I was prepared to say some nasty things about Jeff in this recap. Not because he’s that horrible in this episode, but rather because I’m not totally buying into the slight redemption of his character that the show is trying to pull off. Now that he may be falling to his death, though, it doesn’t seem totally appropriate to pile on. That won’t stop me from making those points, but oh man, could this be the end of Jeff? More chaotic speculation later.
So much of tonight’s episode, like so much of this season in general, focuses on how just about everyone is going through something truly heartbreaking, difficult, or emotionally exhausting. I’m pretty sure this show used to have some joy in it every now and then, but as of now, everyone is down in the dumps.
Juliette is obviously the worst off right now. Not only is she dealing with her impending divorce from Avery, a curveball delivered to her at the end of last week’s episode, but she’s also likely dealing with a fair amount of guilt. Couple that with her obvious addiction issues, and you have a recipe for disaster. She spends most of this episode in the darkness or in slowmo shots, so you know she’s pretty far gone. Oh, and she attacks a fan who tries to take a selfie with her. Can’t forget about that!
Meanwhile, Gunnar is connecting, at least on a physical level, with Erin, the roadie who came home with him and the guys last week. They have a one-night stand, and Erin takes off without offering a phone number. Gunnar finds an earring in his room though and thinks, hey, that’s something women do to suggest they want to be chased. So that’s what he does because Gunnar is hopeless and naïve but ultimately cute, so it’s fine.
He tracks her down in the most stalker-ish way possible, calling around and lying about needing her for a sound gig. She tells him that she wasn’t even wearing earrings last night, but that doesn’t mean she won’t accept his invitation to see Will play later that night.
Oh, Will. The guy finally comes out of the closet, is dropped by Luke but finds a ton of support amongst his fans, friends, and Kevin, and yet he’s still struggling. It’s understandable, too. This can’t be easy for him, especially as he and Kevin seem to be on different paths, or at least at different points in their lives. Will doesn’t want to sell the song they wrote; he wants to be on stage. Kevin reluctantly agrees, doing what he can to help boost his confidence, and gets him on a bill for later in the night.
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The show goes really well, with Will looking like his old, stage-conquering, charming self again. That is until a group of women that he’s singing to push a gay man to the front of the stage. It throws Will off, and while he (presumably) finishes the set, his drinking in an alley after the show certainly doesn’t suggest that he’s okay.
Will is seeing his dream slip away, and the way the women treated him during his set signals to him that he’s being pigeonholed, that he’s only going to be known as the gay country artist now, rather than just Will Lexington. What he doesn’t realize, and what I think Kevin does, is that those two identities can coexist; in fact, Will Lexington has been a “gay country singer” all along, even if it hasn’t always been obvious.
NEXT: Free fallin’ in more ways than one[pagebreak]
While Will is dealing with identity issues and Avery is ignoring texts from a very drunk, very sick Juliette (while also worrying about her mental and physical health), Scarlett and Deacon, while packing up Beverly’s stuff, find out that Beverly often sang at a local bar and decide to head there for the night. Well, Deacon decides he wants to go, and Scarlett eventually shows up. It’s about time those two connect and get over their issues!
The scenes at the bar are by far the best of the episode. After weeks of heavy emotions, it’s nice to see Scarlett and Deacon (and, by extension, Beverly), get a few moments of happiness. They get to see how Beverly had an effect on a lot of people, how her passion for music and her love for her family, captivated and moved so many people in her town. We, along with Deacon and Scarlett, who sings a beautiful song in her mother’s honor during the night, get to see Beverly in a different light, and it’s a wonderful sendoff for the character.
Meanwhile, everyone else is just trying to get some work done! After firing Avery, Markus demands that Rayna be his producer. While he initially balks at her suggestion for an arrangement on a song, he embraces the country-tinged music after Maddie plays him her version of his song. Or rather, plays him her and Daphne’s version of the song, but sans Daphne, who ends up pouting for most of the episode.
Jeff is also working on figuring out a certain arrangement, this one of the business variety. He offers to handle the PR disaster that is Juliette attacking a fan, but in exchange, he wants to be seriously considered for the position of CEO of the Luke Wheeler Lifestyle Brand (what a name!). In true Jeff fashion, he manages to convince the attacker to admit culpability via press conference. Luke is reluctant to let Jeff into the business, but he can’t deny that he handled the situation perfectly and proved his devotion. Still, it’s Jeff, so I’m not totally on board with his squeaky-clean act.
So, Jeff gets the job, but does he get away with his life? That’s the big question left hanging at the end of the episode. Juliette, drunk and high as a kite on a number of prescription pills, wanders to the ledge of the hotel roof and is ready to jump. A drunk Colt watches from above as she staggers towards the edge. Jeff sees her and shouts at her to stop.
“Don’t do this, please” he pleads. It’s not enough, though, as Juliette leans forward and prepares to fall. Jeff runs over and pushes her back just in time, but as he does, his momentum carries him off the edge. His scream fades as the episode cuts to black and as my jaw hits the floor. Jeff can’t be dead, can he? But how could he survive!? Do we come back next week to see him hanging from the edge?!?
These are big questions with big consequences. If Jeff is dead, that’s obviously bad for Jeff (duh), but what does it mean for Layla? And will it push Juliette even further into her addiction and depression, knowing that she’s responsible for his death? This has been a super-depressing season of Nashville so far, but perhaps it’s just getting started.