It’s the last episode before a break — we’re off until early February, y’all — and the writers did indeed leave us with a couple cliffhangers amidst a satisfying twist or two. But first, we have to get through Rayna preparing for her wedding to Luke Wheeler, and if you disliked the dress she picked previously, you’re in luck. THEORETICALLY. Because although she scrapped that one — citing paparazzi and “Luke is so traditional” and blah blah blah — the new gown is, in my opinion, WAY worse.
I just think this makes Connie Britton look huge. And if there’s one thing we know about Connie Britton, it’s that she’s long and lean and decidedly NOT a balloon of a lady. So I have no choice but to assume we are watching Rayna’s psyche try and slap her into alertness about how little she wants to marry this guy. “This is the dress he wants, and it’s hideous, so USE THE TRANSITIVE PROPERTY,” her mind is saying.
Tandy is back for the wedding, and she brings with her a furrow. About everything. She notices that Rayna doesn’t seem all that stoked, but my bigger concern is that nobody bothered to do Tandy’s hair. Remember when she first cut it, and it was all sassy? Can’t someone fluff Tandy’s head-suit? Just because she doesn’t have Rayna Jaymes locks doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve the therapeutic caress of a stylist’s hands.
Luke’s tour is taking a holiday break — after the wedding, he and Rayna will go out on the road together, and Will IS going, but I don’t get the impression Deacon is — so Mr. Wheeler offers Deacon a firm handshake and a thank you, and then off they all go. Deacon doesn’t want to go to Nashville, because the entire town has been struck with a wedding fever that no amount of cowbell in the world can cure. So he decides to stick around Memphis for a bit, and Scarlett announces she’s going to join him so he can’t brood. Miss Thing is feeling her oats because of all that reasonable-looking person-hair on her head, see, and so she and Deacon saunter through the city and sing some karaoke, and go visit the Peabody Ducks:
This is a real Memphis thing dating back to the 1930s, which currently involves ducks walking a red carpet twice a day and then settling into the hotel’s fountain. It is not known whether the ducks manage to achieve this without adopting that cross-legged Urgent Urination Alert stance.
Rumors are getting out about Will, on this extremely reputable website. So Oliver Hudson tells him to start banging around if need be, so that there is a trail of exhausted vaginas in his wake. It will not surprise you that Will is conflicted about this, given his general lack of interest in ladyflesh; he seems almost more interested in checking out how his pecs look on Studztown. (But seriously, when was that photo even supposedly taken? I’m pretty sure Will hasn’t been shirtless on a boat lately, unless they filmed that for Love & Country, but that show didn’t seem to have enough budget for a bathtub yacht, much less a power cruiser.
Let’s actually get this out of the way early: Props to the Fug National(s) who correctly guessed that Gunnar’s sudden son Micah actually belongs to his brother Jason, and that Kylie was actually in town looking for HIM when she showed up to dine and dash. Her parents/Micah’s grandparents show up all ready to assume responsibility for the child they seem to know rather well, even though by last report they hadn’t talked to Kylie in ages. The grandmother is a total snot to Gunnar, whose lawyer reassures him that a quick paternity test will seal the custody deal for him… and of course, that’s when he finds out the truth.
Just LOOK at how emotionally disturbed his hair is. There is no wind in those follicular sails. It’s crumbling like his hope, so of course, he goes to Scarlett. And she’s crying, too, but for other reasons. How’s THAT for a mini-cliffhanger inside this recap? MWA HA HA. Spoiler: It’s about Deacon.
This is Rayna’s face when Luke asks if they can fit “Tim and Faith” at their table. She is, of course, horrified that they don’t have their ACTUAL FAMILIES with them, and Luke blithely points out that they’re sitting with them at the rehearsal dinner and ISN’T THAT ENOUGH. And it’s true. If there’s one thing you want less of at your wedding, it’s your children, and if there’s one thing you want MORE of it’s the country music couple people compare you to — and whom I sort of assumed didn’t even EXIST in this universe because Rayna kind of IS Faith Hill, at least partly. Anyway, Luke gets Rayna to relax about everything, as usual. You’d think he would notice at some point that whenever issues of The Children come up, Rayna’s answer generally is, “YES MORE OF THOSE PEOPLE PLEASE.”
Let’s also get THIS over with: Teddy is all lonely and sad because Rayna is getting married and for some reason he’s not invited, even though they’re on good terms. Is that normal? I mean, probably, I guess.But if this is the Wedding of the Century and it’s largely for public consumption, you’d think they’d put her ex — who is also THE MAYOR — on the guest list. For show. However, it’s good for Natasha’s business that he isn’t included, because he can sadsack his way right into her pants. But then when she offers him a great deal on a twice-weekly girlfriend, he realizes it’s pathetic that he has nobody to talk to except a women he has to pay to listen, and (appears to) disentangle himself. I kind of wish he’d woken up with Tandy. I apparently think all roads should run through Tandy, because I keep trying to throw Rayna’s manager Bucky at her, and now Teddy — and I always DID think the show hinted early on that she had a thing for Teddy before Rayna snagged him. The theme of many of my TV recaps this season appears to be, “EVERYONE HAVE MORE SEX.”
Sadie’s ex storms into her recording session by saying, “It’s okay, I know her,” because I guess security doesn’t exist in Nashville.
He sticks around just long enough to issue some threats and freak her out, at which point Avery interrupts them, which means he’s probably going to get his ass kicked standing up for Sadie at some point in the future. She blows off Pete as just a guy she writes songs about, and says to Avery that the trouble with drawn-out breakups and relationships with exes is that the reason you broke up never goes away, which clearly gets him thinking about Juliette. STOP IT SADIE. Don’t mess with them. Whenever Avery does White Knight it with Sadie, there had better not be any lame jealousy nonsense that put him and Juliette right back on the damn wheel. Maybe Juliette can conk Pete on the head with a tire iron while breastfeeding.
Layla is texting Oliver Hudson instead of paying attention to Will, who is asking her to come on tour with him so he can — my words — look totally hetero while not actually having to interact with any soft genitals. She’s dismissive of him while being very vague about who and what she’s doing, and he deduces somehow exactly what’s going on (did I miss a scene where he snuck a peek at her phone? How the hell would he have figured THAT one out?). He orders Oliver to put a stop to it so that Layla can join him in Australia and help keep the cash cow mooing. I don’t mean to be unsupportive of her booty needs, but between Oliver Hudson and Australia, PICK AUSTRALIA. Although, shouldn’t Oliver be locking down her new emo album, which would be full of great songs like the one she did at the East Nashville Beanie Convention?
ALSO, wasn’t Oliver trying to lock down THESE two behind Rayna’s back? Maybe he was going to do that while she was on her Honeymoon. What I’m learning is that Oliver does not know how to use padlocks.
Anyway: Rayna has been asked to extend the tour with Luke six more months, and Luke is chill about it because he doesn’t care that much about seeing his offspring. Rayna is freaking out, even MORE so when she tells the girls about it expecting them to hate the idea, and instead they love it. Bceause the girls have decided they want to go to boarding school, due in large part to Luke’s kids evangelizing the experience. And it just so happens that when they brought this up with Luke last week and he called the school to inquire about… RECORD SCRATCH. Rayna’s temper flares higher and hotter than the reptilian heat map on her blouse.
Luke should be getting wind of something rotten in this particular corner of Denmark, because yet again, he comes downstairs to find Rayna giving him a big ol’ bucket of sourface. She lectures him about making decisions and phone calls on behalf of her children without ever actually TELLING her about it, and Luke replies, “Well, you didn’t tell Deacon about Rolling Stone, so I assumed it was okay?” Just kidding. He doesn’t. Also, did Maddie just have NO FEELINGS ABOUT THAT at ALL? Do we not think she might’ve been REALLY conflicted that her mistake with Luke’s son led her mother to sell out her father to a magazine? It’s like this show forgets the simple beauty of fallout. There are so many stories whose aftershocks could affect a number of people on the canvas, and too often Nashville confines them to one, like somehow trapping an entire deluge in one mason jar. And if we learned anything from The Sound of Music, it’s that you DON’T catch a cloud and pin it down, or hold a moonbeam in your hand.
Rayna’s dress is at least pretty. When she’s giving in to the dark feelings her upcoming wedding inspires in her, she looks WAY better. In fact, Michelle Obama just wore this exact dress and it was great on her, too.
Oliver Hudson hilariously looks very put-off when Layla snuggles up to him at the party. I can’t tell if we’re meant to think he actually is having Feelings but is putting on an act because of Will, or if he isn’t that into her but also wouldn’t have kicked her out of bed for writing a ballad about broken crackers. She makes a slurring mess of herself, and when he clumsily points out that she needs to go out on the road with her husband and back off and stop assuming they meant anything to each other, Layla freaks. Oliver shoves a vial of pills into her hand and tells her to take two and calm the hell down, but it doesn’t stop her hissy. And bless her, Aubrey Peeples’ voice has turned out to be an underused treasure on this show, but acting drunk is not her forte. She and Bellamy Young, both of them strong utility players on their shows (well, Bellamy more than Aubrey, on sheer scope of the role), become hammier than a deli when they’re asked to play tipsy.
Look, Luke is hanging out with his family! Wha-aaat. I see you there, Cole. SPOILER: I’m pretty sure you and Maddie can keep making out soon.
These two sing a fabulous song for Rayna and her boring fiance, and it really is mildly nutso that Rayna doesn’t sign them to Highway 65 and manage them herself. They are a gold mine.
Deacon, however, is having a rough go. No matter where he and Scarlett end up, he is confronted with the sight of Luke and Rayna — on the news, in a paper, on the cover of the local magazine that’s in the exact glossy, mild, and uninformative ilk of all the ones that get put on hotel coffee tables. He’s so enraged that he hurls it at the mini-bar… which is reasonably maxi and also sitting in plain sight on the desk rather than in a fridge. I would’ve assumed Deacon would have the hotel staff empty it at this point in his life, but CONTRIVANCE. Deacon gazes at the broken bottles and their nectar like it’s Road Pam and he’s in a sexual desert. (Also, just for kicks, where is Road Pam? Did she get kicked off the final leg of the tour, or did Deacon dumping her during the break effectively end all interactions and/or cause her to dissolve into a fine mist?)
Cut to Scarlett following him into the hotel room and seeing him on the floor, an empty glass in his hand. He won’t wake up, not even when she taps his cheeks with the vigor of a woodland nymph.
Layla is drunk and depressed. Why? Because after Oliver Hudson shoved her away and all but admitted it was at Will’s behest, she goes off to find him, and finds him in bed with a female reporter who basically stripped down as a way of challenging his hormonal surge and then goaded him into surfing whatever tiny wave ensued:
And it’s so confusing, because Layla sees this and seemed GUTTED — that part, I get — and yet Will’s face is so unconvincing. He looks miserable. I actually thought he was crying softly for a second, and he CERTAINLY looks like he’s about to blow chunks of his dinner all over her chest. If this is meant to sell the media on him as a big bad ladybanger, it is really only selling him as an inept ladybanger. But Layla doesn’t see it that way. She just feels rejected by her hetero male boss and her big gay husband, and so she downs fistfuls of Oliver’s pills.
Will later finds her floating in Oliver’s pool, without knowing how long she’s been in there. Aubrey Peeples is done shooting Jem and the Holograms, so theoretically she doesn’t need to be killed off to go and work on that. But that doesn’t mean the show isn’t done with her character, so… musically, it would suffer, given her new tragique direction, so my THEORY (I don’t read spoilers) is that she is not dead. But one never knows.
CLIFFHANGER THE FIRST: Is Layla dead?
- As a doornail (35%, 451 Votes)
- No way (65%, 844 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,295
Oh and Oliver calls 911, and then Teddy. He tells Mr. Mayor that he’s awfully glad they’re friends, because he needs a swimming-pool-size favor right about now.
You know, Teddy, that wallpaper is not the best politics. Don’t play favorites with the kid who’s biologically yours, even if the other one thinks you’re snoozy and sad.
“I hate magazines without horoscopes,” Rayna pouts, flipping through Rolling Stone morosely.
Sadie, meanwhile, gets a visit from Pete — and right after she asserts that she’s stronger now, he clocks her so hard in the face that her eye swells up immediately. He’s evil and I hope she sets fire to his car.
