Season 3 of “Nashville” kicked off with more drama, twists and turns than have ever ben packed into one of its episodes before and that’s saying something. On Sept. 24, Rolling Stone reminded us that many of the key relationships were left dangling at the end of Season 2. Fans were expecting some answers and they got them…sort of.
Probably the biggest relationship question mark was who Rayna Jaymes would choose, Luke Wheeler, her current boyfriend, or Deacon Clayborne, her lifelong love. Rayna discussed the decision with her sister but didn’t reveal her choice right away. The morning after the big proposals, Rayna told Luke about Deacon’s proposal. Angry when he learned she hadn’t rebuffed her alcoholic ex, he soon admitted he understood her predicament and volunteered to give her all the time she needed to decide. He even offered to go to a big charity event solo that night to keep the pressure off.
Rayna spent time digging through all the memorabilia she had of her and Deacon together. The process evoked memories of some pretty unpleasant times. She showed up at his house to tell him she had decided to marry Luke and that they would have to remain friends only. Deacon was not ready to accept this and asked her to come to the Blue Bird Café to hear him sing that night. Rayna instead surprised Luke by showing up at the charity event wearing his engagement ring and leaving Deacon scanning the crowd at the Blue Bird for her.
Juliette and Avery had broken up over her infidelity. She goes to see him and wants to know where they stand. Avery tells her that “Right now, I can’t stand the sight of you. You should go.” When she doesn’t, he does. He heads to Deacon’s house and tells Scarlett he wants to catch a ride with her back to Mississippi.
Juliette wanted to bail on her audition for the lead in a Patsy Cline biopic but her handlers wouldn’t let her. She is asked to convey emotionally the distress Patsy is feeling after a fight with her husband when she is forced to perform. Really feeling the moment, Juliette does a remarkable rendition of Patsy’s trademark song, “Crazy,” even tearing up as she sings it.
Afterwards, she has an emotional breakdown and believes she has lost everything. Her manager tells her that the producers loved her performance and want to give her a screen test for the lead. She is feeling well and sends for her doctor. He won’t prescribe anything for her nerves because, he tells her, she is pregnant.
Will and Layla are dealing with the aftermath of his coming out to her. She accompanies him to the Blue Bird where he is also performing. He dedicates a love song to her and she watches in horror as he sings about how much he loves her. Knowing it is all a lie, she walks out in the middle of his song. Will finds her outside the club and they take their marital discussion into the trailer. They decide to divorce when the reality show producer enters. They tell her they want off the show because they are splitting up. That’s when the producer draws her ace in the hole – the footage shot by the hidden camera. They have Will’s confession on film. While she doesn’t utter the words, Layla and Will know they are being blackmailed into staying together and doing the show.
Scarlett and Avery prepare to hit the road when Gunnar jumps into the backseat of their car. He won’t leave until Scarlett agrees to stay in Nashville. She drives away with Gunnar still in the back seat and the 3 of them are on a road trip.
The conversation turns to why Avery and Juliette broke up and Avery warns Gunnar not to say anything because it’s a private matter. Gunnar tells anyway and Avery tries to climb over the seat and proceeds to pummel Gunnar. Scarlett pulls the car over and when the fight ends, she can’t get it started.
A local mechanic recognizes Scarlett as ‘that singer who went crazy’ and she is flummoxed. Gunnar says this proves his point – she can’t run away from her past. Avery has headed for the local bar to continue drowning his sorrows. As he’s about to get his skull bashed in for inadvertently groping another man’s woman, Gunnar and Scarlett haul him out of the bar. Back on the road, Scarlett heads for Nashville, calling it “home.”
Though the decision has been made, Deacon is not about to take it lying down and Rayna’s demeanor throughout the episode suggested she wasn’t as sure about her own choice as she pretended to be. This is not over yet.
“Nashville” will return with another episode next week on ABC. The show airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.