When we left off last week, Juliette had just walked in on Avery and Alannah making out on the couch and she (well, fine, me) was furious, but it all diffuses pretty quickly as Jules apologizes for walking in on them and says hi. After a quick introduction, Alannah rushes out with Avery hot on her heels telling her she doesn’t have to go. She insists and he says he’ll call her but Alannah, ever the pessimist, tells him he doesn’t have to.
Juliette goes to look in on a sleeping Cadence. Avery tells her to go ahead and wake her, but she recognizes waking a child to apologize as something her mother would’ve done to her, so leaves her own daughter to sleep. Avery, clearly walking on zero eggshells, tells Jules she looks like she’s been through hell. She’s like, well, yeah I kinda have, but she’s too tired to deal with anything right now, so she leaves to go stay at Hallie’s.
Elsewhere, Scarlett is having a bath complete with candles when Sean’s wife calls her and says she can’t get her husband to go to a counseling meeting at the VA center. Scar ends up sacrificing bath time to drive him to the hospital for the session, but after five hours of waiting they still haven’t been seen by a doctor. Scarlett can’t believe he’s being treated this way when he served his country and runs over to talk to the doctor on duty about it. She cries to him about the unfairness of it all and begs for Sean to be seen, repeatedly telling the doctor how scared she is for her friend. The doc relents, but just as he does Sean disappears from the waiting room. She catches up to him outside where he tells her he’s fine, that she’s done her bit and helped and can be done with him now. He tells her he can’t be in the hospital with all the other vets; it’s like being back in a war zone. He then goes off at Scarlett saying he’s not her project and that she only wants to make herself feel better by helping him. He wraps up his lovely little speech by telling her that he feels sorry for her because she has nothing better to do with her life. She tells him to get professional help or she’s out.
It doesn’t take Sean long to regret his words and he shows up at Scar’s door to apologize for the way he spoke to her and promise to get help. He’s been trying to understand why she’s helping him and has come to the conclusion that he picked her because he plays music. He says that’s what she cares about and that’s why she should get back on stage. She’s all, that’s not happening so he uses her own words against: “What do you gain by giving up the thing you love the most?” Ten bucks says she’s back on stage at the Bluebird next week.
In the Jaymes-Claybourne household, Deacon’s dad is looking at old photos of his wedding to his wife/Deacon’s mother — the one he used to drunkenly beat up. He’s trying to share old tales with the girls, but Deacon puts an end to the reminiscing, sending Daphne off to do homework, while Grandpa Claybourne tries to interfere with his son’s parenting. The next morning he’s back joking around with the girls and they just can’t see how he used to be this terrible, mean dude to their dad. Cue the eye roll. Maddie’s all, forgive and forget, dad and then drops the bombshell that she’s thinking of going on the European leg of Jonah’s tour. Grandpa, really not picking up on the whole stop-interfering-in-my-parenting vibe Deacon’s giving off, thinks Maddie should jet off and see the world. Exasperated, Deacon lets him have it, telling him to keep his parenting advice to himself. Honestly, grandpa is pretty annoying even without willfully ignoring his past abusive ways. Deacon tells him to stop pretending the past never happened, but his dad thinks maybe Deacon is remembering it wrong, that certain things didn’t happen the way he thinks they did or even at all. (Recap continues on page 2.)
Over on Nashville’s Next, Brad is being hard on Daphne. He informs her she’s receiving less and less of the public vote and it’s down to the fact that she’s hiding her talent by standing behind her guitar and not interacting with the audience. She thinks performing with her guitar is how she expresses herself best as an artist and doesn’t see how dancing around and being someone she isn’t is the right course. At least her mentor, Ilse is still being nice to her, but when Daphne tries to sing without her guitar and struggles, Ilse demonstrates singing Daphne’s song while walking around the stage and being more interactive, mostly by just waving one hand around. Daphne is mad and accuses of her of taking her song and doing something with it that she never could. She storms out of rehearsal.
At Hallie’s, Juliette says she couldn’t have got out of the crazy cult without what they taught her; she can’t believe something that was so harmful was also so helpful all at once. She admits she knows she’s lost Avery for good this time, but luckily her absence doesn’t seem to have affected her relationship with her daughter, who’s delighted to see her mom when J comes over to play. Avery tells Jules he’ll find somewhere else to stay and she asks him about Alannah and how serious it is. He tells her he doesn’t know yet if he loves her, but asks Juliette what she expected when she just up and left in the middle of the night. She says she doesn’t have any expectations, she’s just trying to understand. He’s all, I can’t do it anymore; I can’t just wait for the next disaster to happen. A resigned and calm Juliette tells him she knows that.
Later, Juliette calls the state department to try to do something for the lady who helped her escape, when Avery walks in. He’s ready to have it out with her, but the new, improved Juliette doesn’t fight, so he does the yelling. He goes off at her for not coming back and says he doesn’t even know for sure she won’t run back to the cult again. She’s like, um nooooo, I’m suing them and tells them she plans to free everyone down there if she can. She says she wants nothing from him other than that he keeps talking to her.
Meanwhile Alannah is ignoring Avery’s calls and texts and he’s worried. When he finally gets her to pick up, she says she’s not ghosting him, it’s just hard. He apologizes and tells her he’s moving out, but she thinks it’s too complicated, that he’s betraying everyone by being with her and she doesn’t want to break up his family. Not getting anywhere with Avery, Alannah goes to deal with another stagnant relationship. She approaches Brad in the parking lot of his office and asks how does she make this work. He tells her he needs songs, better songs than she’s been sending him so far. He thinks she needs to get air time and establish herself before she can explore her “identity” as an artist. She later tells Avery that he made a sleazy comment along the lines of: “I help my friends, are you my friend?” Gross. Alannah says she’ll figure it out by “making him an offer he can’t refuse,” whatever that means? Maybe she’ll murder him — more dramatic things have happened on this show.
Speaking of people who would benefit from Brad’s death, Deacon and Jessie bump into each other in the supermarket. During a brief catchup, we learn that Brad has dropped the custody battle, but he’s still planning to send Jake to boarding school. They tell each other how much they miss one another she tells him how grateful she is for the kindness he’s shown her; she’d forgotten that men could be decent and good and he gave that to her. He says she brought him out of a dark cave. They tear up and hug then share a brief kiss. Ugh, get back together already, guys!! (Recap continues on page 3.)
Back at the house, pops is telling Maddie stories about his different jobs over the years, when Deacon gets home followed by an upset Daphne. She’s crying and saying she should have never been on the show and runs off to bed. Poor Deacon has way too many people’s drama to deal with. The next day he meets with Ilse and tells her he thinks Daphne’s just afraid, but the mentor thinks she’s hiding and she won’t win if she doesn’t engage with the audience. She also drops into conversation that Daph skipped rehearsal this a.m. which, FYI, is in breach of her contract with the show.
When Deacon gets home to talk to Daphne about it all, she’s mid-conversation with grandpa. He’s telling her not to be afraid to speak her mind and if “He doesn’t like it too bad.” Deacon gets the wrong idea and thinks the “he” his dad is speaking of is him not Brad, and yells at his father for his meddling ways and past violence. Daphne cries and Deacon apologizes before walking out.
He goes to an A.A. meeting to talk about his dad and why he’s so mad at him. Deacon shares that despite seeing firsthand how people could forgive him for his own drinking and bad behavior, he still can’t forgive his father for his. He says he doesn’t want to because the people his father hurt aren’t here to speak now and if he forgives his dad there’s no one left to be witness to what he did to them and to him as a little boy. He believes it’s his job to remember what they went through because if he doesn’t his dad just gets away with it all. Deacon admits, though, that the hatred he feels for his dad is armor that he’s been wearing for so long he doesn’t know who he’d be without it. He also knows, however, that he’ll end up the broken one if he doesn’t find a way to shed the pain. Jeez, nothing’s ever straightforward for ol’ Deacon.
It’s showtime on Nashville’s Next and despite reconciling with Ilse and agreeing that she’d just sing as she’s used to with her guitar, Daphne surprises everyone when she gets on stage and decides to go without. Obviously she’s amazing and the crowd loves her. Backstage a delighted Deacon and Maddie are incredulous and proud.
As she plays us out, we see Avery move out of his and Juliette’s house; Jessie watches the show at home with her son; and Alannah looks at demos she’s received from Brad with a note saying “Let’s be friends.” Elsewhere, Sean plays with his son and Scarlet turns to an empty page in her notebook to start writing again. After the show, Deacon tells his dad he’s trying and puts a hand on his back as they walk into the house together. We’ll see how much progress the father-son duo have made next week. I, for one, still think Deacon should send him packing.