An episode of ramifications, and one shocking departure.
Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S3 E17
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In sum: Sadie doesn’t go to jail, but that isn’t the only Sadie news. And if Rayna thought her day yesterday was long, she had no clue what was in store for her on this one.

Act One: In which everyone is completely, batshit crazy.

Given how shocking last week’s ending was, it would have been totally unfair for the show to open anywhere but with Sadie and Luke—they’re at the police station, delivering their accounts of Sadie’s fatal shooting of her ex-husband. It cuts back and forth between the two, recounting their days, telling the officer about recording together, getting coffee, all the things they talked about (Is this a romantic ploy or is this necessary, officer?), and we’re waiting to see where the stories might deviate.

The weight of what’s against her I guess finally hits Sadie. She’s about to totally lose it and she needs to make a phone call. Did you expect her to call a lawyer? Because she’s not. Nope—cut to Rayna and Deacon discussing how glad they are they got to tell the girls together (Deacon is totes over wanting to bear the weight alone. In the next hour he’ll tell everyone!), when Rayna’s phone starts ringing. Classic Rayna handles it perfectly—Be my mom Rayna!! Or let me be you!!—she tells Sadie to keep quiet until she and her lawyer can get to the station.

It might seem like cutting this off here would be abrupt. It is, as we head to Chicago to check in on the Triple(-but-actually-double) X’s. Avery is enduring a frantic phone call from Juliette about picking names (this will come back to haunt us), while Gunnar huffs and puffs, absolutely incapable of believing that Scarlett would sleep the night out AND NOT TELL ANYONE WHAT IF THERE WAS AN EMERGENCY!? Sigh, he loves her. So when she finally returns he welcomes her with a growl, “Set an alarm next time!”

Ah Teddy with an early appearance! Natasha calls him. He tells her never to call him again. He stares at himself for a very long time in the mirror. Annnnnnnnnnd scene.

Rayna gets to the police station with her lawyer and runs into Luke on the way in. Naturally she’s surprised Sadie and Luke were together, but I don’t think anything in her delivery warranted Luke’s vitrol over her asking him why he was with Sadie. He stalks off, presumably to a blacked out SUV.

Deacon takes Maddie and Daphne to the diner because “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and wowza Maddie is in a mood. (Is Daphne a preternaturally mature child? Did I miss that?) She doesn’t want her French toast, she doesn’t want to talk to Deacon and you know what—she doesn’t want to be here! And she’ll leave, oh you bet she will! She’ll get up and walk out and…wait by the car? In her defense, the dad she just learned she had now has a seemingly incurable cancer.

Scarlett gets on the tour bus bummed she forgot to pack Caleb’s flowers. Gunnar cannot believe she WOULD SAY THAT IN FRONT OF HIM; his meltdown is interrupted with the news of Sadie shooting her ex flashing across their tour bus TV. I appreciate that they don’t pretend that news would have kept its lid on any longer than a few hours.

Fa-la-la-tee-da it’s the day of Juliette’s baby shower! Except Avery won’t help her pick a name and is on tour rather than at home and basically every famous person has canceled. Miranda! Sheryl! Even Rayna! Of course the news that Rayna has to skip because she’s dealing with Sadie and a potential murder charge, well Juliette’s just mad Sadie had to shoot him today.

NEXT: In which everyone works toward resolution except Juliette who trashes her own house…

Back to Teddy for a few—his PI, who is suddenly very judgy by the way, brings him the dirt on the city’s financial officer. In the middle of him telling Teddy that he now reminds him of Teddy’s former father-in-law Lamar, Maddie calls Teddy and wants him to come pick her up. This has to be the best day in recent memory for Ted—feeling needed by one of his girls again.

Rayna takes Sadie home. Time to sleep and try to calm down—hard to do when the officer seems very unsympathetic to her. In his defense, she just shot and killed someone.

Act Two: In which everyone searches for a solution because everyone honestly has too many problems.

Scarlett tries getting Avery to tell her why Gunnar is being weird. Avery is waiting for his baby and dealing with crazy-wife issues so this has to be annoying. He tells her not to put him in the middle. (Gunnar is spying on this convo!)

Rayna tells Sadie she wishes she would have known that Sadie felt so unsafe. Security, babe! It’s available! Which has to be the least helpful thing Rayna has ever said.

Juliette is not down to have a party with just her payroll. She goes not moderately, but completely crazy on her house. No decoration is safe. No plate. No stuffed animal. It’s canceled!

Maddie still isn’t talking to Deacon when Teddy arrives to pick her up. Teddy and Deacon, for probably the 80th time in the past 20 years get into a squall on the front lawn—before you know it, Deacon’s yelling about being sick and Teddy melts a little. “Father to father,” he confides, “the harder you push the farther away she’s going to pull.”

