Nashville creators make the most of stories and songs that draw the show’s fan base back for a mid-week transfusion of music and melodrama, mixed in the best way! In this week’s 17th episode of Season 2, “We’ve Got Things to Do,” everyone is swimming for their personal and professional lives in a cesspool of music industry maneuvers. For now, treading water is working, but who will keep a head above the water, as everyone else drowns?
Zoey (Chaley Rose) opens the episode with a beautiful “Carry You Home,” as part of her audition for national tour, singing background. She gets positive feedback, and her dream feels alive again. With Scarlett (Clare Bowen) being back home, and not in the studio, Deacon (Charles Esten) inquires about her recording. She tells him that Liam won’t be producing any more tracks. He assures her that he’s “never been a fan of Liam’s” and that she will find an even better producer. Teddy (Eric Close) takes Maddie’s (Lennon Stella) guitar, and virtually bans her from pursuing her love of music after seeing that she’s making C’s where there once were only A’s. She is naturally poised to rebel. Gunnar (Sam Palladio) is not doing great with his band’s now casual attitude, espousing it should be “fun” and pursued “when we can.” He hangs on for life-and-death. Rayna (Connie Britton) makes it very clear in a meeting that she wants an order in introducing Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) being signed on Highway 65, and swiftly nixes the notion of releasing “Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave” for digital download. She prefers using the momentum of her own album to launch Juliette to a higher place, but Juliette never likes being put in her place. She rebuts that she didn’t know “my signing bonus to Highway 65 would be a gag order.” Deacon can sense that Megan (Christina Chang) is not “there” with him in the moment after coming off the road. Megan makes a quick exit when Teddy brings Maddie for her lesson with Deacon, and Maddie quickly dismisses dad, saying, “you can go, too.”
Brent (Derek Krantz) has come on as Layla’s (Aubrey Peeples) new manager, and she is ready to take whatever deal gets her onstage. Brent brings the news that Will (Chris Carmack) and Layla are both off Juliette’s tour. Layla doesn’t seem to mind, but Will those charging off to see Juliette. Scarlett asks Rayna to allow Avery (Jonathan Jackson) to pick up producing her album, rightly stating that she needs someone she can trust. Teddy creates a victim support program, planning to hire Megan, and meaning they would spend more time together. She refuses any talk about their “mistake” of spending the night. Layla loves opening at the Franklin Theatre, and Brent wants her and Will to co-open on a club tour. Will is ready to sacrifice the status he’s got, and leaves Layla in a rage. Dad has a tantrum when he sees Maddie and Daphne (Maisy Stella) both in makeup, and orders it off before they can attend Mom’s label party, again, under much protest from Maddie.
Avery gets the call to produce Scarlett’s remaining album, and Juliette rages, wondering why her offer of producing is a handout, while producing for Scarlett is “helping a friend.” Avery won’t be attending the party. At the party, Scarlett longs for Rayna’s social ease with strangers, while Deacon reminds her that it didn’t start out that way. Scarlett turns to her now regular “self-medication” to get through the night. Luke (Will Chase) tells Deacon “you’re too damn good” for a van tour, and asks if Deacon will join him on a national tour. Deacon tells him he needs a day before giving an answer. Teddy is still taking it to Megan at every opportunity, making fidelity a near impossibility. Will gets an offer of an expanded set on Luke Wheeler’s stint, too, and snaps it up. Juliette boils with jealousy hearing Rayna’s praise for Scarlett. Unannounced, she grabs the stage, introducing Rayna for a song, and herself as the new Highway 65 signee, blowing all Rayna’s plans. They have a damage control meeting, and Rayna invites Juliette as her duet partner at the Opry. Avery pleads with Juliette to “be okay” with him producing for Scarlett. Brent warns Will that while he will never expose his sexuality secret, other people from the past will, particularly as fame grows. He admonishes, “you can’t break up with Layla.” Will devises another plan to kill two birds with one stone. He proposes to Layla right on the big stage of Nashville. She accepts, without hesitation. At the Opry show, Rayna and Juliette sing “He Ain’t Gonna Change” in perfect harmony to fans shaking their heads. When Gunnar asks about what’s happening with his band, Zoe confides about her auditions, and later, she gets the call that she’s been turned down again. Maddie gives dad a “whatever” when confronted with an incomplete history report, and sidesteps his restrictions by uploading videos as her route to a career in music.
The drama takes a break next week, but new episodes return March 26. Be prepared for a wild and wonderful musical ride to the end of the season!