Despite the lack of Layla Satan-spawn and her continued blackmail-y ways, Wednesday night’s episode of Nashville had an air of foreboding to it that is not so easily forgotten. From Rayna’s tense music label competition with Jeff Fordham, to Juliette’s stubborn need to keep her pregnancy a secret, many of our favorite characters seem to be heading down a not-so-happy path at the moment. Obviously this is just par for the course on Nashville—usually on this show if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Remember when Rayna and Deacon got together in season 1, which ended with a car crash? The only exception so far to this rule is Luke Wheeler. He still seems pretty awesome. That must mean he’s actually the Antichrist, right?
Regardless of Luke’s possible future dark deeds, everyone in Nashville’s secrets and problems are starting to unravel before our eyes. But instead of taking these plot points at face value like its normal soapy, crazy self, Nashville actually started to do something more. The episode focused on how these problems were either created by emotional issues or were heightened by them.
Let’s start with arguably the least juicy but most relatable storyline: Zoey’s continued paranoia about Gunnar leaving her and/or falling for someone else. Last Wednesday’s episode introduced Gunnar’s ex-girlfriend from Texas, Kylie, into the Nashville scene and Gunnar looked to be potentially still harboring some feelings for his first love. Although nothing happened between Gunnar and Kylie, Zoey was still worried about their past as well as Gunnar’s past with yet another ex-girlfriend/her best friend Scarlett. This episode proved that Zoey wouldn’t be getting over her jealousy so quickly. She catches Gunnar and Scarlett in the back room together just whispering and automatically assumes their actions weren’t so innocent. Zoey doesn’t confront the once (and future?) couple about her suspicions but later, as she and Gunnar talk about what to do about Avery’s downward drunk spiral, Gunnar mentions that Avery needs help snapping out of his funk because “cheating is not the end of the world.” This comment definitely rings loudly in Zoey’s ears.
While fans probably believe that Gunnar would never cheat on Zoey in the most obvious sense of the word, her worrying is kind of justified. The relationship and chemistry between Gunnar and Scarlett is real and Zoey’s reaction is not coming out of left field. Zoey later confronts her best friend about her re-growing friendship with Gunnar and asks Scarlett to her tell her one thing: Despite her being adamant about needing to leave, why did Gunnar beg Scarlett to stay in Nashville? Scarlett responds with the best question: “Why didn’t you?” Yeah, Zoey, sisters before misters. Zoey later finds out that Scarlett and Gunnar’s hushed toned speaking and secret phone calls have all been to plan a going away party for herself, effectively putting a foot all the way in her mouth. She tries to apologize to Scarlett for getting the wrong idea and Scarlett makes a poignant observation: Over the last year all Scarlett and Zoey have done is take turns apologizing to each other. Are the best friends growing together or growing apart?
Moving on to Avery, Juliette Barnes’ ex-boyfriend is really not taking this breakup well. At all. In fact, anytime he hears Juliette’s name, he feels the need to cringe and then take a drink. Scratch that. Multiple drinks. Gunnar attempts to break Avery’s cycle, first by going to his apartment and getting him out into the fresh air. Here, we examine one of the most painful and true feelings someone can have in this situation: heartbreak. Avery asks Gunnar how it is possible to “love someone so much, and hate them all at the same time.” Gunnar knows that from a romantic standpoint, he has no legs to stand on when it comes to giving Avery advice. But that doesn’t mean he is completely foreign to what Avery is feeling. Gunnar tells his friend that he would feel the same way about his brother Jason. He looked up to his big brother and always tried to keep the hope and faith that Jason would get his act together. But of course when the worst would happen, Gunnar would be devastated in Jason all over again. Despite having this almost brotherly bonding moment, Avery doesn’t start trying to shape up. Instead he gets drunk at Zoey’s going away party, gets kicked out and then is found in his car on a random couple’s lawn and gets arrested. Here’s one guarantee about this story line: There is no way his mugshot will come out looking pretty.
NEXT: Deacon finally starts to loosen up