-planned this heartbreak. Just WAIT until she finds out that Scarlett is a pillhead. In other Rayna news, Luke knows how to make homemade buttermilk, offers her money to help out the label (which she doesn't take), feels weird boning her in her bedroom with those giant paintings of Maddie and Daphne looking on and assures her that she can trust him (which probably means she can't trust him).
And then there's Juliette. She's being courted by all sorts of major labels -- but none in Nashville, where the remnants of her burned bridges are still smoking. Soon, though, she gets an offer from… Edgehill! Yes, Jeff Fordham is an even worse label-head than Rayna, and has decided he wants her back. He tries to woo her with $10,000 champagne (which she causes to fizz all over his table at a restaurant), her own imprint and a $250,000 producing deal for Avery. Avery -- who is a bit moody due to emasculated feelings at having a sugar mama -- assures her that he doesn't want to ride on her coattails, and also Jeff is an asshole who will never respect her. Still, Juliette signs the contract (minus the deal for Avery). But then she tears it up! She'd rather have Avery's respect than her own imprint. And then -- FINALLY! -- she goes to Rayna and asks to be signed to Highway 65. You can actually see the dollar signs flashing in Rayna's eyes as she favorably contemplates the possibility. In related news, Avery is moody about Gunnar's outsized enthusiasm at their new band and is kind of a dick about it. They almost punch each other (again!) but then play a gig and seem to be having fun. Can someone please give Rayna the tip that the dude who wrote her latest #1 single may in fact be a good get for her label?
And speaking of dudes who would be good for Rayna's label… Deacon is out on the road, staying at fleabag motels, re-injuring his hand and calling Megan to tell her that he loves her. I know! He runs into an old singer friend at an AA meeting, they have coffee and she totally wants to bone him. Deacon is as full of integrity as ever as he tells her that he's got someone back home. He then dials Megan… WHO IS BONING TEDDY IN THE BACK OF A CAR! I know this has been coming for like a month, but I still found it kind of shocking, mostly because I didn't know car sex could be so boring. But let me back up to the events that preceded this. So, Teddy was packing up Peggy's things and found a prescription bottle in one of her purses. He discovered that the medication was for women who have miscarried, and that Peggy got it BEFORE they were married. Sadly, he does not discover the pork blood leftovers in the back of the fridge. And who does he drunk-dial in his misery? Why, Megan of course. Why can't he just get a regular friend? Anyway, now Teddy hates Peggy and feels extra-guilty about his vengeance-act of letting Lamar die. Megan takes him parking on a hill and talks about her dead fiancé some more, and the next thing you know they're boning while she ignores Deacon's calls. They are super awkward about it afterwards, and she's got to feel like shit when Deacon comes home, gives her a trucker hat and whisks her off to bed.
And finally, Will's song is most requested on the radio, but Layla isn't so lucky. Her latest single hasn't even charted and Jeff is ready to drop her. Will tries his best to promote her. He also tries his best to have sex with her. Neither effort is particularly successful. And THEN he finds out that he devirginized Layla… a claim of which I am somewhat skeptical, and starts feeling bad about tricking her into being his beard. But really, isn't having your boyfriend come out to you a rite of passage that every girl should experience at some time? Maybe it'll finally give her some songwriting ideas!
Previously on Nashville: Gunnar, Zoey and Avery maybe kind of formed a band. Lamar's death prompted Rayna to become even more torn up about her lying family. Gunnar told Will to uncomplicate his relationship with Layla. (Meaning, stop letting the girl unwittingly be your beard, fool!) Juliette received accolades from the New York Times, Deacon's Spidey-sense got all tingly when he saw Teddy and Megan together and Scarlett and Liam forged a romantic connection based on pills and loneliness.
It's morning at Rayna's house, and Luke is there making his mama's famous buttermilk pancakes. Since Rayna had no buttermilk, he combined milk and vinegar. Well, isn't he a regular Heloise? Rayna is quite impressed by his culinary skills, but Luke is less impressed with how she's handling her dad's death. Rayna assures him that she's totally fine, and actually relieved that Lamar's not around to cause any more damage. Always sentimental, that one. Luke regrets not being there for her during the whole thing, but she's glad enough that he didn't get to witness all the family drama. Still, like any human being who has a vague sense of how emotions work, Luke feels that Rayna needs some time to process. Nobody is fine after losing a parent, and he says her shoulders prove it. This of course is just an excuse to start giving her a massage. At this moment Bucky walks in (to a sarcastic, "Good timing there, Buck!" from Luke) to tell Rayna that there's been no word from Cadillac Three. Rayna really wants to sign them to Highway 65, but Big Machine (the label that releases the Nashville soundtracks) is in contention as well. As it turns out, there's another issue: the check for Scarlett's studio time bounced. Rayna is puzzled, and Luke notes that she might consider firing whoever's watching her books. That would, of course, be Tandy. Maybe she spent all of Rayna's money on the vending machine at that fleabag motel when she was hiding out from the FBI?
Meanwhile, Juliette is being heavily courted by all sorts of mainstream labels, who are sending her diamonds and fruit baskets and probably indentured servants to get her to sign with them. Glenn comes bearing coffee (see, Juliette doesn't really NEED another indentured servant), and we learn that Juliette's drink of choice is a half-caf soy latte. Fascinating character detail! Juliette wonders if they've heard anything from Big Machine (aside from their relentless promotion in this episode! Drink every time Big Machine is mentioned!), but Glenn says that Nashville labels still won't touch her. This is sad news, since Juliette isn't interested in putting out a big pop album on a major label -- she wants her next album to go to the top of the country charts. I thought her whole thing was that she's a pop crossover already? In any case, Glen agrees that the labels that are courting her won't give her the freedom she wants, but notes that their offers are only going to last for a hot minute. She'd better decide how much freedom is worth to her pretty quickly.