Juliette plans to keep her pregnancy a secret while Avery continues to drink heavily, Rayna's music label future is threatened, and Deacon learns to let loose for once.
Nashville Recap
Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S3 E4
  • TV Show

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

In the midst of so much depression, a strange and annoying beacon of hope shines through with the name Pam. Even though Pam is rather annoying and a bit too in-your-face at most times, her intentions with Deacon seem both clear and necessary. She follows Deacon around, flirting and cracking double entendres not to just sleep with him, but to also help him realize there’s more to his life than just pining over Rayna and torturing himself on tour with Rayna’s fiance. While Luke doesn’t appear in the episode, his presence looms in the scenes where Deacon tells Pam that he will always be in love with his soul mate despite her upcoming wedding. Pam makes a few missteps on her road to making Deacon happy again, she stumbles into his AA meeting on tour and follows him into her trailer under the pretense of playing poker with the guys (to be fair, they asked her to join).

While her need to court Deacon starts to get annoying after a little while, Pam’s reason for being on the show becomes obvious. Pam walks in on Deacon trying to write a song, obviously about Rayna, and the two start having a conversation about moving on while singing to each other. In normal musicals, this moment would be as corny as they come—but not here. Singing his feelings has worked for Deacon in the past—in fact, I would argue that singing is usually the only time when Deacon can be his most honest. The first time we truly saw the depth of his love for Rayna was when the ex-couple sang “No One Will Ever Love You” in season 1 and his affection for his newly revealed daughter, Maddie, was never more obvious in season 2 than when they sang “A Life That’s Good.” This whole singing out his feelings thing is how Deacon operates. Pam somehow understands this and finally gets through to the perpetually depressed bachelor and somehow convinces him to have some fun. For the rest of the episode, Pam and Deacon are much more friendly to each other, even hooking up again while getting snacks from a truck stop.

The pair later gets left behind by their respective tour buses and somehow don’t have their phones on them, but do have enough money to pool together to give the best offer on a certifiably pre-owned, old motorcycle as their transportation back to the buses. Eventually Deacon and Pam talk about the fun they had and decide to continue their own personal trip to their next tour stop on the motorcycles rather than back on the stuffy old buses.

Unlike Deacon who can start to let go of his depression over losing the love of his life, Juliette’s breakup has ramifications that will be showing for a quite a few months. Juliette finally tells her assistant, Emily, and her manager, Glen (who I did not know has a hairpiece by the way), that she is pregnant. What does she intend to do with the miracle inside of her? She demands that Glen find a “reputable and discreet” doctor and some families who want to adopt the child. Juliette also says she’s worked out a schedule with her tour and with her movie so dates don’t conflict. And if anyone makes a quip about her inevitable weight gain, Juliette will just say she’s gained weight to play Patsy Cline. She believes people will assume it’s dedication to her craft and she could even win an Oscar thanks to a few extra pounds of baby fat. Literally. Glen can’t help but try and talk Juliette out of making these irrational decisions by telling her that all he wants is for her to be happy, to want her to believe that she can be happy and that she deserves to be happy. But Juliette just explodes at him and demands the list of parents and doctors who can help her deliver the baby in secret.

After doing a press conference about playing Patsy Cline (still waiting to see when this movie will become a reality), Juliette asks Glen for an updated on “Operation Secret Fetus,” but Glen is still trying to snap Juliette out of her strange, destructive mind-set. Glen even goes to Avery’s apartment to talk sense into him to speak to Juliette, but he kicks him out after Glen says Juliette is like his kid. Then he adds, “Someday you’ll understand you can’t ever give up on your kid.”

Juliette finally gets pictures and information about parents who are, to quote Juno, “desperately seeking spawn,” and while looking through them, she starts to feel a horrible pain in her stomach. She calls Rayna in a panic that she’s lost the baby because she’s bleeding and Rayna takes her to her doctor. The doctor tells Juliette that the baby is healthy and has a strong heartbeat but Juliette finally understands why she needs to give this baby up for adoption. Giving love is the one thing Juliette feels she knows nothing about and this baby deserves the chance to be happy and have a life with love. Yet another sentiment that many people can, and have, related to for years.

