Juliette agrees to all of Avery’s demands in respect of the divorce, which you can see shocks Avery, part of whom clearly thought that this would finally, if belatedly, bring her to her senses. Spoiler alert: it very much doesn’t, and when a moderately annoying fan approaches her asking for a selfie, Juliette smacks her around, which on one view isn’t great publicity for Luke and W******’ D*****’.
But a possible solution presents itself: Luke is still intent on launching his “lifestyle brand” – which doesn’t yet seem to have a name, so let’s go with Get The Luke – and needs a CEO for it. Jeff, who is very much on top of his game this week, makes Gabriella an offer: if he can sort out the whole Juliette business, she will recommend him to Luke for the job. She agrees, and Jeff gets to work.
First, there’s a horribly thrilling confrontation with a loaded and distressed Juliette: she comes onto him, scratches him; he pushes her away, and follows up with “No wonder Avery left you. What a waste”. Then he takes care of the fan: no details, but it must be a hefty pay-off, because she goes on TV to accept full responsibility and apologise. And, in return, he’s made CEO of Get The Luke. (Meantime Luke himself manages to become CEO of Gabriella’s bed, as they find a very flimsy reason to circumvent her “no mixing business and pleasure” rule.)
Just about everything good in this episode, in fact, has Jeff involved somewhere. The rest is more mixed. Markus demands that Rayna produce him, and then doesn’t want to listen to anything she has to say. Fortunately Older Girl is there to sing him her version of one of his songs, and then he gets it. Actually, this isn’t something I say very often, but I found myself on OG’s side this week. Firstly, Rayna continues to be disproportionately and irrationally miffed about OG’s duet with Juliette; some nonsense about not projecting the sort of image she should be wanting to. Well, since it really amounted to an unhappy teenage girl being given the opportunity to get up on stage and sing a song with a star, rather than, say, pole-dancing for oligarchs, I’m not sure I see the problem. And then, totally inexplicably, OG gets into trouble for singing to Markus without Younger Girl. OG’s defence – that YG had said explicitly that she didn’t want to sing for Markus, and had backed that up by storming out of the studio – doesn’t get her anywhere. Shut up, Rayna. And you, YG.
As for Mr Rayna: Deacon and Scarlett are still in Natchez. There’s a toe-curling tribute evening for Beverly at The Landslide, a bar she performed at, and where she was, presumably, a much nicer person to her friends than she was to her daughter. Scarlett is asked to sing – fair enough – except that, as Deacon watches, it blends into Beverly performing from beyond the grave. Enough, Nashville. Enough. Beverly is dead, and even (oh God) Deacon buying into a bar and (oh God) changing its name to The Beverly won’t bring her back. So can we now leave her to rest?
In Three Men and a Cadence Mansions, as well as Avery’s impending divorce, it’s a bad week for Will: he gets on the bill in a bar, then resents the fact that gay men might want to watch him perform. This is enough for Kevin, who’s understandably been pushed too far, and splits up with him. At least Gunnar can update his relationship status to “it’s complicated”: Erin, last week’s hookup, wants a bit of fun and nothing more, while Gunnar is practising Mr & Mrs Scott signatures and trying to get #Gunnerin trending on Twitter. But she comes round for another go, so there might be something there; and, frankly, he’s done enough pining after Scarlett recently.
It’s the tragedy of Juliette, though, which rounds the episode off. Avery has already been counselled by Glenn to distance himself: sensible advice perhaps, although the effect is that a young woman who needs help has reached the point where no-one is looking out for her, as she chases the drugs with vodka and the vodka with drugs. Thus, alone, she finds herself on a hotel roof, staggering around on a ledge, heedless of whether she lives or dies. Jeff manages to save her, but in the process falls off the building himself and – one would imagine – plunges to his death.
And so, although Juliette’s been circling the plughole for weeks now, it’s someone else who actually goes down, and it’s a shame: Jeff was not just this episode’s undoubted MVP, he’s been a delightfully sulphurous presence for a while now; yet capable of nuance, and of genuine affection for Layla. He’ll be missed. Which makes this a memorable episode, although once again I’m bound to say I’d like a little more light among the shade.