As you may recall from the last episode ONE MONTH AGO, Deacon now has a puppy, given to him as a birthday present from Juliette. Despite his annual viewings of Old Yeller, Deacon has no idea how dogs actually work, so thinks his is defective. He heads to the puppy doctor, where he meets a sassy veterinarian who is a recent transplant to Nashville and also hates country music. He summarily bones her and is ready to forget about her until Cole suggests that he stop being strung out on Rayna Jaymes and go on a real date already. Despite the fact that she doesn't get why he'd name his male dog "Sue," Deacon asks the vet out again and she agrees. I'm sure this will go over great with all parties on the "Red Lips White Lies" tour.
Meanwhile, Juliette is still devoid of a manager and isn't thrilled with the traditional rollout her label has planned for her new album. She courts the cutting edge by tweeting info for what was supposed to be a 50-person fan club concert out to her entire following. Deacon isn't so into the throngs of children who show up to the venue, but Juliette thinks it's exciting. Until, that is, the crowd starts to push and shove and poor Maddie -- yes, THAT Maddie! -- gets hit on the head by some falling shelves. Young Maddie has manipulated her confused, divorcing parents into thinking she went to a friend's house to do homework, so they are quite concerned to find her in the hospital, escorted by Deacon. She's totally fine though. Juliette is NOT so fine when Rayna calls her up and gives her hell for hurting people around her all the time and never taking responsibility. This prompts Juliette to pay the medical bills for all the fans who got crushed at the show, and also invite Jolene AND her sober coach to come on tour, implicitly agreeing to actually partake in family therapy.
Speaking of Rayna, she and Teddy are going at it like Kramer and Kramer, and she finally takes off her wedding ring after asking him not to bone Peggy in their house. The two of them have worked out a schedule with the kids, which is obviously going really well given how he allowed Maddie to get concussed at a concert on his watch. Teddy was obviously too busy announcing Cole as his Deputy Mayor and foiling Lamar to really keep a close eye on the whereabouts of his eldest. Despite their ad hoc custody arrangement, Rayna turns up at the house after Maddie's incident to introduce the notion that sometimes kids need both of their parents, even when said parents are divorcing. She gives Maddie the first guitar she ever learned to play, which was given to her by her mom, and suggests she start channeling pain into song. Rayna also lets Maddie know that she's grounded for life, then goes on the Katie Couric show to talk about the divorce.
Gunnar and Scarlett are VERY dramatic this episode, with both of them claiming that their boning doesn't have to mean anything and/or is a mistake, and Gunnar being very upset about Jason's death. He won't talk about it to Scarlett, but does freak out when he learns that the Nashville PD aren't taking Jason's case very seriously. Instead of turning up at their showcase for Rayna and Marshall, in hopes of Rayna signing them to her label, Gunnar drowns his sorrows in wine spritzers. Scarlett has to perform by herself, and even though she's lip syncing poorly (and Rayna has to rush out in the middle of the performance to tend to Maddie), she pulls it off. Of course then she has to round up Deacon to help her talk Gunnar out of trying to kill the dude who killed Jason. Not that hard, since Gunnar doesn't even know who that guy is. We finally learn the story of Deacon and Vince, the best friend who drove drunk and hit a tree and caused Deacon to ruin his own life from the guilt of it all. The tale of Vince is enough to convince Gunnar and Scarlett to bone again, and things seem like they're on track for these two scraggly-headed lovebirds UNTIL Scarlett gets a call saying that Rayna wants to sign her as a solo artist. Whoops.
And then there's Avery. He's not so into the "East Nashville meets dubstep" sound that Domino has forced him into, but Dominic rightly points out that he now owns Avery and can do what he wants with his music. Avery in turn steals his masters and lights them on fire! He signs over the remainder of his publishing advance (minus one bus ticket back to Nashville) to cover the cost, and dumps Marilyn in the process. Though Domino claims he'll now be dead in the industry, Avery feels more alive than he has in months and sings a sad song at the Bluebird to celebrate.
Previously on Nashville: Rayna was interested in potentially signing Scarlett and Gunnar to her new label. They hugged in joy, but his penis didn't fall into her ladyparts just yet. Nay, that occurred after Gunnar learned that his ne'er-do-well brother, Jason, had been murdered. Scarlett totally boned Gunnar to convince him that it wasn't his fault that Jason died, even though it kind of WAS since Gunnar threw Jason's gun into the river, leaving him defenseless against Texan thugs. News of Rayna and Teddy's divorce hit the tabloids, and Maddie started the age-old process of hating both her parents. Avery was unsure of his path to success, while Jolene fell off the wagon. Thank goodness bang-able addiction counselor Dante was around to offer help to the whole family. OH, and Teddy asked Cole to be his deputy mayor, in a move that's going to be sure to cause some mustachio-twisting on Lamar's part. In other news, it has been a LONG TIME since the last episode!
We open at Deacon's house, where he's strumming an acoustic version of "Love Like Mine." Is he practicing, you may ask, for his job as Juliette's bandleader? No, in fact he's serenading...his new puppy! But Young Yeller is not impressed by the greatest hits of Juliette Barnes (which apparently come at the end of "every damn song I know"), and runs off to be restless and bark and sniff stuff. Deacon, who apparently has never been near an actual dog, wonders what Young Yeller's problem is, given that he's already eaten and peed all over the house. He calls the animal hospital asking for an appointment, for the reason that someone gave him a defective dog. Isn't it funny how everyone on this show is just a little dumber than we thought? Take the puppy for a walk, you idiot!
Meanwhile, in post-coital griefville, Gunnar and Scarlett wake up, both looking tortured. Gunnar claims he's fine, though Scarlett doesn't understand how he could be. She offers to call Bucky and reschedule the meeting with Rayna and Marshall. Gunnar is all, "Why would you do that?" See? Dumber than we thought. Scarlett thinks he shouldn't have to deal with record company shenanigans on the morning after he had to ID his dead brother's body, but Gunnar reiterates that he's fine. Before the meeting, though, he has a couple of things he has to do. You know, things that fine people do, like disappear for hours on end. Scarlett wants to help, and in turn Gunnar tells her that they slept together and "it doesn't have to mean anything." Grief sex: it's not ideal. In other news, Scarlett's post-sex hair looks slightly less scraggly than her everyday hair! Victory!