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“Nashville” Returns With Rayna & Deacon’s Wedding; What To Expect In “Forever And For Always”

The final “Nashville” episode of 2015 featured Rayna accepting Deacon’s proposal.

The first “Nashville” episode of 2016 features their wedding.

Opting not to spend episodes chronicling their engagement, ABC’s country music soap jumps right into the union between the central characters.

That is not to say the wedding goes off without a hitch. The nuptials indeed inspire drama; that drama takes center stage in Wednesday’s midseason premiere.

While Rayna, Deacon, and the “Nashville” fanbase may see the marriage as the obvious, inevitable union between two soulmates, several other key characters have their reservations. Deacon, after all, has his flaws and demons, and those issues spark serious concerns about whether he represents an ideal addition to Rayna’s family.

The wedding is the primary focus of Wednesday’s episode, but it is not the only featured storyline. Wednesday’s episode also shines the spotlight on Avery, while providing updates on Will, Gunnar, and Scarlett. As Colt continues to hold the truth of how Jeff died, the late executive’s heartbroken girlfriend and client Layla Grant resurfaces.

Headline Planet screened the episode, which airs Wednesday at 10PM ET. Here is what to expect (don’t worry, there are no major spoilers included):

Rayna Marries Deacon
ABC is advertising a Rayna-Deacon wedding, and Wednesday’s episode delivers that wedding. The episode does introduce degrees of drama and uncertainty, but when push comes to shove, there is never any doubt that the two lovebirds and longtime musical collaborators will be tying the knot.

Even in Nashville
At the onset of the episode, Rayna salutes the fact that they are getting married in Nashville. If celebrities were getting married in a more media-driven city like New York or Los Angeles, they would face considerably more difficulty keeping the wedding private.

Rayna’s comments obviously foretell the unfortunate: news and details of the wedding do end up leaking to media and paparazzi. The leak has logistical and emotional ramifications.

Contentious Welcome to the Family
Since the moment they met, Rayna has loved Deacon. Deacon has loved Rayna. Few would disagree with the notion that these two belong together — and belong up on they altar saying their vows and solidifying their unit.

Marriage, however, is about more than love between two people. It is also about the union of families.

Tandy and Daphne want what is best for Rayna, but they have clear — and deserved — reservations about the actual wedding. Their concerns about respectively welcoming Deacon into their lives as a brother-in-law and stepfather cloud the ceremony with drama.

Up until this episode, Maddie – the biological daughter of Rayna and Deacon – has been as enthusiastic about the wedding as her parents. An incident early in the episode, however, prompts the older Conrad sister to acknowledge and confront her own reservations.

The tension ultimately affects Deacon and risks overshadowing the utter joy he should be feeling in this moment.

Acting in Juliette’s Best Interest
Juliette is doing well in her treatment facility (we do not see her on-screen) and beginning to establish a positive relationship with her daughter.  Avery is becoming increasingly comfortable with the arrangement.

His mind is not, however, changing regarding his own relationship with the superstar. Their differences are irreconcilable.

Unfortunately, the nature of show business prevents Avery from formalizing the split.  In order to protect Juliette’s image and her standing for awards in connection to “Shenandoah Girl,” Avery has to lie about her mental health — and the health of their relationship.  To explain her absence from the public eye, he has to memorize specific details about fake meetings she is having behind closed doors. He must also present his destroyed marriage as a happy, loving one.

The already difficult task becomes especially daunting in this episode.  Avery is attending the Rayna-Deacon wedding, which will be ripe with fellow musicians and reporters eager to discuss Juliette’s whereabouts.

Trouble For Will
When we last saw Will, he was rejecting an advance from hypocritically closeted country veteran Wade Cole.

His career is suffering as a result. Wade has been spreading word that the musician is “difficult” with which to work; sensitive to the process of coming out, Will is unable to retort the claim by sharing the real reason their writing sessions came to an abrupt end.

To make matters worse, Will is currently suffering from writer’s block. Unable to write his own songs or find someone with whom to co-write, Will does not start the back half of season four on a high-note.

Gunnar, Matchmaker
Scarlett is newly single, and Gunnar is confident Rayna’s wedding will be a great place for her to mingle. He plays wingman/matchmaker for his The Exes bandmate, fostering introductions to single gentlemen at the ceremony and reception.

It is clear Scarlett is not, however, looking to settle for just any guy.

Layla Resurfaces, Still Oblivious To The Truth
While Layla is slowly recovering, she remains an emotional wreck in the wake of Jeff’s death. She, after all, did not simply lose her boyfriend and manager: she is under the false impression he committed suicide shortly after agreeing to take their relationship to the next level.

Only Colt, Juliette, Luke, and Gabrielle know the truth: that Jeff accident died while thwarting Juliette’s suicide attempt.

Only Colt, meanwhile, seems particularly eager to share the truth. He neither wants to perpetuate a lie nor allow Layla to suffer for her ignorance.

Colt knows the business importance in keeping the secret.  But when he encounters a heartbroken Layla at the wedding, will business be able to trump conscience?

The Music
Chip Esten and Lennon & Maisy perform contextually relevant songs in this week’s episode.  Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio reprise “When The Right One Comes Along.”

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]


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