Over the past few weeks a LOT has happened on Nashville, and now is the perfect time to catch up on what you missed — or just relive the epic grandeur of Scarlett crawling under a piano and screaming in front of 20,000 people — before you watch tonight's episode in which RAYNA AND DEACON HUG EACH OTHER!!! FOR AMERICA AND FREEDOM!!! (With appearances by First Lady Michelle Obama and Kellie Pickler.)
Deacon/Rayna/Luke: I don't know why I even put Luke in this mix, other than he keeps hanging around and having FEELINGS for Rayna. And apparently he's had them since the 1992 Oklahoma State Fair. But even on the top of a Ferris wheel, and even with Deacon being totally drunk and horrible, Luke couldn't get Rayna to pay him any mind. And now he's feeling rather insecure and punching car seats all willy nilly. Like, I'm sorry if TRUE LOVE is getting in the way of your lifelong crush, chump.
Anyway, Deacon stormed around his country house looking for alcohol after he realized that his stupid girlfriend Megan boned stupid Teddy (in the back of a car!), but he dumped it instead of drank it. Rayna shows up at his place to deliver the news that Maddie's paternity has been made public, thanks to Maddie's recklessness on YouTube and the well-documented dangers of social media. She doesn't mention that it's a hot topic on The View, because obviously that would catapult Deacon right off the wagon. Rayna wants the whole family to be a united front, but Deacon is NOT down to unite with Teddy the girlfriend-banger. Teddy is the biggest tool throughout this ordeal, per usual.
Teddy and Rayna prepare to make a statement about Maddie's paternity on Good Morning America, and Deacon unexpectedly shows up to join the interview. He is amazing, and obviously Rayna is so in love with him in that moment, because aren't we all? After GMA, Rayna goes to see Deacon at his country house and they have a real, honest, amazing, beautifully shot, and not at all inscrutable conversation about deep feelings. He resents her for not telling him about Maddie earlier, noting that he missed out on his chance to sing her to sleep. (I may or may not have let loose a guttural sob when he said that.) He says that if Maddie hadn't found the big box o' secrets in Rayna's closet, Rayna would still be lying to him about her paternity. Which, fair point! But then Rayna, whose hair is glorious in the misty twilight, talks about how she wanted to be Deacon's wife and raise Maddie together in a loving home that he couldn't provide. She cried herself to sleep about it for a year. I cry myself to sleep about it every night right now in 2014! She says there's no good time to blow up your kid's life, and plus when Deacon finally did learn about Maddie, Rayna ended up in a coma and Deacon went to jail. Also a fair point! Anyway, she resents him too, a LOT. But in the way that you can only truly resent someone when they are your obvious soul mate. (This last part is me editorializing. But also is the truth.)
Scarlett: Oh, Lord. So, Scarlett gets an unexpected visit from her crazy-ass mom, Beverly, who brings as a gift an airport snowglobe. This is the first of many signs that she's awful and toxic! Beverly is happy to tag along to Scarlett's recording sessions with Avery and backstage on tour with Juliette, and also happy to mention repeatedly that she gave up her own singing career when she got pregnant with Scarlett. She also pinches Scarlett really hard, and calls her a brat, yells at her to shut up, and sings Tammy Wynette classics with Scarlett's band, which I GUESS provides some context for why Scarlett is so annoying. (I maintain that some of it is just her, though.) Anyway, Scarlett turns to her Mary-Poppins-carpetbag-esque bottle of uppers (which, sadly, she never refers to as "dolls"), then gets the gumption to dedicate "Black Roses" to her mom during soundcheck. Scarlett emotes ferociously and her mouth opens so wide that she almost accidentally swallows the microphone AND her fiddle player. Amphetamines are no joke! Beverly only gets rage-ier in response, yelling that she gave up her dreams for Scarlett and ALSO her own childhood was way worse, despite incriminating flashback footage of her locking Scarlett in a closet.
Scarlett asks Juliette if she can have the night off, and Juliette tells her that this isn't Dairy Queen, where another opening act can just take over your shift. Juliette sympathizes with the crazy mama situation, but Scarlett's got a job to do. Scarlett then gulps down some booze, in full defiance of whatever warning label was on her magical uppers bottle. When Avery sees her, he knows something's wrong, but he isn't able to prevent her from stumbling out on stage, missing all her cues, and then having some wire-hanger level Mommie Dearest hallucinations. Cue on-stage epic meltdown, because Scarlett thinks her life is an afternoon TCM showing of Coal Miner's Daughter. Even at her lowest, though, Loretta didn't hide under a piano and wail nonsensically!
Scarlett is carried offstage by Avery, sedated and flown back to Nashville, where Beverly tries to convince everyone (not without cause!) that she's had a psychotic break like every other woman in their family. Scarlett's albino zombie raccoon countenance is not making many arguments to the contrary. When Scarlett wakes up and realizes what's happening, she freaks the eff out AGAIN, then runs out onto the lawn in her hospital gown. Beverly yells after her, "Do not make me chase you in these shoes!" because her character portrayal has been nothing if not subtle. Rayna is very kind and motherly to Scarlett, and convinces her to let the doctors check her out for 24 hours. Scarlett admits that Liam gave her the pills, but says she's not an addict, and plus (I would add) normally she's WAY cooler on the pills! Back in the hospital, Scarlett is a total bitch to a visiting Juliette, accusing Juliette of having her dragged offstage and sedated when Scarlett merely had a small "hiccup." Juliette's basically like, "…Watch the video." Scarlett does and is horrified, which mellows her out just in time for a surprise visit from Zoey. So, I guess they're friends again. Beverly also visits and tries to be a nice mom for once, rather unconvincingly.
