Recap: Nashville, “That’s Me Without You” (3×01)

Hello and welcome to our weekly Nashville recap! I am excited to watch with you and dig into every soapy delight.

Since we’re all warming up after a long summer break, let’s remind ourselves where we left off with our favorite characters:

Rayna (Connie Britton): On stage at his concert, her boyfriend Luke Wheeler (Will Chase) proposed and Rayna happily accepted. That was until Deacon kissed her and officially put his hat in the ring.

Deacon (Charles Esten): Outside of trying to break up betrothals, Deacon is dealing with his evolving relationship with his newly-discovered daughter (with Rayna), Maddie (Lennon Stella).

Juliette (Hayden Panettiere): Late last season, Juliette had instantly regrettable sex with Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson) and he threatened to hold it over her head. She stepped up and told her boyfriend Avery (Jonathan Jackson) in the last episode and begged him not to leave her.

Scarlett (Clare Bowen): Post-breakdown, Scarlett left town in the final episode of Season 2.

Will (Chris Carmack): While filming a reality show in their home, Will finally came out of the closet to his new wife Layla (Aubrey Peeples). She, unsurprisingly, didn’t take it very well.

My goodness, that was a jam-packed “Previously On.” Let’s get to it.

The episode opens 24 hours after they last episode ended – the night of the next day. We see Rayna getting dressed, deciding which engagement ring to put on… awkward.  Juliette is manic and running around looking for scissors. She’s going full-on Britney. Will is opening a performance at the Bluebird and dedicating a song to his wonderful wife.

So wait – they’re splicing live performances with prerecorded cuts? The cinematography is a bit jarring. And was it just my DVR or was the timing off with the playback?

Luke stops by the Bluebird and punches Deacon in the face. Cut to 12 hours earlier.

Laying in bed 12 hours earlier, Luke waxes poetic about how wonderful their relationship is and how “timing really is everything.” You said a mouthful there, Mr. Wheeler.

Juliette begs Avery, mere hours after he says he needs space, to forgive her. He, unfortunately, can’t stand the sight of her and leaves his own apartment. He shows up at Scarlett’s and begs to hitch a ride out of town. Gunnar (Sam Palladio), trying to convince Scarlett to stay, ends up accidentally hitching a ride as well.

Rayna can’t start a marriage with lies (or at least not this one). She goes to Luke to tell him about Deacon’s proposal. He takes it shockingly well.

Rayna digs through a box of memorabilia and memories. She goes to Deacon and tells him that she’s staying with Luke. He makes it clear that he thinks its the wrong decision.

Scarlett, Avery and Gunner are on quite the road trip, complete with “Do not make me pull this car over” and a poorly-time car breakdown. Avery ends up in a dive bar where Gunner waxes generic and Avery touches the wrong guy’s girlfriend. But the damage to Scarlett’s plan has been done. Gunner has convinced her that her family, and her life, is at home in Nashville. Which is good, because that’s where the show is.

Layla cannot comprehend how Will can put on a show for everyone of being happy. They finally have a real conversation and decide that a divorce is the best possible solution. Problem is, the reality show producer is more than happy to blackmail them with footage of Will’s confession.

Juliette got herself together to audition for a Patsy Cline movie but ended up in the bathroom cutting her own hair after she convinced herself that she had lost everything. Turns out, the producers are looking for exactly the emotional depth that Juliette has at her fingertips these days. And with good reason – turns out she’s pregnant.

We finally see Rayna’s decision – she puts on Deacon’s ring. No wait, it’s a total fake out. Deacon checks the door at the Bluebird but Rayna shows up at Luke’s charity event instead. Her decision has officially been made, despite the regret in her eyes.

Odds & Ends

  • I know Nashville is a nighttime soap and it’s one of the main reasons I love it. But the extremely short scene cuts ending with purposefully vague looks and dialogue is too much daytime soap for my taste. That, combined with the ugly camerawork and editing of the live performances, was a little hard to swallow this week.
  • My local news cut off the introduction to the last live performance so I have no idea who it was. Seemed good though.
  • I was rooting for Deacon. I love his relationship with Rayna and I honestly think that he was the right decision for her. I’m sure this isn’t the end of the will they/won’t they but the show succeeded in breaking my heart a little with that one.