So Rayna and Luke (Layna, “not Ruke”) are indeed getting married, although even at this stage it looks as if it’s going to be kicked into the long grass in order to allow something to get in the way. For now, though, Rayna has the joy of having her wedding day picked out by Luke’s management team using a spreadsheet. It’s just so romantic.
Still, I suppose it’s the sort of romance that poor Juliette would kill for right now: suffering through morning sickness, unable to perform on stage – the saintly Glenn thinks she’s on drugs – she nonetheless pulls herself together for long enough to act up a storm in a ‘Cline!’ reading with her new co-star (Derek Hough), who inevitably makes a move on her, but is at least gentlemanly when he gets the brush-off.
What this episode is really notable for, though, is the frequency with which its male characters get hit on, although in each case you can kind of see why they might be giving off the appropriate vibes. Gunnar – who is looking so over Zoey, and who has yet to acknowledge that he and Scarlett are MFEO – runs into his first love Kiley, who is in town for some reason or other. (And who, inevitably, is hot.) Avery is in a perpetual state of drunkenness and entanglement in the arms of some or other (hot) chick. Even Mayor Teddy gets hit on by a (hot) woman in a (singles?) bar, although he declines. (Is he still Mayor? I forget.) And hat dude, inevitably, hooks up with his (hot) “personal trainer”, leaving poor Layla to blackmail The Man: unless he makes her a star, she’s going to out her husband.
Deacon’s is a bit of an odd one, though. Having burned through the hot vet and the hot attorney in previous seasons, he’s never alone for long, and while being forced to put up with Layna’s PDAs he’s snared by one of Luke’s backing singers pretty much the moment she sees him, and she just keeps on going until he yields. Now, I don’t want to suggest that a sexually empowered woman with agency is anything other than just that. But she does seem very… determined?
Scarlett’s out of all this: she’s writing for – hell, I don’t know, some kind of songwriting workshop? Anyway the startled look on her face when she’s asked to write “something fun” is priceless. But later on she’s much, much nicer to Older Girl than the latter in any way deserves. No-one’s hitting on Scarlett, though.
The episode ends strongly when Juliette – out of options about who she can talk to – turns up on Rayna’s doorstep. It’s a salutary reminder that the Rayna/Juliette axis was central to Nashville when it started: once rivals, they’re now in the position where, perhaps, they understand each other better than anyone else does. Preposterous but fun; the show could, though, benefit from a good song or two. The two big set-piece numbers this week, from Luke and Avery, are both rubbish.