As the divide between Rayna and Deacon grows, Scarlett and Gunnar kick off their tour, and Markus finally gets into the studio.

Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S4 E8
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After weeks and weeks of absolute chaos, everyone on Nashville is finally starting to find some steady ground. Deacon wants to catch up with his daughter, Maddie is feeling independent and adventurous, Rayna is in the studio with Markus, and Gunnar and Scarlett are finally on tour, headed to Boston for back-to-back shows.

“Unguarded Moments” really is the most positive and joyous episode of the season so far, and it’s a welcome change of pace after weeks of depressing story lines and out-of-nowhere character deaths. Things aren’t all roses and rainbows by any means, but for once most of the characters seem to be on the right track or at least getting there.

Rayna and Markus in particular, despite working long hours, seem to be working toward something special. While I don’t find Markus’ song appealing in the slightest, Rayna clearly sees something in his vocal take. She’s excited that they’re hitting all the goals they need to, even if it means working until the early morning.

When Rayna gets back home, Deacon has to head right out because he has a construction crew coming in to work on The Beverly. There’s an obvious strain in their relationship, even if Deacon doesn’t really notice it. That strain is only heightened when Maddie comes downstairs with newly dyed hair, now blond like Juliette Barnes. There are worse things in the world as far as I’m concerned, but Rayna flips. Add to that a phone call saying that Sony is interested in signing Maddie, and we suddenly have all the ingredients for family drama.

Out on the road, Gunnar and Scarlett’s tour seems to be going well so far, but Scarlett can’t help but worry about Gunnar losing focus. He’s half-present at a meeting with their tour manager and quickly leaves the table to go hang out with Erin. Later, when Scarlett heads down to the venue early to meet with some fans already lined up, Gunnar skips out because he has important bed and shower business with Erin. Not exactly the right way to show how dedicated you are to the tour, dude.

If there’s one person who’s focused, though, it’s Colt. He’s still upset about the fact that his father is lying about Juliette and what Colt saw, and he sulks in his hotel room and refuses to go anywhere. When Luke tries to get him to come to his show, even offering up a meeting with Kid Rock, Colt gives the answer we’d all give in that situation: “I don’t need fun or Kid Rock.” Seriously Luke, nobody wants to meet with Kid Rock.

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Meanwhile, Avery might not be on tour, but he’s at least getting some steady work! He’s signed on to play a few riffs for commercials, including a horrendous, annoying jingle for “Big Al.” It’s really something, but Avery’s got a kid now, so he’s got to make that dough where he can. I can respect that.

Avery may be busy writing jingles, but he’s not too busy to notice that Will seems to be hiding something in his bedroom. He’s been in there for days on end, and Avery is starting to think he has someone in there, some sort of rebound hookup. I was honestly worried for a bit that it was Layla, reeling from Jeff’s death, but thankfully we learn later that it’s something much more sweet.

NEXT: The History of My Heart

With Juliette still in detox and Jeff, you know, dead, Gabriella is working to fix the Luke Wheeler Lifestyle Brand. She suggests a replacement for Juliette on the tour and also wants to hire a new CEO as soon as possible. Despite her urgency, all of that goes on the backburner when Luke kisses her and asks her to start a relationship. She agrees rather quickly, her whole ethical conundrum suddenly thrown out the window.

Back in Nashville, there’s a distance between Rayna and Deacon. He’s shirking his at-home responsibilities and focusing all his attention on getting The Beverly up and running. Meanwhile, Rayna’s distracted during her recording session with Markus because she’s not sure what to do about Maddie and the offer from Sony.

That’s when Markus steps in and the two bond. They have an honest conversation about the pressures of fame and how someone as young as Maddie could easily get swept up in it and have her career go off the rails. It’s a sweet talk, if a little too imbued with romantic tension. Please don’t go down that road, Nashville.

In Boston, Scarlett and Gunnar are killing it in a small venue, at least until Erin screws up the levels and blows the soundboard and all the power in the venue. Thankfully, Scarlett and Gunnar improvise and finish the set acoustically, and it’s truly stunning. Sometimes the best art is created in moments of desperation.

That’s something that Will knows a thing or two about. It turns out that he wasn’t hiding someone in his bedroom, but rather something. He’s been writing songs inspired by his breakup with Kevin, who he calls “his first true love.” Avery goads him into playing the songs for him despite Will’s reluctance, and he’s blown away. He says it’s time to take his songs public, even if Will’s not singing them, and heads down to the Bluebird to give them a shot.

Once they arrive, though, Will backs out, his insecurity as a songwriter getting the best of him. But Avery stays and blows everyone out of the water with his heartfelt performance. Seriously, the whole Bluebird cries throughout the song, Avery using Will’s words to tap into his own broken feelings about Juliette. As good as the performance is for Avery, Will gets something out of it, too. A publisher gives his card to Avery and tells him that whoever wrote that song should get in contact with him. It’s time to move on, Will!

Will and Avery aren’t the only ones in a good place, though. Despite chastising Erin, Gunnar manages to keep his romance alive, as Erin cops to the blown fuses being her fault and shows that she’s eager to learn about the smaller sound systems. Even Scarlett is on good terms with Gunnar and appreciates the way he handled business before his relationship. Her relationship with Caleb, though? It’s definitely on rockier ground, as she’s having a tough time being apart from him. Of course, it doesn’t help that she can hear Gunnar and Erin having sex in the next room.

Nashville can’t end on a happy note, though.

Rayna and Deacon come up with a solution to the Maddie/Sony problem: They’ll sign both Maddie and Daphne, as a duo, to Highway 65 records. While Daphne is pumped, Maddie just sees this as another way for her mother to control her. And to be fair, she’s not exactly wrong. Still, Rayna and Deacon believe they’ve done the right thing and celebrate with a little lovemaking. They’re finally close again, getting back to some sense of normalcy after a crazy couple of weeks. When Rayna gets up to take a shower, though, her phone buzzes, and Deacon, being a creepy, untrusting partner, takes a look at the text. It’s from Markus and simply says, “Good talk today. Hope I helped.” It’s pretty harmless, but the look on Deacon’s face suggests that next week’s episode will see him get super jealous and maybe ruin everything he’s worked for with Rayna. I wouldn’t put it past him.

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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