Ladies and gentlemen, Jade St. John is still here, and she’s after Luke. “The Storm Has Just Begin” kicks off with her taking Mr. Wheeler (who has decided she is not the fluff he once assumed) on their first date that he doesn’t know is a date to—guess where. The Country Music Hall of Fame! To show him a picture of… himself. Not Jade’s best move, but I’ll accept that a popstar such as she might not have much experience with normal dates. Then she cuts to the chase (and leaves me wondering if maybe this isn’t a date that he doesn’t know is a date but actually not a date—more on this later), she wants to make a country album, but she needs a Nashville stalwart such as he to help her gain credibility. Perhaps a duet? She wonders.
Unfortunately, Luke has forgotten about that one time he and Sadie recorded a duet in five minutes, completely unplanned, and says he doesn’t have time. Of all the voices on the show, his is my favorite, and you know Xtina has a little something going on that isn’t so bad so this is not the news I am looking for—I need this duet. As consolation, he invites her to a charity function, supporting Teddy’s music education program, that evening and promises to introduce her to a bunch of country crooners who will surely jump at the chance to work with her. Is she laying on the syrup a little bit in this opening? Yes. Do I have a sweet tooth? Yes. I hope she stays. She is the perfect nemesis for Juliette now that Juliette and Rayna are over their series-opening riff and Layla is… honestly it was always a wolf bite versus a bee sting with those two; Layla cannot take on Juliette solo.
Speaking of Juliette, she’s back from L.A.! Is she upset that Avery fired the nanny and brought in his mom? Honestly, she doesn’t really care—she’s going to a party tonight. Yes, same charity function. I apparently completely forgot what a lameass dad Avery was last week, making Juliette feeling like a milking machine with no other purpose, and am really irritated with Juliette’s decision. These two… so much potential guys. They’ll figure this out, right?
Anyway, Juliette gets to the party and is walking a very complicated red carpet. Jade is stealing her spotlight (first offense: one does not steal Juliette’s thunder), while Luke tries using Jade to make Rayna jealous (of course she’s there! she’s performing with the girls as a favor to Teddy), and everyone except Jade comes out looking less than stellar. Unfortunately, Layla and Jeff use this time to enter and reveal they’re sitting at the same table as Juliette. Juliette, girl, it’s going to be a long one.
Speaking of long…erm…nope that doesn’t work, but I really want to tell you about Will and Kevin. They’ve been in bed together for the last four days. Will gets up and it pains me. Lay there forever guys! Do not get out of bed! You are beautiful and the world out there is complicated! And sure enough, as soon as Will’s up, Kevin breaks the news that they’ll be at the same charity event tonight (yes, same one!), but he’s already invited a date. Will is stoic, though what choice does he really have given his discomfort with coming out…
So earlier today while Rayna, the girls, and Deacon were rehearsing he was coughing a little bit—remember this. By the time they get to the party they look great and even better, Deacon decides to answer his phone right there in the banquet hall and it’s the doctors telling him there is a liver on its way! Obviously Rayna is going with him, and Maddie refuses to be left behind, but Daphne has to stay because it’s Teddy’s event and Teddy needs to raise money for his blackmailing prostitute, lest we have forgotten how shamtastic this charity event event is. Daphne, as the world’s cutest, most-talented child, laments that she can’t perform now that Maddie has left—but Teddy has a plan. He enlists Luke Wheeler to help and well, Luke agrees. Rayna, hope this is okay!
NEXT: Get ready for your heart to explode…[pagebreak]
Whilst the divas were drawing lines on the battlefield that is Nashville societal events, and the beautiful new couple was preparing to join them, we have to spend some time with Gunnar and Scarlett. He’s stopped staring at her, but now she’s gotten all weird. They’re auditioning Avery-replacements (not recognizing that no one can harmonize like Avery) and she hates them all. It’s your subconscious Scarlett! You and Gunnar are supposed to be a duo! Anyway, Scarlett walks out mid-fight, as she does, and Gunnar goes after her. Mid-fight, she gets a text about Deacon’s liver and needs to get to the hospital. Unfortunately, her car is broken down. She tells Gunnar she’ll tell him everything if he gives her a lift. Gunnar drops her at the hospital—where Deacon, Rayna, and Maddie are in for a long wait as the liver has to be harvested elsewhere and brought back—and extremely hot, talented, man that he is, he goes to take her car in and have it repaired, without even telling her.
So the grandma of the fake baby was giving Avery a lot of pointers, helping him see that Juliette was feeling as abandoned as he is now, just a week ago, so he decides to get spruced up and head to the party and thank goodness because his firecracker of a wife needs him—she hates Layla. Actually, she can’t stop talking about it. Given that Layla and Jade are currently bonding at their dinner table (I want to say “Poor Jeff,” but can I?), this will certainly only drive our brunette bombshells (?) closer together.
