'Nashville' recap: Deacon gets a birthday surprise, Gunnar gets tragic news

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On Wednesday night's "Nashville" episode "Dear Brother," Rayna and Teddy learn what life is like with the tabloids publicizing their divorce. Juliette takes her mother in but focuses on everything but her, while Gunnar faces off with his gun-toting brother. And everybody celebrates Deacon's birthday.

Juliette plans a party

Everyone knows that Deacon hates his birthday, preferring to spend it alone every year re-watching "Old Yeller." Juliette is determined, however, to throw him a surprise party he'll never forget, with A-list celebrities and all his friends. Her mother's addiction counselor is concerned that Juliette has taken Jolene in but is too busy with party plans to take the time to do the therapy sessions with her. As usual, the self-centered star is unmoved by his pleas to invest more effort.

Tabloid trauma

Rayna's sister Tandy accompanies her and the girls on a grocery shopping trip, so the two can have a bit of time to talk about the divorce. At the store, her daughters see the tabloids with scandalous news about their parents' split and suddenly everyone's staring. Tandy buys up all the magazines while Rayna rushes the girls out to the car.

At home, they try to explain to the girls that the tabloids make up stories, and that Rayna is not having an affair with Deacon. Maddie doesn't seem convinced since they were right about the divorce, and Teddy and Peggy. Later, at the girls' ballet class, Rayna is confronted with some catty mothers, and her daughters are frightened by the crush of paparazzi as they leave.

Damage control

A newly hired PR specialist asks Rayna if she's slept with Deacon and Liam. Rayna is horrified and refuses to answer, and is told she needs to stay away from all men. Glenn tells her that she can't attend Deacon's birthday party then, and Rayna is surprised to hear he's having a party at all.

Meanwhile, Teddy holds a press conference. He dismisses all of the tabloid news and says neither one of them cheated during their marriage. He then announces his appointment of Peggy to his financial staff, so they'll have a credible cover story when they're seen together.

Teddy gets a visit from Lamar, who expresses his disappointment in the divorce. Now that they're not family, he's even less accommodating and insists Teddy appoint someone he's approved for deputy mayor. Teddy angrily says he'll do what's best for the city. After some thought, he invites Coleman over for a meeting and offers him the position. Coleman is stunned, but happily accepts.

Scarlett gets good and bad news

Roomies Scarlett and Gunnar are doing some housework when Gunnar finds his brother's gun in his room. Scarlett forces him to unload it before he leaves the house with it. Gunnar meets his brother in a remote spot by a river and confronts him about the gun. Jason claims he needs it for protection. The two argue, and Jason shouts that Gunnar owes him eight years of his life back. Gunnar throws the gun into the river and tells him he won't ever help him again.

Scarlett is shocked when Juliette Barnes rolls up in an SUV in front of her house. She agrees to try and get Deacon to the surprise party, and Juliette tells her she and Gunnar can perform if that helps as incentive. Scarlett is thrilled and heads over to Deacon's house with a cupcake and an invitation to watch her sing. He agrees to be there.

Everybody loves Deacon

The surprise party is a success. Though Deacon protests at first, it's clear he's extremely pleased so many people showed up for his birthday. Juliette tries to impress as a gracious host and is excited about performing in front of the elite crowd. Unfortunately she doesn't notice that her mother's been given a glass of champagne, and it's not long before she's had too much. Deacon offers to take her home, but Juliette takes care of it herself.

Rayna decides to brave the paparazzi and attend the party anyway. Accompanied by Watty White, she debuts a new song she's been working on and dedicates the emotional piece to Deacon. The two talk afterward, and she apologizes for not confiding in him about the divorce earlier. She tells him she wants to "do right by" him.

Startling revelations

Back at her home, Juliette gets her mother safely into bed. Jolene apologizes belatedly for ruining Juliette's 9th birthday. When the addiction counselor arrives, he asks Juliette to explain what happened on that birthday. She tells him about how her mother booked a room for a big birthday for her, then canceled because she spent all the money on drugs. Juliette confesses that when she came home to find her mother passed out with a lit cigarette, she thought about leaving her to possibly die in a fire. She asks the counselor if he really thinks he can help them -- he says yes.

Scarlett is worried sick when Gunnar disappears after their hit performance at the party, and when he finally arrives home, she can see something terrible happened. He was called away by police, who needed him to identify his brother's body. Jason was found beaten to death in an alley. Gunnar blames himself, and Scarlett tries her best to comfort him. Her consoling hugs and kisses gradually turn into something way more passionate.

The next day, Juliette's assistant shows up at Deacon's house with another gift. Out of a huge box, she pulls out a yellow Lab puppy, just like "Old Yeller." Deacon says he doesn't want it, but the assistant happily leaves him holding the giant pup in his arms.

More from this contributor:

'Nashville' recap: Juliette goes more diva than usual, Rayna faces the end of her marriage

'Nashville' recap: Is it the end for Rayna and Teddy?

'Nashville' recap: Juliette plays second fiddle to Rayna, Deacon falls apart

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