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Suddenly, Deacon Is Everybody’s Mother

After Rayna died, Deacon kind of filled her shoes to become a mother figure to his daughter Maddie and her sister Daphne.

But after Thursday night’s (July 27) Nashville, I feel like he had to do a little bit of mothering with everyone who walked into his life.

Like Scarlett. She was still recovering from the mugging, losing the baby and basically being scared of her own shadow. Deacon gave her one of his cure-all bear hugs and told her, “You lost a baby, Scarlett. A version of your future you’d fallen in love with. Cry all you want.”

She explained that she just wanted to be able to be independent, and he said that was not a good idea at all.

“What is this obsession everybody has with doing everything all by themselves?” he said. “Half a year ago, I could barely put my own boots on. More than a few people — you most of all — stepped in in big ways. Really the opposite of being with someone isn’t doing everything all alone. It’s getting a lot of different kinds of help from a lot of different people.”

And when Scarlett couldn’t stay home alone, Deacon welcomed her into his Belle Meade mansion, where he and the girls encouraged her to take a self-defense class. She went, sort of reluctantly, and the instructor told her that her motions were good but she needed more aggression and “overwhelming force.” By the end of the session, Scarlett got an A+, and the instructor told everyone in the class, “She’s stronger than she looks.” After that, Scarlett definitely had her groove back.

But then Deacon had to take his friend Jessie under his wing after she played a new song for him via FaceTime. “It’s kind of a warning,” she told him, “Stay away: broken inside.”

But he pushed her to officially record it, and kind of had to hold her hand through the whole process. When she wasn’t feeling it, Deacon gave her one of his I’ve-been-where-you’ve-been pep talks, and it worked.

“Right now, it feels like the only thing in your way is yourself. I’m just saying, it can be scary when all the obstacles to being here are cleared away, and you’re just standing there in front of that microphone by yourself. I’ve been there,” he said. They tried to record the song again the next day, and he was patient and kind and wonderful.

So naturally, Jessie just couldn’t deal with that. It’s like she doesn’t know how to be around a good man. And she said so, admitting that she was turning Deacon into her toxic ex-husband.

Back at home, with his biological daughter Maddie, Deacon explained that Jessie was just a friend. And that the two of them were part of the club of sad songwriters.

“How do I apply?” Maddie asked. Maddie is only a teenager, and you’d think that would make her incapable of writing a sad song, but with everything she’s been through lately — her boyfriend Clay has split and her mentor Juliette stole a song from her — she might have some good life lessons to pull from. In the meantime, she and Juliette are both nominated in the same category for an American Music Award, so they are trying to make nice. At least on Twitter.

Over on Avery’s tour bus, Gunnar decided it was time to hop off and go visit the grandmother who raised him. He was brooding all over Texas: first when he called Scarlett and she didn’t have time to talk, then when he went to the nursing home and had a one-sided conversation with his grandmother who didn’t say a word.

His only saving grace was Kelly, an old friend from his hometown. She convinced Gunnar to stick around, and they had a little picnic party outside their old school. They reminisced about good and bad times, but that gave Gunnar flashbacks of the day he was called into the principal’s office to find out his parents were dead.

After that melancholy date night, Gunnar went to see the house that built him. He went inside for a tour, then had another flashback of his life with grandma there. And his memories are not good ones. Kelly tried to console him — “Just because nobody hit you doesn’t mean you don’t have scars” — and that made Gunnar feel better. So they kissed. And then Kelly mentioned that she was married.

More brooding to come next week, I’m sure.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.