Rayna and Deacon bite a few bullets and then a bullet bites someone else.

By Madison Vain
April 02, 2015 at 07:24 PM EDT
Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S3 E16
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In sum, Deacon and Rayna finally get over themselves and Gunner stares at Scarlett. Like… a lot.

Act One: In which everyone’s angsty…

Deacon: “I’m sorry baby.”

Rayna: “I’m sorry I hit you.”

Deacon: “Nah, I’m sorry.”

It starts so gently, Deacon and Rayna holding each other, feeling the world as it crumble. Beware, this does not last, we’re in for a day with these two.

Cut to Layla, waking from her hangover on the couch, to a surly phone call from Jeff asking/telling/mainly telling her she’s got an interview she can’t be late for. For the girl who once sat in Rayna James’ office for like nine hours, her desire to push the interview back so she can sleep seems uncharacteristic.

The Triple X’s (they’re not actually all exes, they are two of Scarlett’s exes) are out on tour with Rascal Flatts, official enough to set up a band Twitter—which has Scarlett just flummoxed, and while I appreciate Scarlett’s consistency of doe-eyedness, her inability to understand a Twitter profile is grating—in between it all, there’s Gunnar casting lovelorn glances at Scarlett. Maybe it’s me that’s angsty, but while I was sad when they broke up, him falling back for her feels really unnatural.

Will records a beautiful ballad (“I’m a story that I don’t know how to tell”). Kevin, a beautiful songwriter who has shown absolutely no interest in Will makes Will shirk at his touch. Finally a human acts normally and Kevin is offended.

Rayna’s laying against Deacon and I wonder how long she’s been there. In a conversation that’s heavy on sweetie’s and baby’s, Deacon mentions alternative medicine and Scarlett’s ability for research (I suppose other websites do not present the confusion that Twitter does for her) and somewhere in Rayna’s support he snaps. He hurls decades worth of resentment at her—You chose Teddy! You didn’t tell me about Maddie! You said ‘Yes’ to Luke!—and while I get that tensions are running high and he’s feeling vulnerable, this doesn’t bode well for them as a potential couple.

At this point in the episode Sadie and Luke have the most awkward conversation, ever. I need this segment to end. But they’re also staring at each other in a way that makes me wildly uncomfortable, please don’t let them become a thing—there have to be other people in this town!

Layla is five minutes late (but the interviewer is late-r!) and Jeff is hot under the collar for it. I accept that relationships with large age-ranges exist. I accept that relationships with a heavy imbalance of “power” exist. What I can’t accept is that two people who haven’t actually gotten along in a long time, would consider pursuing a relationship (this is not a rough patch, this is how it is between them)—who would want this?

Kevin quits his working relationship with Will. I’ve no desire to see Will isolated, but Kevin is right on this one.

NEXT: Many acts of affection, some profound, some heart-breakingly small…

Act Two: In which angst turns into affection.

Scarlett has an adjoining room with her two exes. When she gets to hers, she’s got a pretty bouquet of flowers waiting for her from Caleb. Later, he will upgrade the surprises. Gunnar is dismayed now, and later. No one has ever looked so crestfallen when staring at a bouquet of flowers.

So it turns out that Jeff knows Layla’s interviewer a little better than he let on—but given he was sleeping with her while she was married to another one of his artists…Are we surprised Layla? You keep asking me to believe you’re a smart grown up, but when this gets you in such a mood—you walked out on the interview! I call bullshit. [Jeff’s excuse was that yeah, he slept with the interviewer, but it was nbd! Layla’s all, “Do we mean nothing to each other too?” Which upgrades her interest in a poor relationship to a psychopathic attachment to a poor relationship.]

If you’re wondering what Rayna is doing right now, she’s proving just how good she is at “sticking around” to Deacon. The fighting ensues.

And speaking of bull…why does it bother Juliette so much that Avery calls home a bunch? You used to sob when he left home! You’re due in three weeks! I swear I’m going to stop talking to the characters.

Scarlett gets in a Twitter fight with the Triple X’s burgeoning, 500-person following. She just wants to explain why she freaked out the last time she was in Chicago (honestly, this plotline) and they won’t listen! “Don’t let a few haters get in your head,” Avery says while Gunnar upgrades his lovelorn glance to a full-on stare.

Teddy! God I forgot about you. He finds out his prostitue is being watched—remember Lamar? Well that dude happened to have a PI on staff and Teddy thought he’d follow in his father-in-law’s footsteps and try to find a plotline, so he hired him too—when he passes along this helpful tidbit to Natasha, she blackmails him, “Am I supposed to go to jail for you?” she wonders (no mention if she is blackmailing all the other men who paid for her services all these years).

