5 Awesome Things from Luke and Rayna Salute the Troops

Nashville (Screen: ABC)

When tragedy preempts his performance in Afghanistan, Luke and Rayna team up to put on a helluva show for troops stationed near Nashville. Of course, backstage is where the real action is.
Disgusted with herself again, Juliette takes a very long shower after her drunken hookup with Jeff the exec. While meeting with a bunch of anti-Juliette broadcast reps, Rayna learns Luke was injured in an IED explosion right before a scheduled performance for troops in Afghanistan. Ex-starlet Scarlett doesn’t know what to do with herself so she goes back to waiting tables at The Bluebird. Reality show producers set up shop at Will and Layla’s place. Having witnessed Juliette and Jeff do their post-hookup walk of shame, Gunnar gets queasy when Juliette’s people invite him to write songs with her. When he asks Zoey if he should tell Avery, she has no idea. Rayna leaves Maddie and Daphne with Teddy so she can meet Luke in New York. Maddie immediately asks Teddy if she can stay at biological daddy Deacon’s place, instead. He grudgingly agrees. Avery apologizes to Juliette for showing so much attention to his ex-girlfriend Scarlett. He’s confused when frazzled Jules doesn’t want to have make-up sex. Later, when he tells Zoey that Juliette is being distant in light of the Scarlett drama, she suggests he talk to Gunnar. Maddie asks Deacon lots of uncomfortable questions about his past. Luke and Rayna are sweetly reunited, but he’s bummed he never got to play for the troops. Rayna suggests they put on a show at nearby Fort Campbell. Now that Jeff has sexed Juliette, he’s again determined to bring her back to Edgehill. Luke gets mad when Rayna invites Juliette to perform at Fort Campbell and accuses her of staging the event to promote Highway 65. When Will gets stressed out by all the cameras filming him with his beard wife, he heads to the gym for a hardcore workout. There he meets Tommy, a strapping gent who offers private training sessions, wink wink. Gunnar is about to tell Avery that his girlfriend cheated on him when Zoey pops in and announces she’s going to be Juliette’s new backup singer. Luke apologize to Rayna for being mean, admitting his brush with death made him realize he’s in love with her and he thinks she doesn’t love him back. But then she says she does! But then it gets more complicated. And then other awesome stuff happened, too.

Gunnar breaks it down When Zoey wonders why her boyfriend isn’t excited about the chance to write for Juliette, he explains.

Gunnar: Because I saw her and Jeff Fordham sneak out of the screening room at last night’s BMI party.
Zoey: So, they watched a movie?
Gunnar: Yeah, only it was NC-17 and they were both starring in it.

Good call on the rating, Gunnar. Seems like clothing never came off #drycleaning

Falling flat The reality show people tell Will and Layla to just be themselves on camera. Will responds with a showy serenade to his wistful bride, which everyone eats up. But later, when the newlyweds are subject to multiple reshoots of a kissing scene, Will grows impatient. The producer says, “Bottom line, we need to believe what we’re seeing and the kiss is falling flat.” Layla is amenable but also confused because OMG THIS IS HOW THEIR SEX IS ALL THE TIME. Anyone else predicting that Layla’s gonna get an accidental lesson in how it’s really done, courtesy of Will and Tommy?

Grace under fire When Juliette overhears Rayna and Luke arguing about her appearance at Fort Campbell, she stomps off to chat with some soldiers. I half expected one of them to call her a god-hating slut ’cause rain = downpour in Juliette’s world. DUH this is pure feel good stuff. Of course they’re super nice to her. When she mentions that she won’t be performing, one of the soldiers asks why she’s there. That’s when Luke wanders by. Like him, I half expected her to say, “Because Luke Wheeler is a dillhole.” Instead, she tells the young man about her beloved late father’s Army career and graciously thanks him for his sacrifice. Take that, Luke! You’re not the only one with feels for the men and women who serve. Then Luke realizes, “I’m a dillhole,” asks Jules to perform anyway, and even joins her onstage for a duet of – you guessed it – “Don’t Throw Dirt On My Grave Just Yet”.

Moment of truth When Maddie asks Deacon where he was when she was born, he replies, “On the road.” He later admits to his AA group that he has no idea where he was because he was too drunk at the time to notice. When he runs into mama Rayna at the Fort Campbell show, he says, “I told you I was never gonna forgive you for not telling me about her fourteen years ago… You were just protecting our little girl. I finally get that. All I ever did was give you hell for it and I’m sorry. I’m grateful.” The whole time he’s speaking, Rayna makes these beautiful, bittersweet, teary eyed faces that confirm what we already knew – she’ll always be more in love with Deacon than with Luke.

More like “A Life That’s Awkward” In honor of all the Army families in the audience, Rayna invites Maddie and Daphne join her onstage for “A Life That’s Good”. Maddie, Queen of Uncomfortable Requests whispers to her mom that they should invite songwriter Deacon to perform. Of course she agrees because that’s Rayna being a fair, loving and respectful mom, even if it means ex-husband Teddy and current boyfriend Luke have to stew at the sidelines. Kinda weird when the love of Rayna’s life is onstage with the kids singing a beautiful ballad about family. I wonder if this tension will overflow into next week’s season finale?

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