"Nashville" made history Wednesday night with three live performances, the first ever featured in a scripted television drama.
Chris Carmack’s character Will Lexington took the stage at the beginning of the hour, delivering a first-rate performance of the song “If It’s Love” on a replica set of the famous Blue Bird cafe. Charles Esten’s Deacon Claybourne followed suit to close out the show, crooning the tear-jerker “I Know How to Love You Now” before country band The Florida Georgia Line performed over the credits. Everything went off without a hitch, but for "Nashville" fans, the music is only half of the shows appeal.
Fans were really tuning in to find out who Rayna James chose after receiving marriage proposals from her bad boy ex Deacon and nice guy Luke. She spent most of the episode staring at the two rings, contemplating her decision, and stopping just short of making a "pros and cons" list. She visited both suitors, who were surprisingly sympathetic to her plight and talked it over several times with sister Tandy. Unfortunately, no one thought to tell her that if two men propose to you on the same day and it takes you hours to decide how you feel, you probably shouldn’t be with either of them.
In the end, Deacon’s alcoholism and their dark and twisted past proved to be too much and she chose Luke as her man. If you’re happy to hear that the nice guy didn’t finish last, don’t get ahead of yourself. In the episode's last shot, Rayna eyes her fiance and looks a little more regretful than your normal blushing bride-to-be.
Rayna wasn’t the only person to who had to make a painful choice. Layla has a tough time listening to her husband perform a love song he wrote for her now that she knows he’s gay and runs out of the Blue Bird in the middle of his performance. The two have a heart-to-heart and decide to get a divorce before their conversation is interrupted by a producer of the reality show they’re filming. She explains a divorce won’t be in the cards for the couple before showing them a copy of the dailies filmed the night before. Will looks on in horror as he realizes his coming out confession was caught on tape.
Avery, still hurt after learning of Juliette’s dalliance with Jeff Fordham, decides to leave town with Scarlett after telling Juliette he “can’t stand the sight” of her. Gunnar tags along, trying to convince Scarlett not to leave town, and the trio embark on a disastrous road trip. A broken-down car, a barfight and a few solid pep talks later, she changes her mind and the friends decide to return to Nashville.
Meanwhile Juliette is reeling from Avery’s rejection, going as far as to lock herself inside his apartment. Her manager forces her to pull it together, reminding her she has an audition for the Patsy Cline biopic later that day. She pulls it together enough to get through a tearful rendition
of “Crazy” and while the room seems pleased, Juliette still has a manic hair cutting breakdown. She’s gotten a makeover by the time she receives the news that the studio wants to screen test her, but that’s nothing compared to the bombshell her doctor drops.
Juliette is pregnant! Now, like so many soap opera characters before her, Juliette has to ask herself, who’s the daddy?
"Nashville" airs Wednesdays on ABC.