That awkward moment when you’re just trying to get your daughter out of her ironclad recording contract and you end up vanquishing your enemy and taking down an entire music label instead. Oops. I love when that happens.
Yep, Rayna is celebrating. Not because Edgehill is dead (she actually feels kind of bad about that). And not because she got Jeff fired (okay, maybe a little because she got Jeff fired). But because she’s promoting Bucky to head of A&R. She pops the Champagne cork with one hand like a boss (seriously, when I do it it involves towels, protective eyewear, and sirens to clear the surrounding area) and lays out the new normal to Bucky: Edgehill artists are ripe for the taking. The key is going after the artists who are Highway 65–worthy. First order of business: Will Lexington.
As for Will, he’s giving a radio interview with a DJ who is quite literally the worst human being on the planet. After he good-naturedly complains that he doesn’t like getting up this early because “I’m more of a night owl,” she excitedly trills, “A newly single night owl!” — because what’s more fun and sexy than a guy who left his wife a few days ago? “Tell us about your love life!” she continues flirtatiously. Lady, seriously — get help.
Anyway, Will goes home, grousing to Gunnar about Gunnar’s horrible new facial hair — oh, no, wait, that was me. Actually, Will grouses about the fact that Edgehill has folded and he hasn’t received a single phone call all morning. Then he looks down sheepishly at his phone, Joey Tribbiani–style.
“Oh, crap. My phone was on silent. I’ve got ten messages!” Forgive me, dear readers, I laughed.
As Will starts doing the rounds, Jeff is already in full hustle mode. Layla reminds him that all the Edgehill artists own their own demos and he goes straight to Edgehill’s biggest dog, Luke “I Like Big Puns That Involve My Last Name and I Cannot Lie” Wheeler.
Jeff makes his pitch: With Luke’s name brand and Jeff’s industry savvy, they can start their own label and take down all comers. “You will be the name, the brand, the final word,” Jeff says, appealing to Luke’s aircraft-hangar-size ego (nobody ever said Jeff was an idiot — they said that about Teddy). Luke decides to think it over.
Then he bumps into Rayna in the elevator (because they use the same law firm? Cool coincidence, bro). I, frankly, prefer my Nashville elevator scenes to involve hot make-out sessions between Deacon and Rayna, but this one will have to do. Basically, they’re doing that thing where they pretend to be talking about one thing (Edgehill’s demise) when they’re actually talking about something else (their relationship’s demise).
“What’s done is done,” Rayna says, insisting she actually has fond memories of Edgehill (read: her relationship with Luke).
“Bet you never looked back once,” Luke says pointedly, of Edgehill (read: their wedding).
She gives him a slightly piteous look: “I hope you land someplace you love.” (Read: far away from me).
And with that, Luke calls up Jeff and makes plans to launch — wait for it — Wheeling Dealing Records. (Get it? Because Wheels? [Shoots self.])
The first person they go after is Will, who, after consulting with Deacon, decides it is indeed better to go with the “devil you know.” (Not sure how Rayna is going to feel when she finds out that it was Deacon who advised Will to sign with her competitor.) Jeff tries to convince Luke to sign Layla, but he wants no part of it. In fact, after chatting up some industry insiders, Luke decides he wants no part of Jeff, either. He fires him.
“But I’m the one who knows how to run a label!” Jeff protests, a bit of desperation creeping into his voice. “Hell, man, this was my idea!”
“And it was a good one,” Luke says with his patented brand of incongruous bonhomie while he’s stabbing you in the back. “I’m just sorry I can’t have you be a part of it.”
Oh, buuuurn. Jeff Fordham fired two times in three days! I don’t think I’ve ever loved Luke’s horrible, disloyal, self-centered ways more. As for Jeff, he rebounds (sort of), by deciding to become Layla’s manager right after she signs with Highway 65! Oh, that should go well.
Meanwhile, in this week’s installment of Hayden’s Contractually Obligated Five Minutes of Airtime™, Juliette is doing some sort of photo shoot for Vogue magazine with a photographer who keeps calling her “babe” — and she wants no part of it.
“Look babe, what can I do to make you feel better here?” the photographer says.
“You can stop calling me 'babe,'” Juliette says, thus getting Hayden’s Contractually Obligated Sassy Quip of the Show™ out of the way, too.
Later she goes home and, I shit you not, talks to Avery through a door. Um, any theories on what’s going on here? Like, did Hayden arrive on set and the hair and makeup people took one look at her, screamed, and said, “Quick! Get behind this door!”? Or do you think Hayden literally phoned that scene in? (If so, impressive muffled “behind the door” sound-effects, Nashville sound crew.) Either way, I think we can officially say we have reached Peak Pregnant Hayden on Nashville. In all fairness, Juliette and Avery do have a cute moment later on the couch where they’re actually face to face (unless it’s some sort of really good Juliette hologram) and they look at the photographs (she went with a kind of “Demi Moore pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair” vibe), and Avery tells her how beautiful she is, and they even kiss. Hell, at this point, I’ll take what I can get.
Elsewhere: Sadie comes clean to Rayna about Pete and they settle out of court, which gives Rayna another opportunity to emasculate a horrible little man in a boardroom. (Is this going to become a weekly thing? Not complaining here.) First, she accuses Pete of only having “two inches” (ouch). And then she goes all Liam Neeson on his ass, saying that if he goes near Sadie again, “I will make it my mission to ruin you. And unlike you, I actually have the power to do it.” (Because she has a particular set of skills?) Then she hands him a mug labeled “Male Tears” and stomps out. (Not really on that last part, but basically …)
Deacon’s “hunkologist” tells him and Scarlett that there’s a clinical trial he can take part in, but it would mean removing his name from the donor list. From there, I actually feared we were going to yet another episode of Deacon moping around the house while Scarlett hovered protectively (those are fun!), but thankfully, they go their separate ways. First, Scarlett flirts with the hunkologist, and it goes a little something like this: “Roses are red. Violets are blue. I’m not a donor candidate. Can I date you?” He says yes, needless to say.
Deacon does some studio work for Sadie’s record and gets insanely attached to the idea of using a slide guitar (spoiler alert: It’s not actually about the guitar) and is mean to Avery but later apologizes. Then he decides to forgo the clinical trial because how can we have all the exciting drama of Maddie being a donor match if he’s off doing some stupid clinical trial? Smart move, Deacon.
Scarlett and Gunnar have a sweet reunion, and she cries on his shoulder (without telling him exactly why she’s so upset) and they spontaneously decide to reform SAG. Now, I’m never one to complain about a musical performance on Nashville, especially one involving the unstoppable cuteness that is SAG, but did anyone else find their reunion a bit … inorganic? It was kind of like Gunnar says, “Oh, hi, you and I are really depressed and Avery is super busy producing Sadie’s album, but we all seem to have five spare minutes, so let’s randomly perform a brand-new, incongruously happy song without any rehearsal?” And Scarlett is all, “Brilliant!” But whatever. The song was good.
The other major development of the show involves a paranoid Teddy who decides it’s a good idea to go visit “Natasha Bennington” (seriously? how did he not know that she was a hooker?) and remind her not to breathe a word about their “relationship” to a soul. She says she won’t — but tell that to the federal agents who are recording their whole conversation down by the river in a van! Oh, Teddy.