Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 3 of ABC's "Nashville," titled "I Don't Wanna Talk About It Now."
Miss Rayna James has lost her voice, and it would be very sad and shocking, if three weeks of "Nashville" promos hadn't explicitly told us that would happen. As the "Queen of Country" finally confesses, the far-reaching, tragic realities of her car crash have come to fruition. This new album she is recording with Liam may be the last album she ever makes, and she can't record the new vocal track for tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow OR EVER.
Clearly this will be resolved with some sort of deus ex machina, possibly involving modern medicine (which -- despite Deacon's inability to acknowledge it -- does, in fact, exist in the "Nashville" universe). The cold open reveals not much has changed with our favorite sober drunk impersonator, and it's not pretty. "Is this your idea of physical therapy?" Scarlett asks, basically confirming the fact that Deacon thinks cutting off his cast with a saw and then playing a guitar counts as treatment. "Something like that," he says.
Deacon eventually crumbles and goes through some 12-step plan that he has apparently invented for himself (except it only has, like, three steps). 1) Visit Teddy and admit to being a "lesser man," 2) get real life physical therapy, instead of just playing guitar in pain, and 3) have a prototypical breakdown over what is basically the amalgamation of all the drunk/abusive dad symbolism ever. Sigh. In an AA recounted tale, Deacon's dad is inebriated to the point where he is beating his wife and daughter, but has the clarity to turn to his son and say, "When you're a man, you're going to be just like me." Just to be clear, that is fictional alcoholic father language for, "Please take note of this quintessential experience that can later be scapegoated for your annoyingly pouty future."
Just stop throwing folding chairs, Deacon.
Anyway, speaking of portable seats! Juliette performs for a rich people lawn party up in Maryland. As they prepare the stage, Avery appears very content to be Juliette's sidekick. He prattles off advice and there's even some flirting, until she tells Mr. Wentworth, Avery is "just on the payroll."
Poor, eavesdropping Avery! Juliette sings a delightful song called "Trouble Is," and then, tellingly, we discover what the trouble is. Avery was true friend (or, at least, a kindly lackey) and he is hurt. So, Juliette drinks alone at the rich people lawn party, and then sleeps with Mr. Wentworth, because she is turned on by the fact that he is emotionally unavailable. No, literally, he says "I'm about as unavailable as you can get!" Thank you, everyone in this episode, for s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g it out.
Meanwhile, Rayna still can't sing, but she is able to pull the cowboy hat right over Jeff "The Bean Counter" Fordham's eyes, bringing Scarlett up on stage at the Edgehill stockholder's party. Scarlett's "makeover" mostly leaves her looking like Taylor Swift at a Mexican rave, but her performance is really A+. [Side note: Will's "makeover" was really stupid, too. It's like they gave just him a slightly bigger hat and borrowed one of the shirts Eric Stonestreet has to wear on "Modern Family" as Cam. Who are these stylists and are they part of a weird revenge plot that I'm missing?]
Although, she doesn't have much choice, seeing as she physically can't sing, Rayna probably should have figured that The Bean Counter is really not a great person to mess with. Other logical options include: lying about a scheduling conflict/telling him she has a cough/anything else besides what she actually does. Alas, the fury has been unleashed. "You know, if I had a suspicious nature, I would think it was something more than that," Jeff says of Scarlett's surprise performance, basically telling Rayna he knows her vocal chords are shot. Spoiler alert: He has a suspicious nature.
I need this dude to stop being vaguely evil and be fully evil next week. Bring it on Bean Counter, count all your little beans.
Either way, things are only going to get worse before the get better for Rayna. Sassy Maddie still has some serious daddy issues to sort through, so expect some family drama next week. On the plus side, Liam seems like he legitimately has Rayna's back. His intense eye contact during the Edgehill stockholder's event is predictably smoldering, but also expresses some legitimate solidarity. Despite his initial recoil and the fact that he approached the idea of rekindling the Rayna flame transactionally ("How do you know what I want in return?"), Liam actually seems like might be a good guy. Relatively, that is -- all of the other men on this show are just the worst.
Layla Grant's "fresh from the farm act," as Juliette puts it, continues to appear genuine, but it's only a matter of time, and that is marvelous. Miss Barnes is deserving of a nemesis who actually pays attention to her weird revenge plots ...
Ways Gunnar could be a more boring character: if he was in a coma, if he spent the whole episode making jam, if he was in a coma and dreamt about making jam.
PEGGY'S FAKE PREGNANCY IS GETTING SO GOOD! I kind of wish she wasn't a tertiary character so I could care about it more, but damn, this stuff is soap opera gold. "I love being actually pregnant with the baby that is definitely ours," she says convincingly, just like someone who is actually pregnant would.
"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.