The cast continues to mourn Rayna in this episode. Zach channels his emotions into his concerns for Highway 65, and goes overboard. Maddie has another moment of fame. Scarlett drops a bombshell.
Scarlett is still staying with Deacon and the girls, taking care of them in their grief. The girls are still too wiped out to go to school. Bucky finds a tour for The Exes to open on, but they need to start in two weeks. Scarlett’s not sure she’ll be ready to leave Deacon and the girls on their own by then.
At a Highway 65 business meeting, Zach brings up the release of Rayna’s last album. Deacon doesn’t think it should ever be released, since it’s unfinished. Zach feels that the fans and Rayna would want it released.
After her appearance on the CMTs, Maddie is getting calls from national TV talk shows to appear. The family has turned down the offers so far. Juliette thinks Maddie should take advantage of the moment and make the appearances. She’d be willing to chaperone Maddie in NYC. Scarlett gives Juliette a dirty look, and Juliette takes offense. Scarlett says she thinks the family needs to be together right now. Deacon asks Maddie if she wants to go.
Zach and Will go out to dinner. Zach feels they need to rush Rayna’s album out before the moment passes. He asks Will to talk to Deacon for him. Zach should know that they’ve got time with the album if he’s as big a music fan as he says he is. An enduring star like Rayna will still be selling many years from now. Her back catalogue, which Highway 65 owns, should be selling like mad right now, which would help pay the bills. People still buy everything that is newly released with the Beatles name on it, almost 50 years after their break up. It’s become common to put out albums years or even decades later that are tributes, lost tracks, remixes, etc. Zach could give Deacon six months easily.
Juliette and Maddie go to NYC. Juliette is excited to be there, but Maddie says that she has bad memories of the city from her last brush with fame in season 4. Maddie appears on The Daily Show first. No more Good Morning America? That’s a big change for the show. Trevor Noah is nice to Maddie in the interview.
The family watches at home. Scarlett asks Daphne what’s wrong, when she notices that Daphne’s upset afterwards. Daphne says it hurts whether she thinks about her mom or tries not to. Scarlett had the same problem after Beverly died. Then Daphne asks why the talk shows only wanted Maddie, when both girls sang on the CMTs. I’ve been wondering the same thing. Another good question is why Juliette only asked Maddie to sing in the first place. The answer is that Maddie is older, taller, thinner, and has long, bright blonde hair. In other words, she fits our culture’s standard of beauty, and is old enough for men to feel okay about objectifying her. Daphne is also lovely and talented, but she is quieter and more thoughtful. She doesn’t sparkle the way Maddie does, and can’t be sold as a sex object yet.
Scarlett tells Daphne that it’s because the world is shallow and obsessed with beautiful young women, which will be good for Daphne, because she is quickly becoming one. There’s a misogynistic answer. Basically the same as mine, but I don’t think it’s good for any of us to be told that our value is dependent on our youth and beauty. I hope this isn’t leading up to an eating disorder storyline or something similar for Daphne. She needs someone to reinforce her value as a person outside of or in addition to her looks, not to tell her it’s okay that people only want Maddie for her looks, Daphne will look like a Barbie soon herself. Guess that music video did change Scarlett.
Deacon goes into the home studio and listens to one of the tracks that Rayna recorded for the album. He has to turn it off before long. He goes to Rayna’s closet and digs out her old suitcase full of memorabilia. There are old homemade videos from when they were young, and Rayna’s old journals. Deacon watches, reads, and cries.
Maddie goes on Harry Connick Jr’s talk show next. He prompts her to say some things about her mom’s death that sound glib and insensitive if taken out of context. Daphne is upset, and Scarlett decides she can’t go on the tour The Exes are scheduled for.
There is another business meeting at Highway 65. Zach pressures Deacon about the album again. Rayna’s vocals are only recorded as scratch tracks, and Deacon hasn’t recorded his at all. He doesn’t think he’ll be able to record his. He certainly can’t bring himself to record his side of duets he wrote with Rayna about their undying love right now. Deacon wants to know if Zach is threatening to pull out of the label.
Zach says that he’s not threatening, but there are bills to be paid. He’s just trying to keep the business afloat. Bucky steps in and tries to talk to Deacon, but he won’t listen and storms out. Bucky turns and asks Zach what he needs to feel confident leaving his money in the business. Zach says he needs the audio files by the end of the week.
How were they going to pay those bills if Rayna didn’t die? The album wouldn’t have been done for a while, and wasn’t expected to be a big seller. Doesn’t an estate tax come out of an estate, so, whatever the girls inherited? Wouldn’t Rayna have had a substantial life insurance policy for the girls that could help with that as a stopgap? And, once again, Rayna’s old albums and songs would be bestsellers again right now. That would help keep Highway 65 afloat for now. They should be in better shape now, with Rayna’s increased sales and Maddie’s increased visibility. Plus the income from the Wheelin’ Dealin’ artists, however that works out. They should at least have some artists with 360 deals and get a cut of some tour income, if they didn’t also get the rights to the artists’ back catalogues.
