Maddie transforms from bratty teen to perfect angel after running away from a boring symphony gala
Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S2 E4
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“You’re No Angel Yourself” centered around Rayna (and Deacon’s!) daughter Maddie. As if being 13 and female and alive weren’t enough CRAP to handle, Maddie’s been having a rough time forgiving her mother after learning the truth about her biological dad. She’s being a complete beast to everyone, even the dead grandma she never met. (Happy birthday, tombstone.) Luckily her dad lives in her iPhone (that really was Charles Esten singing “A Life That’s Good,” by the way), so at least a gadget is getting a smile out of the tween terror.

That was some mighty cute symmetry tonight — having Maddie tentatively bond with Deacon from a distance, via the power of technology, at the beginning and end of the episode. It made her little duet with younger sister Daphne on one of Deacon’s old songs that much more impactful. Phones can put you in touch, but only live, acoustic, tear-jerking music can get to the heart of a person! Lennon and Maisy Stella’s performance was the best scene of the night, by far. Maddie hanging up the phone and then trying the new D-word out — “Dad!” — was a close second. My heart hurts so good right now. I think I need some “pain pills” a.k.a. large bowl of Halloween candy to my left.

As she lurks outside Maddie’s bedroom during “A Life That’s Good,” all Tami Taylor-style, Rayna’s soft smile conveys all sorts of possible emotions — pride in her daughter’s talent/maturity/ability to give up those thick red glasses, happiness for the mother-daughter reconciliation, sadness over Deacon, confidence that she was having a good hair day as usual, etc.

And then boom: fear and dread settle in as she tries to sing along and make it a real family affair. Rayna can’t sing. She can barely croak. We’ll see next week whether Rayna’s throat has healed….

Connie Britton’s boobs in that evening gown! (Deserve their own paragraph.)

Anyway, what really set Maddie off at the symphony benefit wasn’t the itchy dress or the gross caviar (she was being such a Josh Baskin at that party), but the large engagement ring Puh-lease Peggy was wearing as a necklace, despite Teddy’s request to keep the news quiet until he could tell his family.

Oh yeah. Teddy’s considering a congressional run, so these two got engaged. Ew!

“Are you doing this to avoid scandal or so we can be a family?” Peggy, puh-lease. Does it really matter?

Teddy admits it’s because of both. That’s a hard yes on scandal. #ScandalABC.

Maddie freaks out and runs away from the gala, while Rayna calmly addresses the absurdity of the situation: “So you’re not here together, but you’re engaged.” Ha, perfect. Exactly. Dummies. Oh, one more thing. Peggy’s pregnant, Teddy says. He’s just trying to do right by her.

“Unbelievable,” mutters Rayna. (Listen to your ex-wife, Mr. Mayor!)

NEXT: Deacon considers the new normal Meanwhile, Deacon’s on a dinner date with his public defender Megan, who refused to accept payment for her services but also would have almost certainly refused to let Deacon leave the room until he agreed to buy her dinner. Well-played, Megan. She thinks he and his possibly career-ending injury (nooo!) might have grounds for a civil suit against the city. Or in romance-speak: Maybe they can go on more dates.

Megan knows misery, heartbreak, and what it takes to finally move on, so she’s perfect for Deacon, at least tonight. Her husband of two years was killed by a 17-year-old she ended up befriending in order to stop hating him. She and Deacon have some pretty decent chemistry as they appear to be plastered to his huge leather sofa by one cheek each. (The tell-tale sign of a deeply satisfying conversation. Seriously.) But Deacon’s feeeeeeeelings really come to light when Rayna swirls in, a fury of worry over Maddie’s escape from the boring party.

I love how Deacon’s instinct is to find Maddie himself, in the middle of his date, at any cost. Amidst her terror, Rayna beams at him slightly. You’re so….sober! She likes it. They’re so magnetic together. Rayna asks Deacon to stay at home in case Maddie intuitively zombie-walks her way over there in her bare feet. But instead, it’s…..

