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Nashville “Road Happy” 

Photo Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
Photo Credit: Mark Levine/ABC

Could this episode be more ironically titled? Most of the Nashville cast is on tour right now, and none of them are happy, although everyone’s trying to put on a smile. And they covered a ton of ground this week so here we go.

Rayna’s rekindled fame has made life difficult to juggle and her girls are both handling it in their own way. In an effort to make a little family time, everyone jumps on planes to meet up in Idaho, where Ruke is shooting a commercial. Neither Luke nor Rayna’s kids are buying into the “happy family” role play. At one point, sweet little Daphne yells “You know what? YOU SUCK!” to her mother, at which point I reach for the soap to wash out her mouth just out of instinct. I’m not sure Ruke is going to make it to the wedding day.

Jeff Fordham—ugh! For a label head who is in trouble with his board, he sure is lacking in charm. He starts off the episode being a jerk to his biggest artist Luke Wheeler (who apparently isn’t cranking out another album fast enough while on a world tour), he’s awful to Will and Layla in different cities, but boy is he turning it on for Teddy Conrad! Inviting him out to party, giving “cool dad” advice, being a wingman. I love to hate this guy.

Photo Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
Photo Credit: Mark Levine/ABC

Meantime, the drama between Juliette and Avery explodes. You know that feeling when you’re minding your own business, just trying to do your court-ordered community service and then whammo– you get a text saying “I’m pregnant. It’s yours.” No? Well Avery Barkley does, and it is not pretty. Word of advice to those of you out there texting bombshells like that: when the text-bombed party calls you looking for an explanation, don’t repeatedly send them to voicemail. Because it’s not okay. They will absolutely show up in a rage and scream the news you’ve been trying to cover up whilst banging on the door of your trailer. As your sexy co-star looks on one trailer over.

But I digress. So, Juliette, on top of the anxiety that normally comes with hiding a pregnancy, now has to worry about her bump showing in a nude scene she’s about to shoot with Hollywood hunk, Noah West (guest star Derek Hough). But since he bore witness to the trailer scene, he’s got her back/bump and helps cover for her with the director. I think he’s going to be around for a bit and I kinda like the drama that will bring even though in my heart I want Drunk Avery and Juliette to make up.

Back out on the road, Will Lexington finally loses Layla for awhile and he can concentrate on being a star and enjoying workouts with his trainer, Tony. But it turns out Will and Tony have very different ideas about the nature of their relationship which comes to light when Will asks his lover to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Tony is like, “do you have all your boyfriends sign these?” and Will is baffled that Tony might think all these dinners, movies and sex might constitute more than something physical. Tony storms out of the room as Deacon walks by. Will is having just about as much luck staying in the closet as Juliette is having hiding her pregnancy!

Now that Tony is gone, Will starts cruising the park at night looking for a hookup and ends up getting a beat down. It was hard to watch. When Deacon sees a cab drop off a bloody, stumbling Will at the hotel, his suspicions are confirmed. He reaches out to Will and even defends him to an irate Luke who’s mad about Will’s black eye and split lip. Just when I think I can’t love Deacon Claybourne more!

Back in Music City, Gunnar’s old girlfriend Kiley who popped up in Nashville in the last couple episodes, tells him she’s moving to Tulsa (thanks for the Oklahoma shout-out, Nashville writers!) to be with some guy she met online — and about that time, in walks a little boy. It took a few additional scenes but yes, the biggest revelation of the night – Gunnar is the daddy. Well, at least according to Kiley. I don’t know if I buy it yet. And Zoey? How is that going to fly? This may be too much.

The episode ended with a bang—Juliette on stage getting ill, and stumbling off into the arms of Noah West, and Zoey covering for her by finishing the number to a horde of screaming fans while Juliette passes out offstage. Has a star just been born?

Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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