Undoubtedly the most tense episode of the season so far, Episode 3 is a wonderful mixture of sad and heartwarming, with some twists for fans to enjoy.
There’s a far more sombre tone in Nashville as the latest season’s third season opens, with the characters struggling to deal with various problems in their lives. Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Deacon (Charles Esten) must decide what to do with Beverly (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), who is lying comatose in hospital. Meanwhile, Rayna (Connie Britton) must try and help her daughters cope with Teddy’s (Eric Close) arrest, and heal the wounds which have been opened in her family. Avery (Jonathan Jackson) contemplates how to handle Juliette’s (Hayden Panettiere) repeated abandonment, as he struggles to decide whether to hold on to hope or cut his losses and run.
Scarlett and Deacon’s decision on what to do with Beverley is a struggle, as they are torn between holding on to her in the hope she can wake a second time, or respecting Beverly and keeping her from unnecessary pain. The decision must actually be made by Scarlett, who struggles to handle the responsibility, doubting her ability to make the decision. While Scarlett struggles, Gunnar (Sam Palladio) reaches out to her to show support, unwittingly helping reinstate Scarlett’s faith in herself along the way. The decision that Scarlett eventually makes is not what Deacon had hoped for, and the ensuing bitterness and resentment threatens to tear the two of them apart.
Meanwhile, Rayna’s family is in a tail spin as they continue to search for ‘normal’ in their new situation. Daphne (Maisy Stella) is suspended from school after defending her father’s innocence against a cruel bully. In a desperate attempt to help her daughters cope with the situation, Rayna convinces Teddy to let the girls visit him. Things don’t go smoothly as Daphne is forced to face the terrible truth that the father she idolises isn’t perfect after all. Unable to cope with her father’s confession she demands to leave the prison, leaving a heartbroken Teddy behind. Rayna can’t bear to see her family torn apart again, and in an effort to bring them back together she brings her daughters to the prison a second time. In what has to be one of Rayna’s finest moments on the show so far, she addresses all the good things that Teddy has done, rather focusing on the good than the bad. She reminds her daughters about how important the act of forgiving is for family, finally managing to knock some sense into them and make her family whole again.
Following Juliette’s second great escape from the responsibility of motherhood, she appears to be hiding in her work, determined to remain in denial about the harm she is causing. Meanwhile, Avery is losing his mind desperately trying to work out what went wrong. Unable to contact Juliette or get a straight answer from her team, he lashes out at those around him, eventually seeking a lawyer to draft up divorce papers. A surprising pairing is made in Juliette and Luke (Will Chase), and while fans’ sympathy clearly lies with a distraught Avery, it’s still enjoyable seeing these two having fun on their day off. Expect car racing, drinking in bars, party throwing and impromptu concerts.
The episode ends with a lot of unresolved issues left open. Scarlett’s decision to cut Deacon out of the decision, and his refusal to show up at the hospital, implies their relationship might be badly damaged as a result. Teddy’s decision to plead guilty will mean he spends even longer away from his family, which will likely cause problems at home for both Rayna and her daughters despite the peace they found in this episode. Juliette’s abandonment has hurt Avery a great deal and while Avery has not signed the divorce papers he has also not torn them up – implying they might be used later in the season. Undoubtedly fans will see the fallout of these decisions in later episodes – however, how severe an impact they will have on the relationships between characters is not yet clear.
Nashville Season 4 airs Thursday nights on Sky Living, at 10pm. Watch the trailer below.