Nashville Recap: Liver on a Prayer


Nashville‘s Juliette Barnes is never better than when she’s taking off her metaphorical earrings and gearing up for a tussle with a formidable foe. That’s why we should all bow down and kiss the petite pop-star feet of one Ms. Jade St. John.  

Because if the former-almost-Mrs.-Fordham hadn’t come to town with her Jem-and-the-Holograms hair and her improbable cheekbones, we never would have seen Cadence’s hormonally unstable mommy spout off in a tirade containing the phrase “Country Barbie jacket.”

Even though we’re supposed to see the outburst as evidence of Ju’s emotionally frayed new mommyhood, I don’t know — I kinda dug it. Nice may not be Juliette’s color, but bitch certainly brings out her eyes.

Meanwhile, Deacon’s saved! No, wait, he’s not. No, wait, he is! (Nope.) Don’t worry; I’ll elaborate. Read on for what goes on in “The Storm Has Just Begun.”

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DESTINY CALLING | Everyone’s gearing up for Teddy’s Note By Note fundraiser, because apparently the Feds are willing to wait a week to haul the mayor away for his various misdeeds if it means a chance to hear Deacon, Rayna, Maddie and Daphne perform together. But even though the Von Claybourne Family Singers rehearse a very awesome version of “This Time,” the fundraiser’s audience never sees it: Just as the benefit is about to begin, Deke gets a call that a donor liver is available. So he, Rayna and Maddie skip off to the hospital, while the other kid Daphne laments that she really wanted to get up on stage and do her thing.

Juliette, recently returned from her Los Angeles jaunt and surprised to see Avery’s mom replacing the nanny she hired, is at the event, too. Ju seems far more concerned with Highway 65 winning an auction for a command performance — meaning she’ll get up on stage and croon a tune, proving to the haters that she’s back, baby! (But not back-with-a-baby, because she’s totally the same old Juliette you know and love and LAY OFF HER ALREADY WOULD YOU?) But after a ladies’ room meow-fest with Jade (who’s there as a guest of Luke’s), Highway 65 loses the auction when Ms. St. John just keeps upping the bid. And who does Jade want to sing? Her new buddy Layla. So Layla sings and Juliette drinks her cocktail and plots deaths. (Side note: We don’t see the former. We definitely see the latter.)

On a less snarly note, Luke does Teddy a solid and invites Daphne up on stage to sing with him. They do Jon Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me,” which is a lovely way to give Maisy Stella a moment of her own. Goodness gracious, does this child take it to church on the second verse or what? The crowd is impressed and the whole thing even gives me mildly glowy feelings about Luke. Nice job, Nashville.

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MANIC MAMA | A ticked-off Juliette and a newly arrived Avery — there on a tip from his mom, who offers some very reasonable advice to her son while cradling what is either a very obvious prop baby or the world’s shiniest-headed child actor — make for the exit after the auction. But then Jade gloats, and Ju gets nasty, and people notice. While Jade cries to Luke that she’s never going to be able to impress the country crowd, little Cadence’s parents go home and argue about how Juliette’s gone a bit rogue lately. Avery says she makes all the decisions (including about quitting breastfeeding) on her own, and he winds up with an exasperated, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Nashville Deacon LIver Transplant Recap Season 3When things have cooled, Juliette puts on her sweats, takes off her makeup and apologizes. “I just don’t really understand everything that’s going on with me,” she explains, and Avery reassures her that she’ll still be able to have an amazing career. Still, that doesn’t seem to be much comfort as Ju cries in bed next to her sleeping husband. Looks like we’re heading for a post-partum depression storyline here, no?

Across town at The Bluebird, Luke pulls strings so Jade can perform a country tune and earn some serious Music City cred. She sings one of his old hits, “Shotgun” (which I loved); if you weren’t already aware, the man up there with her is Nashville music boss Buddy Miller. The crowd loves her. And it appears that Luke doesn’t think she’s half-bad, either, because he talks his way into her hotel room later that night.

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LIVER? I BARELY KNOW ‘ER! | Over at the hospital, Caleb is the bearer of unfortunate news: Deacon has a temperature, which means he may not be able to receive the donor liver. Sigh. For years we’ve know Deacon was hot; why must the proof of said hotness be his undoing?

But wait! It’s only a sinus infection! Everything’s great! Transplant on! Deke even has time to dish out some romantic advice to Scarlett before he’s wheeled into surgery. Deacon points to his past with the First Lady of Hiding Paternity From Him, using it as an example of how rough emotions can make great songs. Rayna’s marriage to Teddy was tough, Deke elaborates, “but I dealt with it so we could keep making that music.” Only because you’re about to go under the knife, Deacon, will I allow such a shameless whitewashing of your romantic history with Red.

Rayna kisses her man just as he’s taken into the surgical suite, but it’s all for naught: When he wakes up, Caleb informs him that the donor liver was cancerous, so there was no transplant. While Rayna’s in the hospital chapel, weeping and praying for help, Deacon and Maddie have a brief, devastating scene up in his room. “Please tell me you’re not going to die,” she begs, crying. “Baby, I can’t,” he responds, utterly undone in an instant, and they cling to each other, sobbing, in the episode’s hardest-to-watch, truest-to-life moment. (Charles Esten, ladies and gentlemen.)

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‘SHOTGUN’ BEDDING | High off her performance at the benefit and her newfound kinship with Jade, Layla informs Jeff that she’s going to tour with the pop star. He warns against it, saying that his ex uses people up and then tosses them aside. After Layla’s anger dies down, she finds him at his favorite bar and promises that she’s different. “I’m not going to throw you away,” she says, kissing him and starting a public makeout sesh that’s a wee bit intense. Not in front of the seabreeze, kids!

Speaking of intense, Will and Kevin have barely come up for air in the four days since they first kissed. But Will really doesn’t like it when Kevin brings a sidepiece to the benefit, so he shows up at the songwriter’s place and makes an earnest plea that they have a monogamous relationship “while I figure this out.” Kevin agrees and invites him in, and Will perks up like a golden retriever who hears his owner rummaging in the treats bag.

Oh, and Scarlett and Gunnar are going to make a go of it as a duo. I’m sure that will be totally complication-free and won’t lead to anything romantic, right?

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

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. bill says:

    Daphne wants to live with Teddy? Where the heck did that come from? Why haven’t the Feds taken Teddy into custody? How can every character on this show give flawless performances without rehearsals? Everybody just jumps on stage, tells the band the name of the song and lets it rip.

    • Lucie says:

      It’s because they have practiced the song, over and over again. They’re pros.

      • bill says:

        I’m referring to the frequent times a song is being performed for the first time with a band that has never heard the song before (newly-written song) or when an already-released song (cover) is played spur-of-the-moment and every member of the band just happens to know the song inside and out.

    • kn1231 says:

      I actually assumed that something like this would happen when Deacon moved it. Daphne’s insecurities make perfect sense to me. Rayna, Deacon and Maddie are all fully related, and Daphne is the odd one out (although I’m sure they do not treat her that way). When Deacon got that call, Rayna and Maddie ran out of there so fast, not even asking Daphne if she wanted to go. Little things like that could build up.

  2. Mo Saïd says:

    That song Christina sang is PHENOMENAL. Goodness. The whole episode was amazing.

  3. Saabgirlatx says:

    Superb recap – smiling all the way through! Oh, and the episode was fantastic, too. I was wondering about the Feds…

  4. Normandy says:

    Did they age Layla a couple years in between her “underage” OD (although I’m sure the writers actually meant under 21) and being able to whip out her ID and order a sea breeze?

    • Carla Krae says:

      Thinking the same thing recently. Layla frequently gets drinks despite her age.

    • kn1231 says:

      I could have something to do with her new “status” in the industry. She also could have had a birthday. I don’t think that’s something they would dedicate time to on the show.

  5. Anna says:

    Great recap and First Lady of Hiding Paternity, absolutely. Rayna and Deacon were absolutely amazing, poor Rayna – everyone expects her to be strong for others and would have liked to see a little more of that Von Claybourne Family Singers singing!

    So glad Daphne got her song but really where did her feeling like living with her mom was not home come from? she seems comfortable with Deeks except for that one brief moment when they revealed they were together.

    Scarlett and Gunnar were very tolerable in this ep too, but that usually happens when they have screen time with Deacon.

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  7. Sam says:

    I’m surprised Maddie hasn’t tried to offer her liver yet. She is Deacon’s kid – there’s a chance she could be a pretty good match. Ever since Deacon was diagnosed that’s where I thought the story was going to go…

    • Lucie says:

      Neither Rayna nor Maddie have offered to be tested. The donor doesn’t have to be a relative. Odd.

    • Lola says:

      There’s still time. I called the Maddie as a donor solution the moment the storyline was introduced. Gillette having post-partum depression too.

