‘Nashville’ Season 3 Premiere – Recap & Discussion Post!

Welcome back to Nashville! The season premiere of its 3rd person starts off with porn. Well, shoe and closet porn. We’re in Rayna’s bedroom suite, and she’s luxuriating in the romantic angst of Season 2’s finale, where she accepted a proposal from Luke Wheeler only to have Deacon propose to her shortly after (and she didn’t tell him now). Rayna doesn’t have just 1 of anything, and that includes engagement rings.

Meanwhile, Manager Glenn and PA Emily are trying to calm Juliette down as she self-flagellates. Then she demands scissors, which seems like a bad idea right now? But PA Emily gives them to her.

Meanwhile, NPR is setting up a live broadcast from the Bluebird, where Will will perform. Nobody seems too concerned about red-eyed Layla.

Back at Casa James, Rayna and Tandy are powwowing about Rayna’s romantic options. Rayna calls someone and says she’ll be there tonight and that she loves the person on the other line. Totally going to be Maddie, right?

Over to Juliette, where the guilt-wracked superstar is chopping off her hair to a soundtrack of self-recrimination.

And back we go to the Bluebird, Will performs “I Like It” (cowritten by the duo Striking Matches with Aaron Eshuis) for a NPR show at the Bluebird and thanks everybody involved for giving him this opportunity to tell his truth. He dedicates the song to his wife. This is live, people! He’s a little flat at 1st but brings it home in the chorus. A teary Layla has had as much as she could take about 2/3 of the way through, and walks out while their reality show producer and team notice.

To DOWNLOAD “I Like It,” cowritten by Justin Davis, Aaron Eshuis, and Sarah Zimmerman and performed by Chris Carmack, click HERE.

While Will performs, on the back side of the venue, Luke arrives in an SUV and punches Deacon out. He asks him why he can’t just let Rayna be happy. Deacon has the same question for Luke. Deacon is amused, and seems to thinks this means Rayna will pick him.

And…we enter flashback mode. 12 hours earlier, Luke greeted Rayna in bed with kisses & he gushed about how great their relationship is. He said he’s been married before, been in relationships, but nothing has ever felt like what they have. Ruh roh. He mused, “Timing really is everything.” Rayna agreed wryly.

Juliette ran over to Avery’s, despite his request for some time to think things over. He passed out after drinking a few beers. She needs to know what he’s thinking, and she needs forgiveness now, she needs Avery now. Avery is about as red-eyed and exhausted as Layla will look later at the Bluebird, and just isn’t up to a conversation. Avery reminds her about her movie audition. He says he doesn’t want to be mean but he can’t stand the sight of her and asks her to go. She won’t, so he does.

Scarlett was packing, and cutely demanded the mug Deacon was drinking from and the pen he’d been writing with. He’s going to debut a new song at the NPR show that night. Deacon gently argued against her leaving Nashville. Scarlett talked about needing to start over and wanting to move on from a town where everybody recognizes her from her on-stage breakdown and where she can’t escape her 2 ex-boyfriends. She suggested to Deacon that maybe it’s time to move on from Rayna. But he was pretty sure that’s going to work out just fine – he was pretty much speaking for the Rayna-Deacon shippers of the show who know this couple is the writers’s endgame. Right at that moment, Avery bursts in and asks for a ride out of town with Scarlett.

Will, whose hair had grown out miraculously overnight, brought Layla coffee in their bedroom and asked if she’s OK. She wanted to know if he ever felt anything for her, ever loved her. He replied that he did and he does, and she asked him if he thought he could change. He said he didn’t know. Camera crews were arriving and they were still under contract, and Will told Layla that for now, they had to keep up with the show.

Now over at Teddy’s, Maddie & Daphne were hanging out in Maddie’s bedroom while Maddie strummed a guitar. Teddy tried to banter but Maddie tried to pick a fight again about music and sulk her way out of a conversation. It turns out Teddy was making a genuine effort to reach out to her, and he says whatever she was playing sounded good. After asking Daphne to give them a minute (which she did, reluctantly), he asked Maddie to talk to him about what she’s feeling, knowing that she must be reeling from Luke’s proposal to Rayna. She retorted that she doesn’t know how she can talk to Teddy about somebody she knows he hates, because she wanted Rayna to marry Deacon, not Luke.

