Who Will Come to Deacon's Aid on 'Nashville'?

We knew it was a possibility and unfortunately, Nashville 's midseason premiere has now confirmed our worst nightmare: Deacon has cancer and is in need of a liver transplant ASAP. According to his doctor, the tumor is 4.5 cm in diameter and if a donor is not found by the time it reaches 5 cm, he'll no longer be eligible for the procedure. So, in other words, time is of the essence here for our beloved Mr. Claybourne, but I highly doubt finding a match will be a very easy feat. Naturally, Scarlett was the first to volunteer her services for her uncle. However, given that they don't share the same blood type (Deacon is Type O), she didn't qualify as a compatible match. So, of course, this begs the question — who will?

Because that's where all of this is leading, right? Trying to figure out who has the power to save Deacon's life. There's always the chance Maddie will be a match, since she's his biological daughter, but I think Nashville will make it more complicated than that. While I'd like to think it'll end up being a willing, adult participant like Rayna or even Gunnar, odds are the one person who could make this problem go away will be someone who has no desire to see Deacon happy. Someone like Luke, for instance. We already know at this point that the guy is a world class jerk, but would he go so far as to forego the procedure and leave Deacon to die? I'm hoping even Luke wouldn't be that cruel, though at this point it's hard to say.

However, this is all a moot point until Deacon actually starts telling people that he's sick. Because as of right now, only Scarlett knows the truth and he apparently wants to keep it that way for the foreseeable future. You see, Deacon is tired of having others take care of him — first with his alcoholism and now this. And since things with Rayna are starting to head in a positive direction once again (yay, by the way!), he wants to be the one taking care of her, not the other way around. It's a sweet sentiment for sure, but this is his life on the line here. Now is not the time to be stubborn. Plus, Rayna would want to know what's going on, so that she can help. Keeping this secret from her will only end up driving them apart — mark my words.

But regardless, the clock is officially ticking, my friends. So let's just hope that this mystery donor makes himself/herself known sooner rather than later. Because, I don't know about you, but a Nashville without Deacon Claybourne is a television series I want no part of.

Images: Mark Levine/ABC; cullenrutherford/Tumblr