We begin the show with an exhausted Rayna on a press junket, trying to get the various voices that say, alternately, "I'm done talking," and "I want a divorce" out of her ginger head. She's typically pro about the whole thing, saying that she's always fine (even when she's not). Testing that theory is an appearance by Liam, who is apparently "producing a band" in whatever town they're in and not just there because he "still wants to bang Rayna." (There actually is a band, FYI.) Even more of a test is a call from Teddy -- just before she's about to go on stage -- saying that he wants to tell the girls about the divorce the following day. Rayna doesn't understand the hurry and wants to be more deliberate about the reveal, and then has to go open her show. She steps on to the stage in a fog and misses her cue twice. But then she smiles, snaps back into it and sings that song about being fickle, like a pro. So that's the moment that could end a career?
Meanwhile, Teddy and Tandy are doing mayor-adjacent things and she happens to see an incoming call on his phone from Peggy. She's like WTF and he's all, "You're not the boss of me!" because one sexytime with a sycophantic nutjob has given him the delusion that he's actually mayor and not just a lonely goatherd puppet being controlled by Lamar.
Back to the interesting stuff! Liam shows up backstage after Rayna's show and begins to ply her with champagne. But then Deacon pulls her away to talk, because her freeze-up on stage has caused him concern. He wonders if it's due to their hot elevator makeout session. She assures him that it isn't, but can't elaborate further because if she does, she'll lose it. Deacon is understanding and tells her she can talk about it when she's ready, and mostly I wish they would just make out some more.
A call from Tandy puts Rayna over the edge and she heads out to a dive bar with Liam. It's one of those nights where the bottle is on the table and it is perhaps liquid courage that prompts Rayna to steal Liam's fedora. Just like Britney before HER breakdown! And wow, conceptualizing Liam as a country music K-Fed just made him a lot less appealing. Anyway, Rayna teaches him the two-step and finally divulges tales of woe about her hot-mess life, saying she wants to feel anything else -- preferably something good. As you may have suspected, Liam has some ideas for how she can go about doing that. They head back to the hotel and he invites her in for a nightcap, which means all-caps SEX. And then making out happens in the hallway! It's arguably even hotter than the Deacon elevator scene, but then again I'm partial to Liam. She wonders what she's doing, but can't resist the siren call of minibar bourbon. Liam doesn't wait too long before going in for the attack, but Rayna asks for a minute. That minute turns into a really long time crying in a stupendously sad manner in the bathroom. She tries to keep Liam out, but he charms his way in just by being a nice guy. And then they have a heart to heart about all her problems, particularly her sadness about ruining her kids' lives. Liam reprises his role as sage truth-teller, talking about his own parents' divorce and how it was the best thing that could have happened. It's a really great scene and I feel justified in being a Liam apologist, and not even that sad that they never got around to banging each other. Okay, a little sad. But way to make good choices, Rayna!
Meanwhile, Teddy is constitutionally incapable of not being an idiot and as he is talking schmoopily on the phone to Peggy, Maddie walks in. He doesn't notice and basically is like, "I can't wait to have sex with you again, PEGGY," in full earshot. He's truly going to be the worst mayor ever.
In other news, Juliette is basically having a manic episode focused on doing an acoustic set with Deacon as part of her show. She tells her crew that they're revamping the show and Glenn is NOT PLEASED. She screams at him, but he still has a secret meeting with the crew (minus Deacon), telling them to run all of Juliette's orders by him first. This meeting does not include Deacon, but he gets wind of it and confronts Glenn about the need to let Juliette stretch her wings a little. We learn that Glenn is basically Juliette's Lou Pearlman -- he discovered her auditioning for a local Alabama TV show and helped make her into who she is today. He thinks of himself as a father figure and is more than a little threatened when Juliette literally leaves him in the dust in favor of writing with Deacon. When she learns that Glenn has been going behind her back, she has a full-on middle of the night diva tantrum, reminding all of her crew (by screaming) that they work for her and not Glenn. In response, Glenn quits. Deacon also isn't thrilled by this side of Juliette and basically tells her not to alienate all of her people, including him.
