Greetings fellow Nashville-ians and welcome to another hour of southern drama at its finest. Nashville‘s season premiere was all about paying the piper for last season’s loose ends, but this week’s episode, titled “Never No More,” focuses on creating brand new controversies for our beloved characters.

While Rayna works to get herself back into singing commission post-coma under the watchful eye of a new boss, Juliette goes head-to-head with her toughest nemesis yet — a younger version of herself as well as demons from her past. Move over Queens of Country, it looks like there’s a new Pop Princess in town, y’all. And to top it off, there’s even a surprise cameo from a certain late night host. Let’s dig right in!

There’s a New Sheriff in Town

Okay, I’m not referring to an actual sheriff in this case, but it paints the right image for this scenario, so let’s just go with it. Edgehill Records now has a new label head in the form of Jeff Fordham (played by the very attractive Oliver Hudson) whose first order of business is to meet with all of the label’s clients, including Juliette, Rayna, Scarlett, and Will.

Worried that her new label Highway 65 could be in jeopardy, Rayna insists on attending (you know, because when you’re recovering from a major car accident, the first thing you should do is go back to work). Everything seems great at first with Jeff praising Miss James’ work…that is until he secretly tries to get Will to ditch Rayna’s album and sign a record deal of his very own.

Rayna eventually catches wind of this backdoor deal and is none to happy with her sly new boss. She immediately confronts Jeff, ensuring him that he won’t take her artist away from her. But sadly, that’s exactly what ends up happening. Even having a nice heart-to-heart with Will about helping him grow as an artist and find his voice, he chooses to fly solo with Edgehill, leaving poor Rayna out in the cold. Of course, she handles the news like the professional she is and wishes Will the best of luck. But something tells me everything’s not going to be coming up roses for very long…especially now that the marketing PR guy happens to have a very intimate history with our closeted country crooner.

And it looks like Miss James might be making some big career changes herself. By episode’s end, she hints about leaving Edgehill Records entirely. Let’s hope she’s referring to a new label and not early retirement.

Road To Recovery

Deacon is acting as stubborn as ever. He refuses to begin his physical therapy after learning from his doctor that his hand may never fully recover, officially kissing his guitar playing days goodbye. But instead of taking the doctor’s advice, he opts to put his arm in cast, which is basically the complete opposite of physical therapy. Deacon is too depressed to care. Luckily, Scarlett is just as sick of these temper-tantrums as we are and starts dishing out some much-needed tough love. She asks him what was worth throwing away 13 years of sobriety, to which he informs her about Maddie being his biological daughter. She’s shocked, of course, but eventually calls her dear uncle out for giving up so easily, reminding him that things could be a lot worse. (Way to get some backbone, Scar!) Knowing deep down that she’s right, he cuts his cast off with a handsaw, which I supposed is a way to represent his new-found desire to begin therapy, but really it just looked highly unsafe. (Don’t try this at home, kids!)

Meanwhile, Teddy’s been staying at the house with a recovering Rayna and you can tell there’s definitely still some feelings between those two, especially on his end. But Rayna doesn’t want them to be stuck in limbo between marriage and divorce and suggests he move out since it’s just too confusing for the girls. Maddie’s already giving Rayna the cold shoulder as it is. She also meets up with Deacon at the scene of their accident and pretty much tells him that they should just go their separate ways, even giving him back what I can only assume is the engagement ring he didn’t remember giving her back in the day. He looked sad, but resigned as he threw the ring to the ground next to the sentimental heap left by fans. Even now I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, but on the plus side — Rayna’s now free and single!

Speaking of single, Gunnar’s adjusting to life in the single lane with a severe case of writer’s block (even though going through heartbreak is usually a country singer’s bread and butter). However, he ends up finding inspiration in Scarlett’s best childhood friend, Zoey, who he met while moving the rest of Scarlett’s furniture out of the house. Looks like the guy’s found himself a new muse. And I’m sure this won’t cause any rifts in friendships down the road…

Juliette 2.0

Juliette’s been keeping herself busy promoting her new album, even dropping by for an interview with Conan. But Jeff is less than thrilled with her attempts to mature as an artist. Tweens aren’t loving her new stuff and mature audiences are too busy buying the best of Rayna James in light of her accident. So Juliette devises her own business plan — head down to her childhood home in Alabama (with her new friend Avery in toe) on the pretense of reconnecting with her roots, but in reality it’s to gain sympathy in the press.

Sure enough, her plan works, skyrocketing her single to the No. 1 spot on iTunes…but not for long. Meet Layla Grant — a 19-year-old American Hitmaker runner-up who Jeff just took on as a new client. The tweens absolutely love her, which puts her in direct competition with Juliette. (It’s like her very own Mini-Me!) And did anyone else love the major side-eye Miss Barnes was throwing the new girl upon learning she stole her No. 1 spot in the iTunes charts? I personally can’t wait for these two to throw down. And to top it all off, Layla performs a “Juliette Barnes classic” in front of everyone at Jeff’s big party. It felt more like karaoke than anything else though. Someone please explain how this girl edged out Juliette because those vocals just weren’t doing it for me. At least Juliette now sort of knows what Rayna felt like at the beginning of season one. Get ready for an intense showdown, y’all!

What did you think of this week’s episode of Nashville? Will Rayna really follow through on leaving Edgehill? Are you excited for a Layla-Juliette catfight? Sound off on your thoughts in the comments below!

Nashville airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on ABC.

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Kelly Schremph

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV