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It Takes A Village To Finish A Concept Album On Nashville

Deacon can't complete his and Rayna's work on his own. Turns out he doesn't have to.

  • Meeting Time
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    Stalled On The Highway

    Who called the meeting? Bucky and Zach, it looks like.

    What's it about? Taking stock of Highway 65's post-Rayna situation.

    How'd it go? Ugh. First Scarlett balks at going on a lucrative Margo Price-headlined tour because it starts in a couple weeks and she doesn't want to leave Deacon and the girls, which is understandable enough but isn't a great start to this meeting. And things get worse, because with H65 under contract to buy Wheelin' Dealin' Records, they need money, and the only potential source at the moment is the concept album, which Deacon says isn't finished and never will be. Zach desperately tries to argue that the album could be a way to give Rayna's fans a last remembrance of her, but Deacon isn't hearing it. Will he listen to anyone? Stay tuned!

  • Alert!
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    NYC Bound

    Alert Type: Hot Iron Striking Alert.

    Issue: Maddie is getting lots of press requests after her performance at the CMT Awards, and Juliette wants to take her to New York to capitalize on the attention.

    Complicating Factors: Maddie isn't sure the timing is right, and Scarlett's disapproving expressions agree with her.

    Resolution: With Deacon surprisingly taking the view that the attention is deserved thanks to Maddie's poised performance, Maddie decides to go with Juliette.

    Spoiler: If Scarlett were the type to say "I told you so," she'll have a pretty solid opportunity.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    You Always Help The Ones You Love

    Well, okay, it's early for the "L" word; I don't even know if these two have boned yet. But Zach asks Will if he'll try to convince Deacon to finish and release the album; he adds that he's just trying to preserve Rayna's company and her legacy, but as a Nashville outsider and richie-rich dude, he won't be taken seriously making this argument himself. Will's skeptical of his own ability to convince Deacon -- with good reason, as it turns out -- but the fact that he makes the attempt anyway (a) suggests he really is starting to care about Zach, and (b) just shows what a mensch he is, not that we didn't know that already. I still don't know that Will should be looking to settle down yet, but I kind of think these two are cute together?

  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Maddie's on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah! She can't talk too much about Rayna without choking up, but when he shifts the topic to her music, she's enthusiastic! Enthusiastic enough to sing? Stay tuned!

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    At home, Daphne -- having watched Maddie on TV and been pretty unpsyched about it -- tells Scarlett she's trying not to think about Rayna, but that just makes everything worse! Scarlett tells her from experience that she should just let herself feel everything! Daphne also wonders why the TV outlets wanted only Maddie, and Scarlett sighs that the world is shallow! In this day and age it is hard to argue with her!

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    Backstage, Trevor Noah begs Maddie to sing "Sanctuary" for some dude! This seems inappropriate, but with Juliette silently urging her on, she obliges!

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    Now Maddie's on with Harry Connick Jr.! She comes off a littttle bubbly for someone bereaved, and Daphne freaks out some more, prompting Scarlett to say she can't tour again! Spoiler alert: no one cares!

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    Deacon sifts through old tapes and videos of him and Rayna! Get your waterproof ponchos ready!

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    Maddie is heartbroken when she sees tabloid headlines saying essentially that she doesn't care that her mom just died! She tells Juliette she can't go on Today, and Juliette agrees to cancel, but it seems pretty clear they'll be talking about this later!

  • Meeting Time
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    The Moment Of Truth

    Who called the meeting? Zach.

    What's it about? Trying once more to get Deacon to release the album.