      • Lola says:

        There’s still time. I called the Maddie as a donor solution the moment the storyline was introduced. Juliette having post-partum depression too.

  8. Jill says:

    This episode was terrible. Nashville HAS TO STOP with the stunt casting. CA has a beautiful voice and the song was great, but there’s a reason she hasn’t acted much in the last decade. SHE CAN’T! Her scenes with everyone were just uncomfortable, and all it did was take me out of the reality of Nashville. Also, why are they giving so much screen time to a character that most people were happy about when they thought she had drowned in a pool mid-season? The character of Layla has never been anything but annoying, and she just gets more so the more screen time they give her. The worst part about it was these terrible scenes took time away from the Deacon/Rayna/Maddie/Scarlett scenes that could have been really emotional, but all fell flat except for the last one (which was beautifully acted by Chip Esten, Lennon, and Connie), because they were all way too short. There wasn’t even one full convo between Deacon and Rayna about how they were feeling? What? Will and Kevin were cute, and Maisy Stella always wonderful, but even the Juliette stuff felt like it was playing second fiddle to the Jeff/Layla storyline which I care nothing about.

    • I agree with you 100%!! Xtina is amazing but so is THE MAIN CAST of this show. There are VERY FEW people interested in Layla/Jeff and even Luke for that matter. Deacon/Rayna/Maddie/Scarlett should have been the focus of this episode! And since WHEN does Daphne not feel at home?! She’s been all smiles from the very beginning of their relationship and told Deacon to move in…

      • Para says:

        I cared about Luke!

      • kn1231 says:

        I’m actually really enjoying Luke now. I didn’t mind him before, but I have been really enjoying him the last few episodes in every scene he has had. Really loved him last night with Daphne.

        • izzieb says:

          Agreed! He was awful when with Rayna, but I really started to like him when he and Sadie started having some smoldering looks!

      • abz says:

        I think Rayna/Deacon/Maddie/Scarlett get their fair share of screen time each episode while a lot of other characters like Will and even Juliet/Avery sometimes (althought that’s probably because of the pregnancy) don’t get as much.
        I too am not really interested in Layla/Jeff together, but I don’t mind Layla as a character. I really felt sorry for her when she was going through everything with Will and she’s definitely a better character now I think than last season.
        Daphne is so young and kind and put on a brave face and handled the news of Deacon’s cancer with such grace, but something like this isn’t a surprise. I’m sure she knows Rayna and Deacon care about and love her very much, but Deacon/Rayna/Maddie have this connection and while they probably don’t try and make her feel bad, she probably feels out of the loop and maybe like she’s pushed aside while Deacon’s cancer is such an important presence in their lives. She may act like she’s 40, but she’s still a little kid and her dad Teddy really put her first today and probably made her feel really loved and like she was a priority.

    • Whatevah says:

      I have to agree w/ this. There is absolutely no investment in this character so…

    • MR says:

      Thank you Jill. I was waiting for someone to say how I feel. I did NOT care for Christina’s story at all. I am NOT feeling it. It’s like they are shoving her down our throats. Please make her go away. And YES I agree with you, it took me out of the scenes she was in with the characters I love.

    • Lin says:

      Last week’s Jade concert was a huge waste of resources and not only didn’t add to the show but detracted. She gets to sing a whole song?! Now she’s back, a stone in the road of the plot. And what’s with the hair on this show ~ Scarlett might have a nest of chipmunks in those tresses ~ now Jade almost obscured by her own abundant locks.

  9. KS says:

    That was an intense makeout session! Jeff was surprisingly hot in that scene.

  10. Bella says:

    Such a great deeply emotional episode, loved it – these past few since Rayna and Deacon got together have been so amazing, I’m LOVING them supporting each other and being cute as all hell. You can literally feel through the screen how deep the love is between them. The hospital scenes were so very hard to watch, brilliantly acted, Connie, Chip and both girls absolutely nailed it – Daphne is the most adorable thing ever. It’s been a subtle build to her feeling alienated in the family and I don’t think that’s to do with Deacon and Rayna getting back together but with all focus being on Deacon’s cancer taking over their lives even when they try not to let it – it’s omnipresent, and Daphne has clearly felt that. Loved Teddy remembering how to be a decent parent this week, and I really like Luke, props to him for singing with the kid (HOW IS A CHILD SO TALENTED?!?!?!? WOW) and cheering her up The part where they wheeled Deacon away and Rayna was left standing at the door about broke me, and then those scenes at the end of the episode with Deacon and Maddie crying on each other and Rayna in the chapel – so beautifully done. Juliette was hilarious – so glad sassy Ju Ju is back, not the muted version she’s been while Hayden has been 12 YEARS WORTH OF PREGNANT. On another note – I’m going to need to see Deacon moving his stuff into Rayna’s house, I do not want that glossed over!! I WANT CARDBOARD BOXES IN THE BACK OF YOUR TRUCK CLAYBOURNE.

