Is that Rayna Jaymes in the latest episode of Nashville? Because she's acting more like a country music Vito Corleone. Got a problem? Rayna will solve it — even if it means (figuratively) fitting an entire record label with a pair of cement shoes and dumping it in the Cumberland River. Thankfully, no horses were decapitated in the making of this episode.
This week's drama in Music City was centered on Rayna's skillful (if unintentional) whacking of Jeff Fordham and his Edgehill label. Things started off promisingly, with Will premiering his new single "I'm on It" on Blair Garner's radio show, as co-hosts (and real-life country stars) Terri Clark and Chuck Wicks listened in. During their interview they wanted all the juicy details of Will's love life, but his lips were locked up tighter than a former mob boss at Sing Sing. He then finds out about the record label's demise and realizes his new single probably should have been called "I'm Off It." He tells Gunnar that starting over someplace new is going to be tough "given my situation" (which is either code for being gay or having recorded a song with a really stupid title).
Will is clearly not thinking straight at all. He tells Gunnar that he is probably going to move away from Nashville. Gunnar, who is suffering from writer's block — or dad-blocked, thanks to his late brother and his ex-girlfriend — is encouraged by Will to get away from it all, by going to his publishing company to write. When he first sees Scarlett there, she doesn't have much to say, but later he finds her doing that ugly-cry thing that guys love. In an effort to make her stop (because his ugly cry is probably even more unattractive), Gunnar suggests they write together. It isn't long before they reunite with Avery and are performing at the Bluebird — because nothing's cheerier than watching the musical sparks fly between a woman and her two ex-boyfriends, one who's now married and the other whose girlfriend had a baby with his brother. Actually, their Bluebird performance was pretty sweet.
Avery certainly needed the onstage distraction too, what with Juliette at home trying to look her sexy best while being outfitted in designer tents for a Vogue photo shoot. Note to Vogue photographer: You do not call a woman "babe." Especially a pregnant woman. Especially Juliette. After putting his foot in his mouth, the photographer disappears faster than Jimmy Hoffa. It's a good thing Juliette can handle herself since Avery is preoccupied with trying to finish Sadie's album. He calls Deacon in to lay down a guitar track but it's not long before the two of them are butting heads over the session, as the engineer, who had nice things to say about Avery last week, is starting to regret it.
Avery suggests to Sadie, who's still embroiled in a lawsuit with her ex-husband, Pete, that she should talk to Rayna about the whole thing. "If she can get Jeff fired, she can get a lawsuit thrown out," he says. Rayna, who never once utters the phrase, "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse," nevertheless knows that settling the suit would be the best thing for her so she can move on. She settles with him for half a million dollars and before he leaves the room, Rayna tells him, "I will make it my mission to ruin you. And, unlike you, I have the power to do it." Just ask Jeff Fordham and the record label she singlehandedly rubbed out. Forget Corleone, Rayna is getting to be more like Scarface. She also had a confrontation with Luke in an elevator where he accuses her of never looking back. Insisting to him that the whole idea of Edgehill going under makes her sad, Rayna tells Luke, "I hope you land someplace you love." But with everything else she's been up to it sounds more like, "Don't be surprised when this elevator snaps a cable."
Rayna also clashes with her longtime manager and friend, Bucky, especially after she promotes him to captain (a.k.a. head of A&R at Highway 65). They're on the lookout for new talent to sign, and, not surprisingly, start with some of Edgehill's finest. Their biggest clash comes over Layla Grant. Rayna is interested in her but Bucky seems to agree with Layla, who laments to Jeff that she's "the girl who can't open soup."
Jeff and Luke, who are now partners in Wheelin' Dealin' Records (a disingenuous name, so … perfect for the pair of them), also disagree on Layla, and their unholy alliance as business partners is already off to a bad start. As soon as Will decides to sign with the label, Luke breaks the news to Jeff that he's worm food. Again. Jeff, however, rebounds with a job offer from Layla as her official soup-can opener (a.k.a. manager), which is all fitting, because before long that can of soup will turn into a whole new can of worms. New drinking game for the rest of Season Three: take a shot every time Jeff gets fired.
Scarlett, who has continued to play mother hen with Deacon, is also still crushing on his doctor. A spot in a clinical trial has opened up for Deacon, but it would mean forgoing a liver if one becomes available for six months. Deacon says he might as well flip a coin since neither option is very desirable. He decides to live with "the devil I know" and keeps himself on the liver transplant list. Scarlett, meanwhile, gets up the nerve to ask her doctor out on a date.
As for Teddy, he calls Jeff to make sure things are OK between them. Jeff, being the complete jackass he is, tells Teddy that not only does Rayna know what went on with Teddy and his prostitute, Natasha, but so does everybody the chairman of the board at Edgehill decides to share it with. Teddy goes to Natasha's house to tell her they need to get their stories straight. He might want to speak up a bit louder so the three people sitting outside in the van listening to their conversation don't miss anything. Call Rayna, Teddy. She'll fix it.