You know how we’ve all been wondering how Rayna Jaymes is paying the bills? Well, so is she:

She’s fretting to Bucky about how Sadie Stone’s session musicians cost a bundle, and which is both understandable and also insane because Sadie is HER ONLY EXPENSE RIGHT NOW except for all her Highway 65 stress balls and No. 2 pencils. Bucky reminds us all that Avery is producing the album and is a relative rookie, and Rayna both sticks up for him and sends Bucky over there to babysit. Which, it’s worth mentioning, Bucky does not do, because the show wanted him to storm in at the end and DEMAND SATISFACTION and then be really impressed.

Then Rayna gets a package:

This is the first she’s hearing of Maddie’s record deal, courtesy of a diamond necklace send to Maddie — except obviously not really — by Oliver Hudson, complete with a note in his childish, script. I am hoping there is professional graphologist somewhere in Fug Nation who can let me know if this is the scribblings of a hopeless narcissist or a person who capitalizes random words beginning with “O” because inside he is a turgid lake of insecurity.

Deacon is still dying of liver cancer. He’s on the transplant list, but he’s curt and cranky and really itching for a finite prognosis. In part because I think Deacon is a martyr, a bit, and he is getting a perverse sufferer’s satisfaction from stomping around mumbling that he’s going to die.

Scarlett marblemouths, “C’mon, drrrrr, tellm he’s gon live furvr.”

And Dr. Enfamil is like, “Mom says I’m not supposed to give out a prognosis so close to dinner.”

Avery is stressed out and has his hands full because he’s about to start producing for Sadie, and this means he has to bring all his equipment I guess. And an apple. The gist of the scene is that Juliette won’t let him get out the door because she’s super needy and pregnant right now, and full marks to Hayden, she dispatches with vanity entirely and splays herself out in awkward positions and basically completely gives herself over to the comedy.

I also love that she’s using the bump as a prop and/or a table. I used mine to balance my plates when I wanted to eat lunch or dinner on the couch. It was great. I had this big plan to take a picture each week of something bigger and bigger balancing on the bump, but then I had the boys so early that I only got two photos done. Next time! (Don’t get excited. I don’t have anywhere to put a third child unless we want it to sleep in a drawer, or Intern George FINALLY gives me his house keys.)

Sadie is wearing the most literal shirt EVER for her current state of mind. Oh, and the big bearded dude is some legendary something-or-other in the world of the show, who spends all day carping at Avery about how the knobs he’s twiddling and the fact that he isn’t using all the musicians, and of course at the end is all, “THE KID DONE GOOD.” Huggin’ and learnin’.

Deacon has decided to find his own damn prognosis, so he consults the Internet and it tells him he has six months to live.

The site he visits is a combination between WebMD and Diagnosis Murder, starring Dick Van Dyke, which means it’s all stuff written by a really folksy old coot who used to clean chimneys.

Scarlett forces him to talk to Maddie, but the conversation is super stilted and awkward, even though it leads to Deacon agreeing to schedule a guitar lesson with her. Then, Deacon and Scarlett have a raging argument because she’s Little Miss Sunshine and he’s Mr. Grumpy, convinced he’s going to die while she keeps chirping that he gon’ be fiiiiiine so long’s he done dranks his bee pollen’n fruit thangs. Deacon is enraged by her constant good cheer and tells her that she is not allowed to tell Maddie ANYTHING or else. They do a good job making him cope in a way that feels true to the alcoholic side of Deacon — he’s prone to outbursts, he slams his hand on tables, he’s stubborn, he won’t hear anything but what’s marching through his own brain. It’s a nice way to connect the dots between his two sides, to where you can see how the alcohol exacerbates a mood that’s already there.

Rayna is FURIOUS when Oliver Hudson smugly confirms that Maddie is legally under contract to him, and due at the company the next day to impress CEO Mario Van Peebles. Maddie, by the way, DOES NOT EVEN KNOW YET. So basically, Oliver Hudson blackmailed Teddy into signing this deal, and then… has done nothing about it except taunt Rayna? He’s supposed to have Maddie at the office and this is the first anyone is hearing of it (including Teddy)? This plan is the pits. Rayna rips Teddy a new one, and instead of admitting the blackmail, Teddy decides to scratch an itch: He shouts to her that she doesn’t get to invalidate his parental wishes, because she’s always on the road being self-involved about her career, leaving Teddy to bat cleanup with the family, and that he thinks Maddie is ready and this is right for her. Rayna stiffly gets up and informs him that he is wrong, and she is going to fix this, and SERIOUSLY TEDDY ALSO DOES NOT HAVE A COMPUTER. It’s 2015. He’s the mayor. How do you stage-manage this set and not stick a laptop on there? It’s almost a scandal that the mayor doesn’t use computing equipment. Do not vote for that mayor.