    • Carrie says:

      Agree. Ditto and Amen with all of your comments. So next week post chapel – is it Rayna or Maddie that has the post praying epiphany to test Maddie to match Deacon? My sister in law recently had a liver transplant from her uncle – partial – “a sliver of liver” can save a life! It is beyond obvious the story leads there so frustrating it has not happened yet

    • kn1231 says:

      I agree with absolutely everything you wrote, especially the stuff concerning Daphne. I don’t understand how people do not understand her feelings in wanting to move in with Teddy. You spelled it out perfectly here.

      • Lynda says:

        While I can totally understand her feelings, I didn’t see a subtle build to this, no build at all in fact. With the exception of a tiny bit of hesitancy in going into the group hug when they first announced they were together, she’s been happy and affectionate with Deacon. So this coming now feels out of left field to me.

        • Brigid says:

          She’s a child, they change their feelings every 2 seconds. It’s not out of left field for a kid’s feelings to be all over the place. I felt it made a lot of sense.

  11. Miffy says:

    Nashville has got to be the cheeziest show on TV.

  12. Alicia says:

    Absolutely brilliant run down of this ep. Loved your comment about Deacons hotness always stealing the thoughts from my brain Kim. I just want more focus and time spent on Deyna and the girls scenes more Javery scenes instead of guest stars clogging up the ep time. Fab run down as always xx

  13. J says:

    Overall, loved the episode. Agree that way too much airtime is going to guest stars… including Layla who is yet to become a season regular… for a reason! Luke and Teddy’s interaction was priceless… as was Luke’s duet with Daphne. What a talent! Loved the Rayna/Deacon/Maddie scenes, but would have loved some more discussion. Bummed that they didn’t get a chance to walk the red carpet together and officially announce their relationship yet again! Pleeeease give us moving boxes and bedroom scenes of Deyna next week!

  14. Is it me or are they building up for a death so that Deacon can get that liver? I just felt that way in this episode. You would think Deacon’s Dr would bring up Maddie could be a match lol.

    • TrickyGreyArea says:

      Thinking the same…wondered if will be Teddy after his scene with Daphne at the end.

    • Lynda says:

      Maddie’s too young to be a donor – generally they look for you to be 18 or older. The surgery is a big deal, has a long and painful recovery, and there’s no long-term studies of the impact of giving away half your liver – it just hasn’t been done long enough. 15 is too young to be making that kind of decision. Any you know Deacon and Rayna wouldn’t let her do it. Though I am surprised that Maddie hasn’t said anything.

  15. wrstlgirl says:

    This show is finally getting to the point where I’m really enjoying it. Took long enough but I’m glad I stuck with it. Now watch it get canceled. I’ve absolutely hated Juliette up until her and Avery became a thing, now I love her. Hated Rayna and Luke but I can actually enjoy Luke and Rayna and Deacon are good together. And of course, I love Will and Kevin. I’m so glad Will stepped up to the plate and went after Kevin, I wasn’t sure if he would. On a side note, what is that growing in Scarlett’s hair, it looks terrible. And I had to laugh at her comment about the guy who mumbles, really Scarlett, really!!!

  16. GRD says:

    The Von Claybourne Family Singers! ROFL!

  17. izzieb says:

    Luke Wheeler, you are really nice after all! Who knew?! Loved how he took care of Daphne up on stage, and by the way, thank goodness! It’s time Daphne got out from under Maddie’s drama-all-the-time shadow. Loved to see her get some stage time, and I feel really bad for her but her Dad Teddy’s going away, one way or another.

    I’m not feeling the attraction for the guest star Christina Aguilara that many others are. And I think that Luke had way more going on with Sadie then with Jade. I wish they wouldn’t spend so much time on a new storyline (Jade, Jade, Jade, all the time!!) when they could (read = should) be wrapping up a few other ancient storylines and giving us more of Rayna and Deacon’s bliss.

