Juliette learns how to use a staple gun on her path to being a better person
Credit: CMT
S6 E2
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Things were generally a little awkward down in Nashville this week, what with exes (The Exes) bumping into one another — Scarlett even had to hide from Gunnar behind a zucchini — and Deacon and Jessie giving dating a whirl. Let's just say that all in all, the episode did a good job at making dating look like pretty much the worst concept since Juliette's concept album last season. Let's get into it, shall we?

After the aforementioned zucchini showdown, Scarlett and Deacon run into Jessie at the market. She and Deacon haven't seen each other in months (since last season's finale, when they agreed they'd just be friends), and it shows. Their conversation is more than a little stilted, with polite laughs aplenty. Scarlett thinks the two should just get on with it and date, so later that night, Deacon calls Jessie, and once more they stutter their way through an accepted invitation to dinner. Jessie is a little confused, worrying that Deacon isn't ready to date yet, but he thinks he is. They agree on dinner the next night…

And then the next day Jessie calls to cancel, citing parenting problems. It's almost believable since we've just witnessed Daphne trying to engage Jessie's son Jake in conversation at school to little avail — he was otherwise occupied staring at a tree. But it turns out that despite Jake's meltdown, deep down Jess was only canceling because she was nervous. So she calls back, and they decide to try to be chill about it and just go and share a meal like it's not a big deal. Meanwhile, Daphne makes some progress with Jake, and they chat a little about how gross it would've been if their parents had gotten together. Great!

At dinner the weird awkwardness continues for Jessie and Deacon. They're both a little subdued. Jessie tells him she's decided to quit music and Deacon's all, Fair enough, you do you. His lack of protestation makes her realize they're ruining their friendship by trying to date — she's taking psychology classes online, so she knows these things. It really is the most polite and boring date ever. They're both trying too hard instead of just being friends, and eventually Deacon admits that he's overwhelmed and Jessie agrees that she is too. And so, after all that hemming and hawing, they decide to go back to being friends — that is, until Deacon drops her off and they throw all that logic (or lack thereof) out the window and kiss, and it's all back on track. The next morning they drop their kids off at school at the same time and have a flirty moment that Daphne is entirely unimpressed by.

Deacon's not the only one trying to move on with his life. After some advice from the newly wise Will, Gunnar tries to accept that he and Scar are on different paths now (she wasn't so successful at hiding at the market, it seems) and he can't be worried about what she's thinking and feeling at all times. To get his mind off the situation, he and Will (who probably needs a break from pounding protein shakes and working out like crazy) decide to play another gig together since the New Year's Eve show was such a blast.

Their second gig as a double act is such a success (for the one thirsty girl in the front row, at least) that even good old dependable stay-at-home Avery is envious he can't be part of it. But when the guys invite him to join their bro-down he declines; looking after his two girls is enough to keep his plate full for now. Will and Gunnar (Wunnar? Gill?) don't take no for an answer, however, and end up staging an intervention — complete with a lasso (I kid you not) — to kidnap Avery and baby Cadence. They head off to perform a little show together for some veterans. Remember when Avery and Gunnar fought over Scarlett and Will had a crush on Gunnar? How times have changed. The trio end up singing Waylon Jennings' "Stop the World and Let Me Off" and it's a hit — even Avery is having a good time. Riding the performance high, Gunnar and Will decide they want to form a super group. Avery is skeptical — it's actually kind of adorable. Bring on the super group!! (Recap continues on page 2)

It's nice to see Avery doing something for himself since, as always, Juliette is dealing with her demons in her own way. The troubled singer heads back to the Church of Coherent Philosophy to meet with Darius. He's not available to see her (you can almost hear Juliette thinking, Does he know who I am?!) and before she knows it she's been roped into helping out with a community service project instead — staple gun and all. Naturally J's bad tempered about it at first, but when given no other option than to just get on with it, she relents and ends up feeling quite accomplished by the end — it's all about learning how to move away from victimhood and realize your own power, you see. She's enjoying herself so much that she calls Avery to tell him she's going to sleep over there. She says she feels better than she has in a long time and asks him to please not ruin it for her. Um, when has dutiful, obliging, doting Avery ever ruined anything for Juliette, pray tell?

When Jules finally catches up with Darius the next day, he tells her she should move into the community, as she needs to distance herself from her old ways and develop new habits to be truly happy here and now. It seems like she's considering his proposal pretty seriously when she gets home and just stares at all her awards and records and then at Avery, as if she's on the precipice of dropping some big news.

Juliette's not alone in considering a lifestyle change. After playing a small gig and singing a sad song, Scarlett's a little overcome with emotion backstage. She tells Deacon that she feels Gunnar's absence on stage; she's okay without him but wonders why she's performing without him since being on stage and receiving all the attention was his dream, not hers. Deacon tells her she's too talented to give it all up and asks if she wants to take part in a guitar pull to get her back into it.

While she's considering the pull, Scarlett goes to visit her teenage fan Nadine (the one she helped find her confidence last season) at her art show and realizes she wants to do more to give back and use her music for the good of others. Initially, she tells Deacon she's realized music is her platform to help other people, so it would be selfish of her to worry about whether she enjoys it or not, and she decides to go to the guitar pull to perform. When she gets there, however, old stage fright returns, and she bails before she can go on stage.

Scarlett then bumps into Gunnar amid the vegetables at another market (apparently the whole healthy eating in January thing is big among country stars too), and he tells her she has the most beautiful voice and it'd be sad if she didn't use it. She seems to take that in but is still set on doing something more direct to help people, so who knows what she'll do next. Riding horses is bound to be part of it.

And that's it for this rather subdued episodeI'm sure the drama will start to crank up as the season continues — this is Nashville, after all, and these guys need some country song-writing fodder.

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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