Well, I’ve got to say right upfront that the Layla/Juliette/Avery love-triangle-on-tour car-crash was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. To start with, the ladies are side-eyeing each other, circling warily, while Avery visibly wonders what the hell he’s got himself into. Then they make their plays – Layla leans in for a kiss while recording with Avery, and he’s into it to start with, but then backs off. Juliette, meantime, has already got herself back in Glenn’s bad books for a bit of Avery-related manipulation. “Try being honest with him”, counsels Glenn. This course is one which obviously hadn’t occurred to Juliette, but she goes for it, telling Avery that she still loves him. It isn’t as simple as that, though, for Avery: “What you do to me is what you did, and you’re going to do it again”.
So, Avery, which one? We’ll leave him on the horns of that particular dilemma for now. Because over on the Exes tour, Scarlett is behaving like a big sulky idiot, as she thinks that Gunnar slept with Autumn. Then the two of them are in a lift together, it breaks down, and they’re stuck with no-one else for company. Gunnar takes the opportunity to ask Scarlett what the hell?, and – for once – they sort it out quickly and amiably.
There they are, then. Stuck IN A LIFT. Drinking WHISKY FROM THE BOTTLE. Getting so hot that THEY START TAKING EACH OTHERS’ CLOTHES OFF. My notes at this point say, simply, OH COME ON. But, it turns out, that isn’t enough. Because then, standing about three millimetres apart, they start to sing The Civil Wars’ classic ‘If I Didn’t Know Better’, also featured in the very first episode as a Scarlett/Gunnar co-write, which is basically essence-of-forbidden-love. And, using that as a soundtrack, we fly back to Avery, deciding whether to favour Layla or Juliette with his affections. Spoiler alert – Layla gets it. As I’m not as invested in Julvery as some other people I can live with that.
But I am INCREDIBLY invested in Gunnlett and what is happening in that lift, which is that they’re about to kiss when… the lift jerks into life. So they head back to their hotel rooms, part at the door… but no. Even the writers realise this is just getting stupid, so Scarlett opens her door, Gunnar is standing there, and they totally hit it. About time too, you guys. #Gunnlett4EVA!
Compared to all of that, the rest of the episode – and it’s a good episode, it has to be said – doesn’t quite have the same impact. Older Girl’s emancipation is coming along nicely, with Deacon further enraged by the news that, for these purposes, Mayor Teddy is OG’s legal parent; Deacon is desperate to “get on that stand” in court, which would have to go down as the worst idea in jurisprudential history. So Rayna visits the Mayor in the pen – prison suits him, it has to be said; he’s looking good – and he reasonably wants to hear OG’s side of things as well, which also gives him an opportunity to tell her the truth about the Edgehill deal. At the end of which – let’s be fair – you can kind of see why, given the choice between Drunken Angry Dad and Whoring Criminal Dad Who Would Trade Her To Protect His Own Lousy Hide, OG would want to strike out on her own. Also, Cash’s motivation for involving herself seems to be that she went through the same sort of thing herself with Frankie, which doesn’t quite justify it but puts it in a little context.
And Luke continues to be the good guy: he’s determined to launch Will, and when radio programmers don’t turn up for a showcase he goes directly to the people, using an interview on Good Morning America to put Will on TV screens across the country, and speaking frankly about the problem of trying to get country radio to play an openly gay artist. His manager (?) Kenneth is less than sanguine, but I suppose it’s his job to look after Luke’s career rather than provide moral guidance. I loved this episode, in case you haven’t guessed. Absolutely loved it.