Rayna gets back from… actually, I’ve forgotten where she was, and it doesn’t matter. Because the first thing she does is go to confront Older Girl about the sneaking-out-to-play-in-skeevy-clubs thing, and she discovers that OG has run away from home. Now, OG has obviously gone to the home of Cash, her mentor, patron, songwriting partner, lifestyle coach, and all-round bad (and somewhat sinister) influence, which is where Rayna starts the search. No, she’s not here, says Cash, which is plainly a lie, but Rayna pokes around Cash’s house for a few seconds, accepts the assurance at face value, and leaves.
We will, of course, return to Cash’s house in due course, because OG is totally there. Meantime, OG having texted her parents to confirm that she’s still alive at least, the next question to arise is why she ran away in the first place. Deacon, hilariously, spends most of the rest of the episode trying to persuade everyone that his, uh, established patterns of behaviour had nothing to do with it; ironically and (inevitably) fruitlessly, his chosen rhetorical device is shouting a lot. “Intense”, murmurs Rayna after seeing footage of Deacon’s intervention during OG’s performance at the bar. “We know Maddie’s got issues with your anger”. Indeed we do, Rayna; and you might recall, Rayna, that the red flags were flapping wildly in the wind on the very day of your wedding, Rayna. But what the hell, a guy can always be changed by marriage, amirite?!
OG’s disappearance also gives Nashville an excuse for a head-to-head between Rayna and Juliette, the show’s original superpowers. Juliette’s real priority this week, though, is making further progress with Avery, hampered somewhat by his acceptance of Layla’s offer to go on tour with her as bandleader. And Juliette really doesn’t like it when she sees Avery and Layla rehearsing on stage together. “How”, she asks Rayna, “do you let go of someone you love?” “You don’t,” Rayna replies, and a lightbulb goes on above Juliette’s head.
Fortunately God is on her side; our old friend Riff, who vanished last week, has turned up in a New Orleans hospital having suffered a stroke. Mrs Riff and Luke make haste to The Big Easy, where they discover from an ER doctor that Riff was brought in by a ho, and that the stroke happened after “several days of consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol, pain pills, and sexual performance enhancers”. Dude. Riffmeister. Riffatollah. The part of me which thinks that today’s musicians are too antiseptic is grudgingly impressed, but the short-term consequence is that Riff is in no state to go on the road with Luke. Which means that Luke needs a big name on the bill, and there just turns out to be a big name looking for a bill to go onto: yes, it’s a Luke/Juliette/Layla triple header, with Avery, Cadence, and Emily along for the ride. This is the sort of thing I live for in Nashville.
And over on the Autumn/Exes tour, Autumn’s game isn’t yet clear: she hits on Gunnar; she goes for a spa day with Scarlett, who confesses that she and Gunnar still have feelings for each other (yay!) which they sublimate for the sake of the band (boo!); then Scarlett sees Gunnar leaving Autumn’s hotel room with a lipstick mark on his cheek and OF COURSE immediately JUMPS to the CONCLUSION that they were DOING IT, which they weren’t, because Gunnar shut that idea down. Honestly, much as I ship Gunnlett, I’m very much over these little misunderstandings as plot devices. Talk to each other, guys.
Finally, pausing only to note that Will’s new music sounds like yacht rock rather than country, we’re back as promised at Cash’s house, where Deacon is persuading everyone that he’s calmed down by banging on the door and shouting. But OG has found out how much money Sony was prepared to offer her, and that Edgehill wanted to sign her too (although she doesn’t know the whole story there yet); so, egged on by Cash, she’s going to ask to be emancipated. Coming soon, then: a whole new group of people for Deacon to shout at! Not as good as last week, but still highly enjoyable.