This episode picked up where last week left off, showing Juliette officially signed to Highway 65. In the first official meeting to discuss strategy, Rayna and Tandy’s intentions to keep her signing under the radar until Rayna’s album release piss off Juliette, who wants to offer digital downloads and shout from the heavens about her return to country music. Grouchy about the fact that her new label head is praising other artists and not her (how much re-assurance and attention does this girl need?!), at an industry party to preview Rayna’s album Juliette gets up on stage and drops the bombshell, prompting the press in attendance to go crazy and infuriating her boss, who knows that things have been screwed up. She decides to invite Juliette to perform a duet with her at her Grand Ole Opry performance the next night, but the reaction isn’t exactly overwhelming and things aren’t looking peachy for Highway 65.
Meanwhile Maddie is spotlighted this episode, with Teddy annoyed at her extensive pursuit of music alongside her slipping grades. He tries to get Maddie to focus more on school but she rebels further, and even when angel Deacon says she should concentrate on it, she refuses. She angers Teddy further by putting on excessive make-up (I wish my make-up looked that good when I was her age) and on Daphne in preparation for her mother’s party, and when she again doesn’t finish her homework the following night Teddy grounds her. Tension builds as Maddie claims she wants to go live with her real father, causing obvious upset in Teddy and she goes one extra mile by disobeying orders that night and uploading an acoustic video onto YouTube… with the name Maddie Claybourne. Ooooh no she didn’t.
Meanwhile Teddy is pursuing Megan, who says that the sex was a mistake (damn right it was) and tries to avoid him, but he doesn’t get the message, continuing to invade her boundaries. Deacon is in Nashville on a break from his van tour, and intends to postpone the rest of the shows to spend time with his girlfriend, but a chat with Luke results in him inviting Deacon out to be his opening act on a stadium tour. Deacon checks with Megan, who says it’s fine, and this is obviously going to lead to more Teddy sex and Deacon finding out in a barrage of flames. It is Nashville, after all. Anyway, Scarlett is now in limbo with recording although she definitely wants to finish the album, and asks Avery to produce the rest of the tracks. He accepts, but Juliette gets jealous and so he holds off, hoping that she’ll get used to the idea. He realizes he’s caught between his ex and his current girlfriend, as always seems to be the way on this show.
Meanwhile Will and Layla have been kicked off Juliette’s tour due to her being signed with Highway 65, and Will is pissed but she won’t budge because she can’t. Layla invites Brent to be her manager and he sorts her a special gig, with a later suggestion that the two headline a club and theater show together. Knowing his proximity to Brent will be dangerous, especially since people who knew him as gay in his hometown are beginning to come out of the woodwork, so he allows Jeff to put him on the Luke Wheeler tour, much to Layla’s distress. The pair nearly break up since apparently they’re now not sleeping together either (and bless her, she buys a vibrator to spice things up and Will throws it back in her face), but upon Brent’s advice Will decides not to break it off and instead proposes to her (oh Will, bad move dude).
If that weren’t enough drama for you, the most boring couple (Gunnar and Zoey, but that was obvious) are having problems because Gunnar can’t handle anyone else’s success (mainly because he’s an ass) and is threatened by Zoey going for auditions for backing vocalist positions (Zo, just dump him already). In the end she doesn’t get the job she thinks she’s going to, so that was a pointless storyline as she won’t be touring the country, and life goes on. Avery doesn’t want to be in the band with lousy Gunnar either.
Episode 18 airs on Wednesday, March 19, at 10/9c on ABC.