Last Wednesday night, April 22, we continued Season 3 of “Nashville,” the ABC country music drama, with an episode titled, “The Storm Has Just Begun.” The following recap of the television show may contain spoilers. “Nashville” stars, most notably, Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, Clare Bowen as Scarlett O’Connor, Aubrey Peeples as Layla Grant, Charles Eston as Deacon Claybourne, Eric Close as Teddy Conrad, Will Chase as Luke Wheeler, Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, Jonathon Jackson as Avery Barkley and Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott. Christina Aguilera is currently playing recurring character Jade St. John, a pop music star looking for a quick break in the Nashville country music scene.
While many weeks on Nashville see plot lines resolved, this episode was more about making the numerous plot threads hang over the cliff while threatening to cut the rope that keeps them from falling to their death. Things simply get more complicated in Nashville this week and the drama heats up like a tea kettle whistling for someone, anyone to come take it off the burner. Perhaps the most significant plot line that begs for resolution is Deacon’s liver cancer and coming in a close second is Teddy and the potential trouble he faces for handing over half a million dollars of city money to his prostitute Natasha who has blackmailed him while working with the F.B.I. and their sting operation.
A substantial portion of the episode takes place inside and revolves around the Note by Note music charity fundraiser, which Rayna and Deacon, along with Maddie and Daphne, will be performing at. Teddy is the host of the event, and of course everyone who is anyone, including just about everyone in the cast, is there to lend support or potentially perform. The highlight of the event is a command performance that is being auctioned off to the highest bidder and Highway 65 has plans to win and get Juliette up on the stage to perform what Juliette considers her comeback since her long pregnancy that has had her out of the public eye for longer than she’s comfortable with.
Right before the fundraiser starts, Deacon gets the call from his doctor that he’s next on the list for a life saving liver transplant and he needs to come into the hospital immediately. Rayna, Maddie and Deacon drop everything and they rush to the hospital, leaving Daphne with Teddy. Daphne is disappointed that she won’t be performing, but Teddy gets Luke Wheeler to take over for Rayna and he invites Daphne up to perform “Have A Little Faith In Me,” and it’s a great father-daughter moment, but you can’t help but wonder if the F.B.I. is going to come arrest Teddy at any moment, which would be awful for Daphne to witness.
Jade St. John sticks around for another episode and becomes a thorn in the side for Juliette and Jeff, but for different reasons. She also cozies up to Luke Wheeler, who for an episode or two almost coupled up with Sadie before she shot her ex husband Pete and decided to leave town to let the dust settle on her situation. At the start of the episode Luke and Jade are at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where after calling herself a country music geek, she tells Luke “I want to make a country album, and my label’s not too excited about the idea, and I was really hoping you might consider singing a duet with me just to help make my case.” Luke declines, citing his busy schedule, but offers to bring her to the fundraiser, saying, “Bunch of industry folks will be there, and maybe you’ll meet somebody else who’ll do you the honor.”
Jade runs into Layla at the fundraiser and the two bond over Jeff and how difficult he can be. They also bond over Juliette, who has become a common enemy of Layla and Jade. Juliette sees Layla as a cheap copy of herself and she sees Jade as someone playing country Barbie dress up and doesn’t belong in Nashville. It’s a bit ironic because when we first met Juliette she was borderline country with a heavy pop influence, singing songs like “Telescope.”
One of the more heated moments of the night comes during the auction for the live command performance. The auction starts out with Teddy saying, “Let’s start the bidding tonight at $10,000. Do I hear $10,000?” A few moments later Bucky yells out, “$25,000 for Juliette Barnes,” and Juliette smiles, thinking that she’s going to steal a moment in the spotlight and have a comeback, disregarding the real reason everyone has gathered for the fundraiser, the Note by Note music education initiative. Teddy asks the crowd, “Can I hear $30,000?” and Jade jumps into the bidding by offering $50,000 for Layla Grant to perform. Juliette is furious.
