Usually weddings are the stuff of sweeps weeks and seasons finales. Not on last night's Nashville, where Teddy taking Peggy's hand in marriage was about as sentimental as Trace Adkins' hick-hop hit "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," probably because Teddy is a terrible mealy-mouthed bore and Peggy is an unsympathetic kook.
Not even Teddy seems excited about his nuptials. Making this even more of a headache for Nashville's fine mayor, he has to twist his own "daughter's" arm into providing musical entertainment at the reception (because it's hard to find musicians who will play on short notice, for free). But Maddie doesn't want to sing at her faux-father's stupid-ass sham shotgun wedding.
Coming to his senses (almost), Teddy floats the idea of postponing the wedding and Peggy flies into a Walter White-worthy tailspin of panicked double-talk and hasty rationalizations. That works. Knots are tied. Maddie and Daphne sing for daddy and the moment, like any to feature the adorable singing Stella sisters, is pretty magical.
Despite Teddy's tender, promise-keeper-style reassurance that Maddie will forever be his "first girl," she wants to forge a father-daughter bond with Deacon, and Rayna wants Deacon's assurance that he's ready for that. Problem is, Deacon's busy getting ready for his first gig since the accident. Nervous, the Deke plans his comeback show – an open mic – at Shotgun Sally's, a redneck bar in a neighboring county's podunk college town, where no one he respects will see or hear him. For that same reason – and because, injured, he still can't wield an ax – Deacon taps Avery as his guitarist and the show strays into buddy comedy territory, almost literally.
Turns out Shotgun Sally's is a comedy club (though it's still open mic night!) and Avery convinces Deacon to take their brother act to the Bluebird, where the Deke hasn't set foot since the night of the accident. There, he sings one of the show's few actual country songs – "You're the Kind of Trouble" – and finds a new biggest fan in Maddie. Awwww.
Meanwhile, Juliette's got her own hot problems to deal with in Houston, where her Inside the Dream Tour is launching and billionaire boy toy Charlie Wentworth shows up "on business" so the two of them can have a quickie.
Unfortunately, lust does little to assuage Juliette's drama with favor-expecting, chauvinist DJ Bobby "Santa Claus" Delmont, the self-proclaimed "biggest microphone in Texas," who creeps on Jules, gets iced, then turns his efforts to opener Layla Grant. "Juliette Barnes is the new queen of country music, she shouldn't have to bow down to anybody," Charlie, who owns Santa's employer, muses. She in turn cracks wise about bowing, as she gets on her knees to push the limits of what primetime network television can get away with.
Meanwhile, back in Nashville, superstar Luke Wheeler – who comes off as a sort of Alan Jackson/Time McGraw hybrid – romances Rayna on his sprawling horse farm. They lament the woes of divorce and shared custody, shoot guns and, before long, exchange bodily fluids. Good to know someone's getting laid on Teddy's wedding night.
So, love is in the air for RayRay, and consequently, an opening slot on Luke's tour is on the table for Scarlett. And our favorite golden-haired, butter-voiced damsel in distress immediately stresses over having her own bedroom on her own tour bus. (Judging by the preview of next week's episode, it looks like Scarlett's arena stint's going to go about as smoothly as Kanye West's troubled Yeezus Tour. )
Elsewhere, over dinner, Jeff and Gunnar strike a deal: Will gets the song and Guns gets a gig at the Music City Music Fest. But there's a catch: Gunnar, who's still having secret sex with Zoey, must slum it as a sideman for an up-and-comer, who of course ends up being Scarlett, who's hiding the fact that she had sorta-kinda make-up sex with Avery.
Neither secret is as big as Will's. His struggle as a big-box-ready rugged country heartthrob forced to hide his sexuality is one of Nashville's most (only) compelling developing storylines. Will can barely contain his seething jealously over seeing former flame Brett romping around freely with new beau Craig. At the hotel bar, Will watches stone-faced as a crew of Texas meatheads harass Brett and Craig. Later, Will lets his true feelings out when he treats the homophobes to a good ol' fashioned parking lot beat-down.
As Will beelines to Layla's hotel room to recharge his repression with some joyless sex, Juliette assumes Layla's going to play Mrs. Claus to Bobby Delmont, and extends a an olive branch of girl power, telling her she doesn't have to, ahem, bow to radio pigs to get ahead. But that was never Layla's intent, and she totally shuts Jules down. The exchange inspiring another character-defining gem from Juliette: "I guess nice just ain't my color."
While Will's violent outburst is something that's been building for a long time, a scene of same-sex tension that follows comes totally out of left field, when Charlie's Stepford wife Olivia confronts Juliette in her hotel room. "I know you've been sleeping with my husband," she says, and oh shit. "But what I don't understand is why you're not sleeping with me." (Cue unexpected, unsolicited kiss.) Oh. Shit. Fade to black. What?
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