With only two episodes of Nashville to go (ever!!) and a whole ton of storylines to wrap up, of course there’s even more drama than usual on this week’s episode.
We kick things off with Juliette riding the wave of bad press surrounding her fallout with the Church of Coherent B.S. — or whatever it’s called. For now, J’s staying positive about it and refusing to go down without a fight. Avery arrives, battling his way through a sea of reporters on her lawn, and Juliette tells him that she thinks Cadence has a fever (didn’t we start the last episode with a similar concern?).
Later that day, Juliette puts her words into action and calls a press conference at the movement’s headquarters. Somehow, the girl who helped Juliette escape from Bolivia is there with her son. Did I miss the part where she broke them out of the fortress-like base in South America?! Anyway, J’s very eloquent in her speech and introduces her witnesses to the press. She then announces that she’s retiring from the public eye, noting that Darius at least taught her the price of fame. She ends by promising she won’t stop fighting until justice prevails.
Over at the Claybourne-Jaymes household, Maddie is dealing with her breakup from cheating Jonah by staying in bed. He keeps calling her but she doesn’t pick up and tells Daphne that she’ll no longer being going on tour with him. Meanwhile, Twig calls Maddie to apologize, telling her that he deserves whatever she throws at him, but won’t leave Jonah. She tells him he’s pathetic. Poor lil’ Twig.
Later, Granddad is telling stories again, but this time Deacon is weighing in too. When his dad seems to get some details wrong, Deacon goes to correct him before realizing his father was right and he’d somehow warped the memory in his mind. Progress? Deacon makes a comment about life being more vivid since he quit drinking and his dad agrees, while Daph just looks on like, I know you’re secretly stashing booze in your room, pops. Later, she sneaks into her grandfather’s room to check for the bottle of bourbon she saw under his bed and doesn’t see anything. But when she heads to bed that night, she hears the sound of glass smashing inside his bedroom and opens the door. Inside, she sees him holding a bottle of bourbon and shards of broken glass. He asks Daphne not to tell her dad, saying he just needs it to help him sleep. Our Daphne’s too smart for that charade and walks out without saying a word. Luckily, her success on Nashville’s Next is there to distract her — she’s made the final and sits down for a TV interview to discuss it, with an impressed Maddie looking on. (Recap continues on page 2.)
Down at the ranch, things aren’t looking too good. The equestrian therapy practice isn’t bringing in any money, so it looks like it’s going to have to close down. Sean has the idea to throw a benefit to raise some cash, which also means a reluctant Scarlett will be guilted into performing. Later, Scarlett and Gunnar have an awkward lunch during which they both admit they’re just trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. When Scarlett asks him to sing at the benefit, Gunnar admits he’s unable to write — but when he sees his hero Steve Earle perform (hey, cameo!), the musician tells him to scare himself by becoming someone different. Taking the advice, Gunnar goes home and starts rocking out on the electric guitar. Will is blown away and offers some tips on how to perform it, complete with kneel slides et al.
Alannah, on the other hand, is having less trouble getting the music out. She and Avery are recoding together and sharing loving looks when Brad walks in, drapes an arm around Alannah and kisses her head. Avery just delivers him a death stare. That night, Alannah and Brad have dinner and she’s all (fake?) flirty again. He thinks he really might be falling for her and strokes her hand. She tells him she won’t be part of breaking up his marriage and he shows her his ringless hand. Uh-oh. Later, when Avery meets with Alannah, she tells him she thinks that he and Juliette are going to figure things out. Despite his protestations that it’s her he wants to be with, she tells him that they met at absolutely the perfect wrong time and walks away after kissing him goodbye.