Luke and Bucky run into each other at a recording studio—Bucky is going to check out Ron Pope. Luke needs a distraction and decides to tag along. Hmmmm why does it make me nervous every time Luke starts talking to someone on Team Rayna?

Sadie can’t sleep. She keeps picturing firing the shot.

Bucky and Luke are watching Ron Pope and this dude’s pretty good! (He is also a real musician.) Bucky wants to sign him, but he’s off brand for Highway 65. It’s then that Luke says something, in the way he always does that explains my earlier question about being nervous when he comes near, about having Bucky as Wheelin’ Dealin’ Records’ Head of A&R. Listen Luke, I can see a merger between the labels, but do not go poaching Rayna’s man!

The detective calls Sadie while she’s watching the news about herself but we have no clue what he says (sigh).

Teddy has a heart-to-heart with Maddie. And he’s really a good dad—excluding basically everything he’s doing in his own life right now. Maddie makes him promise he’ll always be there for her.

Avery now has to tell Gunnar that he can’t be stuck in the middle—I suppose this is the risk of touring with two (!) exes.

Rayna finally gets to stop by Juliette’s and witness the destruction that is a 5-foot, almost-nothing lady in the third term of her pregnancy. They really get into it and Rayna, I mean the day this lady is having, loses it. Juliette fires back with the best line ever, “Now I know where I stand. Somewhere beneath your little label and perfect hair!” Rayna’s crying and just when I’m about to cry (all the things Connie Britton feels, I feel) Juliette’s water breaks.

Scarlett is scribbling in her notebook when Gunnar finally comes to talk. He apologizes for being a jerk and then just straight out tells her—I don’t want you to be thinking about the doctor. Think about us! How we used to be! Suddenly the two of them are unleashing a few years of hurt at each other—You dated Zoe! You didn’t wait for me! Wait you were waiting for me? Gunnar can’t believe that Scarlett was waiting for him. Except I think he heard “Scarlett is waiting for me…” instead of “was…” Suddenly the bus skids to a half and Avery’s yelling about a baby! He’s off the tour.

Natasha shows up outside of Deacon’s house to threaten Teddy, again. Honestly is she running around town threatening everyone who used her services or is this, like, special?

NEXT: Will things ever calm down? And a baby!

Act 3: Teensy, tiny, beautiful moments.

Rayna is helping Juliette stay calm until Avery finally arrives.

Deacon and Daphne are making tacos when Maddie finally emerges from her room. (Daphne, again preternaturally mature, says, they need to “let things simmer” and walks away so Maddie and Deacon can talk. She’s talking about the taco meat, but also SO MUCH MORE!) Maddie apologies, explaining that she’s just consumed with anger. Deacon gets it, says he can handle anger, “Yelling, screaming, I can take that. Just please don’t shut me out. In the end I think that would hurt more than any cancer ever could.” I think it’s Maddie’s face, so young and innocent, but she makes me cry.

Gunnar opens the concert telling the crowd how special it used to be when they would perform as a duo. Scarlett asks what he’s doing and he responds, “I can’t make you talk to me, but I can make you listen,” before playing her a song about waiting for each other. It’s super sensual and he looks great (!) but I can’t help but think about what a terrible way this is to open a live set.

Sadie isn’t being charged. She calls Rayna to tell her, from a car, on the way, to nowhere. She needs to go back to Virginia and think about what she’s done. She just has one stop to make before she goes…

Nashville’s financial director does not like being summoned. He likes less that Teddy blackmails him with pictures of his mistress and illegitimate child—he’s going to help Teddy find that money.

Gunnar catches up with Scarlett after the show. He tells her she has to have felt it out there. In the way only a woman whose been dumped by a man who then went on to date her best friend could say, she drops his own words on him: “As someone once said to me, ‘All I felt was music.'” I didn’t realize I wanted them to get back together, but I basically just want Gunnar to be happy.

Sadie stops by Luke’s recording session to say goodbye. I’m not mad she’s going. I did not want this plot to develop any further.

Juliette’s staff should be pissed at her, but they stop by to see the baby anyway. Undoubtedly, it’s beautiful. And finally, Juliette has relaxed.

Rayna makes it back to Deacon—he has to leave to change clothes—and she heads upstairs for some Mama-time with the girls. It pans to them sleeping together at the end. So simple, so sweet.

Juliette and Avery sing to their baby, but it could not be less natural. Does no one think this is weird?

Deacon has a message waiting on his machine—time for another scan, his doctor says.

Juliette and Avery are still singing to the baby (!). Just when Juliette is about to tell us the name of their little girl it cuts. You won this round Nashville, but I better learn that name in the first five minutes next week.

Episode Recaps

Legendary music icon Rayna Jaymes struggles to maintain her place in the spotlight while dealing with the ambitious rising pop vixen Juliette Barnes.
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