Rayna turns her music into a family affair as Deacon struggles with his cancer.
Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S3 E12
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Oh Teddy. Poor, stupid Teddy. Your past has officially come back to haunt you in a big, big way. Wednesday night’s episode of Nashville was perfectly titled “I’ve Got Reasons to Hate You,” not only because many of the characters in tonight’s episode dealt with feelings of hatred and anger, but also because the audience got the chance to really hate a few of the same characters as well. Jeff Fordham is back to being his usual hateable, Satan-like self, while Teddy is definitely hated for inevitably attempting to silence his idiotic mistakes. But there was so much more drama than just the Teddy and Jeff of it all. So let’s just jump in head first without thinking, much like Teddy himself.

Rayna is still definitely in bad shape after calling off her wedding to Luke, but Luke is acting more like the dump-er than the dump-ee as according to Mario Lopez and the Extra team (who randomly make a cameo), Luke has consistently made public musical appearances since the news broke. Apparently Rayna’s public image has gone from Queen of Country and strong woman, to a broken, rehab resident. According to Sadie, who visits Rayna at her office, people believe that Rayna is either in a psych ward or rehab facility to deal with her depression over the end of her almost marriage, or she’s in Mexico with Deacon. Honestly, if the latter were true, that’d be a great twist in the series. Bucky tries to put his manager’s hat on by attempting to get Rayna out of the house and back into the spotlight in a good way, but apparently that hat doesn’t really fit all that well in this particular time of crisis. Rayna finally agrees to perform at the Bluebird as that is the only place worth going in order to come out of her self-imposed exile.

However, things don’t go well when Rayna gets to everyone’s favorite cafe as she sees a picture of her and Deacon performing and reminisces over their life together, mostly through the difficult moments. The flashback makes Rayna too upset to stage her comeback performance and she leaves just in time to have Maddie berate her about Deacon—until Maddie realizes how badly her mom is dealing with her conflicting emotions. Sometimes Maddie can be a huge brat, but she clearly loves her mother and only wants her to be happy. She, just like many of us, sees that Deacon is the one who can make that happen for Rayna, but Rayna and Deacon are still not ready to do so. So instead, Maddie and Rayna decide to write a song together and perform with Daphne at the Bluebird as Rayna’s big comeback appearance. The moment together onstage is beautiful to be sure, but it would just be even more special if Deacon were around to join.

Speaking of Deacon, his life is getting more and more difficult as his liver cancer continues to ravage his body much faster than previously thought. This storyline is genuinely devastating to watch especially considering how good a person and family man Deacon has become. He is none too happy to see Scarlett’s mother, Beverly, pop in for a visit, especially after he realizes that Scarlett tricked her into coming to get tested for a liver transplant. Deacon’s not ready to reveal the news about his cancer to Rayna or anyone, much less his estranged, crazy sister. And unsurprisingly, Beverly is also none too happy about the trickery, as she was hoping to patch things up with Scarlett rather than be asked to cut out part of her insides.

Beverly ends up taking the test to appease Scarlett but then lies and says she’s not a match when she was clearly approved for the second round of testing. Sure, being asked to donate part of your liver for someone is a difficult decision, especially if the family members are as estranged as Deacon and Beverly. Her reasoning isn’t completely off-base, she doesn’t understand why she needs to help her brother out of a dire situation that he created for himself with his drinking, and even Deacon understands the logic. But Scarlett does not and honestly I’m not too fond of it myself considering how much Deacon has tried to turn his life around. So with the angriest face I’ve ever seen on a human, Scarlett basically disowns her mother for the betrayal. That kind of hatred is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

NEXT: Jeff finally uses his biggest and blackmail-iest card against Teddy

Meanwhile, Juliette and Avery’s life together is going swimmingly, but Juliette’s career is faltering. She’s not getting any exposure other than an offer to endorse a brand of baby diapers. So what does she do? What she always does: She works herself too hard to finish her album before she pops, and the results are terrible. Juliette can’t breathe properly to sing because the baby is sitting on her diaphragm and she’s trying to record at all hours of the night. Avery finally convinces her to take a breather and helps her realize that stressing and forcing a final product for the album is never going to have the quality that Juliette demands and expects. Are these two kind of perfect for each other or what? Seriously, never change you two. Never change.

As for Avery’s best friend, Gunnar takes a trip to Austin to patch things up with his recently revealed not-son Micah to help him understand who his father really was outside of the criminal backstory Micah’s grandparents explained to him. Micah hasn’t been handling the news or the transition back to living with his grandparents very well. He’s acting out in school and at home. So when Gunnar comes back to check on him, he takes him around to the spots he used to frequent with Jason and explains to him that his father was a good person and basically gave Gunnar the great life he has now. He tried to take away the reasons Micah hated his father because it wasn’t fair to paint Jason as just a lowlife criminal. He was so much more to Gunnar. And we finally get a chance to see that, way more than we did when Jason was still alive. Perhaps by explaining all of Jason’s strengths with his faults, Gunnar’s reasons for hating him went completely away as well. In the end, Micah gets back to his old self and Gunnar proves to be just as good of an uncle as he was a dad. And that’s saying a lot.

And finally, who would have ever thought the day would come where Teddy’s story line was one of the most interesting in the bunch? Jeff realizes that he has no real female hitmakers on his roster at Edgehill, which is no surprise considering Layla is still recovering from her suicide attempt partially caused by Jeff (he gave her the pills!), and most other women understandably hate him. For good reason. Because he sucks. So after insulting his poor assistant (who is of course a female), he finally decides to play his blackmail card and force Teddy to sign Maddie to Edgehill. Yes, you read that right. Just Maddie. Since it’s obvious no one would agree to signing Daphne to a record deal considering her age, Jeff tells Teddy that Maddie only needs one parent’s signature to get her a contract. Because Teddy would rather eat a live octopus completely whole than jeopardize his career and reveal his stupid mistakes, he’s inevitably going to sign over Maddie’s musical future to Jeff. But here’s the thing, does he actually have the rights to do so?

As we know, Teddy is not Maddie’s biological father, so if Rayna wants to stop this train, she could play that trump card. But then there’s an even bigger issue at stake: Maddie’s privacy. Her life will be completely open to scrutiny again if Rayna uses paternity to get Maddie out of a contract at Edgehill. People might already know Deacon is her father but considering everything that’s happened with Rayna’s family recently, dragging themselves through the mud again, seems irresponsible. (As some of you very wisely pointed out, Maddie’s paternity is already public knowledge, which this recapper somehow momentarily forgot!). Maddie’s life doesn’t deserve to be even further complicated because the adults in her life might engage in a heated battle over rights. Plus seeing Rayna and Maddie go through that kind of emotional trauma and anger for each other would be heartbreaking. Obviously signing Maddie to Rayna’s label would be the best outcome, but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon thanks to this drama. It’s nice to have a reason to hate Jeff and Teddy again, but it’s definitely not nice to see Maddie in the crossfire of Jeff’s ambition, conflict with Teddy and competition with Rayna. The Conrad/James/Claybourne family tension is about to begin… again.

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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