Once she's been declared a not-addict and given a clean bill of Health, Scarlett asks Rayna if she can go back out on the road. But Rayna is wise. She once again asks Scarlett if she REALLY wants to be a zillionaire music star. Scarlett finally admits that she doesn't. Yeah, me either. What a stupid, horrible thing to be. Don't anybody go offering ME a recording contract or publishing deal! That would be the worst! Anyway, Rayna is very calm about the whole thing despite the fact that now she's probably going to lose her house, and releases Scarlett from her contract. Scarlett checks herself out of the hospital and tells Beverly to go home, because she's not under her spell, she's not under her spell, she's not under her speeeeeeeeellllllll ooooooooooooh!
Rayna and Deacon, Again!: During the whole Scarlett breakdown, Deacon is a total dick to Rayna, blaming her for giving Scarlett opportunities that she couldn't handle. But then after a blowout with Beverly, in which she blames him for everything that went wrong in her sorry life, he realizes that the Claybournes need to recognize their own culpability vis-à-vis their life choices and apologizes for his aforementioned dickishness. And then Deacon and Rayna are both standing by the window and Connie Britton's hair is unbelievable in the natural light, and she brings up how happy Deacon was when Scarlett was born. And then they give each other THAT LOOK. It's not exactly eye sex…more like really emotional eye spooning. She tells him that she doesn't know what's going to happen with her label, but Scarlett is family. Thank God neither Luke nor Teddy showed up to ruin this moment!
Juliette and Avery: Juliette is prompted by Glenn to meet with Charlie Wentworth and try to get some country radio play. Avery thinks this is a smart idea, and Juliette is puzzled by his lack of jealousy. Of course when Juliette meets with Charlie, he thinks she wants to reunite. He kisses her right in the middle of a restaurant, which is a smart move for the subjects of a life-ruining tabloid scandal. Juliette rebuffs his advances and tells him that she loves Avery, and Charlie seems to accept this and agrees to send a fleet of programmers to her concert (which turns out to be the very concert where Scarlett has her epic meltdown). When Juliette tells Avery that Charlie TRIED to kiss her, he's still relatively nonplussed, although he's none too thrilled to actually see Charlie at her concert.
And then things get radically worse! Juliette's troubled that a) Scarlett collapsed on her stage; b) Scarlett is clinging to Avery.; c) Rayna has told her to just go home. After Scarlett gives Juliette heck for sending her out on stage when she needed a night off, Avery says that he can see Scarlett's side in the matter. He also won't have sex with Juliette, wonders why she always acts crazy when the issue of Scarlett comes up, and leaves for the night. Juliette shows up at his place later to apologize, but he's gone. Yes, he spent the night in Scarlett's hospital room. Juliette stands outside the door and hears Scarlett thanking Avery for being there and telling him that he was her first love and she won't love anyone as much as she loved him. Avery in turn says that he doesn't want anything bad to happen to Scarlett, and that she has a permanent piece of his heart, always. None of which is ACTUALLY incriminating, but given that Juliette has the emotional intelligence of a crimini mushroom, she doesn't take it so well.
And THEN. Juliette goes to a party and drinks massive Jager shots. Jeff Fordham sits next to her at the ice bar. They mutter something to one another about how they both hate life, and then they look at each other. And then, the grossest thing in recorded human history happens. THEY DO IT. Yes, IT. Juliette can't even look at his face, but STILL they do it. WHYYYYYYYYYYY???? She seriously cannot have one good thing in her life that she doesn't ruin. They are super sloppy coming back into the party and Gunnar sees them trying to straighten out their clothes, because it's his fate in life to know every dirty secret about everybody.
The Rest of 'Em: Gunnar gets a $400,000 royalty check (!!!!!!!!) and buys a house. He also books some time in the studio for Zoey to make a professional demo, though this backfires a bit when that background singer agent lady is impressed and wants to send her to L.A. Gunnar also plays golf with Jeff Fordham, who wants to sign him to Edgehill's new publishing division. While trying to court Gunnar, Jeff mentions how the thing with Kelly Clarkson was blown by Gunnar's "loony ex partner." Gunnar does not take kindly to him disparaging Scarlett — the most talented being who was ever created and who is made of fairy dust and dragonfly wings and a meerkat's soulful yet inquisitive look and also twinkling starlight! — and tells Jeff to shove it. Then he goes home and writes a tender song about Scarlett, and Zoey isn't weird about it at all. She should give Juliette lessons in playing it cool.
And then there's Will. Sporting the "Beard Rider" cut of Bad Idea Jeans, Will considers a proposal for a reality show about his marriage to Layla. Jeff of course is NOT in favor this idea, which is the one sound professional opinion he's ever had. But Layla wants to do it, because how else is she going to stay famous, and eventually Will's internalized homophobia drives him to prove to Jeff — and America! — that he's a regular old boot-wearing, Bud-guzzing, Fox-watching straight, and he agrees to do the show. Maybe Brent will have a recurring role as their poolboy?
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