There’s no rest for the weary in “Nashville” episode “Never No More,” as Rayna steps from her hospital bed right into record label politics that threaten her new project. Deacon fights his own pain and guilt, and Juliette attempts to use her own personal tragedies to boost sales of her single.
Juliette under pressure
New Edgehill Records exec Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson) stuns Juliette when he calls her in to let her know her records aren’t selling enough. He’s upset she isn’t capturing the same tween market she once was, and that her “older sound” is losing that demographic to Rayna’s greatest hits. Juliette gets the message, and decides to boost her numbers by getting her own sob story up on TV.
Juliette visits the trailer park she grew up in, and becomes unexpectedly emotional over seeing her old beat-up home and an affectionate former neighbor. Avery, who’s trying to be a friend, suggests she might want to take it easy on airing all her personal stuff for the cameras. She brushes aside his concerns, intent on selling records, and she feels vindicated when her single gets to the top spot on iTunes.
From the hospital bed into the fire
Rayna’s still weak from the accident, but thinks it’s important to take her meetings with Fordham and make sure her own projects stay alive. After being warned by Juliette, Rayna’s surprised that the new exec seems to enthusiastically support all of her work and plans.
She’s happy with the meeting until she finds out that Fordham has offered Will a deal to leave her and sign directly with Edgehill. When she confronts her boss, he tells her he’s mainly interested in Will and her back catalog. Rayna has a heart-to-heart with Will, telling him that she’ll always have his back if he stays with her fledgling label. She’s seen that Fordham is a “bean counter” who will easily discard artists for whatever the next newest trend is.
Trouble at home
Now that Rayna’s out of the hospital, Maddie feels it’s okay to go back to hating her for the lies about her real father. Rayna also has to deal with Teddy, who helped out while she was in the coma, and now seems ready to move right back in. When she sends him away to save them both further pain, she upsets her daughters and creates an even bigger rift between them.
Scarlett challenges Deacon
After a “worst-case scenario” diagnosis from his doctors, Deacon shuns physical therapy in favor of a pain-reducing hand cast, sells all his guitars, and sinks into self-pity and depression. When Rayna says she can’t help him and it’s all over between them, it seems imminent that he’ll fall off the wagon again.
Scarlett’s moved in to Deacons’ place, and she offers him some tough love. She’s stunned to hear about Rayna and Maddie, but she wisely tells him that’s out of his control. He can do something about his hand, though, and she urges him to “stop being a coward.” Deacon rashly saws off the cast himself, painfully attempting to pick up the one guitar he still owns.
Gunnar finds his lyrics
Plagued by writer’s block, Gunnar struggles even more when Scarlett politely declines his offer to collaborate. Her friend Zoey (Chaley Rose) helps Gunnar look to his inner pain for material, however, and he pens an emotional song about his brother. Will tells Gunnar that he doesn’t need Scarlett, that he has talent all his own.
Will then decides he himself isn’t artist enough for Rayna’s label, so he takes Fordham up on his offer for success while he can get it. Rayna tells him she thinks he’s wrong about his potential, but she wishes him well. As an added wrinkle, Will’s ex-boyfriend works for Fordham, and he’ll have to trust his former love to keep quiet about his private life.
You can be replaced
Juliette’s pleased with her latest stunt to increase her record sales, until she goes to the Edgehill party. Fordham introduces a new artist, plucked from a reality show, who performs one of Juliette’s old hits. The formerly favored starlet chokes on her drink when Fordham also announces that the new gal’s single has already knocked Juliette off the number one spot on iTunes.
Across the room, Rayna is seething with anger as much as Juliette. Bucky starts to panic when Rayna says she thinks there might not be a place for her at Edgehill anymore. Her manager urges her not to be hasty, but Rayna’s already plotting to go out completely on her own.
“Nashville” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. On ABC.
More from this contributor:
‘Nashville’ Season 2 Premiere Recap: After the Accident
‘Nashville’ Season 1 Finale Recap: Juliette Mourns Her Mother; Deacon Spirals and Takes Rayna Down With Him
‘Nashville’ Recap: The Rayna, Teddy Fight Gets Ugly; Jolene Takes Drastic Measures to Protect Juliette