NEXT: Juliette ruins everything?

Juliette gets a phone call later from Avery to bail him out of jail when he realizes he doesn’t have anyone else’s phone number memorized. Juliette tries to get her ex to listen to her but he’s not having it and won’t for quite some time. “If you apologize, I’ll feel like a jerk for not forgiving you,” Avery says. He tells her that he can’t see her or talk to her because she is ruining his life. He can’t love her, he can’t hate her because both feelings hurt too much. He tells her he needs to learn how to “nothing her.” Then he reminds her that she once said he had the power to destroy her. But Avery takes that notion and flips it on its head. “It was always you Jules. You’re the one who destroys people. I wish I never met you.”

Later Juliette goes to Glen’s house, cries, and and tells him she’s scared. He embraces her like any good father would.

So what has our resident Queen of Coutnry been up to? Well it’s still full steam ahead on the Luke Wheeler/Rayna James (or Ruke as they hate to be called) Honeymoon Tour and the country wedding of the century. While Rayna works out dates, schedules, interviews, and meetings with the members of her label, she’s also trying to figure out a way to sign up-and-comer Sadie Stone to the Highway 65 label before Jeff can officially dig his claws and contracts into her. Rayna decides to meet Sadie in person and pitch her label, but it takes Sadie some time to decide where she belongs. Because Rayna is juggling approximately 6,428 things, she metaphorically kills two birds with one stone by inviting Sadie to her wedding dress fitting so she can sell her Highway 65 at the same time. The women gush over Rayna’s Liberace bull fighter dress together (sounds like an insult but somehow the dress kind of works on Rayna), and then Sadie gets a taste of Rayna’s life when the paparazzi find Rayna at the wedding dress boutique. Sadie helps Rayna escape by driving away in the very definition of NOT inconspicuous car: a red Mustang with white racing stripes. Sadie shows off her wild side while trying to lose a few paparazzi who are following the country stars. Rayna believes the two are really starting to bond. Signing Sadie will be a breeze, right?

Nope. When Rayna confronts Sadie at her concert later that night, Stone says she picked Edgehill Records because she wants to be the next Rayna James. With this comment Rayna gets extra truth-y with Sadie. Edgehill didn’t make Rayna James. Rayna James made Edgehill. And then she left Edgehill. Rayna tells Sadie that if she wants to be nurtured, Highway 65 is the place to be. Rayna doesn’t want Sadie to be the next her. She wants her to be the one and only Sadie Stone. The female empowerment is alive and well in this scene thanks to the always brilliant Connie Britton. That seems to do the trick for Sadie, who reveals at her concert (which Jeff has attended with a triumphant smirk on his face) that she is indeed signing with Highway 65. To add insult to Jeff’s much-deserved injury, Sadie brings Rayna out onstage with her to sing together for the first time. Jeff later threatens Rayna by saying the stakes are too high now to treat the competition with her label lightly. “From now on everything and everyone is fair game,” Jeff the horrible says. What is Rayna’s response? Essentially, it’s “bring it on.”

Speaking of Jeff Fordham, the little creep is clearly up to something when he shows up to the benefit auction for Rayna’s children’s school offering $25,000 to build a student recording studio at the school, clearly so that talented students like Maddie and Daphne have a place to record their music. (I think we all can agree that these two girls are easily the most consistently great performers on Nashville.) Jeff even bids on and wins a round of golf with Teddy and gets on his good side by talking about how much he actually cares about music for youngsters. After Rayna’s sneaky maneuver to get Sadie on her label, Jeff makes a call presumably to his office. He wants to know if it’s possible to sign kids to the label with only one parent’s permission. Watch out Rayna, from what we know about Maddie, she’ll jump at the chance to have a successful music career like her mother.

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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