Back at Rayna’s, the sisterly powwow had begun. Tandy thought Deacon is a jackass for proposing the night she accepted Luke’s proposal (accurate) and that he’s trying to drag Rayna back into the same ol’ drama that’s always been their deal. Rayna defended Deacon and said she’s loved him for a very long time, but also said she’s going to tell Luke. Tandy doesn’t think that’s a good idea but Rayna says she can’t marry a man with whom she can’t be completely honest.

Cut over to Deacon’s, where Scarlett was really leaving with a bleary eyed Avery in tow (the fact that 1 of her reasons for leaving is her ex-boyfriends and now 1 of them is on this trip goes unaddressed). Scarlett told Deacon goodbye as his phone rang. Meanwhile, just before she started the car, Gunnar popped into the backseat to try to convince Scarlett she was doing her talent a disservice and making a mistake by leaving town. Avery just wanted quiet so he can sleep but Gunnar is not shutting up. Since Gunnar also refused to leave, Scarlett started the car and wound up on a roadtrip with 2 of her exes!

Manager Glenn, PA Emily, and her security guy burst into Avery’s apartment to try to talk her into showing up to her audition to play Patsy Cline in a movie. She told them she had broken up with Avery, though she didn’t quite get the chance to explain why because Manager Glenn worked his way into a pep talk about how she was going to get herself together and go kill the audition for a role every female in Nashville wanted, because that’s what she does.

On the road back home to Mississipii, the roadtrip/buddy comedy gets gossipy thanks to Gunnar, who has just finished telling Zoe about being “kidnapped.” As the banter continues, Scarlett asks Avery why he broke with Juliette. He doesn’t want to talk about it, but Gunnar all but tells Scarlett that Juliette cheated. Avery doesn’t want him badmouthing Juliette and things escalate into a flimsy fight between Avery and Gunnar when Scarlett decides to kick them both out at the next bus depot. She pulled over. But then when she tried to restart her car, it had broken down, because of course.

Over at the Bluebird, Tom from NPR was interviewing Deacon about the many, many times he’s played the venue, and the questions kept turning back to Rayna. Deacon was pretty sure things are going to work out the way they’re meant to.

Rayna visited Luke at his horse ranch after their morning lovemaking, saying they got so carried away they didn’t really talk about last night. Luke assures Rayna that despite the showy nature of his proposal (which he admits put Rayna on the spot), he meant it. Rayna then told him the truth about Deacon proposing and Rayna not answering him. Luke knew what that meant and walked away, frustrated. But when we came back from commercial, he was totally understanding about it, and an adult honest conversation about what happened. Luke seemed oddly easygoing when he told Rayna that she needed to figure out what she wanted, and offered to go stag to the night’s charity event so as to not pressure her any further. Really subscribing to the “if you love somebody let them go. If they come back to you, they’re yours, if they don’t, they never were” line of thinking? I guess we know that Luke punched Deacon out later (and he punched a seat in frustration last season) so we know the hurt and anger are there, it just appears he’s the guy who tries to be the good guy for Rayna and takes his frustrations out elsewhere.

As they waited for the tow truck to come, Scarlett and Avery got to talking about rough childhoods and whether they excuse adult behavior, and Avery told Scarlett what happened with Juliette. He also said he never felt he deserved Scarlett, and always felt somebody better would come along. Right on cue, Gunnar returned from his walk and announces to them he’s pretty sure he has chiggers.

Juliette had cleaned up for her audition, and after a few stage directions about the scene, Juliette covered Patsy Cline’s version of the classic “Crazy.” She got choked up at the end and couldn’t finish, a moment that apparently read to casting as the kind of emotional realism they might want to cast.

To DOWNLOAD Hayden Panettiere’s version of the Willie Nelson-penned country classic “Crazy,” click HERE.

To DOWNLOAD “I Know How To Love You Now,” cowritten by Deana Carter and Charles Esten and performed by Charles Esten, click HERE.

