There’s something kind of unsettling about Scarlett and Gunnar appearing to be the most well-adjusted, drama-free couple on Nashville. Their stage name is the Exes, after all. But that’s what we got in this week’s episode and it was actually sweet and reassuring. Elsewhere, however, heartache was in the air for Kevin and Will, Juliette’s addictive personality battled with her desire to walk again, and Rayna had an obsessive fan – and a whole lot of rose petals – on her hands.
Juliette’s physical therapy isn’t progressing quickly enough for her and she wants to try a new medical device that will help her, literally, get back on her feet. She’s also canceled her appointment with the psychiatrist and wants nothing to do with the pain pills everyone wants her to take. Once she gets strapped into the contraption and attempts to take first steps, she suffers another flashback of the crash followed by a full-tilt panic attack. Once again, she seeks some spiritual guidance and talks to the pastor at Hallie’s church. She then talks to God and admits she’s lost and wants to know why she survived the crash when no one else did. Back at home, she admits she doesn’t want to be a burden to Avery. They start to have sex but he hesitates, telling her he needs more time. Turns out all he needed was about 15 seconds.
Meanwhile, Will and Kevin are looking for an apartment together. Well, Kevin is looking for an apartment and Will is looking for… Will doesn’t know what he’s looking for, but the apartment manager at the ritzy downtown building with the killer view of Music City has some ideas. “I’d love to have you in the building,” he says, noting that the place has underground parking, hardwood floors and a comfy bed. With all that sexual innuendo, it’s a wonder Will didn’t spontaneously combust right then and there. When Kevin asks him what Will thought of the apartment and calls him “Penguin,” it’s a safe bet he’s not referring to Burgess Meredith in Batman (Google it, kids). When Will and Avery meet up at an arcade, he explains to Avery that it’s Kevin’s pet name for him because penguins touch their foreheads to kiss. Avery doesn’t bother to tell him that may have been their problem all along – they’re not doing it right. Instead he tells him he has “FOMO,” the “Fear of Missing Out.” He also tells him the whole penguin thing is nauseating. He’s not wrong about that. Before he can confess that he never sent in the application for the apartment because he doesn’t want to live with him, Kevin finds the crumpled paper in the trash – along with his heart. Cue the Pac-Man “game over” sound.
Will goes on stage but can’t sing the upbeat song he was planning. Instead he performs a heartbreaker of a ballad that he “wrote with his first love”: “That’s When I’ll Quit Missing You.” At the same time, Kevin is tossing Will’s belongings out on the front porch. He clearly has a different timetable.
At the Highway 65 office, Rayna praises Randall (a.k.a. scary-obsessed stalker suspect number one) for his good work. Later, at the Bluebird, where the Exes are set to perform, Rayna and Deacon meet with her billionaire fanboy (a.k.a. scary-obsessed stalker suspect number two) Zach Wells, who wants to get into bed with her – business-wise, that is (as far as we know, anyway). His proposal to “make a good marriage” doesn’t sound quite right to Deacon, but the dollar signs are pretty blinding to both of them at this point. Zach introduces them to his friend Megan, who just happens to be real-life Nashville mayor Megan Berry. They all enjoy a positively Zen performance from the Exes, who first sang together on the Bluebird stage and are also ex-Bluebird employees. The countdown begins to when that relationship will blow up (and not in a good way), but it’s nice to see them get three-and-a-half minutes of happiness.
When Rayna gets home, she opens an envelope filled with rose petals and a really intense, handwritten novella. In part, the epic love letter reads: “I have finally gained the strength to reach out to you. I love you and I have loved you ever since the day I met you.” Not exactly Robert Browning, but Rayna is engrossed enough to jump when her phone rings. While Deacon and Rayna are discussing the contents of the mystery envelope, we learn that a woman once sent Rayna a pair of her socks, so a few rose petals and a declaration of life-long love must seem fairly tame by comparison. The phone caller, Zach, suggests a director for the Exes video, a British chap named Damien George, whose treatment for the video sounds like a cross between Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. Rayna and Zach sign their business contract. What could possibly go wrong?