Recap: Nashville, “I’m Not That Good At Goodbye” (3×11)

Welcome back to Nashville! Not a minute has passed since the explosive events of the mid-season finale. Let us reorient ourselves: Rayna has just canceled her wedding; Layla has just been found unconscious in the pool at Jeff’s party; Deacon just may have cancer; Gunnar just found out he’s Micah’s uncle, not father; Juliette and Avery just tied the knot; Sadie just “ran into” her ex again.

Whew. Ok. Let’s get going! This week’s episode deals with the immediate fallout from some major decisions and some major drama. The music was a bit secondary to the drama tonight, with snippets from two songs and one full performance. The first, featured in Micah and Gunnar’s storyline, was a beautiful showcase for their growing bond. The second song was a devastating look at Sadie’s composition process, as she deals with writing yet another sad song. The last song of the evening was another heartbreaking one, featuring Luke trying to pick up the pieces of his heart – and his image – after Rayna left.

Tonight’s episode opens with Rayna in the car on the way from Luke’s house immediately after calling off the wedding. Her people already know, Luke’s people are already working on their side of the story. While Rayna drives away thoughtfully, Luke drives through his wedding cake. Classy.

Rayna returns home and tells her girls. They don’t take it well, to no one’s surprise. Juxtaposed with that emotion, Luke showed up at Deacon’s looking for Rayna. Busting in the door, Luke demands to see Rayna. As the situation dawns on Deacon…

“Oh my god. She called off the wedding.”

 

“Yeah she did, you happy about that?”

 

“You’re damn right I am because it means I don’t have to be civil to you for one more second.”

Love has never been lost between these two but Deacon’s attempt at self control this season payed off well with this. And, for good measure, Luke calls Rayna mean names and Deacon gets a good punch in on the front yard before Scarlett pulls him off.

Not content to just get in a fight on her ex-boyfriend’s lawn, Luke has his people send Rayna a bill for the wedding. Rayna feels like she has no choice but to go talk to him. I grant that I don’t spend much time around people with guns. But people with guns drinking while shooting $200 bottles of champagne just seems like an extra terrible idea.

There has always been a through note of jealous from Luke in the “Ruke” relationship and it’s clear in the end that he thinks that Rayna did this all so that she could get her album to chart. Even if he’s just saying it to make himself feel better, Luke’s jealousy and spitefulness is the least shocking part of this episode.

Rayna talks to the press, tries to rise above. Friends still, all that. Luke’s manager demands that they respond in some way. Luke’s solution: throw a party for the first 500 fans who respond on social media complete with wedding food and a broken-heart song.

Meanwhile, Rayna finally shows up to talk to Deacon. She loves him, always has. She just needs some time to work through this, to lay on her bed alone in the fetal position. Oh sure, all the time you need. It’s not like he’s dying of cancer or anything. It’s cool. He doesn’t want Rayna because she feels sorry for him – he wants to take care of her for a change. It’s a beautiful, if wholly impractical, sentiment.

Elsewhere, Layla is rolled into the hospital. Reminder: Jeff gave Layla the pills and then she caught Will upstairs with someone. She’s awake and asking for Will. “I tried to kill myself and didn’t even get that right.” This girl, this poor girl. She has had such an interesting arc as a character and I’ve loved how they’ve grown her character into someone who is multifaceted, tortured and struggling to find her footing. Will, who really, truly didn’t mean to drag Layla into his struggle, needs Jeff’s help to solve this problem. It cannot stand how it is. You have never seen Jeff Fordham move more quickly to rectify a problem. Jeff goes to the reality show producer, gets her fired and works to get rid of the footage. Will lets Layla know she’s free and Jeff takes his place sitting at her bedside.

We catch up with Gunnar and Micah as they have a sing-along. Micah wants his grandparents to just go away; he is so desperate for a consistent influence in his life. Gunnar, having only learned last night that he’s Uncle and not Dad, chickens out on telling Micah the truth. You can’t blame the guy but we all know that’s not going to end well.

Micah’s grandparents continue to fight Gunnar in court. “I don’t even know what we’re doing here. The paternity test showed that Gunnar’s not even the father.” You’ve got something there, Micah’s Grandfather. And when Gunnar finally does tell Micah, the poor kid is heartbroken and pushes Gunnar away.

With cancer, a canceled wedding, paternity drama and a failed suicide, it was surprising to realize that the most powerful storyline tonight was the one for the character that we’ve known for the shortest length of time – Sadie.

Sadie shows up to a pawn shop with a big pair of sunglasses, looking for a gun that fits into a purse. When asked for ID, she pulls her shades off to reveal a mean shiner.

“My name is Jane Smith.”

 

“Miss Smith, I’ve got just the thing for you.”

Gut wrenching. Watching Sadie compose was as beautiful as watching her hide with her gun was terrifying. But she’s trying to take control of the situation with more than just an illegal gun. Some photos and a protection order and Sadie is trying to shore up her defenses. But I can’t help but be trepidatious about what is on the other side of her front door when she opens it…

Odds & Ends

– Juliette and Avery are on their honeymoon, in bed. Avery brings his stuff over and like every time a couple has ever moved in together on TV or not, a small squabble ensues.

– Luke’s son is hitting on Maddie again. Maddie doesn’t want to hear it from her dad anymore. She can’t keep turning our feelings on and off just because they say so.