Gunnar is drinking a lot, because… the thing is, I think technically he is maybe mourning the kid not being his. But it’s presented — including by Gunnar, while drunk — as him being bummed that his girlfriend cheated on him with his brother ten years ago. Yes, that’s where it all started, but it makes the whole thing feel SO STUPID when in fact it’s perfectly legit for him to be grieving that he gave himself over to a kid who now isn’t his, and that the mother is a selfish crapknob. So Gunnar, his hair as tousled as his emotions, is exactly the right company for Luke Wheeler, who turns up wanting to drink and write an angry song about Rayna and party his blues away. I really should have started a count early in the season of how many times people swig booze on this show. Luke Wheeler is made of 65 percent Coors at this point.

Sadie gets a call at the studio from her ex-husband, who simultaneously serves her with papers suing her for half of everything because she once signed a cocktail napkin saying they would be partners 4EVA. He has parked just outside the limit of her restraining order, just to make her shit enough bricks to build an outhouse in which she can more comfortably shit yet more bricks.

“Hey y’all! I probably haven’t thought this through! Also can someone do a Sonic run?”

This scene basically just reiterates the Oliver/Teddy blackmail, and gives Eric Close a chance to do some Real Serious Acting.

Y’all, I don’t even remember what was happening in this one. Deacon looks like a rabid animal. Let’s use this as further evidence that he’s not handling his dilapidate liver very well. Understandably. He is also in the middle of making a will, which Scarlett pooh-poohs, which is terrible advice. I know she’s trying to combat his blues with ultra-cheer, but actually, he really should have a Last Will and Testament — and not for nothing, he also supposedly has a record contract, and an album he was promoting on Luke’s tour, which is bringing in some cash he should set up in a trust for Maddie. Scarlett is getting in the way of him being a halfway responsible parent, even if he IS just making up a document from LegalZoom. Then again, if this episode had gone the way of Scarlett Brings In A Family Lawyer And Everyone Discusses Power of Attorney, it would have been cancelled AND yanked off the air in midstream.

Layla is out of the hospital, and Oliver Hudson pops by to tell her that she should bring her Emo Side — the one who wears beanies at the East Nashville Artisanal Soundwaves Convention — to his office to impress Chief Mario Officer. Layla thinks he’s doing it out of guilt, and he doesn’t ENTIRELY deny it, but he also spouts some stuff about how he saw her true self that day and blah blah blah they don’t have enough authentic beanies at Edgehill or something.

Let me explain. No, let me sum up: Everyone except Will gets drunk, everyone except Will gets laid. The next morning, Will tells Luke, “I’m not who you think I am. I don’t want this,” and Luke is like, “I think I know what’s going on here. I always suspected,” and before anyone can complete the thought, Luke goes, “You’re SENSITIVE,” and they all agree that Will just doesn’t want one-night-stands and meaningless flings anymore and Gunnar and Will exchange a look that suggests they can’t believe Luke is that gullible. Then Luke admits that he’s not enjoying himself, either, and maybe he should write a schmoopy song about it. Tell me, real musicians of the world: Do people really sit down and create songs that easily? Every single time anything happens in Nashville, people are like, “Well, let’s just write a song about it real fast,” and then 15 minutes later they’re singing a plaintive ballad about leaving someone alone in a driveway.

Avery finds Sadie weeping in a corner. Somehow, from the sounds of her sobbing and sniffling, Avery intuits that something is wrong. This leads to her telling him everything, including that her creepy ex is lurking in the parking lot. AND HE IS. STILL. It’s dark outside and he’s been sitting there all day. I have no idea what he thinks that’s going to achieve, given that he has already sued her, except to put his ass to sleep and maybe give his thighs some righteous premature spread.


So Avery goes out and threatens him a little, but before they can punch each other’s lights out, Sadie comes roaring outside and points out that he’s now within a hundred feet of her and she can call the cops and have him arrested. She’s very fiery about it. He skulks back into his truck and flees, and Avery is all, “Well, THAT took some major guts,” and I KNOW they did not get him back together with pregnant Juliette just to have him slobber all over Sadie in any real sexual way but if he could JUST STOP LOOKING SO IMPRESSED that would make me feel safer.

You’ll be thrilled to know that Deacon’s guitar lesson with Maddie has renewed his will to live. He still hasn’t told her anything about his condition, but he’s decided to drink the healthy smoothies Scarlett wanted him to make, and not walk around planning his own funeral and trying to pick in what font “HE DIED AS HE LIVED: ORNERY AND MISERABLE” should be written on his tombstone.