Bucky and Jade trade bids back and forth and the price for the command performance jumps to $125,000 for Juliette to perform. Jade, unflinching, looks at Juliette and drives the bid up to $200,000 for Layla to perform. Teddy asks the crowd, “Do I hear $225,000?” Bucky looks at Juliette and says, “I’m sorry. I’ve hit our limit.” Juliette turns to Avery and says, “We’re rich, and I need this. Just bid.” Avery reluctantly bids, calling out, “$225,000 for Juliette Barnes.”
Juliette beams with joy and looks over at Jade, thinking she just won the battle. Jade, who is extremely wealthy, doesn’t flinch and calls out $500,000 for Layla to perform and checkmates Juliette, who is also rich, but apparently not Jade St. John type rich. Jade glares at Juliette with deep satisfaction and Layla goes up to perform, which is unfortunately not shown. It would have been great to hear what a $500,000 command performance from Layla sounds like.
At the end of the night Juliette and Jade have a short but brutal conversation. Jade has no idea what the night really meant for Juliette, no one really does, and Juliette is furious for Layla stealing her thunder and denying Juliette her perceived comeback at the event. After Jade tells Layla, “You have to be on my tour as the opener, not some special-guest pre-opener,” Juliette walks by and Jade tries to be friendly. Jade says to Juliette, “Come on, Juliette you have to admit, Layla’s performance was worth every penny.”
Juliette snaps and retorts, “You know what, honey? You can waltz around in your little country Barbie jacket and hold on to Luke Wheeler’s hand like he’s some golden ticket, but don’t think for a second that everyone doesn’t see right through you. You could’ve spent a million dollars tonight, and it wouldn’t distract anyone from the fact that this is Nashville and you don’t belong here.” Avery, stunned, simply tells his wife, “I think we should leave.” Everyone within earshot quietly murmurs among themselves about what just went down in front of them.
Luke ends up taking Jade to The Bluebird Cafe after the fundraiser. Earlier, at the Hall of Fame, Jade confessed she was obsessed with Luke in her youth, telling him, “I even sang ‘Shotgun’ at my 8th-grade talent show.” Jade is a bit awe struck being in The Bluebird, remarking, “I’ve heard so much about this place. I can’t believe I’m actually here.” When the lights go down, a musician on stage announces, “We’ve got a very special guest with us tonight. Miss Jade St. John is here. She’s a big fan of country music, so I’ve heard, and I was hoping we could kick this next set off with a song from her.”
Jade looks at Luke and says, “Is this your doing?” Luke tells Jade, “Hey, listen, nobody will accuse you of buying country cred here. But they’ll sure let you know if you’ve earned it.” Jade gets up on stage and performs, “Shotgun,” much to the delight of Luke, and the crowd loves her. Luke is obviously becoming smitten with Jade and the two lock eyes several times during the emotional performance. After the show, the two go back to Jade’s hotel room and things start to heat up when outside her door Luke asks, “Did you really sing ‘Shotgun’ at your 8th-grade talent show?”
Jade confesses, “I had braces and an asymmetrical haircut. It so wasn’t pretty.” Luke jokes back, “Well, couldn’t be any worse than my first album cover.” Jade then confesses, “I had a poster of that hanging over my bed, and I kissed you every night before I went to sleep.” Luke takes a deep breath and says, “Would it be all right if the real thing kissed you back?” Jade tells him, “It’d be kind of crazy great,” and the pair retreat into her hotel room and lock the door.
Will and Kevin start to cement their relationship after spending four days together. It ends up they both are scheduled to be at the charity event, but Kevin is going with a date he set up about a month ago. Kevin asks Will, “Does that freak you out?” and Will tries to play it cool by saying “‘Course not. Why would that freak me out? It’s just been four days.” Deep down it bothers him and he’s looking for some exclusivity with Kevin. Will is delighted when he finds out that Kevin’s date, Chad, went home after the fundraiser, and Will spends the rest of the evening at Kevin’s house.
