'Nashville' recap: Rayna dips into her Wyatt side at the worst possible time

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Rayna Jaymes can sing, y'all! 

That's right, the reigning queen of country music didn't lose her voice for good ... though it certainly seemed dire there for a minute, didn't it? What an emotional performance, with the audience and Luke Wheeler (hello there, Will Chase, we barely recognized you under that beard) chiming in at the right moments to give Rayna some time to breathe and rest her still-healing voice. It's clear everyone's on her side -- except for that little weasel, Jeff Fordham. He's still trying to outmaneuver Rayna for her last album under contract at Edgehill.

So what else happened in Wednesday (Oct. 23) night's all-new "Nashville" besides Rayna showing Jeff where he can stick his "Rayna's lost her voice" rumors?

Rayna finally decided that she was done with Edgehill for good, contract be damned. With this ominous statement: "I think it's time for Jeff Fordham to meet the Wyatt side of Rayna Jaymes," Rayna went to her daddy for financial help to buy her out of her contract. Lamar agrees to "invest" $20 million ... but Rayna picked the absolute worst time to put all her eggs in her Wyatt basket. After smugly telling Jeff that she plans to buy herself out of Edgehill, her father gets arrested on 42 counts of racketeering, bribery, extortion, etc. All his assets get frozen as he is a major flight risk, so there goes Rayna's big plan. And lets not forget he's still under investigation for the murder of his wife. Oops.

So how did Lamar end up in handcuffs? Tansy's evidence she handed over last week proved to be enough to charge Lamar, but since she signed a gag order in exchange for immunity, no one -- including Rayna -- knows it was Tansy. Lamar assumes it was Teddy, and promises to make him pay.

Jeff was also being a total jerk to Rayna's first signed artist, Scarlett. But let's be honest, she was being a total drag. Once again, instead of enjoying her fame, she was acting mopey about having to do a press line, and didn't agree with lying about her past (Scarlett never wanted to be a singer, but the media coach rightly told her that the public would resent her for stumbling into a record deal). Honey, no one wants to hear about your poems actually being songs.

Scarlett seeks help from Jeff's favorite, Layla, who in turns manages to be a sneaky conniving jerk herself -- hey, no wonder why Jeff likes her so much. Layla tells her to throw out her rehearsed anecdotes that Jeff told her to stick to, and as a result, Scar gets flustered in the press line. Jeff tells her to go home, and Will notices that Layla looks too happy about it.

Layla also tried her best to attach herself to Will (not knowing she's not his type ... you know, a girl). She flirts with him shamelessly, and when he doesn't really respond back in kind she takes matters into her own hands. She tweets a photo of them on the red carpet together and starts a trending hashtag, "LaylaandWill," so Jeff tells Will to pretend to be a couple with her. Since Will is a fame-whore, he agrees, but he still doesn't like what Layla did to Scar.

Deacon's come a long way since the Season 2 premiere. He's not feeling so sorry for himself, he's sleeping with his pretty lawyer, and gets a job at a guitar store. But when Juliette breaks the news to him that Rayna might not be able to sing anymore, he heads over the source of all his emotional pain and the two share a powerful scene where they both agree they can never be done with music even if they lost their voice or guitar-playing hand. These two tortured artists just keep breaking our hearts.

In one of the biggest surprises of the night, Gunnar and Avery have a cute bro-ment singing together in the Bluebird. Has hell frozen over? Nope, they're just maturing. It's adorable, actually, and their voices sounds great together ... until, that is, they invite Zoey to sing with them. It turns out that Gunnar wrote the song for Zoey, and they've been hookin up. This is totally obvious to Avery who sees the way they look at each other while singing, and methinks this won't end well. Gunnar and Zoey are officially the worst human beings ever, and Avery is the good guy here. Who would have thought?

In one of the sweetest moments of the night, Rayna gets up onstage after Juliette performs, and extends an invitation for Juliette to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Juliette shows genuine happiness and gratitude, and the hug these two country queens share is actually really sweet. But Luke Wheeler did not appreciate the moment upstaging his benefit, and Juliette overhears him calling her a "flash in the pan." This makes her do two things: She apologizes to Avery, realizing how much it sucks when someone doesn't have your back, and she skeptically surveys all her awards, maybe wondering if Luke's words have any truth in them. How is this going to affect her upcoming tour? Will she be pushing for more artistic, mature music that Jeff really hates?

"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Photo/Video credit: ABC
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