Back at home, Rayna pulled out an old suitcase of Deacon memorabilia, because she had an old suitcase of Deacon memorabilia. Then she pulled out a bunch of old records, and put on 1 of them performing “Postcard From Mexico,” cowritten by John Hadley and David Olney., which you can DOWNLOAD here. As the song played, she remembered all the heat between them, but also flashed back to memories of Deacon smacking her (unintentionally) when she tried to wake him up after a bender, all his apology letters, and 1 day when an awesomely ponytailed Luke was there to play guitar for her when Deacon didn’t show up for her set. Sure seems like the writers making a case for Luke, the question is whether Rayna feels like she can and wants to give herself truly to him.

Over at Teddy’s, Maddie tried to apologize to Teddy. He was understanding, and told her she was wrong about 2 things: he doesn’t hate Deacon because without him, Teddy wouldn’t have Maddie, and he also doesn’t hate music. He tells Maddie that she and her sister need to get dressed because they’re going out. Maddie hopes it’s not some mayor thing, and Teddy teases that it kind of is.

With Gunnar harping about the broken down car being a sign, Scarlett’s car has been fixed. The mechanic who fixed her car, named Cletus, recognized her as the girl who had a nervous breakdown and proceeded to cluelessly asks if she ever got any help. Scarlett answered politely, and wanted to know where Avery is because she’s beyond ready to get going. Gunnar guessed Avery was at the drinking hole across the way.

Rayna went to see Deacon. Now if you watch The Bachelor, you know that the person seen 1st is probably going to be rejected. Either because he’s a The Bachelor watcher or because he could read the expression on Rayna’s face, Deacon figured out what was coming. He gently warned her not to make the safe choice because Luke is the wrong choice. Deacon said he’s changed. Rayna replied that she knows that but she’s changed too. Rayna told Deacon she will always love him but she loves Luke now, and Luke can give her something Deacon can’t: a clean slate, with no revisiting of the painful memories she and Deacon share. Deacon pled that she can’t deny that they’ve been having great times lately, and they have a great future ahead with the daughter they share. Rayna seemed resolved – she told Deacon the way things are now was the way they were going to have to stay. But when Deacon leaned in, she did too and she cried. Deacon asked her to come to the Bluebird tonight to sing with him and then tell him she was going to marry somebody else.

Meanwhile at the aforementioned drinking hole, a tipsy Avery got chatted up by the woman next to him, who comically bemoaned her ex and flirted her way into a clueless Avery buying her a drink. Meanwhile, the turnip truck version of Scarlett was surprised the mechanic knew who she was. And that was Gunnar’s point – she will be an artist where she goes. He urged Scarlett again to come back to Nashville where she has more family and more friends to support rebuilding her life. Meanwhile Avery was drunkenly venting about Juliette when the woman leaned in for a kiss, which got her “ex” all riled up, forcing Scarlett and Gunnar to drag Avery to a quick escape in Scarlett’s newly fixed car.

We’ve now converged with the present. At Juliette’s place, Manager Glenn and PA Emily discover what Juliette’s done to herself (chopped off her hair), as she sobs about how she’s lost everything that was important to her – the part, her soul, and Avery. Manager Glenn tells Juliette that the movie producers loved her and want her to test for the lead role. That temporarily stops Juliette’s sobs, but she tells Manager Glenn she’s not feeling well. He’s going to call a doctor to check her out, but then, he tells Juliette, she’s going to get herself together and get that role she was born to play.

Back at the Bluebird, Deacon, who is nursing a bruise from Luke’s punch, compliments Will how well he did. Will thanks him, and spots Layla outside his bus. Layla doesn’t know how he can lie like this. Will tries to take the conversation inside the bus, but Deacon’s heard enough to know that there are issues here. If this is to set up some Deacon mentoring of Will, I could go for that. Tom of NPR wants to know if Deacon’s OK, and Deacon, clearly expecting Rayna, says he’s just fine.

We’re rejoined the opening scene of the show, as Rayna is in her bedroom, still angsting about her decision.

But we return to the bus, where Will and Layla agree to split up before things get any worse. But when Will tells the reality show producer (who has now joined them on the bus) that they want off the show, she says she and the show team only make money if they deliver the show promised, and says the network they have a deal with will not be interested in a show about a gay cowboy and his naive wife. That’s right, they have the video of Will’s bedroom confession and she’s now seen it. Well, this should be fun.

