While Rayna is trying to pull Juliette out of her downward spiral, Avery, Will, and everyone else are trying to figure out where they fit in.

Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S4 E1
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Well, it’s been months of waiting to find out if Deacon or Beverly died during their operation in last season’s finale, but thankfully Nashville gets right down to business and lets us know everything is okay. OR NOT! Instead, the show teases out its cliffhanger a little longer, stubbornly refusing to show us who lived and who died for several minutes. Totally unacceptable, Nashville!

Rather than immediately resolve things, the show skips ahead to “One Month Later,” where Juliette is arriving on the red carpet for the premiere of her Patsy Cline movie. She’s excited to be getting a ton of attention, but she also hates that Layla is along for the ride. Whether it’s because she hates Layla, Jeff, or herself is up for debate, but it’s probably a mix of all those things.

Back at the Highway 65 office, Rayna isn’t about to engage with Juliette and her sound bite that says leaving the label was “the best move she ever made.” Rayna has no time for catfights. She just wants to get this whole ordeal over with and let Juliette go. As for Nashville dangling that cliffhanger even longer, Rayna says, “I’ve had to do a lot of letting go lately.”

Thankfully, and say it with me everyone, Deacon is not dead! In fact, he’s alive and well and enjoying time with his family again; you know, when he’s not visiting Beverly in the hospital, who’s in a coma after having an aneurysm during the operation. They’re both alive though, so that’s something to be grateful for.

With so much drama and trauma at the end of last season, the premiere is largely about people checking in with other people to make sure they’re okay. Gunnar calls up Scarlett to make sure she’s doing okay, what with her mom and everything. Plus, they need to start laying down some tracks, so if she can find the time tonight, that’d be great for him.

Clearly Gunnar is hoping to reconnect with Scarlett romantically, but she may not be up for it. She treats his call like business as usual and seems content living with Caleb, even if the most they can muster up in terms of affection is, “I love having you here.” Geez, Dr. Dork is just as dorky as ever.

While we’re catching up with everyone, Avery is back at his parents’ place in Ohio taking care of Cadence and torturing himself by watching Juliette on the red carpet. He sees her talking about her supportive husband and beautiful daughter and it’s just too much for him to handle.

Juliette isn’t exactly handling things well though. She’s drinking and partying all night to the point where she’s sitting on the bathroom floor in the early morning puking. She sees herself in the mirror and, maybe for a moment, decides things need to change. She calls Rayna, who’s just finished buying out her contract, and cries on the phone to her and says she needs help. Before Rayna can get all the details though, Juliette hangs up. Ugh, this girl.

NEXT: Something is really, really wrong

On the opposite end of the partying spectrum is Will, who’s spending all of his days in bed, much to the annoyance of Kevin. He wants him to go outside and do something for once, but Will’s having none of it.

That is until he gets a pep talk from Gunnar. Gunnar tells him it’s pretty clear that Kevin is being extremely patient with him and that maybe it’s time to compromise a little. “Why’d you come out so you can stay in?” he says. I see what you did there Gunnar. It works though! He agrees to go out with Kevin for a nice relaxing dinner, but this is Nashville, so no such thing actually exists.

After the plea from Juliette for help, Rayna decides to fly to L.A. to see if she can help her out. Deacon agrees to watch the kids – Maddie is SO PISSED that she can’t go to L.A. – while Rayna does what she needs to do.

When Rayna first gets there she confronts Luke about mishandling the whole situation. Luke gets all smug and says that they’re having a great time, but as Rayna rattles off all the crazy responsibilities Juliette is ignoring, it’s pretty clear that everything isn’t okay. No number of duets with Steven Tyler can change that.

When Rayna finally gets to see Juliette backstage, things don’t go so well. Juliette denies everything, saying that she must have butt dialed Rayna. Rayna does everything she can to bring her back home, but Juliette is so far gone at this point. She’s deep in her postpartum depression and self-loathing, and while she’s certainly being mean to those who care about her the most, it’s hard not to feel sorry for her, at least a little.

Back home in Nashville, Beverly is slowly coming out of her coma. She’s squeezing Deacon’s hand and revolting against the breathing tube, sure signs that she’ll be awake soon enough. What’s interesting is what this will mean for the relationship between Beverly and Scarlett. Only time will tell!

That’s not the only relationship that may be confusing for Scarlett. When she shows up to record some harmonies with Gunnar, their magic naturally happens again. They are so meant to be together, you guys! They stare into each other’s eyes as they sing about how “it’s easier to pretend.” Then they kiss/full-on make out for a while before Scarlett pulls back. She has a boyfriend and can’t do this. More than that, she says she feels “out of control” with Gunnar. That’s what love feels like, Scarlett! Embrace it!

Will’s trying his best to embrace his new “out” life, but he’s finding it difficult. He’s being stared at during dinner with Kevin, and that’s when he’s not being yelled at in public by women who have slept with him. Seriously, that lady should be ashamed of herself. How selfish can you be?

Kevin has a solution to the problem of Will feeling uncomfortable being in a place where everyone is staring at them: going to a gay bar. It helps that nobody thinks they’re out of place there, but it clearly isn’t Will’s scene. He doesn’t feel at home in the gay bar and doesn’t feel at home in his old life. He’s lost, and even caring, patient Kevin can’t help him with that right now.

For a while it looked as if Avery was lost too, but by the episode’s end he’s come to a decision. Despite his parents’ offer to stay in Ohio, he needs to go back to Nashville, even if Juliette won’t join him. He wants to set a good example for his daughter by following his dreams and not giving up on his marriage, so that’s what he’s going to do.

By the episode’s end, everyone’s life is in flux, outcomes completely unpredictable. Scarlett, despite her evident feelings for Gunnar, lays down her tracks without him and then tells Dr. Dork that she loves him (NOOO!). Rayna makes the big mistake of Googling herself and reading criticisms of her business decisions. And then there’s Juliette, drinking with “friends” but completely alone. On the plus side, the guys are together, as Avery comes back to town and is ready to move in with Gunnar and Will. That’s a grouping I’m ready to tune in for each and every week.

Episode Recaps

Legendary music icon Rayna Jaymes struggles to maintain her place in the spotlight while dealing with the ambitious rising pop vixen Juliette Barnes.
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