Ladies and gentlemen, XTina has arrived! And she has crazy, pink Katy Perry hair! Madison Vain has wonderfully taken over the reins as your regular Nashville recapper, but I just couldn’t resist getting back in the soapy, addictive ring another time to recap Wednesday night’s episode. So let’s delve right in and to keep Madison’s new tradition alive by first summing up the episode, shall we?
In Sum: “Nobody Knows But Me” sees Christina Aguilera’s arrival to the series, Juliette facing serious issues about motherhood and her career, Gunnar continuing to be obnoxious and depressing about Scarlett, and many other terribly dramatic story lines that are just so terribly dramatic. But isn’t all this why we love Nashville so very much? (That and seeing Connie Britton’s “stupid, perfect hair” from week to week, but I digress.)
From the very start of the episode, it was clear that Juliette was having a difficult time being a new mother and not being able to jump-start her career. She was constantly angry with Avery for leaving to do shows and interviews with his band. While she was stuck with baby Cadence for weeks, she couldn’t get his help to co-write a song for her on-hiatus Patsy Cline film, and she can’t understand why it’s taking so long for her to get back to work. She promises a post-credits song for the Patsy Cline film to the producers in 24 hours, and her anger even takes over a writing session with Deacon. Though to be fair, Deacon’s got a lot on his plate emotionally himself, so he wasn’t really that much of a help. Could Juliette be going through postpartum depression? She doesn’t seem to be able to connect to Cadence, and the whole situation feels so uncomfortably real and anxiety-inducing. If Juliette is having these emotional issues, I’m both astounded by the series going this route with her story line and proud of them for addressing something that happens all the time in the real world. Or maybe something else is going on since Juliette was having some angry, emotional breakdowns before Cadence was born. (Readers/Commenters: I’m interested to see if you guys have any thoughts on this particular part of the episode.)
While trying to convince Deacon to move into her home, Rayna is still having trouble with Maddie shutting her and Deacon out after revealing he has cancer. Rayna tries and tries to bond with Maddie, she attempts to buy her time by offering to get tickets to Christina St. Pink Hair—excuse me, Jade St. John’s concert, but Maddie very clearly lies to get out of spending time with her. Deacon also attempts to get his relationship back with Maddie through donuts, but she refuses. Seriously though, who says no to a chocolate-glazed donut?
So what exactly has Maddie been up to? Apparently she’s spending time locking lips quite often with her once upon a time, almost step-brother-turned-boyfriend Colt, who’s back living with Luke at “the ranch.” I know we’ve seen Luke’s place many times, but doesn’t anyone else still get an ominous feeling when they call the place “the ranch”? Anyway, Rayna attempts to confront Maddie about lying to her, especially now that Luke told her Colt and Maddie’s relationship is basically Facebook official. But Maddie pulls her signature teenage brat move by telling Rayna she doesn’t respect her, that she knows Rayna hates Colt, and that she won’t speak to Rayna about anything in her life. I’m with Rayna—I would have grounded her ass and made her miss the concert, too.
Speaking of Pink Haired Christina Aguilera’s concert, Layla and Jeff talk about how Bucky is on her to sign a manager and what are to be her next steps in the industry. And Layla comes up with quite the obvious solution: She should just open for Jade St. John! Because that’s just so easy to do in the real world. Lucky jerks, all of them. Fortunately for Layla but unfortunately for Jeff, Jade and Jeff have a history. It’s a history that looks to just be a common one of Jeff getting the boot after a romance and/or business deal gone wrong, but apparently Jade and Jeff were engaged at one point in time. In fact, it seems Jeff’s heart was the one that got broken when Jade left him and his label for greener, much less douchey pastures. Jeff confronts Jade with the proposal, and she agrees if Jeff can introduce Jade to Luke Wheeler. Luke says no, and yet Jeff and Layla still get their way.
NEXT: So much more brooding![pagebreak]
Will’s sessions with Kevin are coming to an end, which has Will worried because he very clearly has a crush on his adorable songwriting partner. He attempts to keep their working relationship going by insulting the guy’s song, which understandably gets him miffed. But Gunnar, in the first smartish thing he’s said in a few weeks now, tells Will to just ask him out to the party he’s throwing with The Triple X’s. Will does just that and it’s totally awkward and totally sweet. Unfortunately when Kevin does show up to the party, he seems to be with a date, and that helps Will channel his roommates broodiness as he storms out of the party.
