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Nashville Recap: The Gig Is Up

This week on Nashville, a lot of the plot anvils we saw coming from a mile away finally landed square-on. So Megan and Teddy did sleep together — after Teddy found out that Peggy had faked her pregnancy — in the backseat of Megan’s car, with Teddy then doing the walk of shame back to City Hall. And Juliette finally (finally!) joined Rayna’s label, but not before asking Rayna if she respected her. “In what context?” Rayna replied. (Snort). And Scarlett is The Yellow King. (Wait … wrong show.)

I was kind of hoping that Will would tell Layla he was gay, but hey, not all dangling plots can be resolved in a day. And maybe Layla’s better off not knowing. After all, Will is hot, super supportive, and likes to cuddle while shirtless. Frankly, he’s a better boyfriend than most straight men I’ve dated. (Okay, he does have that one problem ... )

Other couples having sexual problems? Rayna and Luke. Not because he’s secretly thinking of Brent, but because of the life-size paintings of Maddie and Daphne looming over the bed. (No matter where you go in the room, they’re looking at you!) I loved this scene so hard, because those paintings have been there all along. It wasn’t creepy when it was Teddy and Rayna’s master bedroom (okay, it was slightly creepy), but it stands to reason that the new boyfriend would be all, “Oh, hell no.” Nice consistency, show.

Rayna seems better this week — at least she’s not throwing glasses and having diva meltdowns. But she’s still bitter, self-righteous, and determined not to let anyone abuse her trust again. Enter Liam and Scarlett, doing their version of the pottery scene from Ghost, except on a piano bench. Rayna walks in on them and is not happy. “You’re going to break her heart,” she tells Liam. “Not necessarily ...” he replies. “You are going to break her heart,” Rayna repeats. Translation: This isn’t a prediction, it’s an order. So she sends Liam packing.

I have to say, every time Liam leaves Nashville, I get a little twitchy, because it seems like actor Michiel Huisman is on all the shows. (Did you hear that, on top of Game of Thrones, he just got cast in Orphan Black? 'Tis true.) Come back to us, Liam! But if this was his final episode, at least for a while, he went out in true Liam fashion, upping the ante on his sexy scarf with a sexy hat, standing in the street as steam (sexily) came out his mouth, and (sexily) saying to Scarlett, “I’ll see you on down the road.” Liamtastic!

Speaking of sexy (raise your hand if you knew this was a Deacon Claybourne transition), our troubled troubadour is hitting the road, rife with its many temptations. After a good set, the bartender slides Deacon a drink on the house. He asks for a bucket of ice instead. (Has he traded an addiction to alcohol for a bizarre ice-cube fetish? No, it’s just to soak his aching wrist.) There are swinging after-parties in hotel rooms, also clearly to be avoided. He calls Megan, just hoping to hear a friendly voice, but she’s distracted with important lawyer stuff. “I love you,” he says. “I ... love you, too,” she says, as we all rewind that scene over and over, send it down to the lab for analysis, and determine that yes, there was a 0.3-second hesitation in her reply, and a half-tone raise of her voice, indicating uncertainty.

So Deacon goes to an AA meeting — supposedly a temptation-free environment — and wouldn’t you know it? He runs into an old friend there and she’s got a fever and the only prescription is more Deacon. Seriously, this woman is all up in his junk. First she tells Deacon she regrets not having kids. “It’s not too late,” he says. “Maybe not. Wanna try?” she asks. (Because hey, what’s sexier than the biological clock?) Later, he does this adorable water-spitting thing in her car and jokes, “You can’t take me anywhere.” “I can try,” she says. (Please. Make it stop.) Finally, she decides she’s being too “subtle” and just point-blank asks him to come home with her and he says he has a serious girlfriend — yes, the same one who is shtupping the mayor of Nashville in the backseat of her car as we speak.

When Megan and Teddy finally got it on, I pumped my fist, not because I was super stoked to see a sex scene between them (please) but because we were finally going to be rid of Megan. But damned if I didn’t actually feel bad for Deacon when he got home from the road, all happy to see her, loyal as a Golden Retriever. How dare she cheat on my boy? Wait! [Slaps self] I want her to cheat on my boy. Conflicted, my emotions are.

Not conflicted? The heads of record labels, who all seem to want Juliette now that that Avery’s favorite publication, the New York Times, has praised her. She’s fielding offers left and right, but all from pop labels and she wants to stay true to her country roots. Now, suddenly (and inexplicably), Edgehill wants her back, too, so Jeff sends a $10,000 bottle of Champagne over to her table at a restaurant. (I am so sheltered because I literally didn’t know they even made $10,000 bottles of Champagne and now I have a new entry to my Bucket List. Okay, it’s the only entry on my Bucket List.) Avery wants to send the bottle back, but Juliette is all, I have a better idea. And then she takes the bottle, slams it down hard on Jeff’s table, and it kind of explodes in his face. You will never be this fabulous. Don’t even bother to try.

Meanwhile, Avery is feeling a tad inadequate, like he just now realized that his new girlfriend is rich and famous and he’s not. He and the Scarlett Exes are about to have their first gig, but Gunnar is being all Mr. Bossypants and Avery doesn’t like that.  All of this stuff — Avery feeling emasculated; Gunnar being a control freak — is contrived to create some bogus tension in this episode. (Avery even briefly slams Gunnar against a wall, although it’s a low-impact wall slamming). But at least Zoey gets to say: “Can we at least get through one gig without having a huge band fight and breaking up?” But then the band gets on stage and, despite having only had one rehearsal, they are magical.

A few thoughts on their gig: Gunnar plays harmonica? Is that really Jonathan Jackson (a.k.a. Avery) on guitar, because the boy can shred. Did you ever notice that, on Nashville, bands always hilariously put on perfect shows with little or no rehearsal and also acquire convenient backup musicians as needed? The only thing missing from this gig was Scarlett’s face pressed up against the window, but she was probably just there and it was off-camera or something.

Next week — huzzah! — Rayna and Juliette finally begin working together at Highway 69 65 and immediately start to get on each other’s nerves! I really do think that the relationship between Rayna and Juliette is the heart and soul of the show and I’m always happiest when they’re doing that mother/daughter/rival/ally/enemy/frenemy thing they do so well. (Loved that the “Previously on Nashville” this week featured a scene from episode one. Can you have nostalgia for a show that isn’t even two seasons old? Also: Nice hair, Juliette.) Can’t wait to get the old band back together, so to speak.

Photo: Mark Levine/ABC