Welcome back to Nashville! Sadie and Rayna are hanging out at the Opry as it sets up for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Rayna’s induction. Sadie will miss the event, because she’s headed to New York to appear on Good Morning America. Synergy alert! They stop and gush over a picture that photoshops Rayna and Deacon into a shot with the great Vince Gill and the late great Lil Jimmy Dickens. Sadie, who apparently got over her love for the most inspiring perfect relationship between Rayna and Luke, muses about how Deacon really has been there from the beginning, and asks if he’ll be at the celebration tomorrow. Rayna doesn’t know, but probably not. Which means he definitely will, on this show.
Speaking of Deacon, Maddie angles for him to have dinner at Casa James later (when he goes to drop Maddie off), and Deacon says no. Maddie is all about playing matchmaker, and doesn’t understand the holdup. Deacon tells her it’s complicated, and they just need a little time, but affirms that he’ll love Rayna ’til the day he does.
Cut to a photo shoot for the press release that will announce Will’s signing to Wheelin’ Dealin’ Records. Luke is on hand, and asks Will if he’s listened to the demos Luke sent over. Will says he has, and they’re good. Sensing that he’s not totally on board, Luke asks if he was hoping for some more personalized material, and answers by saying Luke was hoping for that for Will too. He’s setting Will up to write with Kevin Bicks. Will is hesitant, despite acknowledging Kevin Bicks’s talent. Why is that, I wonder? Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with acclaimed Nashville songwriter Shane McAnally being the obvious inspiration for this new character, could it? Will asks what Jeff thinks, and Luke informs him that he had to cut Jeff loose because he’s a town pariah. Will is shocked, and Luke asks him if that makes him reconsider signing with Wheelin’ Dealin’. Will laughs that off (he really can’t back out now anyway), and asks if Luke really thinks Kevin Bicks will be a good fit for him. Luke tells Will he thinks he’ll be a perfect fit. And it’s back to the photo shoot we go.
Gunnar, Scarlett and Avery are working on harmonies for a new song and an exhausted Avery is not hearing what he wants. Turns out Avery’s extra-grumpy because Juliette can’t sleep, and when she can’t sleep, he can’t sleep. Meanwhile Gunnar gets a call from Noel Loughlin, and thanks to a last minute cancellation, they get to open for Rascal Flatts when Flatts plays the Bridgestone Arena the next day! Only on Nashville. They are excited! But Avery is even more excited to sleep. Scarlett has to be somewhere. That leaves Gunnar to think of a band name.
Teddy is driving Daphne home, and Daphne wants to know why they’re staying with Rayna even though it’s Teddy’s week. Teddy is surprised and somewhat relieved to know that Rayna hasn’t talked to the girls about this. He claims it’s because Rayna was away for so long and misses the girls. Daphne astutely points out that now Teddy will miss them. He says they’re at least together for the car ride. During this little car ride, Teddy twice gets calls from “Blocked,” which probably means somebody seedy. He plays that off as pesky telemarketers. Is that what we’re calling Natasha now?
Scarlett and Blandly Cute Young Dr. Rand are on a date, and he orders a fancy bottle of wine. As they begin awkward 1st date banter, it becomes clear they don’t have a lot in common in the way of backgrounds (he’s from the Upper East Side, she’s from Mississippi, and so on). So Scarlett starts babbling about medical research related to Deacon’s cancer.
Over at Layla’s, she’s trying on a sparkly dark green dress for an A&R meeting with Bucky, and Jeff nixes it. He says that her rebrand means less sparkle, more black. They banter about his role in her life, and Jeff has more advice for how Layla should be for this meeting. Layla asks him why, if he’s so worried, he doesn’t just come along. Jeff reminds her that Rayna got him fired, and that if she gets wind of his continued involved with Layla, it won’t look good for Layla. He doesn’t think he and Layla should be seen together in public. But that doesn’t stop him from suggesting a black outfit for Layla’s meeting.
Maddie and Daphne are jamming out on guitar in their jammies when Rayna comes in to join the party. She surprises them with an invitation to make their Opry debut tomorrow night at her 10th anniversary membership celebration. The girls are thrilled. Maddie wants to know if Deacon will be there, and when Rayna hems and haws, Maddie asks, rhetorically, whether it’s because Rayna hates Deacon that much. Rayna’s like, “Oh honey, that is so not the problem.”
So back in her bedroom, Rayna calls Deacon to invite him to her 10th anniversary Opry celebration. He’s not sure he’s ready for that, and so Rayna plays the card that the girls will be making their Opry debut. She thinks it would be an amazing full-circle moment if Deacon backed them. Deacon asks for time to think about it.
Meanwhile Scarlett is still chattering away about medical stuff (now, the benefits of ginseng) when as her date with BCY Dr. Rand comes to an end. He offers to shake her hand, and tells her that he thought this was meant to be a date, but sees now that she just needed somebody to talk to about Deacon’s treatment. So he invites her to his office, anytime. Scarlett is chagrined.
Will returns to Gunnar’s where Gunnar is stewing over possible (terrible) band names. Will has his own concerns…he’s worried that Luke wants him to write with Kevin Bicks because Bicks is out and gay. Gunnar sensibly mocks Will’s griping about not wanting to write mushy ballads with a “swishy gay guy” (these are things he actually says), and reminds Will that Kevin can write “beer” and “truck” songs with the best of them, except his actually mean something, and that he’s written for people like Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton without anybody thinking twice about their sexuality. Did I mention that Kevin Bicks is so very obviously inspired by Shane McAnally? Because this is him.
Colt is playing pool when his dad Luke walks in and compliments his shot. He also lays down some money, but instead of the competitive bet Colt was hoping for, Luke says it’s pizza money and he has to go see a band showcase. Colt says he was hoping to hang out a little with his dad. Luke is surprised, and apologizes for that night, but promises they can do whatever Colt wants tomorrow. Of course, Colt wants to see Maddie’s Opry debut. Luke is…surprised to hear that they’re still in touch, but he’s not unsupportive of that. He comments that it’ll be a little awkward considering it’s Rayna’s 10th anniversary celebration, but agrees to go because the town’s too small to avoid Rayna forever.
Maddie is texting with somebody…Colt, probably, when Rayna comes in and tells her that she invited Deacon, and that he’s thinking about whether he’ll join them all at the Opry. Maddie talks to Rayna about how Rayna [i]looooooves[/i] Deacon. Rayna tells Maddie that she knows how badly Maddie wants the two of them together, but that Rayna’s not sure what that looks like yet, and for it to work, they both have to be ready.
Layla stomps back home with news that Bucky wants to take a little time and let the reality show stigma die down before they try to launch Layla’s new music. That means waiting until Sadie has released her album. And when they do move forward with Layla, Bucky’s plan is a traditional album rollout, with the talk show circuit and touring with an established fanbase. Jeff disagrees with all this because as far as he’s concerned, Layla is not a traditional artist, and she needs a more innovative rollout. As Jeff needles Layla about not making her (his) case effectively enough, Layla reminds him he works for her, and the little argument escalates into sex.
Meanwhile, Scarlett stomps home & loudly makes herself some tea while a bespectacled Deacon notices with amusement. Deacon tells Scarlett about Rayna’s invitation, and his plans not to take her up on it. Scarlett snarks, “Heaven forbid that anybody but me should know.” And that finally leads to Scarlett venting about how difficult it is for her to not be able to discuss Deacon’s condition with anybody but him and BCY Dr. Rand.
Back to Layla’s, where she and Jeff are having a post-coital strategy session. Jeff is convinced that if people could just hear the Layla he knows, every indie blogger in the country would be all over her new music, feeling the rush of wanting to be the ones who discovered the next big thing. He decides to be aggressive and puts 1 of Layla’s songs on Itunes, and they giggle about Bucky having a fit.
Speaking of Bucky, he has agreed to meet Luke for breakfast at a diner. Not without reservation, of course, Bucky doesn’t like going behind Rayna’s back. Hm. Luke tells him he doesn’t want to go behind Rayna’s back either, and admitting his sub-optimal behavior post-breakup, Luke mentions his intent to take Colt to the Opry that night, and wonders if Bucky thinks Rayna would be OK with that. Bucky thinks that would be a nice olive branch. As their meals arrive, Luke asks Bucky if he can pick his brain about something else. He mentions hooking Will up with Kevin Bicks, and Bucky thinks that’s a spot-on move, because if there’s a knock on Will it’s that he needs to dig a little deeper. Hmm…think that after last week’s disagreement with Rayna, the show is setting a story up where Luke tries to poach Bucky from her?
Sadie is in her nice hotel room in New York when a GMA segment producer calls to go over her upcoming interview with Robin Roberts. They’re obviously going to cover all the positive aspects of Sadie’s journey, but the segment producer also wants to discuss Sadie’s ex-husband, the lawsuit, and the settlement. That wipes the smile off Sadie’s face.
Scarlett brings BCY Dr. Rand coffee in order to apologize for last night. She admits that she got nervous and started talking about the only thing she knew they had in common. BCY Dr. Rand understands, and is willing to start over, perhaps that very night. Scarlett launches into a totally not-awkward explanation that she’s in a band with her 2 ex-boyfriends and they’re opening for the openers for Rascal Flatts that night, and she’d love for BCY Dr. Rand to come along as her date.
A completely exhausted Avery has just gotten Juliette to sleep, and is about to pass out on a couch himself when he hears rapid knocking on his door. There’s a slightly crazed desperation in his eyes when he opens the door for Gunnar, who is still stewing over terrible band names. Gunnar pushes his way, Avery smoothly escorts him out and shuts the door in his face.
Meanwhile Will arrives for his writing session with Kevin Bicks. Kevin is friendly, open and comfortable, everything Will is not. Kevin suggests they get to know each other a little bit, and when Will proves to be sullen and closed, Kevin laughs it off and launches into his own story.
Over at the Opry, Rayna greets the great Vince Gill, and they have a moment remembering Lil Jimmy Dickens. Vince has kind words for Maddie & Daphne for their Opry debut, and right after Bucky steals Vince away, Colt and Luke show up. Maddie and Daphne greet Colt with happy hugs, and Luke and Rayna keep it cordial after he greets the girls. Luke spots Deacon walking in and winces before excusing himself to go talk to Vince. True story: Vince Gill makes everything better.
Rayna takes Maddie & Daphne to the special dressing room reserved for all acts making their Opry debut. It’s a sweet moment, made even sweeter when Deacon walks in and asks if anybody needs a guitar player. He and Rayna exchange a loaded glance.
Teddy is backstage at the Opry too, doing a photo op with Opry member Lorrie Morgan. She teases him about being better looking in person, and he chuckles that most think of him as shorter in person. He excuses himself to wish the girls good luck, but Natasha arrives to inform him that they need to talk immediately.
Layla is chatting with a blogger who is impressed by her new single, and the fact that Rayna signed her. Layla humble brags that she was surprised when Rayna signed her too, but felt it was a real vote of confidence in her music. She excuses herself after seeing Bucky, and before Bucky can track her down, the blogger is congratulating Bucky on the stealth release of Layla’s new single at Itunes, how there’s a real “indie” feel to the rollout. A surprised Bucky jokes that Layla is nothing if not independent.
Sadie has called Rayna, and says she has no desire to talk about or otherwise acknowledge Abuser Pete. Rayna is just glad GMA chose to give her a heads up about it instead of blindsiding her. Sadie’s afraid the only reason GMA even wanted to talk to her is due to the lawsuit, and Rayna assures her that that’s not the case, that this is about Sadie being at the top of her game, country music’s best new artist, and so on. Rayna says it’s completely OK if Sadie tells GMA that Abuser Pete is completely off limits. Sadie apologizes to Rayna for taking up her time on her big night, but Rayna makes it clear she wants to be there for Sadie.
And now we head over to the Bridgestone Arena, where Avery greets a sulky Gunnar, who is still stewing over names. Avery apologizes for his behavior earlier, and after not responding, Gunnar finally lays into Avery for not realizing how much this means to him (Gunnar). The chance to play a big arena stage like this is why Gunnar came to Nashville. Scarlett’s done it, maybe Avery’s done it too, but Gunnar hasn’t. He wants it to be perfect. Avery gets it now, and is ready to help.
An emotional Rayna takes the Opry stage to introduce her daughters for their Opry debut, and they perform “Heart On Fire,” cowritten in real life by Sarah Buxton, Blair Daly, and Kate York.
To DOWNLOAD “Heart On Fire,” cowritten by Sarah Buxton, Blair Daly, and Kate York.
and performed by Lennon and Maisy Stella, click HERE!
While they perform, Natasha finally tells Teddy that she’s being watched, that there has been a car outside her house, and that that car was probably there when he visited. They’re both screwed, she tells him.
Will and Kevin have spent the whole day together tossing around ideas, but Kevin sees that Will hasn’t really opened himself up to participate whole-heartedly in this session. After calling Will out about it, Kevin finally touches a nerve when he asks Will if he thinks they’re not clicking because guys like Will used to beat up guys like Kevin in high school. Will finally loosens up a little and tells Kevin he’s way off base. When he starts talking about not finishing high school because his dad kicked him out, Kevin tells him they finally have something to build a song around.
Back to the Opry, where Vince Gill introduces Rayna with kind words before her performance. Rayna grabs Deacon’s hand and asks him to sing with her. Maddie notices and couldn’t be more thrilled.
In her hotel room, Sadie is watching the news when she sees a local news report about a wife murdered by her abusive husband, and can hardly take it when the anchor comments about neighbors not understanding why such a beautiful vibrant young woman couldn’t escape the cycle of violence.
Will and Kevin have themselves a song (that we don’t get to hear…yet). Kevin congratulates Will, saying that wasn’t bad for his 1st time. Will thanks Kevin for hanging in there, but is so afraid of the friendly rapport the 2 have, excuses himself to go see his friends at the Bridgestone. Kevin is understanding, and says he’ll chart out the song so Will can record a demo. Will thanks him again.
With Luke watching from the side of the stage, Rayna thanks the crowd and starts talking about Deacon and their history on stage together. Deacon comes out to join her, and they share a long hug. Luke shakes his head. This is good, actually – I’m glad the writers are showing broken-hearted Luke still having to face Rayna & Deacon 4EVA instead of dropping that thread as they have with other plot lines.
With Avery and Gunnar still comically stewing over possible band names, Scarlett arrives with BCY Dr. Rand in tow. Dr. Rand greets them by saying, “So you’re the exes.” And suddenly, Avery and Gunnar realize they have a name.
Backstage, Bucky finally catches up with Layla and reminds her that leaking the single to Itunes is the opposite of what they’d agreed to. Layla says she didn’t agree to anything, and that his plan sucked because she’s not a traditional act who is best served by a traditional rollout. Bucky surprises her by telling her she’s right – that there have been 3k downloads of her single in the past 24 hours since the East Nashville blogger posted about it, and that was with no help from her label. He promises to revamp their rollout plans, and Layla is thrilled.
Rayna and Deacon launch into “The Rivers Between Us,” cowritten by Eric Kaz and J.D. Souther. Colt and Maddie exchange a sweet smile as this is going on, and Maddie is thrilled to see her biological parents together on stage again. Colt notices Luke squirming across the stage, and goes to comfort his dad. When Colt apologizes to his dad and says this must suck, Luke says it does, but puts his arm around his son. It’s an emotional performance for both Rayna and Deacon, and Deacon sprints away after the performance. The Opry crowd is on its feet though.
To DOWNLOAD “The Rivers Between Us,” cowritten by Eric Kaz and erstwhile Watty White player J.D. Souther and performed by Connie Britton and Charles Esten, click HERE!
Back to the Bridgestone, where a hype woman introduces “The Triple Exes,” and Scarlett tells the guys she’s grateful it’s not “2 Guys & Their Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Heh. With BCY Dr. Rand clapping from the audience, they take the stage and perform the Lady A-ish “If I’m Still Dreaming,” cowritten by Cary Barlowe and Daniel Tashian. It goes well.
To DOWNLOAD “If I’m Still Dreaming,” cowritten by Cary Barlowe and Daniel Tashian and performed by Clare Bowen Jonathan Jackson, and Sam Palladio, click HERE!
Rayna is looking for Deacon after her performance, and Maddie tells her he had to leave. Rayna is nonplussed. Meanwhile, Layla updates Jeff on the success of their rogue move, and Jeff says the next step is figuring out how to maximize the label’s resources. Layla agrees, but says she plans to celebrate tonight. Jeff’s on board with that, and assumes he’s invited to the Tree House, where Layla’s headed with some friends. Layla stops him and says she thinks he’s right and it’s better for them not to be seen together in public right now. Jeff chuckles in appreciation.
Bucky and Luke walk out of the Opry together, and Bucky tells Luke he had no idea Deacon would be there that night, that he would have given Luke a heads up had he known. Luke tells Bucky that if there’s 1 thing he’s learned, it’s that Deacon is everywhere. Bucky chuckles and agrees. Luke shakes Bucky’s hand and tells him not to be a stranger. Bucky wishes Luke luck with the label. Yea. They’re definitely setting up a storyline where Bucky may defect to Luke’s label. Colt drives up in an SUV and Luke gets in, and Colt apologizes for bringing his father there. Luke tells him never to apologize for quality time they spent together. Colt asks Luke if he likes having Colt around, and of course Luke does. Colt wants to come home long term, and admits it’s both to spend more time with his dad and with Maddie. Colt asks Luke if he’s mad, and Luke smiles wryly as he tells his son he isn’t mad. “The heart wants what the heart wants,” says Luke.
BCY Dr. Rand is catching up on Scarlett’s history as a singer and how Gunnar and Avery fit in, and he tells Scarlett that it’s completely unconventional, but it works. Meanwhile, Will comes up to congratulate Gunnar on the great gig, and Gunnar asks how it went with Kevin. Will sheepishly admits they came up with a pretty cool song, and Gunnar is happy to say “I told you so.” Will agrees when Gunnar suggests it may be the 1st of many. Meanwhile Noel Loughlin arrives to tell the Triple Exes that Rascal Flatts was so impressed, they want to book them for the next 6 tour dates. Hugs all around! Scarlett assures BCY Dr. Rand that she won’t be gone for long, and BCY Dr. Rand kisses her, while Gunnar looks at her longingly. So we’re starting that again.
Sadie’s interview with Robin Roberts has begun, and they’re going to through fluff like whether Sadie’s seeing anybody right now. Robin compliments her on her recent success and her upcoming album, and then asks about Sadie’s legal issues. Sadie reveals that she’s not happy about having to resort to an out-of-court settlement, but that she was advised it would be easier than fighting the charges, even if they were without merit as she asserts. She goes on to reveal that she was the victim of domestic violence, and like so many women, she was afraid to speak out about it, but she is determined not to let the awful man who did this to her get away with it. Cut away to Abuser Pete watching the whole thing, so his part of the story is not over. Seems likely that he will get violent again, doesn’t it?
Deacon is hiding away in the home that he had bought for Rayna, and sure enough, Rayna finds him there. She tells him that him leaving after their duet hurt, just as much as it did the 1st time. She doesn’t want him to leave her anymore. And so Deacon finally tells her he’s sick. Rayna thinks this is about his alcoholism. But no, it’s cancer of the liver, and Deacon says he’s got 6 months to live without a transplant. A devastated Rayna slaps him (hm…an interesting contrast to the domestic violence storyline for Sadie, even though we’re clearly supposed to see this differently), and then sobs and embraces him. And we leave it there for a few weeks. The next original episode of Nashville comes on 4/1, but the Nashville: On The Record concert, featuring live performances of the music from the show plus a performance by the legendary Reba, airs 3/25. Make sure to tune in for the fun!