As it turns out, despite having probably dozens of financial advisors and personal accountants at her disposal, Rayna neglected to get her will in order, meaning that custody of her daughters Maddie (Lennon Stella) and Daphne (Maisy Stella), and ownership of her Highway 65 record label, were left up in the air. And guess who makes a reappearance just in the nick of time to pick up the pieces from Rayna's shattered empire?
That's right — Rayna's ex husband/former Nashville mayor Teddy (Eric Close) is back, on a three-day bereavement leave from prison (snort) to attend Rayna's funeral and, you know, try to cash in on her fortunes. OK, we're being a little harsh. Teddy does seem to have a genuine interest in taking custody of Daphne and Maddie, having raised them for much of their lives, but then of course there's the minor snag of Deacon being in the picture.
Unfortunately for Deacon, Rayna's conniving sister Tandy (Judith Hoag) is also back in town for the funeral, and fully supports Teddy getting custody of the girls and the business. And because Deacon is Deacon, he concedes to Teddy once he sees how much of a toll feeling caught in the middle of two warring factions is taking on the girls, and he grants guardianship over them. (Deacon, what are you doing?!)
But the story doesn't end there. CMT (the fictional version, in the show) has hastily put together a Rayna Jaymes tribute concert, at which Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is scheduled to make her big comeback performance. But at the last minute, Juliette calls Maddie to her dressing room and says that, as Rayna's daughter, she should actually be performing the song instead. (Side note: Hayden's reading of the line "No she wouldn't, not really" about whether Rayna would actually want Juliette performing at her tribute concert is perfect.)
Maddie gets so choked up on stage that she can't make it through the performance, but Deacon and Daphne rush up from the audience to save the day and they all harmonize on Rayna's "Sanctuary" together. After that, Teddy acknowledges that Deacon is a pretty good father after all and says that he should take custody of the girls — at least until Teddy gets out of prison in three months, and then they can sort something out.
The other significant development in the episode is that Zach Welles (Cameron Scoggins) has the hots for... Will (Chris Carmack)! Remember when everyone thought he was super into Rayna? Talk about barking up the wrong tree. Anyway, Zach flirts with Will after Rayna's funeral and then takes him on a date to a museum, tempting him with a trip to Berlin and planting a big kiss on Mr. Lexington's lips. It will be interesting to see where this romance goes.
What did you think, Nashville fans? Will the show be able to move on without Rayna?
Nashville airs Thursdays at 9/8c on CMT. Episodes are available on Hulu the day after broadcast.