Frustrated at being put on a short leash and having to show up at events such as charity fundraisers at the zoo, Juliette regains her super bitchy ways. When Makena sets her up on a date with goody two-shoes quarterback Sean Butler, Juliette quickly moves from criticizing his football abilities to whisking him off to Miami in her private jet. En route they have a little "Black Mascara Tears" singalong, which makes her like him a whole lot more. Once in Miami, Sean remains a teetotaler but dances with Juliette, and also defends her honor to a rather aggressive paparazzo. But in the paparazzo's pictures, Sean comes off looking drunk and violent. Miraculously, Juliette's decent side emerges and she buys the photos before they can be sold, and agrees to go out -- or, because this guy is goody goody for real, "go in" -- with him. I will add that it's awfully nice to see her with someone of her own age.
Meanwhile, Rayna is intent on writing all the material on her new album and pursuing an edgier, more current sound. She seeks out hotshot rock star producer Liam McGuinnis, who first blows her off in the rudest manner possible, but eventually gives her another chance when she calls him out on some of his shit and also impresses him with her thorough Liam McGuinnis knowledge. She's ready to blow up the box, and Liam uses whiskey to get her to a late-night box-blowing point. And…that sounds kind of dirty. It totally wasn't, though! A friend captured some video of Rayna recording "Buried Under" with Liam, and he says it was electric. Basically, Rayna is making her Wrecking Ball. Or at least she's trying to. She plays the McGuinnis-produced track for Marshall, who has personal beef with Liam and tells her the label doesn't work with him. In turn, Rayna tells Marshall that this is where she's going, so he'd better get on board.
In campaign news, Teddy is still down in the polls and reluctantly agrees to a scheme -- dreamt up by Lamar, of course -- in which the police pull Cole over for a traffic violation in route to a "Clean Campaign Pledge" event (irony!), so Teddy can make a big stink about how he never showed up. This bit of trickery goes better/worse than planned (depending on your perspective), when the police find the bottle of Oxycontin surrendered by Deacon (and originally belonging to Jolene) in Cole's car. I would argue that finding a bottle of Oxy is superior to finding a casserole dish of pink macaroni. In any case, a shitshow ensues. Cole defends his honor and his sobriety, and releases blood tests to the public. He also shows some real integrity when he is presented with incriminating-looking photos of Teddy and Peggy, snapped while they were having actually-incriminating conversations about their past embezzlement. While Cole thinks that Rayna would never forgive him for using the photos, his wife says that he owes the Jaymes/Conrad/Wyatt dynasty absolutely nothing.
And then there's the young folk. Avery is approached by manager Marilyn Rhodes, who sees something special in him. Namely, a working penis. Though Avery is wary at first, after his band loses a high-profile gig he does agree to meet with her. At night. In her apartment. Deacon knows a thing or two about Marilyn, who uses a version of the old casting couch to choose her clients. He tells her to stay away from Avery, and then has to tell Scarlett why. When Marilyn puts the moves on Avery, he makes out with her a little, but then leaves because he can't bear to cheat on Scarlett. (And also Marilyn is kind of nasty.) Avery's last-minute virtue does not impress Scarlett, however, and she breaks up with him on the sole principle that he went to a creepy predator's lair in the first place, fully knowing what he was getting into. She leaves him, and then he gets to go and bang Marilyn for real. If he actually gets work out of it, I'd call that a silver lining.
Previously: Juliette stole a bottle of nail polish and a few fans captured it on camera, putting her entire team into a serious PR tailspin. We discovered that Teddy and Peggy's relationship was one of co-embezzlers, though she apparently wanted it to be that of romantically entangled co-embezzlers. And their habit of setting up clandestine meetings in out of the way public settings caught up with them as someone with a serious zoom lens took several incriminating photos. Meanwhile, Rayna tried her hand at solo writing to great success, and Deacon spent a night in jail after a fistfight with a Bluebird heckler. He also surrendered a bottle of Oxy (taken from Juliette's mom, of course) to his sponsor, Cole, without having taken any. It sure sounds like he thought about it, though.
We enter with an event at the zoo. The literal zoo. The camera pans down to Juliette who, with a giant fake smile, turns to Makena and says that she doesn't understand how this is supposed to help her public image. I mean, furry critters, duh. Though I suppose if that's all it takes, she could just go hang out with Scarlett and call it community service. Makena notes that there are studies showing that people care about animals more than they do about reality TV starlets or the poor. She says that like it's a bad thing! Juliette hopes this is the last dumb PR thing she has to do, and points out that Makena hasn't let her have any fun in three weeks. Three whole weeks! What a tortured life she leads. Juliette appears not to be so much of an animal enthusiast, and says if any of the adorable baby critters take a crap on her head, she'll be very upset. Maybe it would actually make her hair look better though?
The event announcer welcomes special guest Sean "Tim Tebow" Butler, and Juliette reluctantly claps. Sean, who is a rookie NFL quarterback, talks about how his grandma took him to the zoo every Saturday... or at least every Saturday until Pop Warner football started. Juliette can't believe what a square this guy is, and glares at him like he's a reincarnated Osmond. She thinks he must be doing something to rehabilitate his image, too, but it turns out he's just a nice guy and this it's his fundraiser. Sean comes over to introduce himself to Juliette, and foists a baby marsupial on her while he's at it. As it climbs on her head and flashbulbs start going off, Juliette does not appear to be amused. I do think it's just trying to adjust her weave, though.