Speaking of Will’s roommate, Gunnar is still pining away for Scarlett. He’s replaying the video of the two of them performing without Avery. Though funnily enough Scarlett is doing the same thing and that doesn’t seem to be sitting right with Caleb, a.k.a. Dr. Dork (according to Gunnar, who’s insulting nickname knowledge began and ended in elementary school). Scarlett does very clearly still feel something for Gunnar, this much seems obvious enough. But she’s overdoing it on how angry she is at Gunnar and how often she attempts to stick to Caleb’s side at all times. When the band gets together for an interview, the reporter only wants to focus on Scarlett and Gunnar’s past and Avery’s celebrity marriage. So Gunnar suggests they throw a party and perform to let the music do the talking over the interview. The concert goes amazingly well, but as per usual a major complication arises.
Meanwhile here comes Teddy to wreck the day! Mr. Mayor finally has the money ready to get Natasha out of the state, country, universe, or whatever thanks to blackmailing the financial director. She tells him the safest way to get her the funds is not to put it in some offshore, Cayman Islands account the government can find, but to just hand it all to her in cash. Yup, because that’s not shady at all Ted. Not at all. By the end of the episode, is anyone even remotely surprised that Natasha cut a deal for immunity with the Feds?
Because I can’t get over the adorableness of Will and Kevin’s storyline (and because Teddy ruins everything) we’re revisiting them already. Kevin visits Will to find out why he left the party early and after Will reveals he’s gay (without actually saying the word but hey, one ridiculously tiny step at a time), he tells Kevin he’s interested in him. Judging by their kiss, Kevin clearly is, too.
Deacon and Maddie have a poignant conversation about his cancer and the fact that he’s not yet ready to share the news to the world. “I know how it embarrasses you,” she says. “Isn’t that why you keep it a secret?” Deacon replies that he just doesn’t want people to feel sorry or pity for him. But they both realize they have to work on expressing how they’re feeling about these difficult emotions. Maddie then apologizes to Rayna and gets to go to Jade’s concert with Colt. Rayna and Deacon, who had been in tense moods throughout the episode, finally resolve things once again when Deacon reveals his “truth” (a.k.a. the news about his cancer) to other people like Luke (who puts his personal feelings aside to be a supportive voice) and goes all in on their relationship and their family. Maddie proves to be dealing with the tough news better the next day when she suggests Deacon just move into their house already. Can we get this non-brat version of Maddie for the rest of the series? Please and thank you, Nashville writers.
So many things going on at the Jade St. John concert, so little time to type them all. But of course, it’s important to bring up the biggest elephant in the room: Jeff and Rayna are forced to work together for Layla as Layla reveals to Rayna that Jeff is her manager. Rayna is very clearly not pleased and tells Layla that the two of them need to open a line of communication, but she still tells her to kill it onstage—which she does. Rayna and Jeff then have a tense little moment when Jeff brags about how much he’s already done to bring Layla to this stage and Rayna shuts him down in the best way by telling him that things are all always about Jeff Fordham in Jeff Fordham’s world. She says he may have gotten Layla this far but its her talent that will take her all the way. Rayna then adds a warning: “Managers get fired every day.” Did anyone else wish Rayna would have gone full Cookie Lyon and just added a nice “Bye Felicia!” at the end of this spat?
Finally we end on a somber note. Juliette is clearly searching desperately for a way to get her career back on track, but she can’t write her Patsy Cline end credits song with her daughter crying in the next room. Juliette visits Cadence in her crib and gives her a look of resentment, anger, and emptiness. It’s actually heartbreaking. The next we know Avery comes home to find a new nanny tending to his child. Avery and Juliette argue about her hiring a nanny without discussing it with him first while Juliette responds by saying Avery hasn’t been home enough to understand what Juliette is dealing with for the past few weeks. The following morning, Juliette leaves for Los Angeles to record her song but neglects to inform Avery and leaves Cadence with the new live-in nanny. Avery calls Gunnar and Scarlett for a meeting and tells them he thinks he needs to quit the band to stay home with the baby and Juliette looks relieved and pleased to escape from her troubles for now. Am I crazy to be this worried about Juliette’s story line? All I know is, the most stable people on the series right now are the ones dealing with cancer troubles, so that tells you the state we’re in on Nashville right now.