Rayna stole the show onstage, but Deacon and Scarlett's homestead duet on Jaida Dreyer's "This Town" was another hugely pleasant surprise -- the tune was appropriately haunting for the occasion (Deacon's depression/Halloween) and I love the edge a minor key adds to Scarlett's voice. I liked her stockholders' showcase performance for the same reason. Beautiful simplicity from the uncle/niece duo, with Deacon gingerly trying out his bad hand on the piano after turning down Juliette's offer to come back out on tour (he wouldn't even have to play guitar, she said, as if that would make it better). He even gave Juliette back the vintage Martin she'd gifted him because it "deserved to be played."
But an emotional conversation between Rayna and Deacon reminded Deacon that he might as well play something. "You don't need to be anyone's guitar player," she tells him. "You might need to take a minute and figure out who you are without a guitar in your hand -- but don't you ever say you're done with music." "You either, okay?" Good God, I was pretty close to crying here. Their only scene together in the episode was packed powerfully with shared fear and disappointment and, from Rayna's end at least, hope. She told him something he desperately needed to hear.
You know who's not good at giving career advice? American Hitmaker runner-up and new Edgehill tweeter of distinction Layla Grant! Scarlett can't deal with the horror show that is the red carpet, even after getting coached by an awful, somewhat Katherine Heigl-y media trainer on how to lie about her past and tie her life story up in a pretty little lip-glossed bow. I like the media trainer's expression of pure disgust upon learning that Scarlett "just wrote poems" before all of this....
....instead of the correct answer -- "craved the spotlight her whole life AND NOW SHE'S FINALLY GOT IT! #hashtag."
This beast then proceeds to explain exactly what can be so annoying about Scarlett's character to TV viewers, while offering Scarlett practical advice for the press line: "In certain situations, the stammering may come across as folksy. But on camera, it reads as scattered." I've definitely never said it better myself. This cretin and Layla Grant are truly the worst, but I like them as characters because they're such accurate depictions of the soulless, hashtaggy media monster that rules us all.
I can't decide which of Juliette's lines is the best of the week -- the delivery was delicious on "You mean your little spot on my big tour?" in response to Layla's mention of her first big tour, but "For the encore, I'll make my entrance through the 3-D video screen" is so quintessentially Juliette.
NEXT: Luke Wheeler prompts Juliette to skeptically survey her many, many awards