Juliette to the rescue! Apparently part of the Lady Barnes’ segue from bubble-gum hair-flipper to elegantly aging star is being a TRULY WONDERFUL PERSON both inside and out! She picks up a disoriented Maddie (honestly, girl looked hammered) at the Delta Express gas station, put her to bed in her gorgeously lit home, and put aside her frustration with Rayna’s backing out of their tour to stick up for her rival/friend and save a mother-daughter relationship she recognized as infinitely stronger than her own.

“She can call me if she ever needs to talk…I think she really wants to talk to you, though.” Agh! Juliette! I melted at Rayna’s reaction to this, one of total relief during probably the most uncertain time in her life.

NEXT: Scarlett Downer was barely sexually harassed at that photo shoot So with the possibly voiceless Rayna out of the Red Lips, White Lies tour, elderly 24-year-old Juliette must resort to asking American Hitmaker runner-up Layla Grant to open for her. It’s either that, or open herself for Edge Hill’s new score, country megastar Luke Wheeler. Ooh, a new love/hate interest for Juliette. Delicious.

This way, Layla can appease Juliette’s tween fans with her reality-TV-ready persona and googly eyes, and then Juliette will swoop in to sing the new, elevated material that the fans don’t want. Nothing about this bodes well….

Scarlett is the runner-up Debbie Downer of the episode, acting as if a photographer’s request that she at least try to have fun at a promo shoot is a sucker punch to her pristine, doily-white, innocent soul. Is she under the impression that the entire country music industry takes place within the Bluebird Cafe (oh, and no photos allowed there either)? “They were poking me,” Scarlett complained to church singer Zoey (girl’s got pipes!).

Okay. First of all, that woman at the photo shoot barely adjusted her boobs. “We need to perk the twins up!” she announced, and then she just sort of batted them around once or twice. How did that help? Lazy boob adjustment.

Secondly, that photographer was awful. “Layla, you’re a natural! Reminds me of a young Juliette Barnes!

Um, bitch….

Finally: Shut up, Scarlett! Get in the game! “If you’re not having fun, then you’re doing something wrong,” points out Zoey, who clearly would trade weaves with her childhood best friend in a heartbeat. The two find their fun in a sloshed karaoke duet on the Supremes’ “Come See About Me.” Been there!

NEXT: Avery/Gunnar bromance in the works Scarlett can’t handle the attention and expectation, but Debbie Downer #1 Gunnar desperately wants it for himself. He refuses to let Will record his new song, “What If I Was Willing?” LITERALLY that is the question (and I try not to use the word literally in general). What if you were WILL-ing to…oh, I don’t know, Gunnar, use this as a stepping stone to make contacts and ensure future songwriting success? Wondered Will.

Gunnar scoffs after Will puts himself in the same category as “other artists.” Artists, right. Hacks! Just then, Avery decides to crawl out of the gutter and announce he’s the new bar back at the Bluebird. Way to ruin Gunnar’s life, buddy! “Now it sucks to be at home and sucks to be at work, too.”

Avery, an artist, seizes the opportunity and suggests Gunnar keep the song for himself and record it with a little steel (i.e. Avery on guitar) and piano (i.e. Avery on piano). YES. A Gunnar/Avery bromance is officially in the works. I refuse to mash up their names in a cutesy hybrid. Gun Rave is gonna be the greatest band ever.

Oh, God, I almost forgot: Rayna’s sister Tandy hires a private investigator to look into their mother’s death. Turns out their former housekeeper placed their dad, Lamar Wyatt, in Nashville instead of Louisville the night of Virginia’s accident — the housekeeper overheard them fighting, and Virginia said she wanted to leave Lamrar. This housekeeper died shortly thereafter…and so did the investigation.

So after a truly ridiculous scene at the gala during which Tandy starts SHAKING after Lamar insists the last thing Virginia said to him was probably “Pass the salt,” at breakfast, Tandy meets with the Dept. of Justice and hands over a flash drive (Red Flash Drive, Super-White Lies) containing “kickbacks, payoffs, and legal contributions” because her father “needs to be punished in any way he can be.” Ease up, Tandy! The man had to interact at length with Peggy at the symphony gala. Hasn’t he suffered enough?

I’ll stop with this. Maybe.

Loose, Gorgeous Connie Britton Wave of the Week:

New recap feature. I’m pretty excited about it.

Your thoughts on episode 4? Discuss!

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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