So, Juliette basically can't catch a break. She goes on Conan and she's asked about Rayna. She meets with new Edgehill boss Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson, who REALLY is looking like Steven Weber on a new, slick version of Wings) and she's told she's not selling enough records. She goes back to the Alabama trailer park where she grew up as part of a CMT interview and she runs into an old neighbor who has made her a quilt featuring about seventeen pictures of her as a baby. She mentions her father in the interview and we wonder if he's REALLY dead or going to show up later in the season and be played by Billy Bob Thornton. Just when things seem like they're turning around, with a sweet friendship with Avery developing and her new song at No. 1 on the iTunes charts, Juliette meets Layla Grant. Layla is the runner-up in some sort of American Idol-esque show, and is Edgehill's new big thing to dominate the tween market. At an Edgehill artist party, Layla sings "a Juliette Barnes classic" as Jeff tells guests that her song has reached number one on the iTunes charts. At least maybe Juliette can redirect some of the burning hatred she feels for Rayna?
Speaking of Rayna, things aren't going too great for her either. Maddie basically hates her and though Jeff puts red lipstick kisses on her butt when they first meet, he actually wants to poach Will from her little label and only cares about her back catalogue. Will -- who has realized he's a performer and not an artist -- goes with Jeff (despite learning that his former gay flame is the new Edgehill PR person), and when Rayna sees Layla perform she starts thinking that maybe Edgehill isn't the place for her. And can I just say that while everyone else is up in arms about this Layla character, she actually sounds better than anyone else on this show. Rayna also has to remind Teddy that they're not getting back together, which Daphne hears and is sad about.
Deacon is, of course, his typically tortured self, and gets very weird about his damaged hand. Scarlett is living with him now, and she takes him to the doctor against his will. Once there, he's told that his hand might not heal enough to get him back to where he was as a guitar player. He refuses pain meds for obvious reasons, then chooses to get a cast instead of starting physical therapy, ostensibly because he thinks he'll never be able to play again, but really because he's always looking for another way to make himself miserable. He goes to the site of his and Rayna's accident, and she meets him there. He's worried that he'll never be able to play again, and didn't know who else to call. Plus, he just wanted to see her again and enter back into some version of their tortured relationship, but she's not having it. They've brought each other too much grief, and now it's time for them to move forward without each other. She gives back the ring that he drunkenly used to propose to her in flashback and he tosses it away. THEN Deacon tries to sell all of his guitars, gets a dressing down from Scarlett and tells her about Maddie. She tells him that he's a fool for not going to physical therapy, and then later he saws off his own cast, because he literally never can make a sensible decision.
In other news, Zoe knows everything about Gunnar, including how to help him overcome his writers' block. He sings a song about Jason, and both Zoe and Will want to bang him.
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Previously on Nashville: Rayna was in a coma! But then she came out of it and recognized her kids, hallelujah. We learned that Deacon once proposed to her while drunk and then they made Maddie and then the next morning he forgot that any of those things ever happened. Scarlett worried about the future of her recording contract, while Will wanted to kiss an old flame but instead punched him. Juliette held a vigil for Rayna, then Maddie told her that Deacon was her real dad. Meanwhile, Deacon and his busted hand were in jail and miserable, as per usual.
We begin this episode in Hollywood, where Juliette is on Conan. She walks out in a tight little dress, her hair wavy and gorgeous. She's at her most charming, and Conan congratulates her on being named the CMA's female vocalist of the year, and for the release of her new album, Inside the Dream. Meanwhile, while Juliette chats it up on the talk show circuit, Rayna is finally home after four weeks in the hospital. She looks weary, but like her hair has finally been washed THANK GOD. Teddy greets her with a hug, and she thanks him for taking care of everything while she was, you know, in a coma. He says he'll be staying until she's back to 100%, which she seems rather ambivalent about, even in her current state. Daphne runs out with a big hug while Maddie, emboldened by the fact that her mom is still actually alive, just rolls her eyes and stomps off.
Back at Conan, the topic of Juliette's vigil for Rayna comes up, as does the news that Rayna got out of the hospital today. Juliette is obviously annoyed, but recovers and says that Rayna couldn't wait to buy her album. Over at the Conrad-Jaymes Mansion, Rayna talks to Tandy about Maddie's attitude and how she can't believe she almost left her daughters motherless, just as she was left motherless at a young age. And it was all, "Because of him." Tandy asks if Rayna is going to talk to "him," and Rayna says she doesn't know if she'll ever talk to him again. Um, except for like 40 minutes into this very episode. And also when the will-they-or-won't-they storyline rears its head again, which it has to, because TRUE LOVE. Still, it is going to take a little time for us all to get over Drunk Deacon, though. I talked about it in therapy all summer.
While Avery is exhausted by Juliette's thirteenth appearance in two weeks, Glen notes that a) this is what you have to do to sell records and; b) Juliette seems to like him. What Juliette does not want is to have to talk about Rayna during every interview when she's trying to plug her new album. She tells Avery to shut up before he even says anything, because feeling him think is bothersome enough. Poor Avery. In other manager news, Bucky visits Rayna and they talk about the sale of Edgehill. Former label head Marshall was fired, and the new guy's name is Jeff Fordham. He's a Harvard MBA bean counter, and heads are rolling. He's meeting with every Edgehill artist this week, and though Rayna could get a reprieve given that she just got out of a coma, she wants to get in there and stand her ground. Bucky wonders if she should even be talking, given her intubation and the need to protect her voice. And I mean, given her past vocal prowess…maybe it will actually help? But Rayna is focused on wanting to protect Highway 65, which an awkward cut and voice-over reminds us is her label. She tells Bucky to get Scarlett and Will and they can make it a family affair.