“Nashville” faithful had plenty to love in the April 29 episode, “Time Changes Things,” (Season 3 Episode 20), and a few things, not so much. Time does indeed change perspective, but Rayna (Connie Britton) is running out of time to find a way to save Deacon (Charles Esten), so she takes a desperate, last-ditch secret detour to Natchez, MS to throw herself at Beverly’s mercy, and look back at their stormy brother-sister union. Deacon has a crash course in teen daughter crisis, and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) gets a shocking dose of truth, while Teddy (Eric Close) gets a whole new set of strings to get him free of misdeeds. Love and career get rekindled, and come undone, all in one hour!
With stories that are gripping enough to keep viewers holding on through an entire summer, loyal viewers need to heed the call to keep the drama off the chopping block, as was reported this week. Speaking of drama, Deacon had his hands and his head full of problems on daddy duty while Rayna was, he thought, away on a record label deal, not knowing that Natchez was her true destination. Rather than critique Juliette’s maternal style, Avery (Jonathan Jackson) opts to prove himself an ally to her efforts to reinvigorate her career, saying that she should tell the band about rehearsing and shows because “I’m in it-I’m with you on stage.” He commissions his sister for babysitting. In real life, those roles are a little in reverse, as Hayden Panettiere put on a joyful game face, just days ago, in support of fiancé, Wladimir Klitschko, as he boxed to a heavyweight victory. Art and life are inseparable cousins. Scarlett (Clare Bowen) agrees to go to a physicians’ get together with Caleb (Nick Jandl), but it becomes an early night. Kiley (Alexa Penavega) turns up out of nowhere and Gunnar’s door, saying she has to talk to Micah. Gunnar gives her a quick rundown of why Micah is with his grandparents now, and she seems astonished. She gets nothing warm and fuzzy from Gunnar this go-round. Layla (Aubrey Peeples) hounds Jeff (Oliver Hudson) to hire a stylist, and shop for new clothes as she plans to make a splash at Jade St. John’s Malibu party.
Juliette orders Bucky (David Alford) to “go to hell” after hearing reports that her career was skidding even before her motherhood, and refusing to ramp up things for a concert performance. Rayna gets a reception of solid ice from her “Hi Beverly” at the diner. Deacon’s sister (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) only feels further stalked for body parts by the intrusion, and at home, Maddie (Lennon Stella) and Colt (Keean Johnson) are intertwining their bodies in passion, sending Deacon into orbit. Rayna comes right out and tells Beverly that she’s not too proud to beg, but Beverly plays the wronged one to perfection. Deacon calls Juliette for an emergency intervention with Maddie, knowing that there bond will bring out the truth. Luke and Jade (Will Chase and Christina Aguilera) try to strike up conversation by the pool, with romantic movies being the topic, but the effort only brings out that they are from completely different generations, and different worlds. Gunnar and Scarlett make magic again on a radio performance of “Jumping through Fire,” proving again that the creative chemistry survives despite the conflict. Maddie tearfully tells Juliette that she and Colt are not having sex, and Juliette lovingly cautions that when that time comes, “do it for the right reasons,” before delivering the welcome verdict to dad. Deacon delivers news of his own, telling her about his cancer. Natasha (Moniqua Plante) calls Teddy, confessing that she was wearing a wire, and that he is being hunted by the feds. “They are coming for you.” He goes into desperation mode yet again, and calls Deacon, offering to pick up the girls from school.
Rayna is relentlessly after Beverly, and realizes that feeling burned over her missed career may be the only key for Deacon. As the bubbles and the booze flow at Jade’s party, Layla gets both sloshed and starstruck, taking selfies with handsome new star, Sullivan Fitzgerald, but leaving lying down and incoherent. Luke commiserates with Jeff, saying he’s never felt so old, and Jeff retorting with “it’s just a typical Tuesday” for Jade. Kiley confesses to Gunnar that she never cheated on him, it was Jason who turned a ride into rape, and she always hoped that Gunnar was Micah’s father. Knowing Beverly still resents that Deacon left to make his career with Rayna, leaving Beverly on her own, Rayna goes to a local performance, and assures her “you’re still great,” but it gets no leverage. Deacon explains to his daughter that he missed the on-the-job training for dads, and they mend fences. Luke leaves the party early, going to tend matters with Colt, and he and Jade part, realizing that they both will stay just as they are. Teddy delivers Daphne home, and presents matching heart necklaces to the girls. It’s clear that they are parting gift, and his gift is the parting glances he takes of his daughters. Juliette’s rooftop concert turns out to be quite the splash, and gets splashed across media everywhere, even by helicopter, so not such a bad idea. Layla got the idea that her make out session with Sullivan would be a media grab, but that is hardly possible when passed out on a bench before the night ends. Avery and Juliette are supercharged with passion after their performance, mutually exchanging “your incredible,” before elevator lovemaking adds to the elation. When Scarlett stops by to check on Gunnar, who isn’t answering his phone, they spar again over the past and presumptions, so Caleb welcomes her in at his place.
The US Attorney, Dashell Brinks (Jason Douglas) comes to Teddy in the dark of night again, letting him know he’s aware of every dirty dealing by the Mayor, and offering him a way to extricate himself from the trapping strings of his current situation, in exchange for new strings under obligation of the government man. The final scene for this “Nashville” has Rayna at Beverly’s door, declaring that she wants no more feud, and leaving a substantial fund in the form of a $1 million check. Will it be the difference maker for Deacon? They declare their love by phone, and Deacon promises to help this day vanish away, not realizing it was about so much more than business.