YOU GUYS! Okay, let's go from least to most exciting here. Scarlett can't pay her rent, and when her first gig out with Bleatwood Crack only nets her $24, it looks like she will be forced to ask Avery for the money that he owes her. Happily, he wanders by with a film crew since he's being featured on a show called Star Towns, and I guess he is marginally a star. He refuses to give her the money, but later reconsiders and shows up at her door. Once there he finds Gunnar, who in his eagerness to get away from a crowd of roommates wielding Sharpies and blowhorns, has agreed to be Scarlett's new roommate. Avery assumes that they're banging, and there are fisticuffs. He soon learns that you shouldn't throw a punch at a guy who is about three feet taller than you, and who also tells you to your face that you're a sad, self-loathing freak.
Then there's the Juliette Barnes portion of the "Red Lips, White Lies" tour. When he's not busy ignoring Rayna, Deacon gets a little judgy about the size of Juliette's entourage and volume of her glitter, and encourages her to follow her dream of being a real artist and not just a manufactured pop tartlet. He drops that bon mot about how there's thinking about doing something, and then there's just doing it, which is in fact advice that he, himself, will be taking in a short while. Glen is not on board with this plan, as it would corrupt the tried and true Juliette Barnes brand, and so Juliette doesn't bother consulting with him before going on stage in jeans, sitting on a stool, and doing a new acoustic number that she and Deacon wrote. A reviewer in the audience tweeted some mean stuff about it, but it turns out that a video of the performance has gone viral and people love it. In the process of learning this, Juliette totally screams at her underlings before appreciating the fact that they're nicer to her than she deserves. She tells Glen to get on board, because her brand it is a-changin'.
And THEN. Okay, where to begin. So, Deacon does not want to talk to Rayna at all on tour, and manages to ignore her two whole times while they're in an elevator together. Thank goodness they ended up riding that elevator thrice! But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. The good news is that Rayna has an awesome new chick guitar player who she loves. The bad news is that Teddy is pissed, per usual, even though Rayna assures him she had no idea that Deacon was coming on the tour. The other good news is that Watty White is back, and pleased to learn that Marshall Evans is giving Rayna her own label. Rayna has to bring in a few acts, and she inquires about -- you guessed it -- Scarlett and Gunnar. When she realizes that Scarlett is Deacon's niece, she backs off of the idea for a while, given the tension between her and Deacon. Watty thinks that the distance between Rayna and Deacon is a good thing, and she lies that it's better for everybody involved.
MEANWHILE, Peggy just happens to run into Teddy, likely while stalking him. She's wearing a beret, and also drops the news that she and her husband have separated. Teddy gives her a ride somewhere because obviously she is too unstable to drive, and then she gives all sorts of lip service to the idea that Teddy deserves to be with someone who actually loves him, or at the very least likes him. High off of the ONE MEETING that he's had to go to for his job as mayor, Teddy puts his hand on Peggy's. And then he touches her hair. And then they kiss. In the car, because they still haven't learned important lessons about going inside where cameras can't see you. AND THEN THEY TOTALLY BONE!
The good news about Teddy and Peggy boning is that it gives us permission to not have complicated feelings about Rayna cheating on Teddy with Deacon, which totally seems like it's going to happen. The third time that we see them in the elevator together, Deacon finally hauls off and kisses her, just as the preview promised! It turns out he's done talking. So is she, as they get a good six-floor mini-makeout session. And then he just goes to his room all nonchalantly. She agonizes in hers for a while, as that fantastic First Aid Kit song about being your Emmylou plays, because: true love. And then Rayna texts Deacon, and we see him getting the text and leaving his room, ostensibly to go to hers, because: true love. Also: boning. But then Teddy ruins EVERYTHING as he always ruins everything by showing up at Rayna's hotel room unannounced! Deacon happens to see him just as he's turning the corner in the hallway, and I think it's safe to say that a cockblock from the husband of your object of affection is the worst cockblock of all. Teddy is such a jerk that he's come to tell Rayna that he's had a moment of clarity and wants to divorce her. He couldn't just have sent a text, or at least had the decency to wait until after Rayna and Deacon were done boning?
Previously on Nashville: Teddy wondered if he and Rayna had a future together, and she was basically like, "Ummmmm." Peggy existed, and though it looked an awful lot like she and Teddy were having an affair, they were actually just lovers... of embezzlement. Rayna visited Deacon out of concern, and a whole lot of emotional baggage surfaced, ending with him basically telling her that she had the Wrong Song if she thought they could be buddies. Juliette's visit of concern to Deacon fared much better, though, and he agreed to come on tour with her, much to Rayna's surprise and chagrin.
We open with the major players in the Red Lips, White Lies tour pulling up to their hotel in Chicago. A gaggle of fans await, many of them in the teen varieties. Rayna learns from Bucky that they've sold out two nights, which is of course great news, but she's still preoccupied by Deacon's surprise appearance on the plane and thus the tour. Bucky swears he didn't know anything about it, and Juliette gleefully barges in to ask if Rayna's pissed. You know, because she would be SO UPSET if she did anything to make Rayna mad. As she does in these situations, Rayna hoists up her Southern charm and asks why she'd be pissed, before giving a big smile and "Hey, y'all," to the fans. They sign a few autographs and while walking away Juliette notes that her plane is not small, and Rayna didn't make eye contact with her once after Deacon appeared. If Juliette were just a little bit smarter, she'd add a, "And where's Liam, anyway?" just to make sure the tip of the knife penetrated Rayna's pretty ginger guts.