Sloppy drunk Avery is telling Scarlett and Gunnar about how much he loves them, how Gunnar is his bro and Scarlett is his girl-bro (much to Scarlett’s relief and amusement). Gunnar notices the mile markers seem to be going in the wrong direction if they’re headed to Mississippi. Scarlett says they’re going home, and Gunnar smiles.

Juliette’s hair has been fixed up, and she’s pleased and generally feeling better about herself. She’s also been checked out by a doctor, whom she asks for a sleeping aid. That’s when the doctor tells her that she’s pregnant. So that season finale puking and all the queasiness? Not just Juliette’s emotional roller coaster.

Maddie surprises Deacon at the Bluebird, with Teddy and Daphne trailing close behind. Teddy shakes Deacon’s hand, and Deacon sees that Teddy’s the one who brought them here. He’s grateful, and asks Maddie if Rayna’s coming. Maddie doesn’t think so but doesn’t seem sure. The mayor gets a special table, and Daphne is teasing Teddy about Maddie thinking he’s a nerd as they sit down. Maddie is very grateful to Teddy for this gesture.

Meanwhile Luke takes a moment in his SUV before getting his game face on, because he seems to think he’s going stag and that Rayna won’t show up after all (despite the phone call earlier in the episode?). He evades a press question about whether Rayna’s appearing to talk about the TJ Martell Foundation and the work it’s doing. But just as he’s about to drown in questions about his engagement, Rayna does show up, and Luke’s a happy camper. Rayna tells him she loves him.

Back at the Bluebird, Tom from NPR introduces a downbeat Deacon, who performs “I Know How To Love You Now,” a song clearly written for Rayna.

BONUS: Check out Nashville: On The Record featuring Charles Esten and Deana Carter performing and talking about the song they cowrote for the show, “I Know How to Love You Now”:

Luke and Rayna are both in the press line at the TJ Martell Foundation gala, and exchanging glances every now and then. Luke is still happy. Rayna looks like just maybe she’s not 100% sure she made the right choice.

The show closes with Deacon joining Florida Geogia Line for the night’s 3rd LIVE performance: their current t5 country single “Dirt.” Vocals from the FGL boys only, as Deacon strums along. The writers didn’t even pretend to integrate that into the show with a storyline. And that’s a wrap! What did you think of the season premiere? Who do you think will be the father of Juliette’s child? The Rayna-Luke-Deacon drama is now obviously going to be a thing for this season, are you up for it? Come back and see what the next phase is, won’t you?

Meanwhile, DOWNLOAD FREE live versions of the “I Like It” and “I Know How To Love You Now” here!

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.


  1. The live performances are an interesting concept during the regular show…enjoyed the first one!

  2. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is anyway the show producers & writers will be able to resist making Jeff Juliette’s baby daddy, much more drama. Very sad, since I love Juliette and Avery together.

  3. I agree there will be baby drama. Hopefully the test will come back and Avery is daddy.

  4. Hmm, so they have Rayna apparently accepting Luke, who I dislike and Juliette possibly pregnant by Jeff, who I dislike. I know there needs to be conflict to keep the ball rolling, but lord, throw us a bone here or I’m not looking forward to tuning in.

  5. I’m curious to know who the band is that was playing during the Bluebird performances. They looked familiar. I know the Opry is involved with this show somehow. Was it their house band? The guy singing back up with the sunglasses on reminds me of one of the members of Union Station.

  6. Ugh baby daddy drama. Hate it.

    But I love Deacon so much, I don’t care what the rest of them do as long as I get to see and hear him sing…sigh. *Shameless*

  7. Also, I would like to add that the Scarlett, Avery and Gunnar scenes were ridiculous. Is that all they could come up with? I liked where they are going with the Luke, Rayna and Deacon story line as well as Will and Layla.

  8. I enjoyed this episode. Not crazy about the baby drama, but Hayden Panetierre did an incredible job on “Crazy.” I also really liked Avery, Scarlett and Gunnar’s road trip. Jonathan Jackson did a great job playing drunk. It was nice to see the three characters all interact as friends, who have definitely been through a few things together. Not surprised by Rayna’s choice, but not at all sure it is final etiher. All in all, I thought it was a fun start to the season!

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