    JEFF FORDHAM!!! Loved the sly comment he tossed at Juliette implying that she looked like she was still pregnant! And Layla – don’t listen to him tell you how Jade uses people and then discards them – this is JEFF FORDHAM speaking! Please, Layla, go to L.A. and on tour with Jade Aguilara and take Jeff with you. You think you’re going to reform him, but you are always making random choices that do not benefit you. Hopefully, Hwy 65 will make some revenue off of you (they get a cut, don’t they?).

    I love this show and I’m not a TV writer or producer, so I’ll take it anyway they’ll give it to us – please ABC, renew Nashville!

  18. Margaret says:

    Emmy nominating committee, meet Chip Esten. I don’t know how he does it, but he continues to blow me away. Though his days on Whose Line will always be some of my favs, his work, especially recently on Nashville has been amazing.

  19. Mollytanner says:

    I don’t know when it happened, but Layla and Jeff are now my favorite couple on this show. And good for Xtina getting some iTunes support for Shotgun.

  20. CindyS says:

    I know how Deacon is going to get his liver. What do you bet his sister is going to change her mind at the last moment and be the donor?
    P.S. First time posting-the review was hilarious!

    • wrstlgirl says:

      I thought about her last night and wondered if her conscience might get the best of her. Far less dramatic story telling than if someone had a tragic accident and turned out to be a match. It would certainly be huge family drama if Daphne’s father died and his liver was used to save Maddie’s father. Yikes!!!

  21. cindyschi says:

    I can’t believe Luke played the Broadway singer on Smash. Hardly recognized him-he does the country accent pretty well!

  22. abz says:

    I think Christina is doing a pretty good job for someone with not too much acting experience. Her performance was beautiful. The sleeping with Luke thing however was meh, although Luke is starting to be really likable this second half of the season now that he’s not with Rayna.
    Glad Avery confronted Juliette. I loved her bitchiness in the episode, but she’s going through something and she shouldn’t ignore it. She needs to try and figure it out for her sake and the baby’s as well.
    I’m so glad they are giving more focus to Will. Hate seeing his character constantly being pushed aside or getting like 2 minutes an episode. I like him with Kevin and I’d love to see his story finally progress.
    Scarlett and Gunnar are still annoying to me. And you just know that the Doc is gonna do something unethical soon. Someone replied to my comment a few weeks ago when I wrote that their relationship was inappropiate asking how exactly….well this is one reason why. From the second they got together, you could see it coming a mile away that Scarlett would try and ask him to do something unethical and this being a soap and all, he probably will.

  23. Mommy Sanest says:

    I love this recap — read it every week, but have never commented. But I have so many feeeelllinnnggs about this episode and so much to say. Actually, I just have two things to say. First of all, I legit cried at this episode, which I don’t think has happened to me before with a Nashville episode. Second, I thought Hayden’s acting was spot on during that final scene. As a mom who remembers the newborn days (my kid is a toddler), I thought she portrayed the confusion, haziness, and pretending everything is A-OK despite unbalanced thoughts beautifully. Being a new mom is hard, yo, and I remember all of that and I did not have PPD.

  24. Brigid says:

    I love Rayna and Deacon together, their chemistry is great. However, please do not make this show about them making googly eyes at each other or hanging around the house susie homemaker junk. This show is about music and they make some great music together, so keep the focus on that…PLEASE!

    Luke is so much better not with Rayna. He was great with Daphne who I literally clapped for when she ended her song. That girl is fantastic and so happy to see her shine and not be the backburner kid. The way she is acting is so normal and not out of the ordinary. She is a child who’s emotions are all over the place, that is normal for kids. I don’t blame her for wanting to be with Teddy, she is his world. I think she feels left out and that she really isn’t a part of this family and that is hard on anyone especially a 10 year old girl. Cut her some slack.

    I think Christina was great considering she’s not an actress and her singing is beyond amazing! I like guest stars because they add something different to the show and change things up. I don’t want the characters to get stale and guest stars keep it fresh.

    Poor Juliette:( Your hormones after having a baby are crazy fried. I remember crying every night when my daughter would wake up to be fed. It’s an emotional time so I can’t imagine what post partum depression must feel like. I can’t wait for her to bond with her baby, it’s an overwhelming love.

  25. W.R. says:

    Renewals are in two weeks. Take that time to tell ABC that you want season 4. Follow @Nashville_S3 on twitter for contact information!

  26. Debrat says:

    I’m sure there is going to be a huge drop in ratings if they kill off Deacon, give the man a darn transplant, what about his daughter? I know I’m not the only one that will stop watching!