Rayna & Luke struggle with calling off their wedding while Juliette and Avery settle into their new life together.
Credit: ABC
S3 E11
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And we’re back y’all! Approximately zero minutes have passed since Rayna broke the news to Luke that she was not ready to get married, and he took it about as well as expected: By driving his car into his wedding cake. Clearly he didn’t think through his actions because not only did he waste a perfectly delicious post break-up snack, but car clean up is going to be a nightmare. Wednesday night’s midseason premiere of Nashville focused heavily on transitioning relationships from the aftermath of Juliette and Avery’s surprise wedding to Will and Layla’s partnership in the aftermath of her suicide attempt. But of course the crux of the episode was spent dealing with Rayna’s next move after calling off the wedding, and how it affected all of her loved ones.

If Rayna thought her kids were upset before about marrying Luke, they’re definitely more upset now. Daphne stormed out on her mother because she was looking forward to being Sage’s sister, and Maddie was so angry that Rayna wasn’t immediately running to Deacon’s door that she threw her own tantrum. Rayna cannot get a win today folks. Well that’s not entirely true, she definitely dodged a bullet with Luke. After processing the news that his wedding is off, Luke immediately drives to Deacon’s home, cake still on his car, and confronts him about always being in the way and confusing Rayna away from happiness. He then utters a hideous line, “I should’ve known better than to ever go sniffing around that bitch,” which justifiably gets him punched right in the face. When Rayna goes back to Luke’s house to try and reconcile at least a little so the former couple can make a joint statement to the press, he decides to do the exact opposite of reconciling by insulting Rayna’s desire to be in a relationship with him in the first place. He tells her that being together has put her back on the map and away from the danger she was headed toward of essentially becoming a has-been. He does however get one thing right, Rayna was always and would always be in love with Deacon, and that connection was too difficult to ignore for all parties involved.

Juliette and Avery’s storyline for the episode was a rather tame and slightly boring one, which actually made it all the more realistic and sweet. The newly married couple agreed to start moving Avery’s possessions into Juliette’s house so they could properly start their life together. Just one problem: Juliette’s none too happy about seeing her house changed and cluttered with Avery’s stuff. The two get in a fight over where to place Avery’s “comfortable chair,” but it’s resolved rather quickly when Gunnar’s actual problems make Avery realize he’s got it pretty good right about now.

As for Gunnar, the poor guy not only found out he’s not Micah’s father, but he also no longer has any legs to stand on in his custody battle against Micah’s grandparents. Obviously, there’s no way the judge would rule in Gunnar’s favor at this point because Micah’s grandparents are financially better prepared and, as we find out from Micah’s grandmother Linda’s testimony, she’s been raising Micah with her husband since the day he was born. To add insult to injury, Gunnar finally reveals to Micah that he’s his uncle and not his father—Micah immediately accuses Gunnar of being a liar and proclaims that he never wants to see Gunnar again. Gunnar and Rayna should really get together and swap stories of their awful days sometime. And maybe Sadie should join in, as the newest addition to the cast buys a gun anonymously thanks to a nasty shiner from her abusive ex-boyfriend and files for a restraining order that is sure to cause more drama and violence in her life. No abusive ex in the history of soapy television has ever looked at a restraining order and thought, “Oh, well since the law is involved now, I guess I’ll just apologize for all the hurt I caused and leave you alone forever now.”

NEXT: Will and Layla get a huge weight lifted off their shoulders

Onto some slightly hopeful news, Will visits Layla in the hospital after a drug overdose and realizes that the tumble into the pool wasn’t an accident—she was trying to kill herself. She reveals that she saw Will in the bedroom with a woman and couldn’t understand why and who she was keeping his secret for anymore. She finally tells him the painful truth in a way that proves how dark her life has gotten without being evil or judgmental: “Keeping your secret is killing me.” Sure none of that seems hopeful at all, but it does make Will finally understand what his secret is doing to so many people around him.

He tells Jeff Fordham, who is dealing with his own nervous mental breakdown about whether or not Layla will press charges and have him arrested over the pills incident, about being blackmailed into continuing their show and who knows what else. Jeff, possibly in a moment of actual kindness (but most likely in an attempt to save his own skin), takes care of the blackmailing producer problem and the deed is done. The Nashville world and its real-life viewers no longer have to be subjected to the Will and Layla Newlyweds-esque reality hour. Will also tells Layla she can get a divorce and that she’s finally free from him. Clearly he does want to protect her and care for her, but honestly I’m hoping all of this makes him realize that it’s finally time to come out of the closet. It’s time to let the chips fall where they may, even if they, and his career with them, fall down a giant black hole.

Meanwhile Luke is still fuming about being jilted, so what does he do? Oh, so many stupid things. He and his manager send over all of the receipts for the wedding to Rayna and shoots bottles of champagne to add more items to the growing expense. Rayna decides to make an announcement about the couple’s breakup to the press and tries to handle the situation delicately, but she definitely lies about the state of her relationship with Luke. “Luke Wheeler and I have been friends for many, many years. We have come up in this business together, we supported each other’s dreams, we celebrated each other’s successes. Our love story may be over, but I have full faith that our friendship will endure.” Yea Ray… Luke doesn’t, which he clearly shows by deciding to throw a party at his ranch for the first 500 fans who show up in order to use up all the booze and food originally meant for the wedding. No one, aside from Luke’s manager, is on board with the idea and Luke’s kids go to Maddie and Daphne to reconcile. And when I say reconcile, you know exactly what I mean Nashville fans. That’s right, the Maddie and Cole love story looks to be back on! Because when your parents go through an ugly, bitter end to their relationship, that’s the absolute perfect time to restart yours!

Because Deacon cannot be happy for longer than two seconds on this series, he and Scarlett find out that Deacon officially has liver cancer and that he’ll be put on a transplant list awaiting a donor because chemo and radiation are not useful for the size of the tumor he has. Scarlett courageously and quickly offers up a piece of her liver but unfortunately her blood type is not a match. When they get home, she secretly calls her mother for reasons yet unknown. Though if we’ve learned anything from the last time Scarlett’s mother came around, things cannot end well. Deacon also receives a little visit from Rayna, which ends in her finally confessing that she still loves him, but needs some time to figure out what to do next with all the complications going on in her life. Instead of revealing the truth, Deacon tells her to take as much time as she needs and tells Scarlett that he can’t tell Rayna about the cancer. Why? Because Rayna has always had to take care of Deacon and he wanted their next go at a relationship to be him taking care of her. The idea is a noble one for sure, but how well will Rayna take it if she has to find out about Deacon’s cancer from someone else? It’s impossible to know for sure—but finding out is going to be fun.

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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