Rayna starts the episode feeling great about Scarlett's new song with Liam. She gently rebuffs Liam's flirtatious efforts, which is the first move in a slippery slope of multi-directional doom. While she was at the studio, Rayna missed several calls from Teddy, and he eventually stops by her house to deliver the news that Lamar is dead. He explains that Lamar died in his office, but conveniently leaves out the part where he didn't call for help. The girls are of course crushed, as is Tandy, but Rayna is aggressively "fine" at the thought of her murderous father in the morgue.
Meanwhile, Deacon has a gig and needs to get a band together. Despite being a legend who has played with every musician in town, his best option is Zunvery, an ad hoc Lady Antebellum-esque trio comprised of the entirety of Scarlett's nemeses. They're actually great, and just the supportive chorus that Deacon needs when his spot is bumped to a later time. He of course wins over the crowd, lands a recurring gig and then brings Zunvery up to do a number the following night at the Bluebird. Scarlett just so happens to be approaching the Bluebird when she sees Deacon introducing them, which means she gets to add him to the expanding list of people who have grievously wronged her.
Deacon also learns of Lamar's death, and wants to be there for both Maddie and Rayna. Rayna continues to be aggressively "fine" with him, but Deacon knows her too well to believe it. He drops by her house, and she gets a little snappy with him before spilling the news that Lamar was implicated in her mother's death. Deacon attempts to make her feel better about her lying family, to no avail. Still, Rayna welcomes him to come to Lamar's funeral, which is a small and simple gathering. Juliette is there too, as is Teddy who tries to squash the occasional guilty look. You know who is not there? Liam. Nor Scarlett. And this is because they're boning. I know. Kill me. I can't even talk about it.
In other awkward matters, Teddy confesses to Megan that he never called for help when Lamar was having his heart attack, and basically let him die. Awkward!
And then there's Juliette. She's recorded "Don't Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet" with Avery, and loves his production. But even before the world can hear it, the New York Times lauds her Opry performance and gives her cred as a serious artist. This leads to the interest of a hotshot music producer named Howie V., who is kind of a weirdo. He wants to do something historic, so has her record the song with a big orchestra and do some crazy ghoulish photo shoot to get the attention of Rolling Stone. Once they strip the country twang out of her voice, he says, her transformation will be complete. Glen is skeptical and also feeling left out (particularly when Howie V. sends him out for coffee), and tells Juliette that it's time to step away. He feels like dead weight when she's on the verge of doing something incredible. And then Juliette finds that she's not so sold on Howie's efforts, and insists that Glen un-quit. He's been the only person who supports her in being herself, she says, and plus she likes Avery's gritty version of the song better.
Finally, at the end of the episode, Rayna pours herself a glass of scotch in Lamar's office and just freaks the heck out. She smashes things and cries and sinks to the floor, and when Tandy and Teddy enter she tells them that the lying has to stop. And I mean, this IS a woman who kept her daughter's paternity secret for thirteen years, so she knows of which she speaks.
Previously on Nashville: Despite being unable to Google anything related to auditions, Zoey was actually a pretty good singer. Deacon told Juliette to keep saying what she believes in, and that precise impulse led her to getting dropped by Edgehill. Glenn remained loyal through everything, and Juliette thanked him for sticking by her side all these years. Scarlett and Liam started recording together, and my personal "doom foreshadowing" alarm started screeching furiously. Rayna learned that Lamar quite probably killed her mom and Peggy, and told him that as far as she was concerned, both of her parents were dead. She meant it metaphorically, but then Lamar totally clutched his chest and collapsed in Teddy's office. Teddy may have called for help in his brain, but no actual words of urgency made it out of his mouth.
We enter with Rayna in the studio, listening to the part of Scarlett's new track where she wails about not being under a spell. Liam asks what she thinks, and Rayna says it's amazing. She turns to Scarlett, and assures her that it's beautiful and moving and raw and emotional and she loves it. I assume she doesn't love Scarlett's stupid Depression-era coat, which she continues to wear just to spite me. (And also because she's now a drug addict.) She compliments Liam on the mix and says that since they obviously have it all under control, she's going to head off. Her phone is blowing up with calls from Teddy while this is all happening, which she ignores. On her way out, Liam asks Rayna if everything is okay. He's heard that her dad is out of prison and says it must be a relief, but Rayna just says that she's focusing on work right now. Liam assures her that if she needs him, he's there. Rayna tells him that his work with Scarlett is the biggest help -- she's risking everything, and so Scarlett's album has to be great. And then Liam asks how things are going with Luke, because he totally still wants to bone Rayna. She dismisses his flirtatious efforts, and the world folds in on itself with sadness. It is like torture to have so much Liam in these episodes when all he does is turn Scarlett into a pill head and then bang her. (Um, spoiler alert. But you should have time to prepare yourself.)
We then turn to Juliette listening to a recording of "Don't Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet," which was produced by Avery. She tells him that perfect is the wrong word -- she needs a word that's better than perfect. She loves it, and Avery beams. Juliette then laments that nobody will ever hear it, given that Jeff dropped her from Edgehill and no one else in the city will touch her. Avery has a bit more faith in her, and also has some good news to report. Ken Inman, the music critic for the New York Times, watched the video of her Opry performance (AS IF the Opry would post that on their website). He wrote that even though Juliette is best known for her spangled hot pants and many tabloid appearances, her brave, rebellious and eye-opening Opry performance proves that she has a "deeper spring" (whatever that means) and is an artist with music worth of serious consideration and respect. Juliette has gone legit! She's not getting too excited, though, since nobody else in Nashville reads the New York Times. And every other paper is "literally" putting dirt on her grave. Maybe that's some sort of inventive protest tactic? Avery wants her to bask in the glow of good news. She wants to bask in the afterglow of banging Avery. Well, fair enough.