Markus is playing an open-air gig in Nashville to promote his new album, but he’s nervous – what if no-one turns up? What if they hate him? Of course, lots of people turn up and they love him, so to celebrate he kisses Rayna, who pushes him away. But then Deacon is being nice to her for ten seconds, so she’s fooled into thinking that she can and should tell him about Markus’s advances, whereupon Deacon does the full Deacon number. He’s been utterly horrendous this season, he really has.
And it gets worse for Rayna: Markus decides to get Boulevard back together, cancels his tour, and heads to LA. Rayna’s immediate reaction is that his album will flop, and Highway 65 will die along with it, although I’d have thought that’s the sort of publicity you – literally – can’t buy. Then, just to round off a terrible couple of days, Deacon proposes marriage and she’s dumb enough to accept.
There’s been a point in just about every episode this season where I’ve started to think “Deacon’s an asshat; perhaps Rayna should have just stuck it out with Luke…?” This time, though, I can feel a little glad that she didn’t: Luke has just found out that his business manager has been embezzling money from him, and he owes $40 million – $40 million! – in taxes. In order to protect the undoubtedly upmarket Get The Luke brand he decides not to file for bankruptcy, but instead to quietly liquidate some assets, of which he presumably has much more than $40 million worth, because it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. But then word gets out, he blames Gabriella – which perhaps isn’t fair, but she’s kind of earned it anyway – and both she and GTL are no more. Luke hopes that might provide a springboard to reconciliation with Colt, but no luck there either; and, again, I have to wonder: does Luke really deserve all of the bad stuff that’s happened to him? I don’t think he does.
More relationship crises: Dr Yoko has been offered a great new job in Seattle which he passive-aggressively turns down because he wants to stay in Nashville with Scarlett. We know how this is going to play out, but anyway: she runs it past Gunnar who, to give him credit, is remarkably generous; they’ll make the band work, as long as she’s happy. Well, that seals the deal, and she breaks up with Dr Yoko so that he can take the job. And, just maybe, so that she can stay in Nashville. With Gunnar.
Meantime, Scarlett’s got to get herself over to The Jeff, where it’s opening night, so that she and Deacon can perform a song in honour of “our favourite dreamer”; by which they mean, of course, her abusive mother. The sanctification of the appalling Beverly has now gone beyond just being annoying, and has become positively surreal. Or possibly insulting. Did we all just imagine season 3?
The least surprising development in the Avery/Will/Gunnar household this week is that Will is invited round to the house of his homophobic songwriting buddy Wade. “He didn’t make you use the back entrance?” wonders Avery, which as good as tells us what’s gonna happen later; sure enough, Wade runs his hand tenderly up Will’s inner thigh. More startlingly, Avery goes off the rails just a little. He finds out that Emily has been in contact with Juliette, and although Emily does her best to explain that Juliette’s been in rehab and is now getting treatment for postpartum depression he gets all wild-eyed and fires her anyway. (Presumably from her position as Cadence’s nanny? I’ve lost track of Emily’s employment sitch.) On the other hand, when Juliette’s obnoxiously pushy therapist turns up at the door, patronisingly explaining that she’s advocating for his daughter, he is, in my view, quite reasonable in regarding that as his job.
Avery calms down, though, apologises to Emily, and allows Juliette supervised contact with Cadence. Which at least brings Juliette back into the show in a way, even if she’s not onscreen yet. A solid episode, and at least we might have lost a couple of characters I didn’t much care for.