    How'd it go? Even worse. Deacon explains that Rayna only did scratch vocals for her side, while he didn't do anything (although I'm pretty sure we did hear him sing on that song "My Favorite Hurricane" from a few episodes ago), and now he's not going to! Zach points out that the company is paying for the roof over his girls' head, and Deacon doesn't punch him, but Zach does realize that was possibly going a bit too far. He tries once more to ask Deacon what Rayna would have wanted for the company, but Deacon spits that he's done listening to Zach try to profit off his grief. I mean, it's hard to be against Deacon here, but I really think any money Zach's going to make off H65 will be chump change for him, so maybe consider that he's coming from a genuine place? Anyway, Zach emotionally tells Bucky he needs the audio files for the album by the end of the week or he and his investment are gone, and Bucky sighs that he'll see what they can do. GOOD LUCK.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Scarlett vs. Juliette

    Having delivered Maddie home, Juliette marches into the Jaymes kitchen and tells Maddie that while she's disappointed with her "lack of professionalism" in NYC (girl, I love you, but that is pretty rich coming from you), she's convinced Today to reschedule her for next week. Scarlett decides to flap her arms and intervene at this point, and the two of them get into it until Maddie tells them to stop and escapes upstairs. So it sounds like a tie, except for Juliette's line to Scarlett: "Just because you're afraid of success...." In light of that, I'm gonna have to say:

    Winner: Juliette.

  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson
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    I Get To Use My Old Description Of Avery!

    Desperate to convince Deacon to save their label, Gunnar, Will, and Bucky converge on Rayna's house, whereupon Scarlett tries to summon Deacon for a meeting but is told in no uncertain terms that he's busy. Everyone starts talking, and Bucky's getting pretty heated when, thank God, Avery happens by. He lectures the group on how they should respect and honor Deacon's heartbreak instead of acting like it's an inconvenience, and everyone is appropriately chastened but wonders how they can do that. Luckily, a cartoon light bulb goes off over Avery's head, because he's still the best and always will be.

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  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Juliette meets with Maddie again, in a far more conciliatory way! She notes that Scarlett is protective of Maddie because of their blood connection, while she's the same out of love and respect for Rayna: "She picked me up when I fell, even when I didn't deserve it." She goes on to say that she sees so much potential in Maddie, and while others can take care of logistical shit (this will be the last time she deals directly with snooty morning-show producers, I reckon), she'd like to be Maddie's creative mentor! Unsurprisingly, Maddie takes a moment to process this offer, but Juliette asks her to think about it, and she seems open to the idea!

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    Maddie and Daphne commiserate about how they (...Maddie) took Rayna's advice for granted, and they (...Maddie) sure wish they (...MADDIE) had it now! They then sing another of Rayna's songs, which is nice!

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    Deacon watches a recording of Rayna talking about how her family now infuses her creative process! Deacon manages a smile before losing it, which seems like progress!

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    Scarlett opens the door and lets in Juliette, Gunnar, and Avery, the latter two instrumented up! Juliette tells Scarlett she just wanted to help, and Scarlett takes this as the fence-mending it's intended to be!

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    Back on the recording, Rayna says the album means everything to her, before adding that, whatever happens to him, Deacon always comes up stronger! She goes on to say that to see that strength with the kids is the best, and she knows he'll never give up on anything! Deacon looks like those are the words he needed to hear!

  • Hell Yeah!
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    Coming Together In Tribute

    Coming downstairs, Deacon runs into the kids, and they escort him to the studio. When they arrive, they find all their friends gathered, with Gunnar and Scarlett singing along with a recorded projection of Rayna doing her scratch vocals. Avery, the producing mastermind, explains that they thought they could all finish the album in a way that would be special to Rayna, and it's hard to blame Deacon for this facial reaction:

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    Alarmed, Juliette starts to say they can stop if it's not what he wants, but he tells them to keep going, and soon everyone is taking a turn singing with Rayna; the aforementioned Scarlett and Gunnar, Juliette, Avery, Will, the kids. Eventually, it's Deacon's turn, and although it takes him a minute, he gets in there and sings a duet with "Rayna" called "I Can't Remember Not Loving You," and it's lovely and there are smiles and tears. Mid-song, we cut here:

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    Zach finishes listening (did Avery mix this shit himself? He's a saint) and gives Deacon a nod and a smile; Deacon doesn't exactly reciprocate, but I think he's good with it. What a nice way to end the episode, right?

  • That Happened
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    Baby On Bored

    Outside H65, Scarlett says she'll do the tour! But:

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    Jesus.

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