Life was a relative mess for most of Nashville's main characters as the CMA Awards unfolded in this week's episode. "Relative," in the sense that everywhere they turned, it seemed someone's relative (whether past, present or future) was causing them distress. Thankfully, they had Trisha Yearwood, Joe Nichols, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and the Band Perry, plus some nifty shelf bling to console them.
Mr. Country Superstar (a.k.a. Luke Wheeler) had Rayna seriously questioning their upcoming wedding when she discovered that he had drawn up a prenuptial agreement. As if that wasn't bad enough, the dude started downing drinks and proceeded to make a spectacular jackass of himself. It probably didn't help that the first person Rayna thanked when she won her first award of the night was Deacon, who stayed a safe distance from the whole thing as he and Scarlett donned their PJs and ate popcorn, but still managed to sense something rotten in Rukeland. But since the award for was for a song Rayna and Deacon penned together, can you blame her? To be fair, she probably didn't help things by thanking her ex-producer (and friend with benefits) Liam – who is so far gone by now that he might as well be living in another world, like on Game of Thrones.
Juliette grumbles that she looks like "a hippo in tulle and lace" and starts having traumatic flashbacks of being left alone as a child and also of her mother's suicide that coincided with last year's awards. Meeting the judgmental parents of your baby daddy will do that to you. But after taking so much abuse, and seeing how hurt she was by it as well, Avery stands up to his dad and tells Juliette, "We're us… and we've got this." (Are you listening, Luke?) Juliette also reveals to him that their baby is a girl.
Will gives Layla a pep talk before they leave for the show, and while he's like an excitable puppy on the red carpet, she's immediately on the defensive when a reporter seizes on her reality-show past and present and incorrectly defines "irony." When the CMA show writers give Layla a lame joke to deliver to capitalize on her "dumb brunette" image, she tells the crowd, "Just so you all know, I deferred Harvard." But instead of shutting them down, the remark became a rapidly trending hashtag, meme and all those other things that tend to break the Internet. Will was too busy to console her, however. He was visibly disappointed by losing Best New Artist to Sadie Stone.
And let's talk about Sadie, shall we? We now know that Pete, her ex, has found her, and that that's the last thing she wanted him to do. We also know, after that spectacular performance on the show that she most likely deserved to win Best New Artist. We can't wait to hear more from her in the coming weeks (and ABC has assured us we will).
After he sees her with a "date" at the awards show, Teddy goes in search of the prostit … uh, "escort" Jeff had hired for him. His need to please his constituency is admirable.
Thanks to his nominated song, Gunnar has to explain to Micah what the expression "ball and chain" means. It's to his credit that Gunnar doesn't immediately chime in with, "Why don't you take this one, Zoey?" When Jeff asks Zoey to come by his office, Gunnar interrupts, not only because she's consorting with the devil, but also because he's just learned that Kylie's parents haven't heard from her in months. It's at this point that Micah goes missing and Gunnar is off on a frantic search for him throughout Bridgestone Arena.
Tensions continue to escalate between Luke and Rayna. Luke doesn't let her get a word in edgewise when they win Musical Event of the Year for "Ball and Chain," and eventually tells her that the only reason her album went gold is because he proposed to her on the day she released it. Side note to Rayna: See how dangerously pointy and bullet-shaped those beautiful CMA Awards are? Of course, you could always use Luke's trophy for Male Vocalist. Now, that would be ironic, don't you think? (Actually, we're not sure it would be. Layla?)
Trisha Yearwood is on hand for the presentation of the night's big prize. And the award for CMA Entertainer of the Year goes to… Rayna Jaymes! In her speech, which she directs right at Luke, she says, "To all the men out there, just remember we're not trying to take anything from you. There's plenty of sunshine for all of us." Nicely said, Rayna! That's why you were six for six tonight.
As the episode ends and the CMAs are a wrap, Gunnar has finally located Micah (whom he might want to consider getting micro-chipped). Luke apologizes to Rayna and she accepts; Layla asks Will to hold her and he does; Avery unzips Juliette's dress and then goes home; and Deacon texts Rayna to congratulate her. But it's Zoey who has the last word, telling Gunnar she's not going to make him choose between her and Micah. "I'm choosing for you," she says, as she breaks up with him and takes off to stay with Deacon and Scarlett. If this is ABC's way of rebooting Three's Company, we're in.