Gunnar and Scarlett find some peace and tranquility in their complicated relationship this episode, mostly due to Gunnar apologizing for his jealously over her new relationship with Dr. Caleb Rand. The two struggle to find a new band member since Avery quit, and they can’t agree on anyone who tries out for the job. After one talented guitarist tries out, Scarlett remarks “He smelled like wet cardboard,” despite Gunnar thinking he was a fantastic guitarist. Scarlett, fed up with the situation, tells Gunnar, “It’s not the same without Avery. Just scrap it.” They eventually work out their differences and agree to move on with the band as a duo. Deacon and Rayna have a part in helping Scarlett reach her decision when he tells her that in their case, “Well, the complicated stuff was kind of what made the music great.”
Avery continues to struggle with his relationship with Juliette and her sudden disinterest in their new baby Cadence. When Juliette took off for L.A. last episode Avery called in his mother to help out with the baby. He tells his mother, “I quit the band to help Juliette out. And you see what’s going on here. I’m basically alone. ” His mother tells him, “That’s probably how she felt when you were out on tour and she was pregnant at home. ” Back home, after the fundraiser, the two have a fight and argue over some of the bigger issues that challenge them as a couple and new parents.
Avery tells Juliette, “I have no idea what you’re thinking. ’Cause you don’t talk to me. You go to L.A. on your own. You quit nursing on your own. Juliette, I can’t do this alone. ” Avery continues to set Juliette straight when he tells her, “You picked a fight with a complete stranger because you didn’t get a chance to sing. Tonight was about music in schools, not a Juliette Barnes comeback. Honestly, what the hell is wrong with you?!” We then hear Cadence crying in the background.
When the scene calms down and Avery is holding Cadence, Juliette remarks, “You’re so good with her.” The two apologize to each other and Avery tells her, “I want us to be on the same side, Juliette. But you got to let me in.” Juliette is struggling with the big changes in her life and says, “I was inducted into the Opry. I played a country music icon. And now all that stuff just seems so far away. ” Avery tells Juliette, “You’re gonna get it all back again. It’s just gonna take a little time. You will always be the unforgettable Juliette Barnes. And someday soon, you’re gonna start to feel like her again. I promise.” Later, when the two are laying in bed, Avery is fast asleep, but Juliette is wide awake and staring off into space with a worried look on her face.
At the hospital, Deacon is elated that he’s about to get the life saving transplant that will cure his cancer. They finish the paperwork, get Deacon a room and do some preliminary blood work. Meanwhile the transplant team at Columbus is getting ready to harvest the liver and head straight back to the hospital where Deacon will be prepped so he is ready for the O.R. as soon as they hear everything is good to go. Things hit a snag when Deacon is revealed to have a low-grade fever of 100. 5 and they wonder if it’s pneumonia, which could mean they run the risk of Deacon’s body rejecting the liver. They run some more tests to find out what is wrong with Deacon and it’s possible the liver will go to the next recipient on the transplant list.
Later, Dr. Rand walks in and gives everyone good news, saying “You’ve been cleared for surgery. Labs showed that it was a sinus infection, which is totally manageable. They’re gonna get you on an antibiotic drip and into prep. ” Deacon goes under for the surgery and wakes up in a fog as he’s told, “We have a problem. ” When Deacon asks, “How’d I do?” he’s told, “There was a problem in Columbus and after they took the liver out of the donor, the surgical team found cancerous lesions on the donor’s lungs. They didn’t want to take the risk that the cancer had spread.” Everyone is left to wonder if they’ll be able to find another donor in time.
Deacon does his best to comfort Maddie, who is taking the news pretty hard. She tells her dad, “This really isn’t fair. I mean, you quit drinking so long ago. Why is this happening now?” Deacon tells her, “I don’t know, sweetie. I’m just real sorry that you got to go through it.” Maddie, close to tears, tells her dad, “Please tell me that you’re not gonna die,” and Deacon sighs, telling her, “I’m sorry, baby. I can’t.” Rayna, meanwhile, is praying in the church at the hospital in the last moments of the episode and says, “If I’ve offended you in some way, I’d really love to clear that up right now. ’Cause I really need you. ‘Cause there’s a man and a little girl who are really looking to me to be strong for them. So I’m asking if you could please, please show me the way so I can be strong and not feel so alone.”