Rayna wonders if Juliette didn't have anything better to do on the trip than to look over and see if Rayna was looking at her. Juliette wants Rayna to admit that she's pissed, and when she won't (wondering aloud if Juliette will ever grow up in the process), it's Juliette who seems to be the pissed one. She then tries to school Deacon about what a bellhop does, and he's like, "I've actually stayed in hotels before, thanks." He's looking for his guitar and says that this isn't his first rodeo. Juliette tells him that it's his first time at her rodeo, which as it turns out is a really gross, tacky kind of rodeo that is quite possibly overrun with crabs. Deacon gives her some grief about the size of her entourage. When she says it takes a lot of people to make a good show, he points out that Johnny Cash only needed three. This hits Juliette where she lives, which is The Land of a Constant Quest for Legitimacy.
In the hotel, Rayna is still wondering why Deacon's there. Bucky suggests that she ask him, but Rayna says that she has to call Teddy (to try to explain Deacon's presence), and get ready for a show tonight (where she will constantly rue the fact that Deacon is playing in Juliette's band and not her own), and so she doesn't have time for any Deacon Claybourne drama. Her whole life is Deacon Claybourne drama! Except for the part that's Liam McGuinness drama. And that's the way we like it. Meanwhile, Juliette is so impressionable, especially when Deacon wields his considerable cranky influence. She asks Glenn if she has too many people in her band, and he tells her that everything with her show is just perfect, and with her bad press and Jolene out of the picture, she's primed to get her brand back on target and be right where she was before her mighty downfall. But Juliette wonders what happens if she doesn't want to go right back where she was. Glenn can't even fathom what she's talking about because his primary concern is making his 10 percent as big as possible.
And then Rayna just barely catches an elevator... with only Deacon inside. He's so mad at her that he can't even be bothered to ask, "What floor?" She kind of shrugs her shoulders and looks over at him a few times while he looks down at the floor. He gets off of the elevator without so much as a word or a glance. This is not the way to start off two Deacon-Claybourne-drama-free days.
Back in Nashville, Gunnar is fixing Scarlett's plumbing. That is not a euphemism. With her scraggly weave pulled back into a scraggly ponytail, she tries to make small talk about how good they sounded with JT and the band, but Gunnar isn't engaging. Scarlett still doesn't know what got his "fur all backwards" in Texas (and I will give her one point for that really cute saying), but if he's not going to talk about it he should at least stop worrying about it. But it turns out that Gunnar's not currently worried about his criminal brother on the lam. Rather, he has asshole roommates (and former bandmates) who have been giving him shit since he joined Bleatwood Crack. They drew a giant turtle on his ribcage in sharpie. How they got such access to his skinny torso is not addressed before there's a knock at the door. It's Scarlett's landlord, asking about the rent. If she doesn't get it to him in two days, he's kicking her out. And... if her landlord is so close by, how come he wasn't fixing the sink? It turns out that Avery owes Scarlett some money, but she's not ready to actually have to see him to get it back. She's hopefully that Bleatwood Crack's paying gig tonight will put her back in the black and she won't be evicted and forced to go back to living in the tree trunk. She's way behind on her nut gathering, after all.
And then we all have to endure a horrible phone call between Rayna and Teddy. She talks about how important their time apart is to figure things out, and swears she didn't know that Deacon was going to show up on the tour. She also swears that she didn't want him there. Teddy asks if she's seen Deacon since she fired him, and Rayna is all, "Oh, erm, gosh, well, cough." She explains that she saw him out of concern since they have been friends for 20 years, as Teddy well knows. For once, Teddy actually has a meeting to go to and this sense of temporary purpose emboldens him to say, "Okay, Rayna, I get it. You didn't know about Deacon, you didn't plan any of this, life's a bitch sometimes, and you're processing. Have we covered it all?" Damn, girl! And then he hangs up, leaving Rayna only the long neck bow on her hideous blouse to fiddle with.
Meanwhile, Marilyn happily informs Avery that Belmont loved him and wants him to come back for another festival in the spring, and reminds him that a crew from a show called Star Towns will be following him around. The show features musicians showing off a city that they love, and always has one big star and one up and coming act. She works hard to convince Avery that this is all good news, but he's too busy Googling details of Scarlett's upcoming performance. Marilyn tells him to get over it, which is a piece of advice that he could apply in myriad ways.
Back in Chicago, Rayna's on stage in a short sequined dress that looks like it could belong to Juliette, and singing, "I'm Already Gone." While I am a fan of her tight trousers of yore, the dress is really working and she looks impossibly fly. And I haven't even mentioned the hair. I wish I could just transplant all of Connie Britton onto myself, basically. Except the voice. She IS improving, but still. Rayna is a fan of the "stand there and sing" style of performance, which is a lovely contrast to what we'll see from Juliette in a few moments. We get flashes of adoring audience members, none of whom seem to know the words to Rayna's big show-closing hit. Suspicious. But Rayna loves Chicago nonetheless!
Backstage, Deacon makes his way through a bunch of half-naked dancers warming up and is likely starting to think that even with the rapey times The Revel Kings gig wasn't so bad. As Juliette has a rack of wardrobe options wheeled into her dressing room, Deacon notes that it's like a big Vegas show. He's not regretting coming, necessarily, just getting used to all the glitter. Juliette blinks her five-pound eyelashes, and then we cut to her on stage in leather hot pants with dancers jumping all around her. And come on. If she