Nashville fans, it’s time for me to face the music. Last week’s episode really had me reeling. Not only did I make a dumb mistake about Maddie’s paternity that some of you very wisely pointed out, I also assumed that this contract dispute would really take a whole lot longer to figure out than just having Rayna storm into an office being her badass, angel-hair owning self to get that null and void agreement. Clearly my knowledge of dramatic television tropes and possible plotlines needs a whole lot of work. Honestly, I figured Jeff would sprout wings, turn red and magically become the Devil before having his life goals so utterly foiled.
Jeff begins his not nearly nefarious enough plan by buying Maddie a diamond necklace because in his eyes, she is going to be the “diamond of his label.” Excuse me while I roll my eyes to the back of my head Liz Lemon style. Of course instead of sending the necklace straight to Rayna’s oldest, Jeff messengers it to the Queen of Country herself. Rayna wastes approximately no time at all to storm into Jeff’s office demanding to know the meaning behind this gift—which probably appeared more creepy than evil to anyone who wasn’t in the loop on these contract issues. Jeff throws Teddy’s name around, and the Rayna Rampage heads to Mr. Mayor for some uncomfortable confrontation time. Teddy at first tries to play the good parent by saying this contract is what Maddie wants. But eventually he comes clean about his involvement in covering up Jeff’s party and the Layla incident and his canoodling with the prostitute, though was he completely honest about her? I’m still not sure when exactly those prostitute/mayor hookups officially ended.
But words like binding contract, legal, and iron clad can’t stop the Rayna Tornado, or Raynado if you will (just trying out a few nicknames guys!), from blasting into Jeff’s office and revealing his dirty little lies to the Edgehill board president, Mr. New Jack City himself, Mario Van Peebles. Peebles releases Maddie from her contract, I believe his exact words are “as far as I’m concerned, this contract never existed.” Smart man. But he takes a few extra steps to ensure there will be no more trouble with this matter or any other involving Jeff Fordham by firing him. Real life Voldemort loses his job. Despite screwing her over with his former board president and previously screwing her physically and emotionally, Jeff still runs to Layla’s house for comfort after getting fired. Now Layla has the choice to make: To let Jeff in or not to let Jeff in. She chose… poorly. Things are looking up in Rayna’s world. But if the complaining she did with Deacon is any indication, I can’t even imagine the fit Maddie might throw if she finds out about all of this back and forth her parents had over her future.
Now you guys, I know that arguably the best character on Nashville is Connie Britton’s hair, but can we take a break from that worship to turn our attention toward Hayden Panettiere? Despite only being in the episode for approximately six minutes, she still manages to steal every scene known to man, just by laying in bed with pregnancy brain and having different cravings. She just wants to spend time with new husband Avery, or at least have him do some stuff for her that she can’t do herself. But Avery’s off to produce Sadie’s new album. I’ve actually been eagerly waiting for this collaboration since Juliette almost ruined it before it began, and if the song that Laura Benanti performed is where they’re headed, I’m buying it.
Before Avery and Sadie could really get the creative juices flowing though, they had to confront Sadie’s ex-husband Pete, who is more interested in stalking and serving Sadie with a lawsuit thanks to a partnership they supposedly signed on a napkin. Avery comes to Sadie’s aid and lessens her stress at least a little, but we all know there’s so much more to come for this storyline.
NEXT: Gunnar awkwardly bonds with Luke and finally realizes he has a right to be upset about Micah’s paternity reveal [pagebreak]
Over in the Deacon Claybourne world, Rayna’s one true love is trying to figure out how much time he has left, which is a completely reasonable coping (or non-coping) mechanism in his state. The doctor, another random, semi-cute white male, can’t give him the answers he needs. So Deacon as a roommate of a child of the Internet, basically WebMD’s his diagnosis to find out how long he has to live: Looks like it’s six months if he doesn’t get the liver transplant. Things are getting more and more depressing in Claybourne land as he basically tells Scarlett he can’t sit around hoping and praying for something that might never happen like she keeps doing. Instead he has to prepare for the inevitable. He’s not ready to talk to Maddie, and he’s certainly not ready to tell people about his diagnosis.
Yet somehow, Deacon finds some hope left in his pessimistic body and proceeds to continue his guitar lessons with his daughter. Semi-cute doctor comes back into the picture and flirts with Scarlett for a while toward the end of the episode, leading me to believe that Scarlett is going to be the only member of the Claybourne/Connor family that will pull a 50/50 and use the cancer line to get some action. Hey, it would be one small silver lining in a rather heartbreaking plot.
Then there’s Gunnar. Gunnar, Gunnar, Gunnar. You should be glad that Micah is Jason’s son and not yours because if it’s taken you this long to get upset over Kiley’s betrayal, that poor kid did not stand a chance in school with your genes. Okay that’s rude, but in all seriousness, it’s strange that Gunnar finally allowed himself to grieve over the news of Micah’s true father and the added fact that this news means his one true love cheated on him with his brother. He has a night out on the town with Will and Luke, which culminates in Luke waking up without pants (I almost wish he could have gone full Breaking Bad here), and Will almost revealing his sexuality to Luke, who is either too dumb or too hungover to actually understand what Will means.
Eventually, Gunnar and Luke both decide that it’s best to write a song conveying their real emotions about their situations. Plus Gunnar’s actual situation makes for the perfect song because according to Luke, it “doesn’t get more country than that.” The resulting ballad is really quite great, which doesn’t bode well if next week’s promo is accurate and Luke is looking to start a rival record label against Rayna’s Highway 65. Hell may hath no fury like a woman scorned, but Nashville hath no protection from a jilted Luke.