Last night’s Nashville was all about family–where you come from, who knows your darkest secrets, and where you turn when your blood relations let you down. Stirring stuff, but really, I’d rather just more singing.

So, we open with the ladies of Clan James standing at the headstone of Rayna and Tandy’s mom (who, as you’ll recall, died suddenly when Rayna was a teen). Maddie, Rayna’s elder daughter, is in full I-hate-you teenage mode as Rayna suggests that the girls get prettied up and come to the symphony benefit gala that evening.

Cut to Sketchy Teddy, relaxing at home with Not-Preggy Peggy, who’s taking pregnancy test after test in hopes that she will turn up pregnant and avoid being caught in her lie. This is such a stupid plotline that it makes me dislike everyone involved even more than I already did. Anyway, NPP comes out to canoodle with Sketchy Teddy, who talks about his upcoming political career and scandal and yada yada…and then gives NPP his grandmother’s ring! Oh, Sketch, you deserve this fruit loop. So now they’re engaged (ew) but Sketchy Teddy doubles down on the sketchiness by suggesting that they keep said engagement on the DL for now.

In the blink of an eye-roll, the James girls are all cocktailed up in glam dresses, entering a ballroom to greet their father/grandfather (depending on which girls you’re looking at). Maddie is cordial to Grandpa, but Vile Teenager about everything else, and is bored senseless by the party. (Which, um, duh? What twelve-year-old wants to go to a society benefit?) She sulks around some more and eventually they run into Sketchy Teddy, trailing NPP. Surprise! Rayna is snide but civil-ish, the girls are initially happy until NPP comes up to make small talk–Maddie, you may recall, knows about the affair with NPP, and thus is Not Having It. Especially when she notices a little piece of jewelry on a chain around NPP’s neck. She shouts at her, “That’s my grandmother’s ring!” and if this were Real Housewives of Nashville, she would have flipped a table.


She storms off while the adults point fingers.

Lest you think Tandy is just standing around this whole while, she’s been doing a little family digging of her own–namely, into her mom’s death. Background: the feds approached her to ask for her help in exposing Lamar’s corrupt practices over years of city development, and she rejected them, refusing to turn on her father. But she’s since hired an investigator to look into the night her mother had her fatal accident, and whaddaya know, Lamar wasn’t where he said he’d be that night! Could he have been involved in killing his wife (who, as you may recall, he knew was having an affair)? Let’s just say that Tandy feels convinced enough, after a little “subtle” questioning of dear ol’ Dad, that she goes to the feds with a flash drive heavy with incriminating data.

Bored of the James Family Players yet? Well, on the other side of town we’ve got Juliette, who’s scrambling to get her career jumpstarted again…and Rayna’s thrown a wrench in it by canceling the tour. She says it’s because she has to spend more time with her family right now, but of course we know it’s really about her voice. And in fact, Juliette knows it as well–or suspects it, anyway, because she and her manager speculate about it, and she hilariously shouts, “Doesn’t she know that’s what lip synching is for?!?” Oh, Juliette, never change. But either way, now she’s a fading star without a tour, and she doesn’t want to go back to doing all her teeny bopper stuff. She tries (and we get to see rehearsal on one number called “I’m a Girl,” which is super Britney-esque in its hair flipping and dance moves–kudos to the show’s songwriters for creating something that could obviously have been a big pop hit, yet feels insipid now), but her heart’s not in it, and she screams at her manager to “find another way.”

Deacon is still on his AA Apology Tour (ironically, not brought to us by AAA), and tonight it takes him to his lawyer’s office. He tried to pay her for her services in getting him out of jail despite his determination to self-immolate, and she refuses the money. But Lady Lawyer is a smart cookie, so when Deacon tries to insist she suggests dinner instead. After some banter and a little exchange of baggage, the two go back to Deacon’s place to hook up. YEAH LADY LAWYER YOU GO GIRL. But unfortunately their hook-uppery is interrupted by…Rayna. She’s looking for Maddie, who has run away from the gala and is now just missing! Deacon agrees to stay put in case she shows up, but the mood has been ruined.

And where is Maddie? Well, she discovered that running away in heels and a party dress is never a great idea when you’re too young to drive. Having walked two miles from the gala, she finds herself lost and pretty much without resources…but she has her phone, and the person she calls to get her out of this mess? Juliette Barnes, who promised Maddie she could call if she ever needed to talk. And this is why I love this show–because impetuous, sullen Juliette comes and gets Maddie, listens to her vent, gets her a robe to change into and calls her mom, because she knows a frantic mother needs a call more than an angry teen needs secrecy. Well done, Juliette. Rayna appears to pick up her wayward child, and she and J have a nice little moment where Juliette points out that Maddie mostly wants answers from her mom.

The Scarlett/Gunnar/Will/Mysterious Best Friend C-plot is bleh, but basically involves Scarlett discovering that the business of making music isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, while Gunnar decides he wants to keep his hot new song and not give it to Will to record. This enrages Will, who pitches a fit and tells Gunnar he’s being dumb–but Gunnar basically tells Will he made his own bed by promising things he couldn’t deliver to the label. (Sidebar: is it seriously the recording artist’s job to go out and secure a song? They don’t have someone at the record company doing that?)

As we end the evening, we see Rayna telling Maddie stories about Deacon when they were younger, and talking about which songs were about Rayna. Maddie has learned one, and goes up to teach it to her little sister. We then get a lovely rendition from both of them (little sister having psychically learned it after one hearing?), but it’s pretty so I’ll suspend disbelief.

Until next week, y’all!