Reality sets in for Rayna in this week’s Nashville, which she responds to with a little Liam-approved binge-drinking. Elsewhere, Juliette has trouble modulating her newly realized authority but Scarlett has no problem speaking her mind or standing her ground… until Gunnar’s sad backstory wears a felon-brother-sized hole in her resolve. Let’s review what when down in “There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight.”
TWO-STEPPING AND TEARS | Rayna’s not doing so well since Teddy said he wants a divorce – and he twists the knife with a pre-concert call saying he wants to tell the girls the next day. It’s all a little much for the First Lady of Country Music, and she freezes onstage that night. No one in the crowd seems to notice, but Deacon notes that it’s the first time he’s ever seen her miss a musical cue. After a call from Tandy – who knows that Peggy is back in Teddy’s life but doesn’t share that info with her sister – Rayna’s just about done. Deacon notices she’s upset (but unfortunately does not try to fix things with his lips like he did last week). “I know when you’re fine. You’re not fine,” he says, and it’s statements like that that make me love him… despite the ridiculousness he starts at the end of the ep. He tells her when she’s ready to talk, he’s there.
But when she is ready, producer Liam is the one who helps Ray Ray through her rough patch. He just happens to be staying at the same hotel, and he accompanies her to a local honkytonk for booze and two-steppin’. They make nice about her firing him. She drinks too much. They flirt. Then they kiss outside his hotel room. It would’ve been easy (and cliché) to have Deacon stumble upon that moment; you get props, Nashville, for not making that happen. Instead, Rayna slips into Liam’s room for a nightcap and what I can only imagine – from the way he straddles her like she ponied up for the champagne-room special – he thinks will be his lucky night. But the bourbon and sadness are too much for Ms. Jaymes; she retires to the bathroom and has a classic drunk girl moment. Ladies, you know the steps – feel free to shout ’em out with me:
1. Stare into the mirror and try to assess exactly how far gone you are.
2. Stare harder into the mirror and try to assess how far gone a casual observer would think you are.
3. Re-apply lip gloss.
4. Think about all the terrible things in your life and how you’re likely to die alone, surrounded by cats.
5. Sob quietly into your palm.
When Liam tries to get in, she bodily stops him from opening the door (ha!), saying “It’s not pretty in here.” He eventually gains entrance, and… I think Rayna and I have wildly different definitions of “not pretty.” Her mascara is slightly smudged. That’s it. “I told you I don’t cry pretty,” she admonishes. Rayna, honey, you’re still radiant. I look more demolished when they’re all out of Kit-Kat bits at my favorite serve-yourself froyo place.
With the drunken “vacation” from her life over – without any more Liam nookie, I might add – they part as friends and kinda agree to finish the album they started together. But when Deacon sees them giving each other friendly hugs goodbye as Rayna gets ready to go home to Nashville, he immediately assumes the worst and won’t be swayed when she tells him nothing happened. Then she goes home to deliver the bad news to Maddie and Daphne. But Maddie has bad news of her own for her mom: She heard Teddy talking to Peggy on the phone and surmised that they’re seeing each other.
BARNES IN CHARGE | Juliette has big plans for the back half of the tour; after the month-long break, her set is going to include more acoustic numbers and less glitter because she is a Serious Artist. “I am a multi-million dollar industry, and it is about time that I took control of it,” she asserts. Glenn’s not down with that and basically tells the crew to ignore her. We learn that Glenn discovered her in Alabama when she was auditioning for a TV show; with her boozy mom an unreliable guardian, he’s been a father figure in her life ever since. Except, as Deacon points out, “Fathers let their kids grow up.”
The Glenn-Juliette dynamic in this episode is interesting. Glenn’s not wrong – Juliette has made some terribly rash decisions in the recent past, to her detriment. But he’s being kind of a jerk about his concern. And Juliette’s not wrong, either – as the one bringing in the cash, she has every right to make the changes she wants. But she’s being kind of a brat about her “growth.” Like when Deacon intimates that Glenn is quietly undermining her, she responds by dragging everyone out of their rooms late at night to harangue them that she’s the boss and that if Glenn doesn’t get in line, “You’ll be right back at the country fair, looking for your next teen queen.” Ouch. Is it any wonder he quits? Deacon on the whole spectacle: “Is that part of your plan to be seen as a more mature artist?” (Ha!) As he rides down to the hotel lobby with Juliette, Uncle Deke reminds her that she’s being quite mean to the people she calls her “family.” She seems to take his words to heart. (Apparently, the man does his best work in elevators.)
Back in Nashville, Juliette seems at least a little contrite. After rattling around her big, empty house for a while, she calls Jolene and asks if she wants to move in upon her release from rehab the following week. Aw.
HE AIN’T HEAVY | Gunnar’s felon brother Jason is in town and wants to crash at Scarlett and Gunnar’s place. Scarlett correctly assumes that Jason is a felon, due to the fact he’s crossed state lines while on parole, and that him staying with them is “called harboring a fugitive.” She stands firm on her “nope”… until Jason sings and plays guitar with them. Then, taking into account Gunnar’s story about their crime-filled youth, she changes her mind and she tells Gunnar his bro can stay. But neither of them know about the gun he’s got at the bottom of his bag… In other news, Watty White calls to say that Rayna is interested in possibly signing them to her new label. In other other news, Gunnar is wearing only a towel when Watty calls. (That doesn’t have any bearing on the scene. I just thought you should know.)
SHORTSIGHTED | Avery’s mad at Dominic for taking the album in a different direction and for being generally absent. Avery’s mad at Marilyn for suggesting that he hold off on selling his publishing rights until he can get a lot more than what South Circle – and its pleasant emissary, Hailey – is offering. Avery’s mad that he’s living in a motel. But above all, Avery’s mad he isn’t a big deal yet, so he accepts Hailey’s offer and receives a check for $100,000. The move is likely to be a giant mistake, but at least it puts Gunnar’s ex and Avery into close contact, and I’ve missed seeing the spunky Chloe Bennet on my screen.
Now it’s your turn. After last week, were you sad we didn’t get more Rayna-Deacon smooching in this episode? How do you think Lamar will react when he finds out about Teddy and Peggy? And how much would you like to see Hailey and Avery hook up? Sound off in the comments!