'Nashville' recap: Scarlett has her heart broken as Rayna tries to shore up Highway 65's future

With each new batch of 500 words I write about Nashville, I come closer and closer to the end of coherent thought and into the mouth of madness, where logic has flown away on a fiery squidbear and all that's left is sulfuric mist that scream-whispers the name "JEFF FORDHAM" as the ground keeps dropping out beneath me, endlessly. That's actually the most accurate depiction of what's going on in my brain right now as I try to parse my notes for something, anything to say about this show. We've gone the "this happened" route before in an attempt to just power through. We've focused exclusively on one plot point (usually Juliette and Avery), pretending that 30 minutes of the episode didn't actually transpire. But you start to wonder sitting through another exhausting 42 minutes, which somehow feel like 187, whether you didn't commit some terrible crime in a previous life (or this one) and have been sentenced to the most dull Hell possible.


Smug asshole cowboy singer Luke is back from his international tour (or whatever the hell reason was concocted to maintain his guest star status) and making pancakes for Rayna with jury-rigged buttermilk, because he's not only a SENSUAL MAN but a SENSITIVE and THOUGHTFUL one too, who's just about the greatest catch you could ever imagine. I don't even know why I'm getting so mad at a fictional character on a show filled with more regularly appearing jerkweeds, but something about about this guy just RANKLES. I hope he's the next Nashville death victim. That's to say nothing of the actor who plays him, who I'm sure is a nice guy.

What has Will been up to these past 3-4 weeks? Still holding onto the vestiges of his career, and still dating Layla Grant, for whatever reason. But now things are COMPLICATED, brother, with Layla basically being dropped from Edgehill Republic and losing her virginity to a closeted singer in the same week. That's a lot of pressure for old Will! Anyway we're weeks away from Will being outed, Layla leaving the show forever, and everything happening exactly as you might predict it would.

For no particular reason except the frailty of human flesh and a shared dark past, Teddy and Deacon's girlfriend (Egg, or Ann, or Her?) get it on in Teddy's car following a night of heavy drinking for old Teddy. Actually, they get it on in Teddy's car overlooking...some spot lawyer lady used to drive when she was thinking about her dead husband? The whole scenario is somehow overly macabre and nonsensical at the same time, a PERFECT balance of flavors. When Deacon finds out, will he use his fractured guitar hand to kill Teddy? Kill both of them? Murder the entire city of Nashville? One great thing about the future is that it's filled with endless possibility.

There's tension in the new band that Gunnar, Avery, and Zoe formed. But they mostly solve it before their big musical number at the end. MAJOR FRUSTRATION WITH THIS SHOW: Nashville would be able to actually dramatize and explore this or another storyline if it didn't try to cram in 16 of them every episode. Like, do we need to check in on every single character this week? Can we never check in on Scarlett ever again?

Though maybe, now that Scarlett's fragile bird heart has been shattered by Treme's favorite recovering drug addict, she'll actually do something wild (wilder than briefly taking caffeine pills) and give us a Scarlett we haven't seen before. Maybe? RELATED: How has Rayna not managed to sign a single other musician to her label in the last 4-5 months? Why would you rest the entire creative and financial future of your business on SCARLETT?!

I apologize for at least 300 of the words above, wholeheartedly stand by 100, and know that the remainder will just float off into the ether of the Internet to never be heard from again. I'm going to try and find some goodness to hold onto next week.

Image: ABC