This week on Men Behaving Badly: men competing with others to behave badly. Let’s start with Deacon, who is exorcising his demons – alcoholic and familial – by working obsessively on the refurbishment of The Jeff. By happy coincidence, this also means he isn’t at home to help Rayna work out what the hell to do about The Girls. Older Girl: dyeing her hair, furious because Sony want to sign her and Rayna won’t allow it, sulking; Younger Girl: furious because OG wants to sign a solo deal; sulking. Rayna’s brilliant solution is to sign The Girls to Highway 65, which OG – correctly, let’s be fair – sees as a device to keep her under maternal control. Also: would you rather sign to massive global company Sony, or your mom’s vanity label?
Moving on to the other contenders: poor Scarlett is just drowning in a sea of asshats. The tour is going well, but Gunnar is skipping meet-and-greets in favour of sexytime with Erin, who might be keeping Gunnar happy but who can’t get Scarlett’s onstage sound levels right; which is, of course, her actual job. OK then, thinks Scarlett: I’ll give my boyfriend a call, and see if he has a couple of minutes to chat? “I’m seeing an 8 year old with lymphoma, so no”, snits Dr Yoko. Yeah, we get it; your job is just the most important thing ever. Shut up, Dr Yoko. How about maybe getting your girlfriend to do her job, bandmate? “She knows what she’s doing”, snaps Gunnar. You can shut up too, dude.
But then, mid-concert, Erin starts futzing with Scarlett’s sound and actually manages to blow the power in the venue. The Exes, backs against the wall, are forced into a scorching little acoustic performance; and, finally, Gunnar stands up for the band. “If you can’t do the job”, he snarls at Erin, “you need to get the hell off my tour”. Scarlett is surprised and a little impressed; and, just like that, the dying flame of Gunnlett starts to sputter into life again.
Some of the guys do come through, though. Luke is having problems with Colt, and I can see both sides of this one; ultimately, though, Luke is probably a good guy, and when Gabriella tells him that he needs a Juliette replacement on the tour, and a Jeff replacement in the boardroom, he chastises himself a little more, perhaps, than he needs to: “I feel like a hell of a lot of pain has happened on my watch”, he muses. I don’t think he can really be blamed for too much, though, apart from starting a stupid lifestyle brand. And he and Gabriella are now officially, if privately, an item, even though she warns him that it won’t be good for Get The Luke if word gets out. It’s not spelled out, but I’m guessing this to be a racial thing rather than a single man thing? In which case, good guy or not, Luke has some thinking to do, having already chased Will away from his label on Gabriella’s advice.
Markus is pretty decent this week as well: he works Rayna and his musicians into the ground, but he’s an artiste and they do that sort of thing; he then provides Rayna with sound bringing-the-kids-up advice. He also makes something of a pass at her, but I’d say he can be excused because (a) he does so decorously; (b) he takes an equally decorous brushoff for an answer; and (c) it’s Rayna, so who can blame him?
And Avery, reduced to soundtracking advertising jingles, is wondering what’s up with Will, who has locked himself in his room with what Avery assumes to be a succession of hookups. In fact, Will has been doing what musicians do, and has been turning his heartbreak into a song. He doesn’t want to sing it in public, so Avery hits The Bluebird and performs it himself, getting Will a possible publishing deal while he’s at it, while getting Juliette flashbacks. He still loves her, you see.
So some good guys as well. We end, though, on a high, piercing note of complete assholery, when Deacon – having momentarily torn himself away from ripping The Jeff to pieces, in order to see his partner and The Girls – sees that Markus has texted Rayna in an unremarkable, almost anodyne way: nice talking to you today, hope I helped, that sort of thing. Whereupon, with petted lip and furrowed brow, his features generally organise themselves into something instantly recognisable as jealous-jerk-face. We have a winner!