At Jonah’s party mansion, Mia is still texting him and he’s ignoring it. Probably feeling lousy from his conversation with Maddie, Twig goes off at Jonah, telling him he didn’t deserve her. Jonah tries to trivialize his wrongdoing, saying it’s all history now anyway, but Twig won’t let it go and they end up physically fighting. Well, kinda. It’s pretty lame; mostly they just roll around on pool inflatables, but Twig lands at least one punch on Jonah’s pretty face. Then Jonah admits he’s an idiot and they go and get a beer. Same old, same old… Later, he goes to see Maddie and tells her he came clean with Jonah but didn’t quit working for him. Maddie is disappointed in him. She points out that he has nothing with or without Jonah, which is kinda harsh in my opinion. I mean, he at the very least has a nice head of hair. But when he gets ready to leave for Europe with Jonah that night, Twig comes to his senses and tells his bestie he’s finished being his bitch. Jonah’s all, well, whatever, you’re a loser because he’s a smart and articulate little pop star. He then tells Twig he’s making a big mistake by walking away from the best thing that ever happened to him. Twig does not care and walks off, leaving Jonah looking far from convinced by his own bravado.
I knew that recurring mention of a temperature wasn’t for nothing. Over at Juliette’s she’s panicking because Cadence is still burning up. Avery comes over to help and while they wait to read their daughter’s temperature, Jules tells him she’s finally going to do what she’s always wanted to do: Live on a farm she’s bought outside of Nashville. Say what now?! Hands up if this farming dream of Juliette’s is news to you? Anyway, they’re alarmed to realize Cadence has a temperature of 104 degrees and rush her to the hospital, where a doctor tells them she has pneumonia. Luckily, they caught it early (thanks goodness, we only have one more episode to go!!) and she’s going to be okay. Avery and a calm-and-in-control new Juliette share a moment, then his phone rings. It’s Alannah, but he doesn’t pick up. Juliette tells him she understands he’s moved on and isn’t upset about it. He doesn’t bother to tell her that Alannah ended things earlier that day. Alannah might have been calling because of a coffee meeting she just had with Deacon, where I’m pretty sure she filled him in on Brad’s sleazy ways. Cruelly, there was no audio for the interaction — we just had to watch it from afar — but if Deacon’s reaction was anything to go by, what she told him wasn’t pretty. She can just switch over to Highway 65, right? Contract, shmontract! Easy solution! (Recap continues on page 3).
It’s time for the benefit, folks! Honestly, I don’t know why they don’t hold one of these every week to solve all of their problems. Will needs a new exercise bike? Throw a benefit! Juliette gets sued by Darius and loses all her money? Throw a benefit! Gunnar needs a new girlfriend? Throw a… hmm, wait, never mind. Anyway, it is of course a resounding success. Gunnar plays his new angry song — complete with ripped denim vest — and at least one girl in the crowd really loves it. While Scarlett and Sean perform together, his wife watches from the crowd as they sing about falling for one another. Yikes. Elsewhere in the crowd, Deacon is affectionate towards his father, and Twig shows up. He tells Maddie he quit Jonah and is insanely happy about his new-found freedom. He picks Maddie up and twirls her around. They end up kissing and she laughs and hugs him. Jonah who?
After the show, Sean follows Scarlett back to the stable-turned-dressing-room and starts telling her how he feels, but she tells him it’s easy to fall in love with someone brand new because they can seem perfect. Bottom line: It’s not going to happen between them. She says that his wife, not her, is the love of his life, and she’s walking away right now, so he’d better go after her because he won’t get another chance. They share a brief, pained kiss and he tells Scarlett he’ll never forget her before running after his wife. Scarlett is left crying but knows she did the right thing regardless of her true feelings.
The Clayborne clan are headed home from the benefit and Deacon suggests Daphne rides with her granddad. She hesitates and grandpa makes excuses not to drive her, and it’s enough for Deacon to realize his dad’s been drinking. He grabs his keys and searches the vehicle until he finds a bottle of bourbon. Deacon throws it away and tells his dad he knew he was lying to him. He starts yelling before the girls stops him. Deacon tells his dad to get out of there, with a “you’re not my father.”
Question: With just one episode to go, wouldn’t it have been kinder to Deacon (who’s literally had the worst year/life) if his dad was truly reformed? If not, why even introduce him this late in the game. Guess we’ll find out next week on the SERIES finale if there was some grand scheme behind the new drama. Until, then…