Rayna’s out of the hospital and more determined than ever to take charge of her life, her career, and her record label.
What’s the first thing a country diva does after waking up from a coma? First, pick up the pieces and try to put them back together. This might take a little time because Maddie is still upset and struggling to understanding what she’s learned about Deacon. Hopefully Rayna gives her the space she needs because pushing will only anger her further. Second, make sure your career is still intact, which could be a problem when the coma threatens her record label.
Oliver Hudson joins the cast as Jeff and looks incredibly dapper in a suit. He’s a tough executive, pointing out that while Juliette’s album is successful, it’s just not successful enough and she’s cutting out the tween fans. I admire Juliette’s determination to become more mature – at least she’s kept her clothes on. Meanwhile, Jeff meets Rayna and her new record label artists and is all about investing in Scarlett and Will – only not on Rayna’s label. He wants Will for his label. Needless to say, Rayna isn’t pleased when she finds out and isn’t willing to back down from a fight with Jeff. (P.S. People who fight this much when they first meet are bound to end up in bed together.)
The good thing about Rayna is that she isn’t pushy when it comes to Will. She understands his dreams, the career he desires, and allows him to make his own choice. Unfortunately joining Jeff’s side has the potential to become a little awkward because one of his former flames works for him. Can Will hide who he really is if he’s working alongside someone who knows? And this is where we take a moment to note how amazing Chris Carmack is. Who knew the guy who muttered, “Welcome to the OC, bitch!” had this in him? Love, love, love him so much!
Meanwhile, Juliette’s career is overshadowed by Rayna’s release from the hospital. From her appearance on Conan to her meeting with her label, everything is about Rayna’s release or Rayna’s album selling better. Juliette, who always has a backup plan, takes a CMT special to Alabama to show where she grew up. While it starts out as a PR plan, it ends up showing the vulnerable, broken side of Juliette the public rarely gets to see when the woman who took care of her as a baby gives her a quilt made of her baby photos. The more Juliette revisits the past, the more upset she becomes, and it’s Avery, one of the few people who can see through her façade, she ends up leaning on. This is the side of Juliette that makes her root-worthy and likeable. I like seeing it come through the cracks of her pretend heart of stone.
In the saga that is Scarlett’s men, she has Gunnar wanting her to write songs again (and getting help from Scarlett’s bestie – hello, romantic sparks!) and Deacon snapping at her for pushing him. Avery’s probably cowering in a corner too – when he’s not hanging with Juliette, that is. Scarlett pushes every man in her life to the edge and somehow still brings them back. They’re never hard enough on her. Guess it’s easy to have men eating out of your palm when you have big doe eyes and a soft voice. I’m a woman though, so it just annoys the hell out of me.
Deacon’s suffered extensive damage to his hand, so there’s a chance that he may never play the guitar the way that he once did. He seems to have made peace with the fact that his hand may not get better and is more concerned with dealing with the pain – and that means not taking any kind of pills. It’d just put him back on a slippery slope, which Scarlett yet again fails to see. Eventually she pushes Deacon so far that he explains Maddie is his daughter. Can someone please tell her to back the hell off?!
Later Deacon visits the site of the crash where fans have left signs, candles, and other vigil items. It’s a heartbreaking place on the side of the road. Rayna meets him at the site and he tells her about how he may never play again, admitting he didn’t want her to be the one he always calls, but that’s who she has always been for him. His words shake Rayna, but she holds her ground and stresses that things between them are over. And so continues the love of the star-crossed country stars who will never be. Even when Rayna drives me crazy (and lord knows she has in the past), I forgive her when Deacon looks at her and loves her so desperately. It’s just so painful and gut-wrenching, the exact kind of love all those damn country songs are about.
The episode culminated in a party at Jeff’s house, where Rayna learns Will is officially signing with Edgehill. Forever the polite guy, Will thanked Rayna for the opportunity and explained he wanted to be a singer because he’s not a great songwriter. Rayna wished him well. Something tells me things aren’t going to end up well for Will.
Also at the party, Juliette meets Layla, a tween-friendly country star, who came in second on a reality show. As if her newfound stardom isn’t annoying enough, she stole Juliette’s first place on iTunes. Looks like Rayna may be replaced as Juliette’s number one target, and I can’t blame her because this girl is not only annoying, but can’t sing in the same territory as Rayna and Juliette. Unfortunately that means she’ll probably have staying power in the industry. The new competition also grates Rayna’s nerves, who is now considering leaving the label she practically built.
What did you think about the episode? Thoughts on Jeff? What about Rayna’s potential record label move? Share your thoughts in the comments below and hit me up on Twitter to talk more!