Two months have passed since the previous episode. We know this not only because it says so onscreen, but we can see the passage of time reflected in Juliette's fuller figure. Although she and Avery are at least seeing their baby doctor together, it doesn't mean they're seeing eye-to-eye. They even disagree over whether to find out the sex of the baby. He wants to know, but Juliette doesn't. As if she can handle one more surprise.
For most everyone else, a break in Luke's tour means a trip home to Music City, although Deacon immediately gets sick and Luke's 48 hours with Rayna and their kids is about to get more complicated than any of them expected.
Rayna sings "Lies of the Lonely" during her anticipated Dancing With the Stars guest shot, which we pointed out in our previous recap was just one of the ways ABC was heavy-handedly cross-promoting their TV shows and specials, including the CMA Awards. Wow, what will they think of next? We find out, and so does Rayna, whose manager, Bucky, tells her she's been offered a Rolling Stone cover story (Wait, did we say heavy-handed? We meant genius!)
Anyway, it's all great, she figures, until Rayna realizes she's going to have to forgo family time to spend the next couple of days being shadowed by one of the magazine's reporters, which includes having him in her home. No one is unhappier about the situation than Luke. He's probably still stinging from the news that he only got five CMA nods and Rayna got six, and is wondering how that's going to look in Rolling Stone. Or he hasn't thought of any of those clever Luke-isms lately. Here's one we like, Luke: "A hug is a strangle you haven't finished yet." You can have that one on us.
Will, who is in no hurry to go back home where Layla is waiting – most likely sharpening the cutlery and looking up vivisection on the Internet – shows up at Gunnar and Zoey's house, where "new" dad Gunnar and son Micah and throwing the football around. Micah's mom, Kylie, has taken off to spend time with her boyfriend Brad, so the boys plan a big ole sleepover. Zoey now has a houseful of men to take care of, but since the little woman isn't complaining, Gunnar knows she must be thrilled to be cooking, cleaning and servicing her man. In other words, Gunnar is going to get a cast iron skillet upside his head any minute now.
It's probably a good thing Zoey and Scarlett didn't interact during this episode, since Scarlett's chief complaint is that she's busy writing songs for Carrie (Underwood) and Miranda (Lambert). When Deacon mentions that he has a new back-up singer and "friend" Pam, Scarlett thinks he should invite her over for dinner. But Deacon is convinced that what happens on tour should stay on tour. Somebody should have told that to his immune system since he's nursing a nasty cold. At the front door of his house, he encounters Terry, who leaves a small gift for Scarlett. It's a harmonica. When Scarlett goes to look for Terry, they talk about how he now has a side job selling newspapers. She offers to buy his entire stack of newspapers as a trade for an afternoon of co-writing together. Terry comes clean, telling her hat his wife, son and daughter were killed in a head-on collision just before Thanksgiving in 1993. In an episode that features some very nice music, Scarlett and Terry take the stage at the Bluebird Café to sing an inspirational tune appropriately titled "Carry On."
At another of Nashville's legendary clubs, the Sutler, a much more intense performance is about to take place (and no, not the one between Gunnar and Zoey, although things are certainly tense between them thanks to Kylie and Micah). Gunnar and Zoey have joined Will to hear Layla perform her new songs and, based on past experiences, they figure it's a good thing the only tomatoes in the vicinity are fried green ones. But, surprise! Layla's song, "Blind," is actually good – in an "I'm over being hurt by you" sort of way. Stunned by the song's honest lyrics and raw emotion, Will takes off when he hears the line "I will bleed out the sorrow that you put in me today." Layla thanks him for giving her something real to write about. But they still have the reality show's premiere to get through.
While Rayna is talking to the Rolling Stone writer at her office, Juliette barges in to find out why Rayna hasn't responded to her about the new songs she sent her. Rayna encourages Juliette to write more honestly, and at the same time, Juliette realizes the Rolling Stone writer witnessed her little outburst. On the plus side, Juliette's new single, "Hormonal Headcase" could be her biggest hit to date. Or at the very least could be her best chance at a mention in Rayna's cover story.
Lucky for Juliette, however, the writer ends up having lots more juicy material to choose from, including Deacon's refusal to comment about his past with Rayna, which will soon seem even tamer in comparison to the Greek drama that threatens to blow the roof off the Ruke household when soon-to-be-stepsiblings Maddie and Colt are caught sucking face.
Juliette asks her assistant Emily to be her birthing coach in Lamaze classes, but Avery, who buys a crib for the baby and drops it off for her, hears Juliette singing and is beginning to warm up to the idea of being involved in his baby's life. He later shows up at Lamaze class and feels the baby kick. Lucky for Avery it wasn't a slap to the face or a fist in the family jewels.
After three months of dating, Kylie finally tells her boyfriend she has a son. He has no interest in kids, so, of course, she does the sensible thing: she takes off to be with Brad, leaving Micah with his dad (and "stepmom" Zoey)!
The whole Will and Layla storyline adds one more decidedly odd dimension to the show. Here are two actual actors (Chris Carmack and Audrey Peeples) playing characters on a TV show. Within that show the characters they play are starring in a reality show, playing "actors in their own lives." The couple soon has to endure Will's countless shirtless shots and Layla's apparent inability to operate a handheld can opener, making them Music City's answer to Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey and the great tuna fish/Chicken of the Sea caper from that real-life couple's MTV reality show. Things may have thawed between Will and Layla but it looks like they're about to get awfully icy again. (Or maybe Layla's looking for that ice pick for a completely different reason?)
And speaking of ice, Rayna tries to convince the Rolling Stone reporter to keep her daughter and future stepson's tonsil hockey a secret. In order for him not to run with that story she agrees to give him the story of her turbulent relationship with Deacon. Don't worry, Rayna, you're in good hands. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?