Zach is pushing too hard as a way of expressing his grief, and as a way for the writers to create drama. Highway 65 is just a little side business for him. He won’t go under personally if the business does. He could even bail it out with a small loan.
Social media pick up Maddie’s remarks from Harry Connick Jr’s show. She’s devastated and decides to cancel the rest of her appearances. Scarlett wants her to come home to be with Deacon anyway. When she gets home, Deacon comforts her. She says that she forgot how sad she was for one moment, and now she feels like the worst daughter.
Deacon relives his and Rayna’s lives through her journal and videos. Avery stops by to check in. Deacon tells him about the way Zach is pressuring him. There doesn’t seem to be anything Avery can do to help right now.
Zach complains to Will that he always gets cast as the villain because people are jealous of his money. He’s just trying to do the right thing. Will asks if maybe it could be that the other people just have a different opinion about what the right thing is.
Juliette arrives at the house the morning after Maddie gets home to announce that she disapproves of Maddie’s behavior, but has gotten Maddie another chance on The Today Show. Juliette and Scarlett argue over whether this is Maddie’s only chance or not, until Maddie walks out. They both say some things that are pointed, and true, but don’t necessarily apply to Maddie.
This is Maddie’s second or third chance for success already, so Juliette’s already wrong about her only getting one chance. She’s Rayna’s daughter, talented, and gorgeous. Someone will always be willing to give her another chance, especially since she now owns a record company. Maddie isn’t Juliette. She also isn’t Scarlett, a shrinking violet who’s afraid of attention, fame and success. She’s just young and grieving. She needs a little time to be ready for the pressures of fame, so that she doesn’t make the same mistakes that Juliette did.
Will, Bucky and Gunnar come over to discuss the album. They argue with Scarlett about whether or not Deacon should be expected to finish the album, and how important it is for the company and everyone who depends on it. Avery walks in on the argument, and breaks it up. He channels his actor, Jonathan Jackson, who spent many years on General Hospital, and gives them a lesson on how to handle a grieving widower. His character’s mom died, like, five times, and he had to help his dad through it each time. Jonathan/Avery is a soap opera Buddha who’s won multiple Emmys. He knows what he’s doing. He says they need to be there for Deacon, not ask things of him.
Juliette tells Maddie that she never got to properly thank Rayna for everything that Rayna did for her. She’d like to manage Maddie’s career because she feels close to Maddie, and it would be a way to thank Rayna. She tells Maddie to think about it.
That could go really well, or really badly.
Maddie tells Daphne that she misses getting Rayna’s advice whether they wanted it or not. Daphne responds that Rayna’s still inside them. They sing one of Rayna’s songs together. The sisters each have a nice voice, but I like them best when they sing together. Their blended voices have a rich fullness that they lack alone.
Deacon watches the footage shot for the album documentary, showing the last few weeks of Rayna’s life. He laughs and cries, until he ends up on the floor in a corner, sobbing hysterically. I’m right there with him. This show, man.
The interview continues to play. The interviewer asks Rayna what it means to be making this album together. Rayna says she knows that Deacon will never give up on her, the girls, on this record, or on any other damn thing she drags him into. Deacon has his answer as to what Rayna would want him to do. It’s healing for him.
Meanwhile, Juliette and Avery have organized the nashvillesomething gang to meet up in Rayna’s home studio and finish the album. Everyone takes turns singing along with Rayna’s scratch tracks as they play on video in the background. Deacon comes downstairs just as the others go looking for him. He approves of the process. They save the last track for Deacon to duet alone with Rayna.
They get the audio files to Zach in time. He approves them. His money lives happily ever after. Not sure what the look on Will’s face means for their future.
Scarlett tells Gunnar that she’ll go on the tour. But she’s pregnant. And she doesn’t know who the father is.
Nashville, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make me cry for the next few episodes.
Maybe Scarlett should just go off with Damian, and leave Gunnar in peace. Although I’m reluctant to sentence a child to the rocky marriage those two would undoubtedly have. On the other hand, Gunnar has a child he hasn’t seen or spoken of in years. This baby is doomed.
Let’s give Gunnar to Hallie. He’s been with an older woman before. Or to one of the new cast members. Hallie is a nice girl who wouldn’t mess him up any further though, and that’s what we’re looking for here. I don’t know anything about these new strangers in town. At least one of them is likely to be untrustworthy.
I want Deacon and the girls to record the song Rayna wrote on her deathbed as a charity single once they’re up for it. Or for him to play it somehow.
Promo for Season 5B: