‘Nashville’ Season 3, Episode 18 – Recap & Discussion Post!

Welcome back to Nashville! We pick up with Juliette trying to calm down her crying baby, who is named Cadence. Turns out Avery is the man for that job. He has to go though, because he and his fellow Xes have an interview with Pitchfork, something they’ve pushed off for 3 weeks so he can be with Juliette and Cadence. Juliette is exhausted and not too understanding, but Avery promises he’ll be back soon. He just doesn’t want to let go of the heat the band has.

Meanwhile Rayna is pow-wowing with Bucky, who confirms a meeting with Brandy Clark (!!!!!). Rayna asks if they’ve gotten anywhere as far as finding Layla a manager and getting her on tour. Bucky agrees that needs to be a priority. Rayna suggests Ken Levitan (Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Griffin, Kings Of Leon, & Lyle Lovett) and Marion Kraft (Miranda Lambert’s manager). Deacon arrives, and snuggling and kissing ensues. Rayna suggests Deacon move in, but Deacon isn’t sure how the girls might feel about that, especially Maddie, who is barely speaking with him (so I guess we didn’t resolve that last week). Right on cue, a chipper Daphne and a curt Maddie arrive. Daphne is looking forward to her class field trip, and Maddie just wants to go.

Jeff is at work at Layla’s place, and she ribs him about getting a real office before telling him that Bucky’s really on her about getting a manager. Jeff says he’s working on some ideas, and Layla has one of her own – an opening opening slot for Jade St. John, a big pop star set to play the Bridgestone Arena soon and somebody Jeff used to know. When Jeff starts to disagree about Layla opening for a pop act, Layla reminds him about Kacey Musgraves opening for Katy Perry. Then Jeff tries to beg off by saying they’re not exactly friends (so, exes?) before Layla snarkily but sweetly puts her foot down. She wants the gig, and she wants Jeff to get it for her.

Scarlett is over at Blandly Cute Young Dr. Caleb’s place, and makes the excellent, not at all worrying to her current boyfriend decision to watch a video of the Louisville performance of “Longer,” which was just Gunnar and her. Naturally, Caleb catches her. He says they’re really good together, and Scarlett interjects that they’re really good at singing together. Caleb said that’s what he meant, and then asks if he should be worried. Scarlett assures him that he doesn’t need to worry, which of course means he does.

Gunnar is also obsessing over the same video when Will comes downstairs and teases him about having the video on a loop lately. Gunnar’s been reading the comments (oh Gunnar. Don’t read the comments. Never read the comments.) which apparently talk about how he and Scarlett are the “next Johnny & June” and have “real chemistry.” Will sympathetically guesses that Gunnar hasn’t heard from Scarlett since they got back from their tour dates, and Gunnar grouses that she’s still loving on “Dr. Dork,” but can’t avoid him today because they have a Pitchfork interview coming. In a show of reciprocation, Gunnar asks Will how things are going with Kevin Bicks. Will’s really pleased with the 3 weeks they’ve spent together, and Gunnar guesses that Will likes him. And Will does. What ensues is a cute little conversation where Will resists the idea of asking Kevin out because why would Kevin even think of him that way. OTOH, I kind of would’ve liked for Will to have encountered a fellow gay guy who wound up just being a friend. Anyway, Will jabs at Gunnar’s advice considering he’s yearning after somebody he’s working with to, but Gunnar is unrepentant.

Rayna drops the girls off at school, and Daphne’s still chipper, while Maddie’s progressed to cool remove. Rayna tries to win her over with front row tickets to Jade St. John’s concert at the Bridgestone that weekend, with the suggestion they go together. Maddie says she has plans with friends and is clearly totally lying. Rayna quite reasonably says she just wants to slot some time for them to spend together, because she knows the past 3 weeks have been rough and she feels like Maddie’s been shutting both her and Deacon out. Maddie insists she’s fine, but she’s going to be late, and rushes off after an “I love you.” What’s going on, young lady??

We head over to the Bridgestone, where a pink-haired Jade St. John (Christina Aguilera) is rehearsing a choreographed number, and giggles apologetically because she feels like she’s about to step on a backup dancer. Jeff flags her attention, and Jade is surprised to see him.

Back to Juliette’s, where baby Cadence is still crying and Juliette is beside herself as Manager Glenn & P.A. Emily arrive. Manager Glenn is excited about what Manager Noel has planned for the Triple Exes, which only makes Juliette complain more about being stir-crazy and wanting to work again. She asks Manager Glenn what’s up with the Patsy Cline movie, and Manager Glenn reveals they did ask about an end credits song, but he turned it down because Juliette was in the hospital at the time. But no, Juliette is determined to make that happen, and tells him to tell the producers she has the perfect song ready. Of course she doesn’t, but she orders Manager Glenn to make the call.

Jade St. John is pouring champagne for Jeff in a room as they catch up. He congratulates her on her success, she teases him about wanting to take credit for it. He pitches Layla as an opening opening act – just 3 songs. Jade banters about who she is to him, and Jeff deflects. She finally suggests a trade: she’ll give Layla the gig if he can set up a meeting with Luke Wheeler. She claims it’s just a singer wanting to meet her idol, because apparently she wanted to make a country album before Jeff steered her in a different direction. Oh, and Jeff is her ex-fiance.

Rayna is driving back to school with Daphne’s duffel bag in tow while chatting with Manager Bucky who mentions the girls have been getting some media requests since their Opry debut. Rayna is obviously not game for that but trails off as she spots Maddie making out with Colt outside the school. The expression on her face is pretty funny.

Teddy is at a ground-breaking ceremony/photo op for his new project, and eagerly talking up his plans to make Nashville the most eco-friendly city in America. Of course his finance director is in tow, and Teddy glibly thanks him while asking underbreath if the funding came through. It sure did.

Luke and Jeff stroll through a studio, kind of catching up, as Jeff reminds Luke that Luke fired him, and Luke says that was strictly business. Jeff suggests that Luke owes him one, and wants him to meet Jade St. John. Apparently Colt’s been all over Luke about getting tickets to the show, but Luke is not interested in her brand of music at all. He turns down the meeting just as Rayna emerges from a room where Brandy Clark (!!!!!!!) was rehearsing a set (and we don’t get a peek :( :( :( ). Rayna asks if the 2 are doing business, and Luke says no while Jeff says he’s more about developing new talent these days. Rayna snarks that it’s good to have a hobby, and as Jeff skulks off, Rayna asks if she could talk to Luke for a second.

Will is recording “Spinning Revolver,” written in real life by Sean McConnell and Ashley Ray, a catchy rocker, with Kevin on harmony vocals. They’re loving their song, but Will angles for a few more days with Kevin by acting like he’s not so sure the song is what it needs to be. And Kevin is kind of offended by that.

To DOWNLOAD “Spinning Revolver,” cowritten by Sean McConnell & Ashley Ray and performed by Chris Carmack and Kyle Dean Massey, click HERE!

Meanwhile Rayna is telling Luke she didn’t even realize Colt was back, never mind going to the same school as the girls. She thinks she’s delivering news to Luke when she tells him she spotted Colt making out with Maddie, but Luke surprises her by saying the 2 are now boyfriend & girlfriend. Apparently Maddie’s been coming out to the ranch for a few weeks, and Luke just assumed Rayna knew. Rayna did not know, but says Maddie’s been going through a time lately. Luke thought she’d be in hog heaven, now that Rayna and Deacon can be together. Rayna says it’s been complicated. As she turns to leave, she asks Luke if the kids have plans for Saturday, and yup, turns out Maddie’s plans with her female friends were actually plans with Colt to go to the Jade St. John concert. Somebody’s in trouble!

Avery, Gunnar, and Scarlett are sitting with their Pitchfork interviewer, who seems like kind of a gossip ditz. Apparently the clip of Scarlett and Gunnar singing “Longer” went viral, garnering 400k views. The interviewer kind of Heismans out Avery as “Juliette Barnes’s baby daddy” and the guy who wasn’t there for that viral clip of “Longer.” Gunnar tactlessly plays into the interviewer’s interests while Scarlett tries to stay on message about them being a band. Juliette interrupts the interview with a phone call in which she begs Avery to leave the interview to write a song with her. He says no, so Juliette plans to look for help from somebody else. Meanwhile, with the interviewer off paying the bill, Scarlett lets Gunnar have it for talking about them like a duo. She is only interested in this gig if it’s all 3 of them, she says. Avery rejoins them, only to learn that the interviewer says he has all he needs, which is weird because he only seems to have seen the video of “Longer.” Gunnar suggests they pull together a live gig and invite the interviewer. All are game.

Back at Casa Jaymes (and after the end of school, apparently), Rayna goes to talk to Maddie. Rayna gently tells Maddie that the gig is up – she knows about Colt and their plans to see Jade St. John together, she just doesn’t know why Maddie lied about it all. Maddie says it’s because Rayna hates Colt. Rayna insists she doesn’t hate Colt, just doesn’t think he makes the best decisions, between the Maddie Clayborne video and the party they through. But actually, this isn’t even about Colt, it’s about Maddie not being honest. Maddie retorts that Rayna’s a hypocrite on the honesty issue, and snaps that she doesn’t respect Rayna (I know teenagers are teenagers but do we really have to seesaw between sulky Maddie and reasonable Maddie with no in between?). Rayna says if they can’t have this conversation with respect, then the concert’s off the table, and Maddie says that means talking to Rayna about anything is off the table.

While this is going on, Luke and Colt are having a far more productive conversation as they walk away from school. Colt tells Luke he tried to tell Maddie to talk to her mom but she said she wasn’t ready yet. He feels bad it all blew up, but Luke tells him it’s not his fault. He suggests they go to the Jade St. John concert together, which amuses Colt. Luke says they’ll grab dinner, have some father-son time, and Colt can grab Maddie a souvenir. Colt’s game, and banter about Luke needing some sparkly wardrobe for the show ensue.

It’s evening when Deacon shows up at Juliette’s to write. Deacon is eager to hold baby Cadence (now calm), and he loves on her (thinking about Maddie’s newborn days)? Cadence needs a diaper change though, and Juliette is dismayed to learn that she can’t pas that off on Emily because Emily left. So no songwriting just yet, and Juliette is none too happy about it.

Teddy is talking by phone with Natasha & says he has a wire transfer ready. Claiming justified paranoia, she demands cash.

A newly chipper Gunnar is looking forward to a new Triple Xes show at the Building while Will stews over his failed attempt to spend more time with Kevin. Gunnar suggests he apologize with a bottle of whiskey and invite Kevin to the Triple Xes show, where nobody will bat an eye at them together.

Juliette is pushing hard on getting through a block on the song she and Deacon are working on, and starts laying into Deacon for not trying hard enough. When Deacon says he’s rusty, Juliette can’t imagine why right now. Deacon doesn’t tell her what he’s been dealing with, and instead bags on a writing session that is going nowhere for now. Baby Cadence has started to cry anyway, and he suggests she look after her. Juliette is beyond frustrated.

Jeff goes to see Jade in a hotel room where she is presiding over a meeting about her investments (which include her aunt’s restauarant chain). Jade is surprised to learn Jeff couldn’t swing a Luke Wheeler meeting. Jeff says she should have Layla open for her anyway. Jade agrees. A little exchange about whether she’s doing this out of guilt (from having left Jeff, apparently) ensues and is left hanging.

Rayna, meanwhile, is thrilled to learn about Layla’s new opening gig, as Deacon returns to Casa Jaymes. Rayna tells Deacon about Maddie and Colt, and Deacon immediately assumes she’s acting out because she’s dealing with so many things she shouldn’t have to deal with now. Rayna says it may have nothing to do with him, and asks how his writing session with Juliette went. He says it didn’t go well, because she wanted to go to a sad place that he just can’t handle right now, and he couldn’t tell her why. Rayna doesn’t want this tearing him up, and asks Deacon again to let her be there for him, and to move in and be home with them. But Deacon can’t handle the thought of his cancer being everything they see and deal with, all the time. He almost regrets having told anybody.

Will goes to see Kevin Bicks as instructed, and delivers an adorably, hilariously awkward apology, almost forgets to invite Kevin to Gunnar’s show, totally stumbles through his explanation of his relationship with Gunnar, invites Kevin to Gunnar’s show, and leaves before Kevin can accept or decline his invitation.

Avery has settled Baby Cadence down for a nap, and he and Juliette talk about the Triple Exes’s gig that night. Juliette is eager to come, but Avery wants it to be about the band, not her celebrity. That does not go over well.

Rayna greets Layla in her dressing room before she’s set to go on stage to open for Jade St. John. Rayna asks how in the world she got the gig, and Layla says her manager got it for her. Rayna’s excited to hear Layla signed with somebody, until of course Layla admits it’s Jeff Fordham. Layla’s apologetic about the choice, but says she believes in him, that he’s really good. Rayna says she knows what Jeff’s capable of, and gently warns Layla that there needs to be an open line of communication between them about all this. Layla promises there will be. It’s time for her to go on stage, and Rayna encourages her to kill it out there.

We’re now at the Building, where a party’s going on and drinks are being served. Gunnar makes small inquisitive talk with “Dr. Dork,” asking how long he’s been in town, etc. Scarlett interrupts just as Gunnar asks how he and Scarlett met, but Caleb smoothly covers by saying it was through a mutual friend.

Deacon arrives home, where Maddie is doing homework. She tells him Rayna’s not home, but Deacon already knew that because Rayna texted him. So now Maddie suspects he came because Rayna fears she’ll sneak out again. Deacon says you can hardly blame Rayna for that concern, and asks Maddie why she lied about Colt. Maddie says again it’s because Rayna doesn’t like him, and because they both hate the idea of her spending time out at Luke’s even though it’s easier for her out there. She admits seeing Deacon just makes her sad. Deacon asks if she’s told Colt, and Maddie has, but she made him promise not to tell anybody because she knows it embarrasses Deacon. Deacon is all in a huff because he’s totally not embarrassed by his condition, but then as Maddie asks him why he’s keeping it a secret, he doesn’t have much of an answer beyond not wanting to see the pity in people’s eyes. He and Maddie come to an understanding, and she apologizes to him. He says there’s somebody else she should probably also apologize to, and Maddie agrees.

Over to the Bridgestone, where Layla and her all-female band is performing the Fleetwood Mac-meets-Cowboy-Junkies-ish “My Heart Don’t Know When To Stop,” written by Allen Salmon and Shannon Wright. Jeff watches approvingly from backstage, when Rayna joins him. Jeff is only to eager to gloat about his role in Layla’s career, but Rayna is quick to shut him down and put the emphasis on Layla’s talent, with a gleeful warning about how managers get fired all the time. That’s enough to wipe the smile off Jeff’s face.

To DOWNLOAD “My Heart Don’t Know When To Stop,” written by Allen Salmon and Shannon Wright and performed by Aubrey Peeples, click HERE!

As Rayna wraps up with Jeff, she takes a call from Deacon. It’s actually Maddie, calling to apologize for lying and sneaking around. Rayna appreciates and accepts the apology, and Maddie asks if she could pick her up a Jade St. John tshirt. Rayna agrees, and asks her to put Deacon on. Rayna thanks Deacon for talking to Maddie, and he assures her Maddie really is sorry. He has an apology of his own, for running out earlier and says he no longer wants to hide from any part of his reality. Rayna tells him she accepts that the illness is his truth to share when and with whom he wants. They miss each other, and so Rayna tells Deacon to bring Maddie to the concert.

