Just putting this out there: Is it possible that Deacon and Rayna are bad parents? I mean, are they even slightly perturbed by the fact that Maddie has broken up with Colt, is all but ignoring her clinically depressed kid sister, and is suddenly spending all of her free time with her new special adult lady friend? Au contraire.
“Thank you for everything you’re doing for Maddie,” Deacon says to Cash.
“I just want to make sure that she reaches her full potential,” Cash replies, creepily.
So, of course, this is the episode where it all hits the fan. Cash just happens to mention to Maddie that back when she was a super talented and rebellious 16-year-old whose parents just didn’t understand, she used to sneak out to cafés to perform — not that she would ever suggest Maddie do such a thing. The next thing you know, Maddie and Cash are devising a plan to get Maddie to play at a bar. And you know how all sad little tweens think they’re secretly invisible? Cash and Maddie add fuel to Daphne’s “It’s like I don’t even exist!” narrative by literally making a plan right in front of her, while Daphne sinks quietly into the couch.
Later, Deacon tells Daphne to get off the couch and clean up after herself, and Daphne blurts out, “I get in trouble for every little thing and Maddie gets away with everything!” (She’s not wrong.)
Deacon does a sort of double take. “What is Maddie getting away with?” he says. Nothing gets past this guy.
Okay, we’ll return to Adventures in Irresponsible Parenting in a bit. Now, let’s discuss the Greatest Dad in the World. I am referring, of course, to Glenn.
Ugh, all of the Glenn–Juliette stuff in this episode was beyond emotional. And it just kept coming at you — in waves.
First, Juliette goes to visit Glenn to ask him to be her manager again and he throws her out, quite rudely. No, Glenn, no!
Then Juliette turns to Avery for help (aww) and, better still, he actually gives it to her (double aww), inviting Glenn to listen to an exciting new artist at the Opry.
“What did you say her name was?” Glenn asks.
“I didn’t,” Avery replies.
Cut to Juliette, on stage. Glenn is disgusted that he’s been tricked and storms out. But then Juliette says, “I want to dedicate this song to the man I always thought of as my father” — and Glenn stops in his tracks. Juliette starts to sing and Glenn makes his way to the wings of the stage and they exchange a nod and meaningful eye contact and, at this point, Juliette is tearing up, and Glenn is tearing up, and I’m tearing up, and they cut to people in the audience who are openly weeping, and I think, “Get a grip, people, you don’t even know the whole back story here!” The power of music, I guess.
Despite this super-emo scene, Glenn still isn’t sure he wants to take Juliette back as a client.
“Maybe you can just be in my life?” Juliette offers, pathetically — and this is the thing that finally breaks him.
“Maybe I can do both,” Glenn says. “I’ve missed you.” And then, finally, they hug. Best. Dad. Ever.
Meanwhile, the Exes are starting their tour with Autumn Chase who — surprise — is not quite as nice as she pretends to be. She fires a roadie right in front of the whole crew, then tries to minimize Scarlett’s contributions to the Exes’ album, and then grills Gunnar and Scarlett about their relationship like it’s her freakin’ job. (In fairness, when you name your band the Exes, people are going to ask.) Gunnar and Scarlett kind of give her a rough sketch of their relationship, trying not to get super specific, but Autumn is relentless. “Tell me how you broke up!” she demands, leaning in, not giving them much choice. I have to say, I admire this woman’s commitment to gossip. Finally, they admit that Gunnar proposed to Scarlett and she dumped him, which is probably juicier than Autumn Chase could’ve possibly hoped for. Later, Scarlett musters up the nerve to tell Autumn to stay out of her personal life, and Autumn hugs her and apologizes, but then the show does that glorious soap-opera thing where they linger on Autumn’s face and it switches from compassionate to malevolent in a blink of an eye and it’s like, uh-oh, what is her damage? (The best, most realistic thing about Autumn is that she used to date John Mayer. The worst thing is that she seems to have her eye on Gunnar. You keep your clutches off of our darling Gunnar, Autumn Chase!)
Anyway, a little more housekeeping before we get back to Maddie and Cash.
• Am I the only one who thinks it’s sweet when Layla and Will hang out?
•Will is back writing songs with Kevin, but no sooner have they exchanged an adorably blushy, “You look good,” “You too,” than Kevin gets a phone call. “Do you want the same pinot from last night?” he says into the phone. Dammit, Kevin has a new pinot-drinking boyfriend.
•Rayna spends much of this episode trying set up an impromptu tour just so Layla can be her opening act. Meanwhile, resourceful as ever, Layla has already gone to Luke, to half-cry, half-blackmail her way onto his tour. Luke agrees, giving Rayna no excuse for her tour and forcing her to admit that she just really wants to get back onstage. (The siren song of the stage is, like, the theme of this episode.) Meanwhile, Layla invites Avery to be her band leader on her tour. Crafty little minx, isn’t she?
Okay, back to Maddie. She and Cash arrive at the bar. “She’s 21 tonight,” Cash tells the bouncer. (Does that work? If so, I wasted a lot of money on fake IDs back in the day.) Maddie goes to the bar and gets hit on by a guy who looks like every boy who was a finalist on American Idol ever. (Honestly, he was like some bizarro David Cook, David Archuleta, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert mashup — or maybe I just have Idol on the brain.) Anyway, I assume he’s going to factor into the plot at some point, but tonight he just kind of lurked.
Maddie gets onstage and Cash starts taking pictures, because when you sneak a 16-year-old into a bar for an illegal performance, it’s always good to document it.
Maddie is singing one of her “adult” songs again. And once again, it is both exceedingly catchy and wildly inappropriate. Sample lyrics: “I’m a bad girl … I’m a real bad girl. I’m a sick chick … I’m a wild card.” (Actually Maddie, you’re a spoiled rich girl from Nashville who has lived a sheltered life of unbelievable privilege, but you do you.) Right around now, Deacon storms into the bar and that’s when something truly bananas happens: As Maddie sings, this random guy (not David-Allen-Cook-Archuleta-Lambert) gets this kind of pervy, trancelike look on his face and makes his way to the stage and starts groping Maddie’s leg, like he’s been hypnotized by her sexy-lady vibes. I’m sorry. I’m literally laughing as I write this because that is not a thing that happens in real life. Needless to say, this is Deacon’s cue to storm the stage and act all He-Man-like and yank Maddie off. It’s a very intense scene, with lots of yelling and flying microphone stands and chaos. Then, Deacon confronts Cash outside the bar. It has finally occurred to him that she’s a bad influence.
Miraculously, Cash thinks she’s got the moral high ground here.
“You don’t even know [Maddie]!” she yells. “Do you even understand how talented she is?”
“You need to back off,” Deacon says.
“No, I am not going to abandon her. Not when she needs me. Not now, not ever!”
“You need to stay away from my daughter or you will regret it,” Deacon hisses.
(Am I losing my mind or is Cash completely and totally in the wrong here — and possibly insane, too? If you are Team Cash please state your defense clearly and concisely in the comments. Also, never have children.)
In the final scene, some woman whom I briefly think is Cash shows up in Luke’s office. Turns out, it’s Riff’s wife, beside herself because Riff has disappeared. Oh no, not Riff! Anyone but Riff! (Hey, I tried.) Not totally sure why this was the final scene, but it somehow means that Luke will need a new co-headliner, STAT. Juliette Barnes, maybe?