CLIFFHANGER THE SECOND: Will Sadie set fire to Pete's car
- I mean, EMOTIONALLY, sure, eventually (22%, 250 Votes)
- YES (8%, 93 Votes)
- No (8%, 93 Votes)
- No, because someone else will do it on her behalf AND I HOPE IT'S PREGNANT JULIETTE (62%, 717 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,153
AND THEN: When Deacon wakes up, we find out that his tox screen came back clean. He did not get drunk and pass out in a rage. Instead, he has CIRRHOSIS OF THE LIVER (why does everyone say “cirrhosis of the liver,” by the way, when isn’t cirrhosis by definition a liver disease?) and ALSO MAYBE POSSIBLY CANCER. In that infuriating and stereotypically male way, Deacon decides to be all OH WHATEVER STOP BOTHERING ME and WELL I GUESS MY DRINKING IS GONNA KILL ME AFTER ALL about it, but before Scarlett can club some sense into him with one of her old braids, Gunnar comes over and sobs all over her face about Micah. (By the way, the actor who plays Micah? His name is Gunnar. So we have Gunnar Playing Micah Son of Gunnar, Will Playing Luke, and Luke From The OC Playing Will. COOL IT, NASHVILLE. My tiny brain is going on strike, and yes, I wrote “on stroke” first, and that seems true also.)
Shh, but: It might actually be clever if Deacon dies at the end of the season. I DO NOT WANT DEACON TO DIE. EVER. But… as story engines go, it might actually rev up some stuff.
CLIFFHANGER THE THIRD: Is Nashville going to kill off Deacon
- HELL NO (49%, 681 Votes)
- You know... I could see it happening (5%, 70 Votes)
- It WOULD be ballsy (17%, 237 Votes)
- LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU (29%, 404 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,392
Luke should have known the second Rayna got out of her car looking like this that his wedding would not happen. But this evasive expression when he asks what’s up really pulls the trigger on that gun. When she calls off the wedding, he immediately gets upset and starts to cry, and insists on knowing whether it’s because of Deacon. “It is Deacon and it’s not Deacon,” she says. “It’s me. It’s who I’ve always been, it’s who I need to be… I can’t do to you what I did to Teddy… and I can’t make you a casualty of my life.” This is JUST vague enough that we can’t be COMPLETELY sure jettisoning Luke means she has picked Deacon, or if she’s just picking Old Rayna over the newfangled Sells Her Wedding Weekend to People And Puts Her Kids In Boarding School And Hits The Road Forever Rayna. I suspect it will turn out to be the latter, and/or we’ll get the agony of her going back to Deacon and him rejecting her because He’s Too Proud and Scarlett So Help Me God You Breathe One Word of This to Rayna and I’ll Sell Your Hair For Parts and then when it’s nearly too late Rayna will go to him in his sick bed. DEACON. DON’T DIE. It might be good for the show BUT DON’T DO IT but think of the agonizingly heartbreaking scenes BUT STILL DON’T maybe. No, don’t.
Oh, and this expression of moist-eyed relief and dawning joy is on Rayna’s face when she drives away from Luke’s place. If you’d listened to your wedding dress, you’d have done this DAYS ago, Rayna. It told the tale.
CLIFFHANGER THE FOURTH: Did Rayna choose Deacon?
- Yes! (7%, 91 Votes)
- No. She chose herself. (15%, 198 Votes)
- No, but she WILL choose Deacon. Just in time. (65%, 826 Votes)
- ... she will, but TOO LATE. (13%, 164 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,279
But in happy news, Avery’s ruminations about how he and Juliette can’t just be friends leads him to PROPOSE TO HER and they get MARRIED all up in City Hall’s grill. WHERE IS GLENN? He should’ve worn his very best bald head for the occasion.
Lord, I love these two. I’m worried they’re setting up a protectiveness/hero worship thing for him and Sadie which will end in her kissing him, and then we have some tit-for-tat jealousy from Juliette that will gum up the works… Listen, Avery is welcome to rescue Sadie Stone while Hayden is on maternity leave, but if they kill Deacon AND have him kiss Sadie or Sadie kiss him or ANYTHING, I will PUT MY FIST THROUGH THE TV. (Note: offer void in California.)
CLIFFHANGER THE FIFTH: Will Sadie play spoiler to Avery/Juliette?
- Yes, probably. (11%, 140 Votes)
- No, not in any real way (17%, 226 Votes)
- NOT IF NASHVILLE KNOWS WHAT'S GOOD FOR IT (72%, 960 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,326