Oh, Vita. She didn’t steal the money, of course, and is affronted when Rayna, almost apologetically, accuses her. I mean, what would make anyone think that if money goes missing from a bar it’s the fault of the mysterious car-dwelling person on her first night in the job? Frankie sticks to his guns, and Vita capitulates; yes, it was her who took it, for her sister, because bad guys (I didn’t quite get to the bottom of this), but she was totally going to pay it back. Yeah, no, says Rayna. But then Vita’s car is torched, perhaps by a viewer.
And – on the subject of people I don’t really care about – Frankie has a bad week as well. Deacon has essentially taken over the running of The Jeff, and any credit which goes with it. Someone got their hand in the till? Keep out of it, says Deacon. Riff wants a warm-up before going on the road with Luke? Sure, says Deacon; just rock up at the bar, and Frankie’s regular performance can just keep. Owner up on stage? Here I am, says Deacon. And Frankie hits the bottle. Well done, Deacon. Another interpersonal triumph.
Although getting Riff to the point where he could do a warm-up is, as it turns out, more difficult than might be imagined; he’s rusty, to say the least, and when Luke’s band and Luke himself try offering constructive criticism he behaves like something of a horse’s ass. But then he rehearses himself back into shape, the tour’s sold out, and everything’s OK again. That didn’t last long.
Nor does the latest attempt to manufacture conflict between Gunnar and Scarlett, which is so half-hearted that it doesn’t feel as if the writers’ hearts are really in it. Highway 65 listen to, and love, their album: it’s not just good, it’s career-defining; you can really hear the chemistry between them (well, duh), etc. The first single from the album is chosen, and it’s one that Scarlett wrote and performed. Is everyone OK with that? Well, not really; Scarlett worries that it should be a group thing. So the two of them decide that they will both have writing credits on every Exes song. (This arrangement worked admirably for REM, among others.) Well, that was easy. Next week: milk or sugar first in coffee? And talking of coffee: Will declines to sign with a gay record label, because he doesn’t want to be defined by his sexuality, but he then meets a barista who is releasing her own CDs. There’s an idea, Will thinks.
I can’t with The Girls this week, not for the first time. Except to say: one, the clinginess and intensity of Cash’s interest in Older Girl is a little weird, is it not? Two, shouldn’t Younger Girl have some friends of her own age? And, three, if Colt doesn’t want to hang around to hear extracts from Cash and OG’s first album, ‘Colt’s A Bastard’, you can hardly blame him.
And Avery remains oblivious to Layla’s (a) feelings and (b) plans for him, whatever the latter may be. Layla buttonholes poor Glenn to burble on about Avery: “Working with him’s just my absolute favourite thing to do just now! I love him!”. Glenn wears a look of considerable foreboding, which is justified later on when Layla starts behaving petulantly with underlings and photographers. In the best scene of the week, Glenn takes her aside and gently explains that he’s already been through this nonsense with Juliette, and he’s not doing it again, so she’d better knock it off and tell him what’s going on. Layla admits that she’s all about Lavery these days, and Glenn suggests that, given what they’ve both been through, maybe they should just be friends?
As it turns out, though, Avery’s been moving on: he bumps into Sienna, an attractive single mom, at the swing park; she invites him over for dinner; they (we are invited to infer) do it. I must admit that, at this point, I was thinking it was a honeytrap, and that “My Night with Juliette’s Ex” was going to be in the tabloids, but no; Sienna seems to be the real deal, which makes it a shame that when they go on a date Avery spends the whole evening talking about Juliette. So he’s not ready to move on after all, which means that Layla can ask him to The Jeff, totally as friends. Uh-oh.
Not a bad episode, but I feel as if a little too much time is being spent on peripheral characters, almost as if the producers felt that the Juliette-shaped void in the show couldn’t be filled by one person alone. So Colt, Vita, Frankie, Riff, and Cash all get more time than, perhaps, they need, in order to compensate; a problem which might be about to resolve itself.