Spring has finally arrived for those of us who live in the real Music City. It’s the time to mow our lush green lawns again, enjoy the rising temperatures (and tornado warnings), and plan our trips to the drugstore to buy pollen-allergy medicine by the gross. But in the fictional country music capital, winter lingers on, what with Maddie freezing out Deacon and Rayna, Jeff having an icy reunion with former flame Jade St. John (played by a fierce Christina Aguilera) and Juliette not exactly warming to the idea of motherhood.
Home from the hospital, Juliette and Avery have named their daughter Cadence. Get it? It’s a musical term meaning the notes or chords that come at the end of a musical phrase. However, the word also applies to the modulation or inflection of the voice, and Juliette’s was all over the place as she grew increasingly frustrated with Avery, who left her at home with the newborn to tend to some band business. Instead of trying the “shushing” technique to get little Cadence to sleep, he should have tried that on Juliette – and hidden all the sharp objects in the house. When she finds out she missed out on recording of a song for the end credits of her Patsy Cline movie, Juliette wants Avery to write one with her. Failing that, she reaches out to Deacon, who’s a little preoccupied with that whole having-cancer-and-not-telling-anyone-about-it thing. Needless to say, their writing session doesn’t go well.
Rayna and Deacon are trying to navigate some icy territory at home, especially with Maddie, who is not making it easy. Perhaps because she is A) a hormone-riddled teenager with a secret boyfriend B) Deacon and Rayna’s strong-willed offspring or C) not sure how to deal with Deacon’s diagnosis. If you’re playing along at home, the answer is D) all of the above. The “early study group” she has at school is apparently meeting inside Colt Wheeler’s mouth, because that’s exactly where Rayna finds her daughter when she turns up at the school. Rayna, who had asked Maddie to go with her to the upcoming Jade St. John concert, is none too thrilled to find out that Maddie can’t go because she made plans with friends. She’s even less thrilled when she discovers that Maddie lied about her plans and is going to the concert with Colt. (Rayna obviously doesn’t watch much Judge Judy. To quote one of the esteemed adjudicator’s patented “Judy-isms”: “How do you know when a teenager is lying? Their mouth is moving.”) With Maddie grounded, Luke decides to go to the concert with Colt, even though he laments that he “left all his sparkles at the dry cleaners” and her music isn’t his “cup of whiskey.”
Layla hatches a plan to open for Jade St. John’s opening act and wants Jeff to make it happen. Turns out Jeff and Jade were once engaged and haven’t seen each other in a decade, so their eventual reunion is a mighty frosty one. They once made a great couple obviously, since they can still use each other to get exactly what they want. Layla will sing three songs at the concert and Jade will get to meet her idol, who surprisingly turns out to be Luke Wheeler. Apparently the fumes from the pink (or whatever the hell color that is) hair dye have gone to Jade’s head.
Scarlet and Gunnar continue to have very different feelings about last week’s impromptu duet, and Avery, who has been otherwise occupied, is starting to feel a little a third wheel in his own band. During an interview with a reporter who wants to dig into each of their personal lives, Scarlett is doing her best to make sure Gunnar knows that they were just singing together for that one show. Gunnar’s little digs at Scarlett’s boyfriend, Caleb (a/k/a “Dr. Dork”) and his increasingly smug look are topped off, literally, by a black fedora. We know he’s being an asshole, too, by the way the hat is tilted to one side.
The band performs later at a party, which has Juliette totally wigging out since she wasn’t invited. Avery is worried that if she does show up, he’ll be seen as Mr. Juliette Barnes. Juliette angrily (and hilariously) responds, “I’ll just sit here like a blob and be an unemployed milking machine.” When Avery arrives home, he finds Cadence in the arms of a live-in nanny he has never met before. Juliette, meanwhile, can’t understand why that would bother him. Welcome back, Juliette, you’re back to your old semi-psychotic, narcissistic self. We’ve missed you. Avery eventually decides to pull a Sugarland and quit the group, which is a good thing since Cadence’s mommy is jetting off to L.A.
Also at the band’s party, Will, who has been reluctant to say goodbye to Kevin – and earlier demonstrates that by insulting his songwriting, then trying to make it up with a bottle of whiskey – is happy to see Kevin walk in. Gunnar has encouraged him to let Kevin know how he feels about him, since he has done a 180 and is now warming up to the idea of coming out to and going out with him. Nothing like ripping the bandage off all at once! Before he can reach him at the party, though, Kevin is already talking to someone else. Will takes off for the nearest closet, better known as his house. Later, Kevin shows up at Will’s with beer, which they will obviously need to put on ice since they rather quickly heat things up with the kissing portion of the evening.
Elsewhere, there are sweet little warm fronts moving in all over the place. Maddie apologizes to Deacon and tells him she told Colt he has cancer, Rayna relents about the concert and lets Maddie go, Deacon tells Rayna he doesn’t want to run from her or his illness anymore and backstage at concert, Deacon tells Luke about his cancer. Once she hits the stage, Jade St. John seriously heats things right up. Even Luke has to admit he’s impressed and decides to take Jeff up on the introduction Jade has been waiting for. Not surprisingly, Jeff looks like a cold, abandoned puppy as he watches the sparks fly between them. It’s so bad even Layla notes how much he must have been hurt by her. Don’t worry, Layla, chances are he deserved it.
The most groundbreaking news of the episode (quite literally) is that Mayor Teddy was actually spotted doing something mayoral! He presides over a groundbreaking ceremony for the project funded his secret benefactor (whose cash will help Natasha leave town). The mayor says he’s committed to making Nashville the most eco-friendly and cleanest city in America, although his dirty, behind-the-scenes dealings would suggest otherwise. Natasha wants him to bring her the cash instead of having it wired to her. As he drops off the dough, she tells him, “You’re a good man, Teddy.” “Maybe now I can be,” he says. During their meeting, however, she was wearing a wire. Teddy’s best shot at being clean and eco-friendly is probably the prison recycling program.