There’s a Highway 65 emergency: Markus decides to lose one of the songs from his album, so Rayna has to head down to the studio to try and find something else to fill the gap. On the way out she tells Deacon that she’s going to be in for a long day, which Deacon quickly but ruthlessly parses for innuendo and double meaning, finds some, and in consequence adopts his jealous resting face. So he decides to surprise them at the studio. Surprise! But they aren’t making out. At least, Markus and Rayna aren’t, although Markus and Deacon come pretty close to it; Markus is a huge fan of Deacon’s, as it turns out, and even wonders whether Deacon might have a song he could use to finish his album…? Hell yes, of course Deacon has a song for his new best bud!
But when Markus starts to record it, he has the temerity to change some of the lyrics. And, rather than being quietly pleased that one of his songs is (a) being recorded by a hot young talent (b) on his girlfriend’s record label and thus (c) quite possibly enabling them to pay the rent, Deacon flies off the handle. “What I know”, he snarls to Rayna, “is that (Markus) wants to sleep with you”, going on to imply that Rayna might well be receptive to that idea.
And rather than wondering why she’s putting up with this shit for another second, Rayna instead goes to see Markus to remind him – not that he’s raised the issue – that she’s Deacon’s gal, so back off, dude. Except, of course, he probably does want to sleep with Rayna. Incidentally, I like the fact that, even though Markus is supposed to be – at a guess – a good ten years younger than Rayna, this simply isn’t mentioned as an issue. On the other hand, I’m afraid I can’t with The Girls this week. I just can’t. So you’ll need to fill in the blanks yourselves on that storyline.
It now seems odd to reflect that there was a time when Luke and Rayna were a thing, although it might be that Rayna would have been doing a little better had she chosen the man behind Get The Luke. Anyway, he’s having yet another bad week. Yes, yes, I know that he’s keeping the circumstances of Jeff’s death on the downlow, but Colt’s sulky righteousness is kind of annoying.
Anyway, Luke decides that it’s time for some father/son bonding back on the ranch, and it’s going quite well until Gabriella turns up with a photographer, taking shots of Luke for the cover of Forbes (?!). Well, Colt just starts kicking off again, and one can’t really blame him, although – once again – it’s not quite Luke’s fault. I’m wondering, though, whether he should really start to think about the people he’s surrounding himself with, and by “surrounding himself with” I mean sleeping with, and by “the people” I mean Gabriella. Belatedly, Luke puts a hold on Get The Luke, even though there are “products in production”. Say what, now? GTL products? Is it too much to hope that we might get to see them? But Colt has had enough, so goes to live with his grandfather. Good.
An unexpected day off for The Exes, meantime, when their show in Charlotte is cancelled. Gunnar can’t write songs just now, because he’s realised that everything has been about Scarlett for years, and he’s not in that space just now. Erin – pay close attention, Deacon – is amusedly tolerant rather than homicidally jealous, gets Gunnar to loosen up and have some fun, and thus unblocks his creative flow, wearing a silly hat all the while.
Poor Scarlett, on the other hand, decides – in the face of all the accumulated evidence about her jerk of a bae – to head back to Nashville to surprise him. Surprise! Needless to say, Dr Yoko has many, many more important things to do than hang with his girlfriend for a few minutes: “I’m dealing with people who have cancer! I’m not driving around singing for a hundred people a night and getting a few free beers out of it!” And, rather than wondering why she’s putting up with this shit for another second, Scarlett makes some conciliatory noises and heads back to the tour, just in time to see Gunnar and Erin goofing around. Oh dear.
Will has a big decision to make as well: the publisher who, last week, liked his song has hooked him up with country star Wade Cole, who wants to work with Will but who declined to be photographed with him a few episodes ago. Wade – who, if the odds were right, I’d be prepared to bet is maybe a little in the closet himself – is all, it’s my wife and record label who don’t like the homos; as far as I’m concerned you can be as gay gay gay as you like. This doesn’t survive two seconds of Googling, as Will finds plenty of evidence that Wade has publicly opposed marriage equality in the name of the “traditional family”. What to do? Well, it’s a tricky one, but Will in the end – counselled by a distinctly unsympathetic Avery – decides that making bank this one time is more important. I’m guessing he’ll reverse that in an episode or two.
Avery, in all likelihood, is tetchy because he, too, is out of money, and doesn’t have big name stars offering to record his songs, but has to take another gig soundtracking an advertisement. He even declines to accept Emily’s offer to raid Juliette’s bank account in the latter’s continuing absence. But, right at the end, Juliette reaches out to Emily by phone: she’s (maybe) back… Which might be as well; a perfectly serviceable episode, but missing a spark, I thought.