So Sadie accidentally, I don’t know, just like walked into Luke’s recording session. He’s singing about Rayna, but boy she’s looking a little weak in the knees. You know what you need? She asks him. Of course he doesn’t! So she tells him, you need a duet on that. Maybe it’s because of how awkward their conversations have been all day but they decide to do a collaboration. (?)

The two exes (I will not let this go) and Scarlett write a song about being cyber-bullied. I honestly can’t continue this. Anyway, Gunnar is still staring at her.

Back in the country, dust seems to have settled between Deacon and Rayna… that is until Deacon becomes the first person to use resolute in an actual conversation. “I’m resolute on this,” he tells Rayna as he explains that they will not be getting together. Let me be clear, I want Deacon and Rayna together—I hate when shows point too people at each other and then keep them apart, no matter what—but I don’t think I’m being crazy when I think he wouldn’t resist this much.

Sadie and Luke sound really nice together. This is exactly what I expect from the real Nashville—people just going about their days before suddenly bursting into song together. (I’m going to start looking for apartments there.)

Jeff is not amused when Teddy tries to pass Natasha’s blackmail onto him. Exit Teddy.

Will heads to Layla’s, he apologizes, she tells him to never try writing about love because, Duh! You haven’t been in love. He sets off, presumably for Kev who looks oddly similar to Jared Followill from the Kings of Leon.

Before their set, Gunnar settles Scarlett’s nerves with a delicate hand caress and, you knew it was coming, a very affectionate dose of eye-contact. Avery is made uncomfortable.

NEXT: In which affection, um, upgrades more… and someone dies.

Rayna is mad again. This day is really starting to feel long. Final plea. No one can take it anymore. They’re kissing! I’m actually just relieved at this point.

Now Jeff’s at the door. He tells Layla, “I wanna try,” and that honestly, just about does it for her. They’re back in bed.

The Triple X’s debut a new song, “My Song,” it’s really good because Gunnar looks a lot like a member of Mumford and Sons and I forgot how perfectly manly Avery’s voice is. Someone get that guy a recording contract!! Oh wait… Gunnar tells Scarlett how proud he is of her after the show. OMG Caleb is there! This guy’s a total stalker! [Also he tells Scarlett he doesn’t want to pressure her, so he got his own hotel room.]

After Rayna and Deacon are finished, they start giggling about how excited Maddie is going to be. Which, I appreciate that she will be, but it definitely feels weird to talk about naked. And also, Daphne loves Deacon too. I know it’s not her dad (Uncle Deacon!) but I feel like she really gets cut out of these discussions.

Luke and Sadie get coffee—you see she realized she definitely can’t sing on Luke’s song, Rayna’s her boss, etc.—and Luke’s talking about how not over Rayna is while Sadie is talking about being petrified for her life. These ARE NOT THE SAME EMOTION! Fear of feelings does not equal fear of getting your teeth kicked in.

So Teddy’s going to embezzle money to pay his hooker her demand sum to get out of town. Dope.

Caleb admits he looks like a psycho. I guess that’s all I need from him. Avery catches Gunnar staring at Scarlett (the fact that Scarlett hasn’t caught it though…) and it’s time for a two-ex pep talk: “Act fast,” he urges.

Will apologizes to Kevin, says he thinks Kevin “gets what he’s going through.” Kevin/Jared-lookalike gets it.

Layla’s over it. Let’s stay business partners!

Juliette is still irked by FaceTime. Avery plays their baby a beautiful song. I think I just melted. Avery is not allowed speaking parts anymore—singing only.

Scarlett is after a scandal! By the time she gets to Caleb’s, Gunnar has finnaly worked up the courage to pop into her room and tell her his half-baked feelings. This one is far from over, but Gunnar deserves to get one thing (remember when his girlfriend left and his nephew-that-he-thought-was-his-kid got taken by his grandparents?) that he wants so I hope this doesn’t go on too long.

Maddie is so happy. Deacon and Rayna are together. And then so, so sad—they tell her about Deacon. Those girls get me all the time, but that was a hard moment to watch.

OMG PETE IS IN THE GARAGE!!!!! Sorry, back-up. Luke drops Sadie off at her car after their coffee and PETE IS IN THE GARAGE!!!! My palms are so sweaty. She pulls out her gun, they’re fighting, a bullet goes off, who did it hit? WHO DID IT HIT?? It hit Pete. Luke sees him fall. I tell you what, they’re in this together now.

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