Luke performs with Daphne Conrad, they sing “Have a Little Faith in Me.” Part of my soul starts to shine so bright that my entire body is on fire with happiness and I can’t even contain it—until the song becomes the backing track and we cut to Deacon and Rayna, who’ve just heard that Deacon might be too sick for surgery (that cough!), and I am completely overcome with despair. Rayna finds Maddie in the hospital chapel and they pray. Something about it just feels right. This is probably what would have happened, and the quietness of it is so striking in comparison to what we often get on Nashville.
So the thing about the party is that the final auction item is that a member of the crowd can buy a performance from someone else in the crowd. Bucky’s plan is to bid on Juliette (comeback!), but Jade is not having that given Juliette’s attitude this evening. They’re going back and forth until Jade blurts out an astonishing $500,000 for Layla. (Teddy’s eyes light up! It’s exactly the amount he needed!) Cut to Juliette storming out and calling out Jade along the way, “You could have spent a million dollars tonight, and it wouldn’t have distracted from the fact that this is Nashville and you don’t belong here.” The fact that she hurls such a high school insult is so perfectly Juliette, and it hits Jade where it hurts. Luke finds her crying and decides he’s going to follow through on his promise of making sure she has a good night.
He takes her to the Bluebird and while we don’t get the duet we do get another sweet surprise—Luke’s made arrangements to have Jade sing a guest spot and goodness does it sound nice. She sings an old track of Luke’s, one she sang in her eighth grade talent show and that age disparity doesn’t freak him out at all—his gaze on her is warm! After they walk back to her room and she tells him she used to have a poster of him in her room that she’d kiss before bed each night (he’s still not freaked out. Is this Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise?)—he wonders aloud how she’d feel if the real deal kissed her, and she responds, “crazy good.” Safe to say, Jade is sticking around y’all.
NEXT: Has your heart exploded yet? If not, it will… [pagebreak]
So not only has Jade paid $500,000 to have Layla perform (she’s ecstatic), but she also wants Layla on tour with her. They bonded over Jeff stories, they bonded over money—Layla is so happy, and Jeff is so attractive when he’s mad. But we’ll make so much money! But the exposure! He’s not having it. He does not want her to perform. They fight, she leaves, she finds herself talking to Will, who can’t understand why she’s with Jeff because Jeff is only ever in things for the money—but he turned down the money by hating on the tour. Does he love Layla? That’s the conclusion she comes to (I have reservations), and she runs back to him. I won’t become Jade; I won’t abandon you. Apparently (maybe), that’s exactly what Jeff needed to hear.
You know what sucks about parties where the person you like brings another date and you can’t even say anything because you’re not allowed (self-imposed) to like him in public? Everything. Will has to see Kevin and Chad the whole night and it sends him over the edge. After the party, he finds himself on Kevin’s patio, telling Kevin how he’s never felt this way and he knows that he’s the reason it’s complicated and it’s scary and the tears—don’t cry, Will! He wants to be exclusive he promises to figure out how to tell people (!!). Kevin pauses and so does my heart, but he agrees. Bonus: Chad is not over, and Will is more than welcome to come inside.
Gunnar (yes, back to the hospital) drops Scarlett’s keys off with her at the hospital and Deacon remarks in her direction what a good guy he is. For the first time ever, Deacon and Rayna’s relationship is a model for someone—they tell her the reason their music has been good all these years is because of their complicated relationships; that leaving Gunnar as a stage partner could not be further from the right decision. Enter, Caleb who has good news: Deacon is cleared for surgery. When Deacon heads into surgery, and Rayna has to let go of his hand, tears streaming down her face, it all hurts.
The lungs of the person the doctors were harvesting the liver for Deacon from has cancer cells on them—Deacon doesn’t get to have surgery. Obviously Deacon is upset, he wishes he never got his hopes up. Watching Connie Britton cry is the worst and Maddie—I’m so sorry Maddie. While Deacon and his daughter hold each other and cry, Rayna’s in the chapel begging.
Scarlett calls Gunnar to apologize and tell him that she wants to be a duo—she doesn’t want to talk about Deacon. Then Caleb and she decide they’ll go back to his place.
Avery and Juliette come home and have it out. Avery doesn’t get how she doesn’t get that what she did tonight—distracting from charity, being self-absorbed, yelling at practically a stranger in public—is wrong. He also doesn’t get what she says in return, that she’s 25-years-old and she feels like the rug she worked so hard to lay down has been pulled out from under her. That she can’t find her self-worth in staying home. I love that the show goes here with this relationship. I do not love that their relationship closes with her crying silently in bed as he sleeps. Don’t leave him, Jules.