Avery wants to see Juliette, who is still in the treatment facility, but he gets chased away by that annoying therapist from a couple of weeks ago. Although this time she might have a bit of a point: Avery spends most of this episode being really annoyed, and while it’s justified, no doubt, it probably isn’t the best thing for someone in the throes of postpartum depression to be confronted with.
Fortunately, there’s a Layla-shaped shoulder for Avery to cry on; Rayna, seemingly determined to run Highway 65 into the ground, has agreed to throw more money at Layla and let her make a second album, produced by Avery, even though the first hasn’t been released yet. And Layla, as we know, has something in mind for Avery, although what that something is isn’t yet clear to me at least. Still, as Avery has a “producing style both gentle and commanding”, according to Layla, I’m guessing that at least part of the plan will involve Avery being both gentle and commanding in another context, and she manages to move things along a little by persuading Avery that he deserves to be happy, whereupon he returns to the treatment facility, and tells Dr Annoying Therapist that he’ll announce he and Juliette are divorced, unless Juliette does. And Juliette duly releases a statement, meaning that Avery is officially single.
Another relationship hits the rocks: Scarlett sees Erin making out with some dude and tells Gunnar. Erin reasons that she and Gunnar were casual, not monogamous; but Gunnar realises that he wasn’t that bothered about finding out, and they split up, removing yet another speedbump. So, Gunnlett time? Nope; Scarlett has a date: “Taxidermy guy from the wedding. Don’t say nothin’ about it”. (Incidentally, Clare Bowen gives this a terrific line reading. No-one else on the show has her comic timing.) And another: Colt seems to have hit it and quit it with OG who, as Cash tells her, at least gets to write a song about him. This is overheard by YG, who is presumably working out that her sister might have moved beyond her.
The troubles, meantime, continue to mount for poor old Luke, who might just be the most tragic figure on the show at the moment. The Get The Luke cover story in Forbes is a hit-job; Colt won’t return his calls; his fans don’t think he’s keeping it real any more; and his ticket sales are suffering, so he needs a new support act. By coincidence he runs into an old buddy, called – hang on – Rip? Buck? Hunt? …Oh yeah. Riff. Riff Bell. Now, Riff gave up the music business years ago to settle down with his adorable wife and kids, but Luke asks him to come out of retirement and hit the road. Which Riff agrees to do, but with his adorable wife and kids. So Luke is going to be reminded that he’s single and doesn’t see his own children. Every. Single. Day.
Will, at the Exes’ invitation, jumps on stage with them, but takes a bottle in the face from a homophobe, breaking his nose. He vows, to Gunnar, not to let the assailant away with it, but what he means is that he’s going to go back on stage and perform again, this time ensuring that the bottle-thrower is shamed out of the venue by the rest of the audience. Whether he should also have given a statement to the police remains up for discussion.
And an itinerant singer, Vita, rocks up at The Jeff to perform at the open mic night. She’s so good that Rayna wants to sign her, but Vita needs a job, so Rayna talks Deacon into employing her at The Jeff, even though – as Frankie quickly senses – there are all sorts of red lights going off. Sure enough, on her first night she finishes her shift and leaves, whereupon Frankie discovers that there’s $500 missing. Since Vita has a felony conviction and – I‘m guessing – a tragic backstory, it’s obviously her, which is to say that it obviously isn’t her. Either way, and for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, I thought this was the most enjoyable and satisfying episode for weeks.