A welcome – if, I fear, temporary – return for Luke Wheeler this week, who was somewhat unattractive when he first appeared in Nashville, but became one of the most rounded and likeable characters in the whole show. Zach has got word that Luke wants to sell W******’ D*****’ Records and get back to being a full-time musician, so suggests to Rayna that she might like to acquire it for Highway 65. With Zach’s money, of course, which starts to prompt the thought that, by the end of Rayna’s corporate restructuring, she might well find herself being, essentially, owned by Zach. Anyway, Luke and Rayna have a rather sweet discussion and Luke agrees to sell.
Before going ahead, though, Rayna wants to clear it with Juliette, which I suspect is really to remind the audience – or me at least – that Juli is on Luke’s roster. Honestly, if you sat me down with a list of Nashville artists and asked me to say which label they’re currently on I wouldn’t know where to start. At which point Juliette drops her bombshell: having started to go to Hallie’s church (the scenes with Juliette as part of Hallie’s church community continue to be charming) she’s decided that her next record is going to be a gospel one. (Cultural appropriation?) To her credit, Rayna blinks, swallows quickly, and is then supportive. And it should be said that, just as the city of Nashville is about much more than the country music industry, so Nashville-the-show seems to be broadening its musical palette, which is fair enough. Just to prove that she hasn’t quite bought into the whole faith=serenity package Juliette tries to pick a fight about nothing with Avery at one point, but he lets it go.
Rayna has other things to worry about as well: she thinks that Clay is too old for Maddie and it isn’t about race, oh no. Actually, I think I believe her on this, because apart from anything else she concedes that having fallen in love with a “messed-up alcoholic” she’s isn’t in any position to point the finger at complicated relationships, but just thinks the age gap is a concern. And the man stalking her, Carl Hockney, approaches Daphne at school, which Younger Girl treats with a certain amount of sangfroid, presumably because the boy she likes is hanging around. Rayna doesn’t know about this budding relationship yet. I expect it’ll be annoying. Meantime Maddie and Clay are still together, just about.
And Scarlett gets to see the video that Mr Jerk Director has made. Whether it’s good is difficult to judge from the few seconds we’re given; what matters is that she clearly thinks it is. Which muddies the waters even more: do artistic ends justify means? (No they don’t. But it maybe isn’t that simple.) Another very enjoyable episode.