The Schermerhorn Symphony Center made a grand debut appearance in last night’s episode of Nashville. It served as the backdrop for the crux of the episode’s fireworks. Rayna invited her two daughters, Maddie and Sophie, to the event in an attempt to cheer up a sullen Maddie. Teddy also attended the festivities, and, unbeknownst to Rayna, brought with him lover Peggy. Earlier in the episode, Teddy proposed to Peggy, giving her his mother’s ring. Though he requested that she keep the engagement a secret until he can tell Maddie and Daphne, Peggy wore the ring on a necklace chain to the party. Observant young Maddie immediately recognized the bauble, accusingly questioning why Peggy was wearing Maddie’s grandmother’s ring. The discovery forced Teddy to spill the truth of the engagement, prompting Maddie to run away.
As Teddy, Lamar, Tandy, Rayna and the rest of the broken family organized efforts to find Maddie, Teddy revealed Peggy’s pregnancy to Rayna (though, as shown earlier in the episode, Teddy is being fooled–Peggy actually had a miscarriage and tricked Teddy into believing she was still pregnant). Lamar accused Teddy and Peggy of creating the whole mess.
Meanwhile, Rayna’s sister Tandy used the gala to slyly pry into the death of her mother, who died in a car accident years ago. Tandy asked father Lamar about the last time he saw his late wife before her car accident, suspicious that he was involved with her death. His evasive response was all the evidence she needed to take her own evidence of his illegal political dealings to attorneys.
Newly signed Highway 65 recording artist Scarlett O’Connor wasn’t acclimating to life as a star easily, as evidenced by her uncomfortable reaction to a photo shoot. “Can you at least look like you are having fun?” the photographer asked her. Meanwhile, Edgehill recording artist and reality show winner Layla Grant was a natural in front of the camera, smiling and preening, prompting the photographer to compare her to a young Juliette Barnes.
Scarlett retreated to church to find her friend Zoey singing a gorgeous rendition of “Wayfaring Stranger.” The friend did her best to encourage Scarlett in her new endeavor by taking her out to a bar for drinks and karaoke. Meanwhile, the Edgehill execs loved Will’s song, so he asked if he can use Gunner’s song as his first single. After Avery Barkley, still scarred from his own bad experience with overbearing music executives, overheard the fight and later heard Gunnar perform his own song, he offered Gunnar some advice.
“It’s probably going to be big for somebody, just a matter of who,” he said. Gunnar later turned down Will’s request, sparking another fight between the songwriter and the newly signed singer.
It is clear that Juliette was still figuring out who she is in this episode; one moment she was determined to be a mature adult performer; the next minute she was ranting and stomping her foot like a moody adolescent when Rayna told her she needed to drop out of the White Lies, Red Lips Tour to spend more time with her family. “This sucks!” exclaimed Juliette. “Rayna I do not have a near-death experience to help me boost my record sales! I need this!”
It was one of the best dialogues of the episode, with Rayna snapping back, “You’re a smart girl, you’ll figure it out!”
Later, Rayna and Juliette reunited after the spat; Maddie called Juliette after she ran away. Juliette brought her to her home and tried to reason with the girl. “She quit the tour yesterday because she wants to be there for you,” Juliette said. “She told me herself that you girls mean more to her than anyone in this world – more than money, more than fans, more than me being really, really pissed off at her.” Juliette called Rayna to tell her Maddie was safe.
Juliette spent the rest of the episode figuring out how to keep her music going in a mature direction, without sacrificing ticket sales in the large arenas. She turned down an opportunity to open for the biggest country artist, fictitious character Luke Wheeler (any coincidence that one of Country music’s actual biggest stars right now is also named Luke? Likely not). Instead, she invited Layla to be her opening act. Though Layla’s excitement was obvious, it’s also clear Juliette will not be acting the mentor on the tour. When she invited Layla to her house to tell her the news, she kept her standing outside on the stoop while relaying the tour invite.
“Calm down, there’s no cameras here. Since you are quite literally singing my old songs, I thought it would be a perfect fit,” Juliette said, quickly shutting the door in Layla’s face.
Deacon was sober again, but still struggling with his damaged hand after the accident. A young lawyer who defended him perked up the sullen guitar player by asking him to dinner. Meanwhile Deacon was still attempting to mend his relationship with daughter Maddie and with Rayna.
After Maddie was safely home, Deacon called Rayna to check on her, only to find that Maddie answered the phone. What transpired is Deacon’s fledgling first attempt at being a father. He told Maddie he was glad she was safe and requested that she not run away again. He stopped just short of saying he loved her, but after he hung up, she softly called him ‘Dad,’ with a smile on her face. It’s clear that Maddie was slowly taking to the idea of Deacon as her father, as they share the same gift and passion for music. For much of the episode, she played his songs on her iPod; his songs she grew up listening to, she now understands were romantic love letters from Deacon to Rayna.
Near the end of the episode, Rayna overheard Maddie and Sophie singing a song that Deacon had recorded, “A Life That’s Good” (penned by Sarah Siskand and Ashley Monroe). Rayna was overcome by emotion, touching her throat and wondering if she herself will be able to sing again.
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