After one month in the hospital, the 'Queen of Country' Rayna Jaymes comes home - and she's ready to stir things up. While older daughter Maddie Conrad is still giving her the cold shoulder since finding out Deacon Claybourne - not Teddy Conrad - is her father, the rest of the family, including Teddy, is happy to have Rayna back home.
But Rayna, played by Connie Britton, isn't ready to rekindle anything with Deacon after the horrific crash that put her in a coma and has him coping with a hand that may never allow him to play guitar again. Speaking to her supportive sister, Rayna says, "I don't know if I'll ever talk to him again."
Juliette, meanwhile, could be regretting feigning so much support for the injured queen, as she ponders whether or not she's ever going to "be able to do an interview without talking about her?"
We're tipped off to growing chemistry between the young-ish star and Scarlett O'Connor's ex-boyfriend, Avery, who's filling the role as her lead guitarist.
The drama of the show turns mostly on the business side of Nashville - a new hotshot executive is brought in to run Juliette Barnes' and Rayna's label, Edgehill. Each diva has her own initial take on Jeff, who ends up being a snake. Juliette, played by Hayden Panettiere, doesn't care for the way he points out that her fan base - the tweens - isn't showing up for her and her new album is getting outsold by Rayna's greatest hits, proving that the wider audience isn't showing up for her, either.
Rayna is sweet-talked by Jeff Fordham, as he praises her two artists on her fledgling record label: Will our ambiguously gay cowboy crooner, and Scarlett, Deacon's niece.
But almost as soon as Rayna is out the door from their meeting, Jeff moves to poach Will Lexington and sign him directly with Edgehill.
"I'm inviting you to the majors. You wanna play?" Jeff asks Will.
An added wrinkle is that one former male companion of Will's is the marketing and PR man for Edgehill. Will this turn him away or bring him closer to signing?
By far the best budding relationship of Season 2 is that of Scarlett and Deacon. Instead of playing the passive girl whose men walk all over her, Scarlett is embracing the role of stern optimist against Deacon's (now sober) pessimism. She tricks him into going to the doctor by feigning a trip to the store because he's too afraid to face the facts about his ailing hand.
Juliette schemes to renew interest in her music by agreeing to do a television tear-jerker on where she grew up, a trailer park in Alabama. As always with Juliette, it's unclear whether the emotion presented is genuine. As she's crying looking at the house she grew up in and talking about the death of her father when she was four, she asks the camera to cut away.
When Avery Barkley, who is randomly there, asks Juliette if she wants to talk, she says she's "just trying to sell records." But the audience is left wondering whether that's just another deflection.
Back at the record label, Rayna goes toe to toe with Jeff and it's the kind of scene "Nashville" audiences were waiting for. Rayna doesn't hold back with Jeff, snarling, "That's really how you want to start with me? I'm going to keep WIll with me."
With a smug look, Jeff tauntingly says, "Best of luck."
"I don't need your luck, I make my own luck," Rayna says.
For the first time this season, Deacon and Rayna find themselves together at the memorial site of the car crash. Deacon says he didn't want to call her, but he had no one else. But Rayna is in self-preservation mode and tells him, "We've just brought each other so much grief. I don't think we can save each other, I think we need to save ourselves now."
Then Rayna tells Teddy she's not into playing house and he needs to leave so they can sign divorce papers and make it official.
The show culminates with a party scene at Jeff's mansion. Scarlett goes but not before telling Deacon to "man up" and work to make his hand better; cut to Deacon taking a hacksaw to his cast.