Deacon walks right out of this confrontation with Juliette and into full view of Rayna and Liam canoodling in the hotel lobby. He then totally proceeds to slut shame her without bothering to find out that she was actually just pouring her heart out on the bathroom floor and not having the sexytimes (mostly) at all. She's all, "What do you want from me?" and he's all, "Not a damn thing," and ARGH, THESE TWO! Then poor Rayna goes home and not only has to tell the girls about the divorce, but learns from Maddie that Teddy is totally banging Peggy. D'oh!
Elsewhere, Scarlett and Gunnar's happiness about Rayna wanting to sign them is dampened when Jason shows up at the Bluebird. Scarlett knows a LOT about parole laws in Texas and isn't so into the idea of harboring a fugitive in their house. But Gunnar pleads, so she allows one night and then actually likes Jason a little bit and agrees to a few more nights. But of course, despite Jason's claims that he got rid of his gun, he's still packing. The whole thing is very Bad Idea Jeans, with the only silver lining being that Scarlett or Gunnar might accidentally get shot.
Disaster looms for Avery too, who is unhappy with what Dominic is doing to his music. Marilyn is all, "I told you, you fucking idiot," and then Avery proceeds to ignore her advice AGAIN and sign a publishing deal (with Hailey!!!) that gives him $100,000 in the short term, but could cost him millions down the line. I'd be okay with him getting shot, too, I guess.
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Previously: Gunnar's jailbird brother, Jason, was all about being in violation of parole and making Gunnar's life miserable. And then to make things worse for himself, Gunnar agreed to be Scarlett's roommate. Liam suddenly became an asshole and Rayna fired him as her producer/guitarist/fellow torturer of Juliette/sexual chemistry vessel. Teddy's banging of Peggy enabled him to grow a testicle and ask Rayna for a divorce, which really took a lot of the joy out of Deacon committing to a life of mute sexiness and surprising her with a hot elevator kiss.
We enter with Rayna getting her makeup touched up during a press junket. She has a bit of a dazed look as "I want a divorce" and "I'm done talking" run through her head in full-on deep cave echo. Finally Bucky gets through to her, asking if she's ready for her final interviews. She sighs in response, and Bucky takes a moment alone with her to say that they can claim she's sick to get out of them. But Rayna didn't make it this far folding up like a tent when things get bad. And...has she ever actually tried to fold up a tent? My experience has been that it's all lumpy and never fits back in the box and then inevitably gets moldy sitting in your basement, which maybe actually works for the analogy. Bucky says that this is a little different, indicating that he knows about Teddy's divorce request. But Rayna says that she's fine, and always is. She's no pop tart tantrum-haver, we are to gather, but a true pro.
Speaking of tantrums waiting to happen, Juliette stands with Glenn on the concert stage and tells him she wants to have a runway into the audience built for the "acoustic set," just wide enough for her and Deacon. Glenn is all, "Acoustic who in the what now?" Juliette tells him to make it happen, and he reminds her that she was not supposed to make any decisions without consulting with him. She's not keen on asking permission, and gets even more pissed when he reminds her that she promised to "behave" after her various scandals. Juliette says this is her damn career, Glenn claims to want to keep her from wrecking it, and Juliette counters that he's trying to run her life. She's taking control of her multi-million dollar industry of an existence, and is going to keep writing the songs the way she wants to while Glenn keeps writing the checks. Also, she got him flowers for manager appreciation day.
Meanwhile, Gunnar is walking around in only a towel and Scarlett reminds him that they have a rule about no nekkidness. He's merely air drying and says he can be nekkid if she wants him to. What about "no nekkidness" makes him think that she wants him to be nekkid? Sometimes I think their whole subplot is really a modern retelling of Like Normal People. She laughs as she reminds him that they're strictly roommates. Until, I'm guessing, episode 15. Scarlett per usual looks like she built a time machine and went back to a dust bowl era Goodwill to find her ensemble. Gunnar has gotten multiple calls on his cell from a mysterious number. I'm surprised a little drawing of a gun and jail bars didn't pop up on the caller ID. Scarlett then gets an actually exciting call from Watty White, letting her know that Rayna wants to talk about signing them to her new label. Scarlett jumps up on Gunnar with excitement, and his penis accidentally falls into one of her orifices, and nine months later a litter of scraggly haired field mice will be born with banjos in their hands. It's the modern rodentine Partridge Family!