For her part, Scarlett freaks out at Dr. Garanimals over Deacon’s lack of hope, and he actually asks her, “Have you ever heard of a happiness bully?”


“No, really,” he continues. “Mrs. K read us a book during rug time called Prickly Patty and the Happiness Bully. It’s real good and I sounded out the word C-A-T, which I’ve seen on some doctor-y papers before and now I know how to say it out loud.”


And, thus, Scarlett and Deacon each realize they have to move toward the other on the Coping Spectrum, while also giving each other space to process things they way that fits them. Scarlett and her Snood of Good Cheer really appreciate this, and she hurls herself into his arms and sniffles all over his chest about how the bee pollen really is supposed to help even if it tastes like crap. I admit it, I giggled. I actually really like how much Scarlett loves Deacon. She’s like a big open vein.

Rayna, though, is not so warm at the moment. She tells Teddy that the only way out of Maddie’s contract is to revoke his parental rights, given that Deacon is her biological father. Teddy is like, “NO, WE CAN’T TEAR THIS FAMILY APART,” but honestly, the media and world at large already know about this. Isn’t the actual official transference of parental rights something that can be done relatively quietly? I mean, maybe not. But it’s not like people are ignorant of the fact that Teddy isn’t the father. Wouldn’t Rayna have a claim based solely on biology, without even having to go through the rigamarole of a revocation? Lawyers of Fug Nation, help me out.

Anyway, what happens next is a rarity on a lot of shows right now (I’m looking at you, Downton Abbey): We actually SEE one person find out about another person’s big secret. Teddy sits down with Rayna and explains to her that he covered up Oliver’s gross party and involvement in Layla’s near-drowning, and that now Oliver is blackmailing him about having performed that coverup AND also buying prostitutes. Yes, two grown adults have an honest conversation in which a character we supposedly care about tells ANOTHER character we supposedly care about EXACTLY what’s going on in his life. It should have happened before he signed the record deal, but the fact that we got this scene after a minimum of dragged-out shady hemming and hawing is a freaking Christmas miracle.

BTW, Luke’s sad song about heartbreak really helped him, but Gunnar is still a mess. His hair has just totally quit on him. I suppose seeing Scarlett through Deacon’s near-death experience that’s forthcoming will cause him to realize that Life Is Worth Living.

Full of hope, Layla puts on her East Nashville Hattitude Convention cap and waits eagerly to play for the Chief Executive Mario.

But he is too busy listening to Maddie’s music and cooing over what a bright future Edgehill will have with her on the roster. He seems perfectly content about all this without ever meeting Maddie, but Oliver keeps insisting that she’s coming, she’ll be right there, any second now, wait for it, wait for it…

… and in swans Rayna, in her highest heels and most killer pencil skirt…

… looking about as country as can be. In the best way. She gets in there and clears the room and then picks up a shovel and says to Oliver, “No, sweetums, I got this,” and proceeds to dig him a grave and then bury him in it. She lays out EVERYTHING to Mario Van Peebles.

He is now Mario Van Peevles.

And Rayna, looking super foxy, rings the death knell for Oliver’s career and then swans out of there having won the moral and legal victory. Chief Peevles Von Mario voids the contract and then asks to speak to Oliver alone.

Sadie, buoyed by having told her ex to piss off back to Virginia — there’s no way he actually DID, but whatever, let’s not ruin her moment — does a perfect performance of her song, and Bucky realizes Avery is NOT in over his head, after all. Everybody wins. Except for the ex, which is fine. And Highway 65’s budget.

Oliver shows up to Layla’s house and tells her that the reason she sat there like a mope for an hour — before leaving while the entire staff got all atwitter about something — is that he was summarily dispatched from the company. And he has no friends. So he needs to hang out with a 20-year old because her beanies are the only things in this world that understand his soul.

Teddy is grateful to Rayna for sorting out this whole business with Oliver. Rayna, though, has to climb up on her pedestal and shout down at him. She hisses that he needs to get some damn HELP already, and that his personal life must NEVER affect her girls NEVER EVER and she’s in fact going to take them away from him for a while. Excuse me, Rayna, but whose personal life was JUST affecting your girls, hmm? Who went on tour for an eternity at her fiancé’s say-so, and then who sold out HER DAUGHTER’S FATHER to Rolling Stone to hide their potential stepbrother/stepsister romance, and who then jilted her fiancé the day of the wedding? You think none of that affected your daughters? Just because the writers chose to pretend Maddie never read the Rolling Stone piece, or that by some piece of wayward magic she never heard about it at school or in another tabloid, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Get off your high horse, Rayna, before it bucks you off and you get hurt.

Tags: Nashville