With Juliette no longer either really pregnant or faux-pregnant there’s nothing to stop her from going back to her old ways, and this week the diva returns in style. Admittedly she’s tired, and finding it difficult to balance looking after Cadence while writing some additional music for ‘Cline!’, which all of a sudden is a thing again, as if someone in the writers’ room found an old Post-it on a board on the wall. Deacon pops round to try and write with her, but they get nowhere. (BTW, do either Rayna or Avery know that Juli shagged Deacon way back in season 1?) Avery can’t help, because he’s on the road with the band, so Juliette hires a nanny and effs off. Even the saintly Avery raises an eyebrow at that.
Mind you, Avery’s had a lot to put up with in the workplace as well, as the Triple Xs are interviewed by a dude from Pitchfork who’s more interested in Gunnlett than the music. Now, I’m the sort of pretentious, ageing would-be hipster at whom Pitchfork is aimed, so I can say with some certainty that it would disdain that line of enquiry. Anyway, the band pulls it round with a later performance which impresses Pitchfork dude, but Avery announces that he’s leaving in order to spend more time with his family.
Although it must, at the moment, generally be a bit of a pisser being around Gunnar and Scarlett as well: as you know, I’m a huge Gunnar fan, but is he not, what with all the whining about Scarlett, being – to borrow a phrase from Scandal – a bit of a little bitch-baby? There’s a risible moment when he and Will offer relationship advice to each other – two people less-suited to providing romantic counselling it wold be difficult to imagine – but at least Will actually does something with Kevin, rather than saying nothing while he’s single, then making a move once he’s in a relationship. Come on, Gunnar.
The most remarkable development in the whole episode, though, is the way in which Luke has become the most likeable person in Nashville, and is well on the way to becoming the nicest dude on the planet. This week he reacts with restraint and dignity when Rayna gets all bent out of shape about Older Girl dating Colt, but that’s just a warm up for the way he handles Deacon, who thinks it’s probably time to tell Luke that he has cancer. This is a genuinely touching scene. In fact, Luke has been so generally decent over the last few weeks that I’m entirely re-evaluating his relationship with Rayna: behaviour which I wrote off as controlling can now, with the benefit of hindsight, be mitigated a little in the light of Luke being in love with a woman who was, and is, plainly in love with someone else.
Even Jeff this week isn’t… too bad? He’s still working hard to promote Layla, this week getting her a support slot on the bill of visiting pop megastar Jade St. John (Christina Aguilera). This causes him some personal discomfort, because he was at one time engaged to St. John, who might or might not have broken his heart. He has a squabble with Rayna when she finds out that he’s Layla’s manager, but I can’t really get worked up about it.
And the noose is tightening around Mayor Teddy. He’s managed to get his slush fund set up, but to make it look minimally plausible he has to pose with a shovel on the building site for the Natasha The Hooker Music Academy. That taken care of, he can then hand a bag stuffed with money to Natasha – no, dude, an electronic transfer of funds simply won’t do – but he makes the beginner’s mistake of failing to check if she’s wearing a wire. Has he never watched TV? Great fun.