Deacon's on an emotional rollercoaster as he contemplates moving on from Rayna
Credit: CMT
S6 E3
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This week, Nashville did what it does best and let all the complex emotions take the forefront. It also gave Daphne more screen time, which is always appreciated. Let’s explore the episode, y’all.

You know that annoying move where shows put people’s text conversations up on the screen for the viewer to see? Yeah, we open this episode witnessing Deacon and Jessie’s flirty text exchange firsthand. D’s soon interrupted (thankfully) by Zach stopping by his office to let him know he’s headed back to California. Don’t worry — he’s not pulling out his investment from Highway 65; he’s just decided to pursue a Senate bid back in his home state. Pfft, anyone can run for office these days.

Can’t say I’ll miss Zach terribly, but someone who’ll definitely feel the loss? Will. The poor guy’s not in the best place. When he finds out his ex is leaving town, he goes to see him right at the exact moment Zach’s new beau walks in to help him pack up some boxes. Anyone’s who been through a crappy breakup and then watched the other person move on first (and too soon!!), knows how much this has to suck for Will. Honestly, the reasoning for their breakup is pretty weak (Zach couldn’t forgive Will for not having his back through all the Highway 65 drama) and I’m sure had more to do with the fact that Zach’s character was being written out than anything else.

Anyway, not getting the closure he thought he would from saying goodbye to Zach, Will heads to the gym, as he’s wont to do these days. He pounds it out on the weights and then meets a man and heads home to, um, pound it out with him. Only, poor Will has some performance problems. (I’d like to take this moment to pause and applaud CMT for including a gay sex scene on the show! I’m sure those who disagree will let me know in the comments.) The next day he heads to see his doctor to ask for some Viagra, but she’s a little hesitant to just prescribe him drugs and does a blood test instead to see what’s causing the problem. Turns out there’s a s— ton of growth hormones and steroids in his system.

Will tries to explain it away, citing working out and just doing what all the dudes at the gym are doing, but the doc is adamant this isn’t okay and he has to get clean. He says he gets it, but this would be an awfully short-lived story line if he did, so later at home, instead of throwing his vials of whatever in the trash, he shoots it into his butt instead. A bewildered Gunnar witnesses this and doesn’t seem to buy Will’s “it’s just growth hormones” explanation. Oh, dear. I think we’re all in for some crazy mood swings from Will in the near future.

From one awkward encounter to another: Deacon and Jessie go for coffee and decide they don’t have to tell the kids quite yet that they’re dating. Then Daphne walks into the coffee shop, and that idea goes out the window. Deacon is worried about, well, everything. He talks it through with Scarlett, and we get one of those great moments of raw emotion from Charles Esten as Deacon admits that as much as he likes Jessie, she just isn’t Rayna. Again, I’d like to applaud the show’s writers this time for not rushing Deacon to move on and forgot the inimitable Ray too soon.

Jessie is also concerned about the whole situation, and Deacon does nothing to ease her worries when she calls him later and he blows her off and speedily gets off the phone. These two really suck at phone conversations. After Deacon talks to Maddie and Daphne and they pretend (well, Daph does anyway) that they’re okay with him dating, he calls Jessie back to ask her to dinner. Now it’s her time to get off the phone in a hurry. She tells him she doesn’t want to come in between him and the girls and hangs up before she breaks down in tears.

Rather than call her back again, Deacon heads over to Jessie’s place (an unwelcome move for any girl in the early stages of dating) to apologize in person. He tells her he doesn’t want to wreck their relationship, but he’s walking around with a part of him missing and it’s all very confusing. It’s another great moment in an episode full of tear-jerking honesty as Deacon’s inner conflict bubbles to the surface. Regardless of all the turmoil getting together might cause, Deacon never wants to feel the way he did when she hung up on him (“like the floor fell out from under him” — can you tell he writes songs for a living?) and doesn’t want this to end. They kiss and things are resolved again…for now. (Recap continues on page 2)

I can’t even be bothered to recap Juliette’s story line, but for the sake of Avery, here goes. She’s spouting nonsense about connecting on a “deeper level” with her family rather than just your average communicating (wouldn’t that require her to actually spend time with her family?) as she gets Cadence ready for breakfast. Avery rolls his eyes. J thinks he has an awful lot of opinions about Darius (head Church of Coherent Philosophy guy) for someone who’s never even met him. Avery feels like seeing his TV special was enough exposure (ha!), but — ever the dutiful partner — he agrees to go with her to meet with Darius nonetheless.

Darius welcomes them warmly on arrival, and he and Avery head off to the meditation garden for a chat. Darius tells Avery how Jules is becoming more present and open to the possibility of something better. He says other vague, nothing statements about the church’s philosophy without actually answering any of Avery’s questions. But Jules doesn’t need any concrete answers; she’s so happy with her newly acquired staple gun skills that later she randomly bursts into song, to the admiration of her fellow churchgoers. Ever the killjoy, Darius asks her if she’d bother singing if no one told her she was good at it, and she admits she probably wouldn’t. He tells her she needs to examine herself and the people she surrounds herself with so she can stop looking outside for validation. Basically, he says a lot of things just to say a lot of things. But Juliette takes it all in.

When she gets home later that night, she tells Avery she thinks she can make a change and confront her problems on a “deep level” to become a better partner and mom. (I want to know what this “deep level” is that they all keep harping on about.) When Avery is less than thrilled about all this, she jumps down his throat, telling him she won’t do it his way and berating him for not giving Darius a chance. He’s all like, Girl, I tried, but the dude is bad vibes. Of course, J just thinks Avery feels threatened by Darius or likes it better when she leans on him, to which Avery responds: “Think what you want, you will anyway.” Mic drop.

The next day, Juliette leaves at the crack of dawn to volunteer, telling him she’ll be back tonight when he’s less mad at her. Being the wonderful human being that he is, Avery tells her he’s not mad, just worried that she’s shutting him out. Valid point, Avery.

Elsewhere in mismatched relationships, Maddie and Jonah try to spend more time together. First, they hang out in the VIP section of a club and do some awkward dancing before heading into the studio the next day to record a track together. It’s kind of a terrible song at first; then they do some jiggering with the guitars or something, and now it’s just Jonah pretty much ruining what Maddie could’ve made a decent song alone. When they leave the studio they’re chased by paparazzi, and still scarred from her last brush with online trolls, Maddie isn’t keen to get into such a public relationship. He assures her he hates all the distractions too and is eager to make it work — so eager that he concocts a plan for their next date where he’s sure no one will spot them: the bingo hall. They have a great time with the senior citizens, but I’m inclined to say Maddie had even more fun hanging out with Jonah’s tries-really-hard-to-be-funny sidekick/pal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a teen love triangle is headed our way. That can only lead to great press for Maddie, right?

Before Maddie leaves for her bingo date, she passes Daphne’s room and hears her little sister sobbing in her bed. Daph’s not okay with Deacon dating Jessie, but swears Maddie to secrecy, telling her she just wants her dad to be happy but hates the whole situation because now she really feels like her mom’s gone. Sob. She sits down and writes/plays/sings a song about being lost to help process her feelings. It’s beautiful. She cries. I cry. This show should just be about Daphne’s journey and music.

And that’s pretty much it for this emotionally exhausting episode. Oh, apart from Scarlett finally finding the perfect match for her “I want to help people and also be around horses” quest. She sees a news report for a center for equine therapy that helps teens deal with trauma and become more emotionally stable (horse pun count: one).

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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