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Nashville Recap: Unchain My Heart

Picture this recap starting with confetti and a noisemaker and maybe even a small brass band. 'Cause DEACON AND RAYNA DID IT, Y’ALL! And they didn’t just do it, they were all honest and raw and full of emotions and stuff. At one point, Rayna practically re-created Julia Roberts’s “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love me” speech from Notting Hill.

Oh, as the kids say, the feels.

Of course, this was not before the show presented us with the ultimate misdirection in the form of sexy, sexy Liam, being his devastatingly sexy self.  “I just want to live in the moment,” Rayna told Liam, as they set up a little last-minute recording session. “I feel freer than I ever have.” And this was Liam’s cue to reach over and kiss her — they allegedly went to “second base” according to Rayna, although not on my TV screen they didn’t. (Unless I’ve had the bases confused all these years.) Regardless, it was getting kinda hot in there until stupid Bucky had to walk in and ruin everything/save the day. Because you see, my hormones were so confused! (As were Rayna’s, no doubt.) Yes, Liam is sexy (yeah, Max, we get it, you think Liam is sexy) and yes, Deacon is supposedly happy with that veterinarian chick (pfft!), but Deacon and Rayna are meant to be together. They’re in loooooove. So that make-out sesh interruptus was obviously a blessing in disguise.

More on that later, 'cause all sorts of juicy stuff was happening all over the show.

First, I must give credit where credit is due (or in this case, credit where credit is dude). When Gunnar and Will were sitting side by side on the couch, their legs and heads almost touching, I thought: Does the show realize how, well ... intimate this seems? I was envisioning this scene launching thousands of Gunnar and Will slash fan fictions. And I was chuckling over that fine line between bromantic and romantic that the show had inadvertently crossed. And then ... WILL KISSED GUNNAR. (Okay, I really need to step away from the caps lock right now.) How did I not see this coming? I mean, I did see it coming, but I didn’t believe my lyin’ eyes. Holy plot twist, Batman! I actually love the fact that Will — Mr. Ladies Man, Mr. Collecting All the Phone Numbers of the Honeys at the Bar — is secretly gay and I hope the show doesn’t jettison this plot now that things have gotten awkward with Gunnar.

If the theme of last night’s show was: That obvious thing that seems really obvious is, in fact, obvious, then I give you Exhibit B: Dante. So the sleazy, opportunistic, sober-coach-responsibility-shirking Dante is, in fact, a creep? I am shocked, shocked, shocked! Yeah, poor Juliette learned the hard way, after he embezzled money from her (oooooh!), planted fake pills on Jolene (the skullduggery!), and ran off with the real-estate agent (that dog!). Frankly, I think Dante should’ve played the long game with Juliette — he had that poor little rich girl wrapped around his finger — but he decided to cut and run. I’ll give him some small measure of credit: The woman he ran away with isn’t exactly a beauty queen (another of the show’s misdirections), so he must love her for her ... personality. But now that Dante is gone, will Juliette apologize to Deacon and try to get him back as her bandleader? Hmmm.

Anyway, other characters did other things.

Lamar is out of the hospital, and as stubborn and ornery as you’d expect him to be. But there’s been a thaw between him and Rayna — they came to a real understanding in that hospital and they both want to “start over.” This leaves Rayna’s sister Tandy slightly out in the cold, especially when Lamar finds out that she was the one who told Teddy about Lamar’s secret contact with Peggy. Now Tandy and her Daddy are at odds (Do you think Tandy and Teddy and Daddy and Peggy could all do a scene together, just for the Dr. Seussian possibilities?). And now she’s conspiring with Coleman to get back at Teddy for his disclosure. Uh-oh, hell hath no fury like a secondary character scorned. Also, Teddy broke up with Peggy. And no one cares, except for that one girl in Sheboygan who has an I HEART PEGGY AND TEDDY Tumblr and is an absolute mess right now.

Avery is still doing his roadie thing and still being really nice to everybody. He’s so humbled, he’s practically had a personality transplant. At one point, I expect them to just swap out Jonathan Jackson for one of those posters of a cat with giant, sad eyes.

All right, back to the good stuff. Let’s recount all the dramatic moments that led to the Rayna and Deacon sexytimes. So Deacon is watching Liam and Rayna get all physical onstage and he just can’t take it anymore! He excuses himself and skulks off to the bathroom and doesn’t come back. Stacey can’t help but notice this (she has an advanced degree, after all) and asks him if he still has feelings for Rayna. “Yes,” he says. Damn. Stacey storms off, which is fine, because she either has a loft in Brooklyn or a husband in the FBI she needs to get back to, depending on which fandom you’re a part of. And Rayna witnesses the whole thing and says, “What’s the matter?” And Deacon says, “You.” (Wow. Did Deacon swallow some sodium pentothal this evening or what?) “I tried forever to fight this thing between you and me and just when I think I get there ... ” Deacon starts.

“You ready?” Liam interrupts.  “We’re going to St. Lucia together,” Rayna explains sadly. “You need to call Stacey and make it right.” And I’m thinking: Dag. Will these crazy kids ever be on the same page? But then I think: Well, sigh ... I suppose it’s the show’s job to maximize our torture so Deacon and Rayna probably won’t get it on until the middle of season three. Again, I sorely underestimate the show. Because not only did we not have to wait until season three, we barely had to wait until the commercial break. Rayna shows up at Deacon’s door and does her Julia Roberts routine and for a second, Deacon’s all like, “How dare you play with my emotions like that?” But then he’s like, “Just kidding. Let’s get naked.” Hooray!

So where does that leave us now? There’s really nothing standing in the way of Deacon and Rayna being happy and together, right? It could very well be smooth sailing from here on out.

God, I hope not.

Photo: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC