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On this episode of Nashville, “Fire and Rain,” Zach wants to release Rayna’s final album but faces opposition from Deacon, Juliette takes Maddie on a road trip and Scarlett has big news.

The earth keeps spinning, even without Rayna James, so at Highway 65, it’s back to business. Bucky’s found a tour for The Exes to join. Scarlett is hesitant about going on the road, but Deacon makes it clear he doesn’t want her smothering/mothering him and the girls any longer, so she reluctantly agrees.

Never Say Never

Zach wants to discuss releasing Rayna’s final album to the public, and Deacon points out it isn’t finished. He wants to know when it will be done, and Deacon responds “never.” Zach may claim to understand that this is a raw subject for Deacon, but he still pushes, citing other albums that have been released unfinished. Deacon says Rayna wouldn’t have wanted that, but Zach argues that maybe Highway 65 owes it to Rayna’s fans. Deacon feels the only person he owes anything to is Rayna.

Juliette drops by the house with provisions. She learns that Maddie has been getting calls to appear on national television, but nobody in the family thinks it’s a good time for Maddie to step into the spotlight. Juliette says that Maddie is having a moment — good timing or bad — and these shows would give Maddie a shot to play her music on a bigger stage.

Juliette offers to step in and take Maddie to NYC. Scarlett isn’t a fan of breaking the family up at the moment, and Maddie thinks the only reason people want her is because she cried during the CMT performance in front of the whole world.

Deacon tells his daughter that the reason people want her is because she got up on a big stage during the hardest moment imaginable, and she was magical. Maddie agrees to go with the blessing of her father. He says Rayna would be nervous for Maddie but excited too. (Ahhh, if I recall, Rayna did not want Maddie in the biz at such a tender age, and had to rescue Maddie from a sexual predator in the Big Apple just a few months prior.)

Zach complains to Will that Deacon is treating him like some kind of monster. Everybody grieves differently, and Zach feels he owes it to Rayna’s company, her legacy, to release her record. Wills suggests that maybe Zach give it some time, but he counters there is no time. This is the moment when the whole world is watching, and it won’t last. Zach asks Will to intervene, thinking Deacon might be more receptive to a fellow artist.

Will sits down with Bucky and Deacon and pleads Zach’s case. The guy cares, and his way of showing it is to keep Rayna’s company doing well. Without this album, he’s not optimistic about Highway 65’s chances. Buck agrees that Zach isn’t wrong. Thanks to the acquisition of Wheelin’ Dealin’ records, Highway 65 will be in the red for the near future. Bucky and Rayna thought their deal with Zach didn’t have a downside, but that’s before they took on a boatload of debt. If Zach decides to yank his money out, Highway 65 is dead in the water.

Will makes it clear that Zach isn’t the bad guy, and nobody has said anything about him threatening to leave, he just wants to be met halfway. Deacon promises to think about it.

Maddie Tries to Move On; Deacon Can’t Let Go

Maddie’s first stop is The Daily Show and she gets through the first few questions about life without Rayna but starts to break down and asks to change the subject. When the conversation turns to her singing and songwriting, Maddie perks up. While she doesn’t sing on the show, Maddie belts a few notes out at Trevor’s request backstage.

Deacon, Daphne and Scarlett watch from home, and Daphne confides in Scarlett that she’s having a rough time. Every time she thinks of Rayna it makes her feel sick, so she’s trying to push her mom out of her mind which only makes Daphne think of her more. Scarlett has some experience in this department, and she advises Daphne that maybe the best thing to do is reflect on all the good, and eventually she’ll realize all that good is still inside of her.

Daphne questions why everyone wants Maddie and not both of them. Scarlett answers it’s because the world is shallow and obsessed with beautiful young women. But that’s good for Daphne since she’s quickly becoming one. Scarlett offers to sing one of Rayna’s songs with Daphne, but she takes a hard pass.

Deacon decides to immerse himself in everything Rayna. While he can’t get through one track of the recent album, he watches some old performances of them together and goes through her journals and other keepsakes Rayna stored in an old suitcase. He gets insight into a side of Rayna she never shared. Her regrets about not telling him about Maddie, and her love for him. In spite of every complication or no matter how scary it got, Rayna never wavered. 

Maddie continues to make the rounds, and she becomes more at ease dealing with questions about Rayna. In fact, she even gets a little flippant, stating that maybe good things can come from tragedy. This doesn’t sit well with Daphne who seems intent on torturing herself watching her sister get all this attention in the wake, and as a result, of their devastating loss.

The press runs with Maddie’s comments, twisting them into headlines that have Maddie thanking her mom for all the good things that have come from Rayna’s death.

Watching Daphne and Deacon suffer, Scarlett tells Gunnar she can’t leave them and go on tour. He tries to convince her that she’s not Daphne’s caretaker, Deacon is. She keeps telling people to put one foot in front of the other, but Scarlett isn’t following her own advice. She can’t put her own life on hold forever. Scarlett isn’t swayed.

The Bottom Line

Zach calls a meeting, and tells Deacon that Rayna’s last album is an asset, something Highway 65 has precious little of currently. Eventually, Juliette will have a new record, and he hopes they can get Maddie recording, but they need a quick fix. Deacon explains the album is duets, and while they have the scratch tracks of Rayna’s side, he hasn’t done his yet. Zach thinks they can piece the album together, but Deacon points out the songs are about undying love. Deacon knows Zach wants something from him that he’s not willing to give and wants to know if the mogul is giving veiled threats about pulling out.

Zach schools Deacon that there are threats coming at Highway 65 from the outside, and at the end of the day, the label is a business and not a charity. It’s also the business that supports Daphne and Maddie.

Bucky does his best to play peacekeeper, telling Deacon that nobody would know what Rayna wanted creatively more than him. Bucky asks Deacon to step back and think about what Rayna would have wanted for the company she put so much of her heart and soul into. Deacon tells Zach to do whatever he wants, but he’s tired of Zach trying to profit off the family’s grief.

Seize the Day

A sobbing Maddie calls Scarlett, saying that everyone is insinuating Maddie doesn’t care about her mother’s death. Juliette wants Maddie to soldier on, but Scarlett lets Maddie know she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to. Scarlett tells her niece that she’s sure Juliette means well, but that doesn’t mean she knows what’s best for Maddie. Scarlett also takes a swipe at Juliette by pointing out to Maddie that the country diva (former) hasn’t always made great life choices. Scarlett encourages Maddie to come home, throwing in that Deacon needs her.

Maddie arrives home and expresses regret at her decision to leave in the first place. Deacon tries to comfort her, telling his daughter it can be confusing to have good things happen at a time like this. Maddie says she forgot to be sad for one minute, and now she feels like the worst daughter. Deacon is convinced that if Rayna was there she would be proud. Maddie questions if Deacon’s okay, and he lies and replies that he’s getting there.

Juliette isn’t letting Maddie off the hook. She breezes in and chastises Maddie for her unprofessional behavior in New York. Juliette has also patched things up with the producers of The Today Show and expects Maddie to make an appearance. Juliette wants Maddie to understand that one of the most amazing things to happen is when you get your shot, and it may not come when you want it to, and it most certainly won’t happen again. Maddie has to seize this or regret it for the rest of her life.

Scarlett thinks Juliette is overstepping and believes there are more important things than chasing after fame. Juliette questions how Scarlett would know, especially since she seems afraid of success. Maddie can’t deal with the two of them and storms out.

The Billionaire Blues

Will has to deal with his boyfriend’s pissy mood. Zach is upset that just because he’s trying to do the right thing, he’s become the villain. Will suggests that maybe not everyone thinks it’s the right thing. Zach complains about what a bummer it is to have money and how often he gets mistreated. Boo….Radley….hoo.

It Takes a Village

Bucky, Will, Avery and Gunnar come by the house. Bucky, Will and Gunnar are eager to get what they need from Deacon, but Scarlett is like a pit bull. Gunnar states the obvious which is that this decision about the album affects more than Deacon. Everyone involved with Highway 65 has something to lose.

Avery tries to be the voice of reason. Everyone needs to stop acting like Deacon’s grief is strange. The man just lost the love of his life. How’s he supposed to act? They all need to be there for Deacon instead of asking things from him.

Scarlett apologizes to Maddie for witnessing her blow up with Scarlett. Juliette feels she’s got a special connection to Maddie because of Rayna. Every time Juliette stumbled in her career, Rayna was there to pick her up, even when she didn’t deserve it. Now, Juliette sees the opportunity to thank her. She sees so much potential in Maddie and thinks the only thing the young singer needs is someone in her corner who has some experience in the industry. Juliette wants to manage Maddie’s career and take her all the way to the top.

Deacon watches footage from the video shot while he and Rayna were writing, and he loses it, weeping uncontrollably. The crying gives way to something else as he listens to Rayna go on and on about his strength. Deacon has the uncanny ability to pick himself up over and over, and she know he’s the best possible father for their kids. Conveniently, she also says she knows he’ll never give up on her or their record or any other damn thing she drags him into. (That’s right, Deacon. Time to buck up little camper and do right by Rayna.)

Deacon emerges from his funk and finds Bucky, Avery, Juliette, Gunnar, Scarlett and Will working on the album. Avery says they were hoping to finish it in a way Rayna would have loved. They caught him at a good time, and he encourages them to keep going. So, it becomes a tribute with everyone lending their considerable vocal talents, and ya’ll just know that Rayna is smiling down from heaven, especially when Deacon steps up to the mic.

Highway 65 is saved, Juliette and Scarlett bury the hatchet, Deacon and the girls are on the road to recovery, The Exes head out on tour, and OMG, Scarlett is pregnant! Who’s the daddy? Your guess is as good as hers.

Will Juliette be a good manager? Is it time for Nashville to put Rayna James in its rearview mirror? Was Scarlett’s pregnancy a total shock? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

(Image courtesy of CMT)

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