Nashville Recap: Oscar? You Barely Know Her! Plus — Maddie's Verdict

Need to catch up? Check out last week’s Nashville recap here.

It’s hard to say which development requires a greater suspension of disbelief in this week’s Nashville: Juliette’s nomination for a Best Actress Academy Award (?!) or her snap realization that not only is Layla sleeping with Avery, Ms. Grant is on a vengeful tear to destroy everything the Shenandoah girl holds dear.

Hey, it’s not like there’s no precedent for a singer-turned-actress to nab a major award early in her acting career. But for every JHud-in-Dreamgirls and Cher-in-Moonstruck, there’s a Mariah-Carey-in-Sparkle and a Madonna-in-Shanghai Surprise. And while I love Juliette for her fire, her voice and her impressive collection of cashmere loungewear, I just don’t see her as Oscar material.

But I do see her getting chummier with Luke Wheeler in this week’s installment, and after some consideration, I might be ok with that? Am I losing my mind, fellow Nashvillians? (Not to be confused with Nashvillains.) Or am I just so happy to be watching any scene that isn’t Will sitting at home, fretting about being gay, that I’m primed to accept what seems on paper like a really bad idea?

Your guess is as good as mine. We’ll ponder it as we review the highlights of “The Trouble With the Truth.”

IT’S AN HONOR JUST TO BE… | Juliette must think she has at least some shot at an Oscar nomination, because she’s up early, watching the announcements with Emily and Glenn. When her name is mentioned, they all celebrate, and she scurries to the phone to share the good news with Avery.

But her joy takes a nose dive into the Dumpster when she realizes her ex isn’t alone… even though he’s just woken up. As he whisper-shouts into the phone that who he’s bedding is no longer any of her business, Ju’s face shows that she’s arrived at the answer faster than a Kenyan with the marathon finish line in his sight: “Avery’s with Layla!” she angrily trumpets, immediately turning her ire on Emily. (Some things never change, eh?) Ju sets yet another land-speed record when she realizes a moment later that Avery’s hook-up is “trying to steal my life!”

WHEELS UP, JU? | Because Emily is a good (and really, the only) friend to Juliette, she confronts Avery and warns him that “I just hope you didn’t sleep with Layla to keep yourself from being with Juliette.” As it turns out, he didn’t. Well, kinda. When he goes to Layla’s dressing room before that night’s show, she gives him an out — but he doesn’t want it.

“You’re not complicated, and that’s a beautiful thing,” he says. Wow, it takes some talent to knock your ex and imply that your current squeeze is about as deep as a potato chip, Avery. Well done. Even worse, Juliette overhears it all and actually sees the pair kissing. A confab with Luke helps Ms. Barnes figure out that most of her anger toward Layla is really guilt about inadvertently killing Jeff (#harshyettrue), so she sits down with The Banged One and confesses her role in Fordham’s death. Both women cry, but while Juliette is clearly very pained by the whole thing, Layla cooly informs her that really, nothing between them has changed.

What’s that, Ju? You say you want another kick in the gut? How about when Avery tells you he’s really happy, right before you go on stage, and you do the adult thing and say “Good!” while smiling to cover the fact that you’re a millisecond from crying all of your shimmering stage makeup away in a glittery river of tears.

Luke picks up on his tour partner’s sadness and asks her if there’s anything he can do to help. So Juliette brings him out to duet with her on “Boomtown.” It does the trick; she perks right up, and they end up dancing in a rather cozy fashion, with his arm flung around her middle. Half of me would rather not see Lukliette become a thing — You down with Ja-ver-y? Yeah, O-T-P! — but the other half of me would like to see Will Chase have a chance to play a romantic storyline, and the pair definitely has chemistry. Therefore, I will reserve judgment.

WHO HIRED A PEANUTS ACTOR TO DO VOICEOVER WORK? | Maddie’s emancipation hearing date arrives, and when it’s not clear how the judge will rule, the teen’s terrible lawyer suggests they employ the “alternate strategy,” aka “destroy Deacon using his drunkenly violent history as evidence he’s a threat to Mads’ safety.”

The lawyer calls Deke to the stand and begins a litany of his poor decisions, which include decking Teddy in front of City Hall, punching the Revel Kings bandmate who got all predator-y with Scarlett, jumping Luke in his front yard, etc. “You don’t understand!” I want Deke to say. “I’m a character on a primetime soap!”

But when the lawyer starts bringing up the terrible things that happened when Deacon was drinking (Rayna’s black eye long ago, Rayna’s car accident more recently), Claybourne is crestfallen as he realizes that Frankie has supplied Maddie’s legal counsel with plenty of information he gleaned as Deacon’s Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor. That night at The Beverly, while Kelsea Ballerini plays for the customers, Deke confronts Frankie behind the bar. He asks why the older man is so mad, and Frankie replies, “Maybe because your wife curr de hurr de hurr hurr!” (I swear to you, I replayed that line three times and it just got more unintelligible with each listen.)

When Frankie decks Deacon, they get into a scuffle that leaves Frankie pretty bloody. At one point, he yells, “You stole this bar like you stole your damn dead sister’s liver!” — and I, as my colleague Michael Slezak would say, hoot and holler at the sheer absurdity. Long story short, Deacon ends up in jail with a restraining order against him, and Rayna rightly blames him for making their bad situation 300 times worse. He apologizes from behind the Plexiglass partition, but Rayna just hangs up the phone and leaves him there to think about what he’s done.

The next day, the judge grants Maddie emancipated minor status. Rayna weeps.

ROLLING STONE‘D LOVE | Scarlett and Gunnar oversleep their appointment with the Rolling Stone reporter, so much sex and whiskey did they have the night before. Scar frantically jumps in the shower and yells at Gunnar to do the same. Guys, this is not a shower situation! This is a swipe-a-wet-facecloth-through-the-danger-zones-and-hope-for-the-best situation!

During the interview, Gunnar can’t stop himself from gazing dopily at his new-old love. But as they discuss their romantic history with the reporter, Gunnar gets increasingly pissy. He misinterprets Scarlett’s discussion of his rejected proposal and their first hook-up, finally telling her that she has a negative take on everything he does. Oy, guys, where is this drama coming from?

RAGE, RINSE, REPEAT | Luke’s attempt to defend Will from a conservative cable-news host’s homophobic comments goes awry when his satellite feed drops out at an inopportune moment. Aw, sorry, Luke. A for effort. Meanwhile, Will showers, fumes and yells at his TV. I wish I were oversimplifying, but that’s pretty much all Chris Carmack has to do in this episode.

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