Markus Keen, you walking man-bun, take a page from a philosopher known as The Rock and know your damn role.
Now, because I’m fairly certain you’re made up of 60 percent eyeliner, 30 percent questionable facial hair and only 10 percent brain matter, I will explain this to you slowly, in terms you can understand: I don’t care that Nashville is telling us you’re some kind of alt-rock god; how about you alt-er your attitude and collaborate with the producer Rayna thinks is great for you and whom, may I point out, you chose?
And honestly, your rockstar preening is tiresome, given how much actual drama takes place in this week’s episode. The probably loss of virginity! The realization of terrible error! The dissolution of marriage! (That last one stings the worst, doesn’t it?) Let’s get to it, then, and recap the events of “Stop the World (and Let Me Off).”
RUDE AWAKENING | Juliette wakes up sticky-eyed and bleary, which is She Who Shall Not Be Named’s cue to hand the star some pills. In the bathroom, Ju realizes she is on the Elvis Presley Express to Dying on a Toilet, and flushes the meds. (Side note: My feelings during this scene are simultaneously 1) impressed by Hayden Panettiere letting the show’s make-up team make her look so strung-out and 2) bummed about what a tough time she’s having in real life with this stuff.)
Juliette gets a little lift from Maddie, who has accompanied Colt and Luke to Georgia for the Atlanta stop on the tour. Maddie is freaking because she kinda does/kinda doesn’t want to have sex with Colt, so she finds Ju backstage and admits she sometimes wonders: “What would Juliette do to make herself feel better?” Sorry, Mads, but I don’t think “vodka and sobbing” is the route you wanna go.
Ju tries to be helpful, bringing Maddie out on stage to sing “Telescope” with her. I know I’m supposed to think that Juliette is being irresponsible and all, but I’m just so psyched that we’re hearing some Season 1 J-Barnes girl-pop that I’m going to overlook it. Unfortunately, Luke’s eyes Luke’s eyes Luke’s eyes are like a telescope — and he sees all and reads Ju the riot act later. Don’t play mama to Rayna’s daughter, he warns her, “just because you’ve abandoned your own.” Juju, you’ve been wheelin’ dealin’ SERVED.
Oh, and while you both were having that little interaction? Maddie and Colt probably had very unsatisfying first-time sex in a tour bus. Quick question: To whom must I pray in order to avoid a teen-pregnancy storyline?
CLOSURE | Rayna urges Deacon to go help Scarlett clean out Beverly’s place in Natchez, Miss., and he does. Everything about their tenure there is sad, from the way they’re still so mean to each other at first to Scarlett getting leave-your-purse-at-the-bar drunk to Deacon finally apologizing to his niece for being so hurtful. He adds that he realizes she made the right choice in taking her mom off life support. “I’m just sorry I wasn’t strong enough to make it with you. I’m sorry I wasn’t there,” he says, and I hope those ugly couch cushions of Bev’s double as flotation devices, because now Deke and Scar are hugging and crying and it is getting soggy in there fast.
BAD TIMES FOR THE BARNES-BARKLEYS | Speaking of road trips, Will and Kevin hit the highway to hear Luke’s first performance of sing a song they wrote, and Gunnar comes along for fun. Gunny unlocks a new level of dorkiness in this hour and I’ve gotta say: I really enjoy it. First, he thinks he has a “spark” with Emily at the house, but Will shoots that idea down hard: Dating your roommate’s nanny is almost as bad an idea as dating your own nanny. Then, while trying to introduce himself to a lovely guitar tech backstage at the concert, Gunnar inadvertently blurts out that he and Will once kissed. (Side note: Kevin’s reaction is amazing.)
When Juliette sees Gunnar, she demands intel on Avery, but he can’t figure out why she wants it when she didn’t care that Cadence was in the hospital the night before. In that moment, Ju comes to terms with the fact that she’s surrounded herself with asshats, and confronts BFFdemort about the previous evening’s call. “Are you the stupidest person alive?” Ms. Barnes asks her new assistant (Ha! And also: Yes!) just before she fires her — and also terminates the employment of Gunnar’s guitar tech, just because she happened to be in the room and snickered. So guitar tech lady literally runs to Gunnar, grabs him by the belt buckle and pulls him into an empty room… earning her a ride back to Nashville with Gunny and the guys.
And Juliette? She jumps on her jet and rushes back to Music City, where she’s so happy to see Avery (whom she sent a tentative — and unreturned — text earlier in the episode). But after a day of waiting on Markus’ undisciplined butt, only to get fired three notes into trying to produce him, Avery is done. He’s signed the divorce papers and he’s offering a deal: Juliette can spin the story any way she wants, but he needs her to terminate her parental rights to Cadence. “I can’t have her grow up thinking she can depend on her mother when we both know she can’t,” he says, dry-eyed, giving her his lawyer’s card and 24 hours to make it so. Man, the way Ju tries to physically keep her hold on him — and the way that desire is not returned — for most of this scene is tough to watch. Nice work on both Panettiere’s and Jonathan Jackson’s parts.
BACK-TO-BACK BRATS | Also landing in Nashville, right about now: Maddie, who is back to being the worst after a brief respite of acting like a normal human person. Rayna is highly displeased that the teen directly disobeyed the rules and got up on stage to perform, and she’s apoplectic that Maddie thinks Juliette is a role model.
It’s too bad, too; the rest of Rayna’s day was spent shepherding an initially pissy Layla through writing a song about Jeff… who seems to want to be CEO of Luke’s brand or something corporate-speaky like that. But is he as willing to abandon Ms. Grant as he makes it seem?
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!