The town and the talent turn out for misguided Mayor, Teddy’s (Eric Close) big Note by Note gala on April 22’s “Nashville” episode, “The Storm Has Just Begun” (Season 3 Episode 19). The night turns out to be momentous for more than just the music, as money and passion really start to talk, and the new folks in town make some very fine noise.
Deacon (Charles Esten) is determined and delighted to be performing with Rayna (Connie Britton) . Maddie, and Daphne (Lennon and Maisy Stella), but his deep cough becomes concerning at rehearsal. Rayna tries to dissuade him, to no avail. Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) returns from her LA rendezvous, more than content to leave baby, Cadence, in the care of nanny, Sandra, and she wants Avery (Jonathan Jackson) to be with her for her return to the stage in a high-bid auction performance at the event– never mind any mother-daughter reunion. Scarlett (Clare Bowen) is dissatisfied with any of the perspective new members of the band, insisting that they “scrap it” without Avery. Will (Chris Carmack) and Kevin (Kyle Dean Massey) have been holed up for days in the throes of their new passion, so Kevin warns that there may be an old flame who turns up for the gala. Will tries to feign playing cool with the situation, but he is completely unsettled. Deacon gets the call that a liver has been located, and he, Rayna, and Maddie, who refuses to be anywhere else, rush to the hospital. Daphne is in the doldrums over being left with dad, and missing her night of singing.
Jade St. John (Christina Aguilera) is genuinely making hay with heavyweights in the Nashville music aristocracy, arriving on the arm of Luke Wheeler (Will Chase) who proclaims the passion they share “for helping kids.” Scarlett’s love, Dr. Rand (Nick Jandl), meets her at the hospital door, where Gunnar (Sam Palladio) delivered her in her desperate situation. Juliette is sending death rays through her gazes at Jade at their common table. Deacon has a fever, and is told that no surgery can happen if the illness is serious enough to compromise the transplant. Scarlett has a meltdown, making her case that Deacon must be saved, before her doctor makes it clear that every other family on the waiting list feels exactly the same, and he cannot use sway in this circumstance. Luke shows a little soul, saving the night for Daphne, singing a duet with her, in Rayna’s stead. The ladies restroom become a roust-out hotspot between Juliette, Jade, and Layla (Aubrey Peeples), Juliette standing her ground as country royalty against Jade as a wannabe “don’t belong here,” and the opening act who took her “seconds.” Jade shows that she’s not about to shrink back and be afraid of Juliette’s threats, and Layla feels confidence from that support. When Gunnar delivers Scarlett’s car, with a newly installed battery, he and Deacon have their own sort of heart-to-heart. When bidding starts for the performance, Juliette starts confidently, opening at $25,000, until Jade offers $200,000 for Layla, and sparks a frenzy of flying dollars until the total becomes out of reach for Juliette at $500,000, and Layla is pleased as punch to put her all out for Jade. After a final verbal joust, calling Jade a “country Barbie,” Avery insists that it’s time for he and Juliette to leave. Will reads Jeff (Oliver Hudson) like a book to Layla, and he agrees to take her home, but she declines in the last-second. Speaking of Oliver Hudson, who has his own history in music as nephew of two of The Hudson Brothers, the actor/singer couldn’t be more polar opposite in true life to his sleazy character on the music drama, as he shared with the ladies of “The Talk” on April 21, proudly talking fatherhood with his two boys, and baby daughter. He described Jeff as being “very broken,” but even understanding that doesn’t mean that the character is done doing some very bad things.
Returning to the eventful evening, Daphne asks her dad if she can live with him for a while, and he tells her that he doubts if her mom will allow it. “You are my real dad,” she asserts, but deepening their connection would demand a much higher caliber of morality than Teddy has proven capable of attaining. Juliette breaks down and allows herself to be vulnerable, praising “how good” Avery is with their daughter, and admitting that she is in uncertain waters with her career. Jade sings “Shotgun” at the Bluebird, and gains all the credibility she could want, along with Luke’s growing affection. Rayna fights back tears as Deacon is wheeled to surgery, and his anesthesia mask is administered. Rayna joins Maddie and Scarlett in a prayer circle, before the scene switches to Dr. Rand declaring that there is a problem. Cancer lesions were found in the donor’s lungs, and that made the liver too high risk. Deacon is awakened to the news that he never had surgery, as Maddie sobs for the life of her dad, and Rayna clings to hope. Arriving at her hotel room, Jade tells Luke that she “kissed him every night” on her bedroom poster, and he responds, “how about if the real thing kissed you back,” and they disappear behind closed doors. Layla runs down Jeff at his favorite bar, and pledges that “I won’t throw you away,” before passionately kissing. Will brings himself to Kevin door, and begs that “it just be the two of us” as another pair makes it a cozy night, the date long since gone.
Scarlett tells Gunnar that they should continue as a duo, and naturally, he is quite all right with that decision. From chapel to bedside, prayers and pleas for Deacon’s life flood heaven and earth as the “Nashville” episode closes to credits.