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Nashville Recap: Your Presence Is Requested

NASHVILLE - "She's Got You" -As Teddy's wedding day nears, Maddie feels lost and tells Rayna she wants to get to know Deacon better, forcing Rayna to confront Deacon about stepping up to co-parent. Luke Wheeler (Will Chase, "Smash") commiserates with Rayna about the challenges of exes and parenting.  While on tour in Texas, Juliette angers a lecherous but very influential radio DJ who starts promoting Layla at Juliette's expense. Deacon tries to find his way back to music and discovers an unexpected ally in Avery. While on a date with Layla, Will runs into Brent on a date with a new man, and Gunnar finds himself in a power position in his singing and songwriting, on "Nashville," NOVEMBER 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Mark Levine)MAISY STELLA, LENNON STELLA

I’m really surprised ABC execs didn’t promote Teddy and Peggy’s nuptials as “the wedding of the century.” They had ratings gold on their hands and let it slip right through their fingers!

The best thing about Teddy and Peggy’s wedding? Maddie and Daphne sang during it. (Can we get a whole song next time, though? Hell, I’d settle for half a song.) The worst thing about Teddy and Peggy’s wedding? Peggy was there. (Sorry, Peggy. It’s not you, it’s us. Just kidding. It’s totally you.)

Teddy tried to postpone the big event because his teenage daughter was having misgivings. Peggy villainously (but, okay, kind of logically) pointed out that if the approval of teenage girls were a prerequisite, no fathers of teenage girls would ever get married. So Teddy heaved the heavy sigh of a man about to marry Peggy and agreed. Wonder what’s going to happen when he finds out that Peggy isn’t preggy?

Meanwhile, Rayna is distracting herself with fellow country-music star Luke Wheeler, which does make me wonder: Are the actual stars of country music constantly sexing it up with each other and we just don’t know about it? Need to do further research on this. I’m bummed that Liam was again MIA, even though I do love the various tossed-off asides they use to explain his absence. “Liam’s off in parts unknown,” Tandy says (because “Liam’s filming Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland” probably would’ve sounded wrong). Also, shout out to Tandy’s sassy new haircut! (Okay, yes, that was a pity shout out. Connie Britton’s hair can’t get all the love, can it? Although it did look extra-shiny last night.)

So where exactly are they going with the Luke Wheeler story? Even the “previously on Nashville” showed Rayna kissing Luke only after he agreed to let Scarlett open for him. And then, on the phone, she says she’ll go to his ranch once he “sends over the paperwork.” Are we to assume that Rayna is using her sexuality to get what she wants in Nashville, just as Juliette later describes the casting-couch realities of her rise to country stardom? If so, depressing dudes.

That said, if Rayna went to Luke Wheeler’s ranch to shore up Scarlett’s place on his tour, she stayed because, as two divorced parents, they had a genuine connection. “Find a coping mechanism,” Luke suggested. (“In my pants” was implied.) So now Rayna has a new ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend and baby daddy she’s still pining away for, and two dudes she’s sleeping with. She’s going to need a bigger Little Black Book!

Speaking of Maddie’s daddies, how dear was Deacon singing to Maddie from stage and then bashfully trying to be a father to her at the Bluebird? “You’re definitely growing up fast,” he said. “Just not too fast, okay? I just got here.” D’aww. Deacon, of course, spent most of this episode clowning around with Chuckles the Guitarist, a.k.a. Avery. They were kind of the show’s much-needed comic relief this week. How does that come about, anyway? Were Jonathan Jackson and Charles Esten cracking up the crew with their comedy stylings over at craft services so much, it prompted one of the producers to say, “We gotta put this act on the show!”

Whatever the case, they were pretty cute together, especially when Deacon took his first crack at singing without a guitar. “Move around a little,” suggested Avery (current romantic status: not Scarlett’s boyfriend but not not Scarlett’s boyfriend). “You’re holding a guitar, my arms are flapping around,” Deacon moaned. (It was kinda fitting that Shotgun Sally’s had turned into a comedy club, huh?)

On the more serious end: Will’s continued struggles with his own sexuality. They teased us, big time, by having Will and Brent end up alone together in an elevator. Makeout sesh, here we come! I thought. But no such luck. Brent, you see, has a new boyfriend and Will is doing the fauxmance thing with Layla, even though he doesn’t even like her. Later, Will saw a couple of homophobes hassling Brent and decided to handle things by skulking away in shame and then jumping them in a garage. Next, he barreled into Layla’s room and roughly had his way with her. “It’s about time, cowboy,” she purred. It’s safe to say Luke has some issues.

Speaking of issues, I wonder if the repulsive D.J. — nicknamed “Santa Claus” because he likes to have country starlets sit on his lap (eww!) — is based on somebody real or if this is just Nashville’s idea of a Christmas episode? Either way, poor Juliette. Every time she tries to do the right thing, it backfires. “Anybody treats you like a whore, you come tell me,” she tells Layla, protectively. “Guess what. I’m not you. Go save someone else,” Layla snaps back, strutting away. “I guess nice just ain’t my color,” Juliette says. (Does anyone deliver a devastatingly-sarcastic-one-liner-that-paradoxically-covers-up-hurt-feelings-and-a-lifetime-of-being-screwed-over-while-nonetheless-displaying-toughness-and-irony-in-the-face-of-life’s-adversities better than Hayden Panettiere? You can go ahead and quote me on that, Hayden.) And raise your hand if you saw the Olivia twist coming? I literally screamed at my TV when she kissed Juliette. Keep surprising me, show, I like it. 

In keeping with the episode’s darker theme of the compromises everyone makes for stardom, looks like Gunnar has gotten into bed (figuratively, in this case) with shady Jeff Fordham, agreeing to sell him his soul (I mean his song! his song!) in exchange for a shot on the label. So Gunnar is going to be — what? — auditing Luke Wheeler’s tour? Like grad school? All I know is that Gunnar and Scarlett on the same tour bus is bad news. And by bad news, I mean good news, of course.

Photo: Mark Levine/ABC