This week Nashville ran the spectrum of emotions and went to some pretty dark places with Juliette’s story line. Let’s get right to it.
It’s a blessing to us all that Avery, Gunnar, and Will are still pursuing the country boy band dream. Deacon and Jessie go to check out their show to see if this thing has legs — Daphne was also supposed to be in attendance, but she bailed when she realized Jessie was going to be there. Her excuse of late-night choir practice someone sounded realistic to Deacon.
When the guys get on stage, Will hogs the limelight and microphone, and Avery and Gunnar are visibly irked by his performance demeanor. Post show, Avery steps outside to call Juliette and shares that he doesn’t think they’re really gelling as a group. By way of response, she quotes Darius to try to help, but it doesn’t really have the desired result. Avery is still super skeptical about the guru’s ways, and he’s hesitant about Juliette’s blind devotion to the church and her willingness to completely change who she is just because Darius says to. His worries are quelled a bit after he talks to Deacon later. Avery compares her to a kid he knew in high school who joined a cult and lost himself, but Deacon thinks he should let her go down this road a little in order to heal.
Back inside, the super group sits down with Deacon, Jessie, and Bucky (he’s back!), and Avery tells them he thinks they lack cohesion. Jessie helps by comparing them to *NSYNC. Back in college, she wanted to both have sex with Justin Timberlake and be him. Good to know, Jess. More helpfully, Bucky suggests they play at the upcoming Nashfest.
The next day in rehearsals, the guys try to figure out who they are as a group. Will and Gunnar are butting heads majorly; Will thinks Gunnar is too emo, and Gunnar thinks Will lives in some fantasy world and is too “bright” and inauthentic. Avery’s had enough of it. He tells them one of them is peanut butter and the other one is chocolate and they could do with mixing with one another a little more. He leaves. But it’s Deacon’s suggestion that they just relax and enjoy it that seems to do the trick. After all, it’s supposed to be about having fun. BOY (BAND), DO THEY EVER. (Or at least I do.) At the end of their set, the guys perform *NSYNC’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” complete with dance moves and posing. The crowd of young girls (and Jessie) goes wild. It is something else. I’d pay for tickets to see that show any day. I mean, just look at those moves:
One show I’m less interested in? Will’s gun show. After they perform, he heads back to his trailer and checks out his shirtless body in the mirror. Either his mental image of his body is distorted or he’s supposed to look ridiculously out of proportion to us, because staring back at him is a Hulk-like body with a pea-sized head on top. It’s creepy. (Recap continues on page 2.)
Elsewhere, Daphne is being paired up with Jake (Jessie’s kid) for a frog-dissecting test at school. Jake is more than a little squeamish and ends up running out halfway through the test after being surprised to learn that frogs have anuses. Daphne tries to talk him down and they end up bonding a little over how terrible Jake’s dad is until he takes the opportunity to call Deacon a “rage-aholic.” Later, Daphne lets slip to Maddie that Jake insulted Deacon, so Maddie goes to her dad to apologize once again for taking him to court a couple of seasons back. Deacon tells her it’s all in the past, but he also reaches out to Jessie to let her know what happened. Daph and Jake wind up in detention together for walking out of class. They argue at first before finding common ground over their parents’ coupling and end up goofing around because Daphne is kind and mature and just generally the best.
Scarlett’s also practicing kindness. She heads down to the local ranch to learn more about equine therapy in the hopes of helping troubled teens. She observes sessions and buddies up with a regular to learn the ropes but ends up spending a lot of time mucking out the stables when the director of the program thinks she’s getting in the way. Luckily, she manages to prove herself when she rescues the director’s nephew Sean from being trampled by a runaway horse. Scar’s finally allowed to get on a horse and go for a ride.
And now for the main event: At the Church of Coherent Philosophy, Juliette overhears a “witnessing” ceremony. It just sounds like some really terrible crying, but according to Darius it’s the next phase in training, in which you start to free yourself from your past and the trauma associated with it. They then begin a therapy session, and Jules recalls her childhood and being at the home of a male friend of her mother’s (she called him “uncle,” but he wasn’t actually a relation). Juliette notes that there were wads of cash on the table laid out like Monopoly money in her uncle’s home whenever she and her mother visited. She remembers dancing with her mom in front of this man but then abruptly pulls herself away from the memory, telling Darius that she needs to stop; she doesn’t want to be there anymore.
But when she returns to the church later, it’s her time to go through the witnessing ceremony. Lying in bed surrounded by members of the church and candles, Juliette ventures back to the place in her mind where she and her mom were at the so-called uncle’s home. She remembers that he is now in the bedroom and her mother is not — she’s busy watching TV to drown out the sound of her daughter’s protestations and cries for help. Juliette breaks down in tears remembering her sexual abuse as a child at the hands of this man as Darius comforts her and tells her she’s safe. Afterwards, Jules looks completely broken from unlocking the darkest secret from her past and Darius tells her she just changed her life. I’ll admit, I didn’t trust Darius and his cult-like ways at first, but after that heartbreaking scene I’m more on board with his form of therapy. We’ve always known Juliette had a troubled, neglected childhood with her addict mother, but this (very relevant) development takes her story to a very dark place.
In a later session, Juliette recalls how her mother would take her to eat at her favorite restaurant afterwards. Her mom traded her daughter’s innocence and well-being and treated the whole thing as a business transaction by earning money from it and bribing her with treats. Darius tells her how profoundly disturbing it is, but he also says this is the first step to break the cycle she’s been in her whole life. He hopes she can now see that she deserves love and happiness. At this moment, happiness seems out of reach to Juliette, but Darius promises if she sticks with the training she won’t be the same person when she’s through.
We’ll find out next week where Juliette goes from here. In the meantime, read our interview with Nashville showrunner Marshall Herskovitz for more on that dark revelation.
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