Nashville Recap: Rayna's Back, Y’all!
Rayna finds her voice in this week’s Nashville, but she may come to regret using it so forcefully against her boss – especially when other events transpire that make it likely she’ll be an Edgehill artist ‘til she dies. Elsewhere, Juliette gets into a very exclusive club, Zoey breaks a cardinal BFF rule and Will grows a beard. Let’s review what happens in “Don’t Open That Door.”
MOVIN’ ON | Scarlett runs into Deacon’s lawyer friend Megan coming out of his bedroom early one morning, followed quickly by a shirtless Mr. Claybourne. (Aw, Nashville — and I didn’t get you anything…) Scarlett has a little fun with her chagrined uncle, then flits off to Edgehill media training in advance of Luke Wheeler’s upcoming benefit concert.
At the record company, Brent and a Bitchy Blonde teach Scarlett how to give a good quote. Bitchy Blonde spouts words like “presentation” and “poised,” and she’s highly unimpressed with Scarlett’s aw-shucks Holly Hobbie shtick. An overwhelmed Scar just shrinks even further into herself and looks like she wants to hang herself with her sloppily fishtailed pigtails.
Another person unimpressed with Scarlett: Layla, who doesn’t like the fact that Will and Ms. O’Connor are so chummy. While the two young women primp for the benefit, we learn that in addition to being a reality show runner-up, Layla is a former pageant kid and a future Harvard student. A cutthroat competitor with Ivy League smarts who can make pretty feet and kill it on the SATs? Run, Scarlett. (Go ahead. Pretend you don’t get the Toddlers and Tiaras reference I shoved in there.)
Layla advises Scarlett just to be herself on the press line, a bit of wisdom that implodes spectacularly when reporters only want to talk to her about Uncle Deke’s drinking. Jeff hauls her off the red carpet and sends her home, where she and Deacon commiserate (in song, naturally) about how terrible the music business is. Still, he asserts, all of the ridiculousness is worth it when you’re out on stage, connecting with an audience. (Aww, Deacon, that’s sad in light of your trajectory – which we’ll get to in a minute.)
ZOEY AND GUNNAR DUET | Avery and Gunnar work on a boppy new song together, but Avery thinks it needs a female voice in the mix. I’m not sure exactly why, when both of them are singing falsetto, but what do I know? Plus, looking for a woman singer becomes an excuse to bring Zoey into the mix.
The three perform the Everly Brothers-esque tune at Gunnar’s place, and after Avery takes off, Zoey and Gunny flirt. (Well, she keeps calling him out on how awkward he is, and he acts like he can’t remember how to form words. Close enough.) But when he admits that he wrote the song for her, they kiss, which leads to sex on the living room floor and her sneaking off while he dozes after. We’ve all seen how awesome Scarlett is when she’s fired up about something: I can’t wait to witness her reaction to this.
DEACON’S DONE | Deacon is thinking about becoming a purveyor of guitars, now that he’s given up hope of a career in music. He turns down Juliette’s offer to rejoin the tour – even in a non-performance capacity – and makes a lot of sad, resigned comments about how his performance days are done. (Sample: “It just hurts being around music if I can’t play it.”) But when Juliette inadvertently lets him know that Rayna may have lost her singing voice for good, he beelines it to the Jaymes home to hear for himself.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he demands, both of them very upset by this turn of events. She says she’s working with a vocal therapist and she doesn’t know her prognosis. “I’m not quite sure what’s going to come out of my mouth when I open it,” she adds. I understand, Ray – the same thing happens to me after two glasses of rioja.
GOOD OLE GIRL | Will kills it at Luke Wheeler’s benefit, earning him an invite to join Juliette’s tour. Layla’s psyched he’ll be on the road with them… until she learns she has to cut 15 minutes from her set to accommodate him. But Will’s not pleased with little miss Carrie Underwood in training: He thinks she messed with Scarlett on purpose. Too bad the fans seem to think that Layla and Will make a great couple… and Jeff is on board with giving the fans what they want, Twilight-style.
Rayna takes the stage at the concert to surprise Juliette with an invitation to the Grand Ole Opry, a gesture that shocks Ms. Barnes into tearful gratefulness. She later shows up at The Bluebird because, “Y’know what the first thing that came to my mind was? I can’t wait to tell Avery,” she admits, apologizing for being such a beast to him at the Wentworths’ party. It’s really a sweet scene; I’m loving Avery and Juliette as friends. He, too, turns down her request to be the tour’s band leader, because he wants time to work on his own material. So she gives him the keys to her studio and suggests that he use it whenever he likes.
RAYNA’S RETURN | But back to Rayna – Luke puts her on the spot when he insists she sing a song with the band at the benefit. She tries to beg off, but he won’t take no for an answer. So the possibly voiceless First Lady of Country Music proceeds to choke out the first verse or so of one of her hits, looking all the while like she’s going to barf into Luke’s 10-gallon Stetson. But the audience loves having her back in her element, so everyone in the hall joins in on the chorus, and it buoys Rayna so much that she loosens up and belts out the rest of “The Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts.” Vocal victory!
After the show, Jeff and Rayna have yet another disagreement about her new album, etc. – and she ends the discussion by announcing that she’s leaving Edgehill. Too bad that just then, Bucky brings her some bad news: Thanks to Tandy’s maneuvering (which no one knows about yet), Lamar has been arrested for all of his shady dealings – and his assets, including those that were going to help Rayna buy her way out of her contract – are frozen.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? I’m not yet sure what to think of Will Chase’s Luke, aside from his dismissive take on Juliette. And how far is this Will/Layla thing going to go? Sound off in the comments.