Beverly’s funeral, then – make sure that coffin lid is nailed down tight, y’all – and everyone’s trying to persuade themselves that she wasn’t utterly loathsome. Particularly Deacon, who is putting a lot of effort into making it clear to everyone that he feels the pain more acutely than anyone else ever could. (His treatment of Scarlett, both here and later, is thoroughly contemptible.) He’s unable to finish reading his eulogy, such is his distress, although there’s at least one moment of unconscious comedy, when he refers to Beverly’s “big, big heart”. I suppose, dude, but if you’re going to comment on any of her internal organs maybe start with the liver? Also Zoey’s turned up, ostensibly to support Scarlett but really to tell Gunnar that she’s getting it elsewhere.
So, with Deacon brooding and hovering round bars again Rayna might well be starting to think that, after several decades of pining for him, she should perhaps be careful what she wished for. But she doesn’t have time for that yet; her new high-maintenance signing Markus Keen is in town and, uh, keen to get started. Rayna introduces both Markus and Layla at the Grand Ol’ Opry, with Markus proving to be remarkably adept at hogging the limelight at Layla’s expense. Once again, poor Layla just can’t get a break: on top of everything else, boyfriend Jeff is in town. It’s worth saying again that I can never quite decide if Jeff is pure evil or a little more nuanced than that; he’s actually pretty good to Layla this week, for example, up to and including his public affirmation of their relationship.
Markus needs a producer, and Avery successfully pitches himself. Which is undoubtedly the highpoint of Avery’s week: he, Cadence, and Emily take themselves off to the park, where they’re papped looking for all the world like a little family. Particularly when Emily puts an affectionate hand – told you, Avery, don’t miss this open goal – on Avery’s. Well, they’re all over the tabloids, much to Juliette’s irrational fury, and she phones Emily to tell her that she’s a “gold-digging backstabbing whore”. Ooh, burn.
Fortunately for Avery – if not, initially, for Cadence – Juliette gets an opportunity to prove her own commitment to the Barkley-Barnes family unit when Cadence is hospitalised with a startlingly high temperature and Juliette is uncontactable, lying on a hotel bed whacked out of her gourd. Because Juliette, while being followed by an unsuspecting journo who clearly missed Investigative Reporting 101, has found herself a Doctor Robert prepared to supply her with some deliciously moreish uppers, downers, and anything else she needs. So, Avery. Time to move on? *ahem Emily ahem*
Amazingly enough, though, that isn’t the worst thing a doctor does this week, because Dr Yoko is frustrated by his inability to communicate with Scarlett and let her know that he’s There For Her. How better to get through to her, then, than in a language she understands: the medium of song, ideally in the country idiom? Thing is, he can’t write a song, because he’s Dr Yoko. But he knows a man who can… enter Gunnar as Cyrano de Nashville, if you will, who “helps” Dr Yoko get his “song” completed. It’s a great song, of course, once Gunnar’s essentially rebuilt it from the ground up, because Gunnar’s totally in love with Scarlett. In fairness to Yoko, he does admit to Scarlett that he had some help – some! – but she doesn’t ask from whom. Presumably she knows, because she’s totally in love with Gunnar.
The episode ends on a low, though, with Deacon still growling about Scarlett turning Beverly’s life support off. If this is going to be a thing – and it looks as if it is – I think Nashville and I are going to have a problem this year.