Nashville Season 4 Recap

Nashville Recap: It's a Maddie, Maddie, Maddie, Maddie World

Maddie dyes her hair blonde this week on Nashville. It’s a shame she doesn’t bleach some of that stank attitude out, as well.

Grounding hasn’t worked. Taking away her phone hasn’t worked. And telling her that no, you may not accept Sony’s offer of a solo recording contract certainly hasn’t worked — quite the opposite. In fact, Rayna’s elder daughter is at her absolute worst in this episode, vibrating at an annoying teen frequency somewhere between Buffy-Season-5 Dawn and Game of Thrones-any-season Joffrey.

Meanwhile, in the land of people with real problems, Scarlett can’t decide if she’s more bummed about being away from Caleb or being too close to Gunnar and his sexy tech-y, Erin. Markus is making indie puppy rocker eyes at Rayna (and we all know where that’s heading). And poor Avery is slinging radio jingles and weeping onstage at The Bluebird.

Long sob story short: Chill out, Mads. And stop making Daphne feel terrible. Think you can do that while the rest of us review the highlights of “Unguarded Moments”?

A SOUND DECISION | Let’s start on the road with The Exes, whose first few tour dates have gone really well. But there’s friction: Scarlett, irked that she and Caleb can’t seem to stop playing phone tag, repeatedly implies that Gunnar is more interested in getting into Erin’s pants than in making their band a success. I’m sorry, Scar, did I hallucinate the part where you committed to this tour FIVE MINUTES BEFORE THE BUS LEFT?

Boston show! Everything’s going great until Erin, at Scarlett’s urging, ups her lady vocals so high that the board  — and the crappy electrical system at the club — blows. (Side note: I’m no electrician, but that whole scenario seems rather unlikely, no?) The Exes save the night by having fans train their cell phone lights on the stage, then performing an acoustic version of “Plenty Far to Fall,” a flirty, up-tempo tune that I really like.

Scarlett’s ready to rip into Erin, thinking Gunnar won’t be able to do it, but she’s wrong: Gunny and his bouffant of disapproval make it clear that Erin’s subpar sound-tech skills have no place on the tour. Later, E swings by Gunnar’s room to apologize and to ask for help in learning how to work different kinds of sound boards. When Scarlett hears bumping and moaning coming through the wall later, I’m sure that’s just Gunnar showing Erin how to work the knobs and dials, right?

WHAT’S WILL DOING? | Avery realizes that Will is secretly writing break-up songs about Kevin. And they’re good. And because Avery has literally nothing going on except pining for his absent, soon-to-be-ex wife and punching up cheesy car-dealership jingles, he performs one of Will’s compositions at The Bluebird on Songwriter Night. The song is called “History of My Heart,” and it makes everyone in the room — including Avery — cry. A music publisher who’s in the room gives Mr. Barkley his card to pass along to the song’s creator. Maybe this is a new track for the woefully underused Will/Chris Carmack?

MAKING IT OFFICIAL | Against Gabriella’s better judgment, she and Luke start dating. She’s all, “We need to find a replacement for Juliette! We need to find a new brand manager! Those Wheelin’ Dealin’ Driveway Patch Kits and Luke Wheeler Roach Traps aren’t going to sell themselves!” But all he wants is her, damn the impropriety. Also: What impropriety? Aren’t you the boss, dude? And aren’t you two pretty much the only employees of your company? She caves very easily, but asks him to keep it quiet, saying, “I’m not exactly good for your brand.” In the what what? A hotheaded party cowboy who once drove a truck through a cake dating a classy, top-of-her game, intelligent and beautiful woman? I think it’s the other way around, mama.

Anyway, Luke tells Colt that he’s got a new honey, and the sullen teen — who continues to be messed up about watching Jeff tumble to his death — doesn’t care. I feel you, kid.

FAMILY DRAMATICS | That brings us to Maddie’s aforementioned snit, which starts with her secretly changing her hair color. Rayna finds out about the dye job after a long night recording with Markus, and when Deacon runs to the bar to help with the remodel, Ray grips her coffee pot as though that sweet bean juice is the only thing keeping her from tearing out the teen’s tresses with her own immaculately manicured hands.

It gets worse. When Maddie gets wind of the fact that Sony is interested in making her a solo artist, based on a clip of her performing with Juliette that time, she’s even more insufferable than usual. And with Deke avoiding tough times at home by immersing himself in The Beverly’s refurb job, Rayna finds herself confiding in Markus of all people. Yeah, don’t worry guys: That studio you’re sitting in only costs a bajillion dollars an hour and you’re already way over budget on this album, but by all means, go ahead and chat a while.

They commiserate about how hard it is to be famous (we get it, Nashville), and then the comforting pat he gives her hand lasts a little too long. Somewhere, Liam wraps his stupid man-scarf around his neck and nods knowingly. What is it about this woman and her effect on men in recording studios?

THE SCOWL AND THE PUSSYCAT | When Deke and Rayna are finally in a room for more than two minutes together, they agree that they have to present a united front and handle the girls together. So they do what always makes me so insane about the Maddie-parent relationship: THEY GIVE HER EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS by offering her and Daphne a Highway 65 recording contract. Daphne is elated, a condition Mads and her stinky self quickly defiles by saying, “The only reason she signed us was to keep me under her control.” Move over, Jimmy Shive-Overly, because Maddie is officially The Worst.

High on what they perceive as a parenting victory, Deacon and Rayna hit the sheets. At first, I think it’s going to be another Nashville classic, where they fall on the bed together and that’s all they wrote. BUT NO. We get to see the lovebirds in the afterglow, and apparently things progressed so quickly, Rayna didn’t even have a chance to take her top off. Like, Connie Britton is fully clothed from the waist up. Forget bra-on sex; this is “I could host a video conference call in this” sex. Eh, it happens. (Still hot.)

Because TVLine is an entertainment website of record, I would like to note — FOR HISTORY — that Deacon most certainly did disrobe. And more sexy stuff is on the agenda as Ray heads into the shower, but I’m pretty sure that’s tabled when her phone buzzes and Deke sees that Markus’ text implies he helped Rayna come up with her Maddie solution.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!