Juliette is making some progress on her song when Baby Cadence starts crying again. Juliette goes to her room and stares, none too warmly. What does she have in mind?

It’s a far more light-hearted scene at The Building, where Gunnar introduces their next tune, to be led by their “secret weapon,” Avery. They launch into the rocker “On The Rail,” written by Taylor Burns, Chris Hennessee, Joel King, Leroy Wulfmeier, and Richard Young (a.k.a. The Wild Feathers).

To DOWNLOAD “On The Rail,” written by Taylor Burns, Chris Hennessee, Joel King, Leroy Wulfmeier, and Richard Young, and performed by Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson, and Sam Palladio, click HERE!

As they perform, Will works his way through the crowd, and spots Kevin arriving and seeming to be pretty friendly with another guy. That wipes the smile right off his face, and he skulks off.

Teddy arrives at Natasha’s motel with the cash she wanted. Natasha seems surprised. He wishes her well, and hopes that wherever she goes, she can put her former life behind her. Natasha tells him he’s a good man. Teddy says maybe now he can be. It’s too soon in the episode for this to happen, there’s something up.

The erstwhile clueless Pitchfork writer congratulates the Triple Exes on their set, and is all hugs and handshakes for the band. He promises to send them the article. Now the Triple Exes are proud of themselves, and Gunnar suggests they celebrate. Avery begs off on account of wanting to relieve Juliette after she’s looked after the baby all day, leaving Scarlett and Gunnar. Just as Gunnar’s about to say something to Scarlett, Caleb interrupts with hugs and kisses for her. Gunnar excuses himself, and from the way Caleb watches him leave, he appears to have figured out that Gunnar’s still interested in Scarlett (or maybe it’s the look of an actor who realizes he is not the romantic endgame for his on-screen girlfriend).

Back at the Bridgestone, Luke catches Colt sneaking a coaster into his pocket and jokingly asks if he’s so hard up that he has to steal food. Colt sheepishly says the coaster has Jade St. John’s logo on it so he thought Maggie would like it. Luke gives him an “A” for the idea, “D” for execution, and is telling him to get her something nice from the merch table when he spots Maddie arriving and hugging her mom. Maddie thanks Rayna and says she can’t believe Rayna changed her mind. Rayna indulgently tells Maddie that it’s nice to see her smiling. They spot Colt and Luke, and Rayna tells Colt he can come out of hiding now. Luke gives them the concert tickets and Rayna tells them to have a good time, but not too good. She is now “Ms. James” to Colt. After they leave, Rayna thanks Luke for talking earlier, and he chuckles that they probably have more conversations like that coming in the future. Rayna agrees. Luke is the 1st to spot Deacon, and tells Rayna somebody’s looking for her before excusing himself.

Avery arrives home to find a complete stranger holding Baby Cadence. It’s Nanny Parla, and a giddy Juliette is only to eager to introduce her. Avery takes Juliette out of earshot for a conversation about how all this happened without them ever once talking about it, and when Juliette points out that with him off doing his band thing and her getting back to work, it was going to be too difficult without a live-in nanny. A live-in? The surprises just keep on coming for Avery. He is reasonably upset that they didn’t make the decision and the hire together. Juliette has no time for this, though, because she has a song to finish.

Rayna and Deacon are chuckling over how of all the kids in Nashville, Maddie’s dating Colt, and Rayna says she thinks he’s a good kid, and they know Maddie is. Deacon agrees. Rayna asks if he wants to stay for the show, and as she expects, Deacon’s a little tired and wants to go home. But there’s somebody he wants to talk to 1st. And that’s Luke. Luke jokingly asks if he should put up his fists, but Deacon is there to talk dad to dad. He tells Luke about his cancer, and Luke is genuinely sorry to hear about it. Deacon expresses his commitment to beating his illness, and in the meantime thanks Luke for letting Maddie come over when she needs to. Luke says she’s welcome anytime, and as Deacon turns to leave, Luke shakes his hand warmly and says, “Beat this, brother. You’ve got a lot to live for.” It’s a great moment. This show does friendships, or at least detentes, really well.

On stage, Jade St. John breaks out “The Real Thing,” written by Audra Mae and Jackie Tohn and a raft of dancers (also Jaws video in the background). As Layla and Jeff watch from the side of stage, Layla comments that Jade is really amazing, and Jeff just listens. Maddie & Colt enjoy the show from the front row. Later, Luke walks up and tells Jeff he may have to take him up on the offer of an introduction, and Layla sees Jeff practically wince.

To DOWNLOAD “The Real Thing,” written by Audra Mae and Jackie Tohn (yes, that’s Season 8 American Idol semifinalist Jackie Tohn) and performed by Christina Aguilera, click HERE!

BONUS: Check out Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound’s version of “The Real Thing”:

Over at Gunnar’s, turns out Kevin dropped by Will’s to ask why he left The Building early. Will says he wasn’t much in the mood for socializing, once again exactly what you wouldn’t say when somebody’s coming to visit you. But he recovers, and finally admits that the part he was struggling with was their time together coming to an end. Will says he dropped by that morning not just to apologize but to ask Kevin out. Then he fumbles around with the part about not knowing if Kevin knew and not wanting anybody else to know. Of course Kevin did know, as much as it’s possible to know without an admission. He didn’t realize Will was interested. Will asks if he is. And Kevin kisses him!

We hop over to an afterparty at Jade’s show, and Luke is there to shake hands with Jade. She says she’s a longtime fan. Luke charmingly admits his fandom is only a few hours old but that he expects it to last for a long time. He compliments her on her show and they toast as Jeff watches. Layla comes over and comments that Jade must really have hurt him. She now realizes that what he did in arranging this gig couldn’t have been easy for him, and squeezes his hand in appreciation. Finally, Jeff smiles.

And here it is. Over at Natasha’s hotel room, FBI folks are going through all the cash Teddy brought. Natasha does appear to feel pretty bad about it though. At the female agent’s request, she unbuttons her shirt to reveal that she was wired, and reminds the agent that she was promised full immunity. The FBI agent is all business and tells her she’ll get it. So. Is Teddy headed to jail and is this the show’s way of writing him off? Or is that too easy, and are we going to see something soapier happen, for better or worse?

Back at Juliette and Avery’s place, Avery wakes to find the nanny tending to Baby Cadence. He asks after Juliette, and Nanny Parla says she left a little while ago, and she doesn’t know where Juliette went.

Meanwhile at Casa Jaymes, Daphne is full of stories about her long field trip as Maddie, Rayna and Deacon listen in amusement. Then Maddie comments that this is the 10th day in a row Deacon’s been there for breakfast, and that he should just move in. Deacon asks if that’s something the girls would like, and they’re both game. Rayna playfully comments that this is an interesting idea, and you can tell that Deacon’s going to agree.

Scarlett and Gunnar are at Gunnar’s studio, awaiting Avery, who has apparently called a meeting (and they don’t know why). Gunnar says Pitchfork‘s Ben is really excited about the band and he is too. Scarlett says she is too, all 3 of them. Avery arrives with Baby Cadence, and admits that all is not well. He tells Scarlett and Gunnar that he has to quit the band for the baby’s sake.

Meanwhile Juliette greets Manager Glenn and P.A. Emily aboard her private jet, which will take them to L.A. to play her new song for the movie producers in person. P.A. Emily asks if Avery’s really OK with the baby all alone, and Juliette smugly says, “Of course.” The scheming look is back in her eyes as she says she doesn’t understand why people say women can’t have it all, because she’s got everything worked out. Sure she does. Reality check incoming, right? And that’s it for this episode…come back again next week, won’t you?

About Deb B 432 Articles
Also known as Windmills, I cover country music news and live televised country events, in addition to recapping ABC's 'Nashville.' Additionally, I occasionally do long-form chart analysis that has been cited by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The New Republic, NPR, and more.