Avery (Jonathan Jackson) finally hit his breaking point in “Nashville” Season 4, episode 12. After his panic attack at Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon’s (Charles Esten) wedding, he decided that he was done pretending with Juliette (Hayden Panettiere). However, his choice to give up their act took some pushing from Layla (Aubrey Peeples).
Layla’s plan goes perfectly in episode 12 of the ABC drama, titled “How Does It Feel To Be Free.” As long as she releases her first album and commits to a tour, Rayna is happy to let her start her second album already. She even supports Layla’s choice of producer: Avery Barkley.
Before getting into the studio, Avery goes to Juliette’s rehab facility, but she refuses to see him. She is in a “delicate emotional state,” according to her doctor, and doesn’t think seeing Avery would be beneficial.
Avery is forced to leave and goes to the studio to start his first session with Layla. Luke (Will Chase) interrupts their recording session to ask Avery about Juliette going back on tour with him. Avery yells at him and says that she can’t be counted on. He doesn’t realize that Layla has ulterior motives, so he opens up to her. Avery reveals that he is getting a divorce, and Juliette is in rehab.
Layla seems sympathetic. She says that she knows what having a marriage for show is like. She did the same with Will (Chris Carmack). “I’m not saying divorce is pleasant, but it felt really good to be free of it,” she tells him. “You deserve to feel free too.”
— Nashville (@Nashville_ABC) March 24, 2016
With that push, Avery goes back to Juliette’s treatment center. The doctor still won’t let him in, but he has a message for his wife. “We’re over. We’ve been over, and if she doesn’t come clean publicly about our divorce within the next 24 hours, then I will,” Avery tells her doctor.
Juliette releases a statement. She tells the media about her divorce and calls Avery “a wonderful father and a patient man.” Avery sees the statement on the news and has tears in his eyes as he takes off his wedding band.
He tells Layla that her strength after Jeff’s (Oliver Hudson) death is impressive. She says that she had to find something to live for, and right now that’s making music with Avery.
They aren’t the only ones making music. Maddie (Lennon Stella) continues to work with Cash (Jessy Schram). The older songwriter tells Maddie that she should go deeper with her lyrics. She needs to explore all of her feelings, even the painful ones. Maddie reveals that she lost her virginity to Colt (Keean Johnson), but he has been avoiding her ever since.
“You are allowed to stand up for yourself,” Cash says. “You deserve respect.” They write a song together and Maddie decides to tell Colt that she needs some respect.
— Nashville (@Nashville_ABC) March 21, 2016
Speaking of budding songwriters, Will got back on stage recently, but he was incognito. Now he is ready to show his face in performance venues in Nashville again. The Exes invite him to play during one of their shows, and they all seem excited.
When Will gets on stage, he receives mostly applause. However, one loud mouth decides that he has to jeer the openly gay singer. Will ignores him and continues playing. The man throws a beer bottle at Will’s face, giving him a broken nose.
Will has to give a statement to the police in order to press hate crime charges, but he doesn’t want to. Though he isn’t pressing charges, he claims that the homophobe will get what he deserves.
Later, Will goes back to the bar. He sends the man a beer and explains that the man didn’t get to finish his drink last night. Will didn’t get to finish his song either, so he’s up on stage playing. “There ain’t nothing or nobody that’s going to keep me from singing ever again,” he says.
Elsewhere, his friends have some romantic drama. Scarlett (Clare Bowen) feels awkward when she sees Erin (Scout Taylor Compton) kissing another guy before the show. Gunnar (Sam Palladio) can tell that Scarlett is hiding something. She admits to what she saw, but Gunnar doesn’t give much of a reaction.
He confronts Erin later. They’ve said they were casual, but Gunnar says he wants to be monogamous. Erin admits that she doesn’t want to get hurt, and that’s why she hooked up with another guy. She’s a little too attached. Gunnar admits that he isn’t really that jealous, and he knows that’s not right. Erin is upset about the break up, but she understands that he clearly isn’t falling for her.
— Nashville (@Nashville_ABC) March 24, 2016
Meanwhile, Luke receives backlash from fans after his situation with the IRS and his embezzling accountant. He didn’t realize $40 million was missing, and that really disrupts his regular country boy image. He needs to go back on tour, and with Juliette in rehab, he needs a new supporting act.
He runs into his friend Riff (Steve Kazee), a former country star who stepped out of the spotlight to have a family. They have dinner together, and Luke offers Riff a spot on his tour. Riff says that he’ll go on tour if he can bring his whole family. Luke agrees, but it’s clear that he misses his own kids.
Meanwhile, Deacon and Rayna are getting back to work after their wedding. They’re sharing everything in their lives, including an employee. A singer, Vita (Jeananne Goosen) wants to audition for Deacon, even though the open mic night is full. Deacon automatically gives her a spot that night and invites Rayna to see her. Vita would love to meet with the label, but she needs a paying job sooner rather than later. Rayna asks Deacon to hire her for the Beverly.
Frankie (Mark Collie) doesn’t seem thrilled to add her to the payroll, and she ditches the interview the second Deacon and Frankie step away to talk. Rayna tracks her down at what Vita listed at her home address. It’s actually a motel where she only pays to park her car. She’s homeless.
Vita talks to Rayna and admits that she has a criminal history. Rayna can’t judge people with messy lives and says she is willing to take a chance on Vita. Frankie isn’t as eager, but they hire her to work at the Beverly without running a background check anyway. Suspiciously, it’s never revealed exactly what Vita did.
At the end of the night, Deacon gets a call from Frankie. Five hundred dollars is missing from the till, and Frankie thinks it must be Vita’s fault.
“Nashville” Season 4 airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.