Juliette goes AWOL while Gunnar falls further for Alannah
Credit: CMT
S6 E7
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Nashville is hitting up some exotic locations this week, so let’s waste no time and get jet-setting.

In the Jaymes/Claybourne household, Maddie is heading off on a three-day trip to play a concert in Miami with Jonah. Deacon is nervous, but she assures her dad she’s an adult and will be fine. They’re staying at a huge mansion, so I’m going to assume she’s more than fine…for now. Later, she, Jonah, and his gang head to the show, where hordes of screaming teenage girls are waiting to pounce on the pop star. His security is really great.

Jonah takes to the stage later that night, bringing Maddie (in a terrible orange dress) on to sing with him. Maddie looks a little out of place on the stage without a guitar but sings her two lines well while Jonah’s BFF, Twig, looks on from the audience, eyes full of love. I assume his feelings are for Maddie, but I’ve been wrong before (do let me know in the comments).

The next morning it’s clear Maddie is the object of Twig’s affection. They bond over omelets, and then Jonah comes in and ruins (or enhances?) the moment by saying he has to fly to Austin to talk to a director, leaving Maddie to hang out more with cutie best friend. (#TeamTwig.) Maddie isn’t pleased Jonah’s bailing on her, but she manages to have fun playing cards with Twig until the other members of the entourage show up with some magic mushrooms and peer-pressure Twig into trying them. The poor kid’s a mess, tripping on the drugs. He grows super anxious and paranoid, but luckily Maddie is there to take him to a quiet room. She light some candles, and they take one deep breath together.

Twig opens up, telling her he can’t stand not being in control because he’s the oldest child and is used to standing up and being the responsible one. His mom had severe issues with depression since his dad left and was pretty much a useless parent, so it fell on Twig to take care of his brother and sister. As tough as that was, it made him grow up and now helps him figure out the logistics for the crew, which gives him the opportunity to hang out with producers. Realizing he’s into producing, Maddie wants to see some of his work. Do we all have a sneaking suspicion he’s going to be a surprise super producer? Here’s hoping for an internship with Avery!

The next morning, Twig is cleaning up everyone’s mess and apologizing to Maddie for last night. She tells him he was cute when he was freaking out, and they’re about to exchange numbers when stupid Jonah comes back to get in the way and offer to whisk Maddie off to any country she wants. Eye roll.

Back in Nashville, Deacon and Jessie attend the open house at Daphne and Jake’s school; they’re trying to be on their best behavior so as not to provoke Brad (Jessie’s ex), who, of course, is sitting directly behind them. Daph sings and plays guitar and is awesome (have I mentioned she’s my favorite?), and Deacon tears up a little in the crowd. I don’t like the way Brad’s looking at Daphne, like he wants to poach her and sign her for his label. But that goes out of my mind pretty quickly because then Jake gets on stage and raps about hating everyone and being bullied and how basically he’s “a Wildling, y’all a bunch of Crows.” I don’t know about you, but that’s a Game of Thrones reference I intend to use a LOT from here on out. He also calls out his dad, saying the only thing he gave him was his name. Go, Jake!

Backstage after the show, Brad makes some callous digs at his son, telling him he’s “not sure what to make of this rare talent,” while complimenting Daphne and undermining Deacon’s authority, chastising him for keeping his daughter in school auditoriums when she should be on a real stage. I’m really hoping Daphne doesn’t get swept up in this evil man’s promises — but later, at home, she expresses interest in entering Nashville’s Next Country Star, a competition run by Brad. Deacon says she doesn’t need that to show her talent and tells her they have big plans for her when she’s ready. She doesn’t look entirely convinced. Impatient teens, eh?

Speaking of impatient people, Gunnar’s already getting in too deep in his “fun, casual” relationship with Alannah. He starts by telling her he never thought three months ago he could be with someone like her, and then he gets carried away about them having sex and eating frozen waffles in bed. He’s all, I want to get to know you better, but Alannah’s not really into the talking thing. When her ex calls, she leaves the room to take the call. (Recap continues on page 2)

Adding more fuel to the angry-at-Alannah fire is the fact that reporters want to interview the band — and by “the band,” they mean just Alannah. Of course, Brad Maitland called the journalists saying he’d found the next best thing, and now they only want to hear her story and how the guys were “lucky enough to find her.” Sheesh, no wonder Will’s mad. Yes, the copious amounts of steroids coursing through his veins are a major contributing factor, but he’s also worried they’re not really a band anymore and that it’s becoming a business venture instead of just something they do for fun. Avery agrees they should be true to themselves but also thinks that maybe Alannah makes them something special. Will thinks they were already special without her. That’s cute, Will.

Anyway, Avery has way bigger fish to fry. He goes to the airport with Cadence and flowers for Juliette, who is supposed to be returning from her trip to Bolivia. He’s quite calm despite the last time he and his daughter waited for Jules to land. Of course, Juliette doesn’t show up and then doesn’t pick up her phone when he calls. This seems SUPER inconsiderate, again considering the last time Avery couldn’t find her after a flight. He gets on the phone with the Church of Coherent Philosophy’s Bolivian branch, and they tell him his wife is safe but won’t put her on the phone. He tries demanding they get her, but the receptionist just keeps repeating that Juliette is free to contact him whenever she wants. Oh, J, what are you doing?

Later, Gunnar — at a loss while Alannah is on a date (?) with her ex — comes over to see Avery with some pizzas and beers. Avery tries to stop him from calling her because he’s crazy and really wants to. Avery’s like, Look, bro, my wife is AWOL so just chill. But Gunnar can’t take any advice and later gets weird at rehearsal, asking Alannah about her night. She points out that he didn’t want anything serious, but he plows on, asking her if she slept with her ex. Jeez, Gunnar. She tells him to check his unfounded jealousy or she’ll find another place to sing. Okay, fine, she is kinda mean about it.

When they play their show later that night, Will shows off with a guitar solo, trying to outshine Alannah, but she mostly holds her own. In the back, Avery just rolls his eyes. I love Avery. Once they wrap, Will is angry despite hijacking most of the performance, and he and Gunnar end up getting into a fight about it, with Will accusing Gunnar of being afraid to be fronted by a “gay cowboy.” Oh, boy. Thank goodness for Avery yelling at them to stop. He’s got so much more going on, what with a missing wife and all. On Deacon’s advice, he’s decided to fly to Bolivia at 6 a.m. to bring her home. Poor little Avery.

While Avery jets off to Bolivia, Deacon goes over to Jessie’s for dinner and winds up telling Jake how much he liked his performance at the school show. He says he’s not smart or cool enough to understand the medium all that well but really thought it was something. Then Deacon starts telling him about his own tough dad, who was always talking him down, and how that made him believe he wasn’t talented before he finally realized his dad was wrong. Jessie listens in on this pep talk, crying. Deacon tells Jake it’s okay to feel things deeply; it’s hard but worth it, so he should keep doing what he’s doing because it’s a gift. Jake shakes Deacon’s hand by way of thanks, and Jessie responds by kissing Deacon passionately and bringing him to her bedroom.

If only Avery could get so lucky. He arrives in the mountains of Bolivia at the church’s campus and asks to see Juliette. Apparently that’s not something he can just do without an appointment. He gets mad and almost yells (this is Avery) that he wants to see her, until he’s eventually taken to her. She’s sitting alone, plainly dressed, in a small, bare bedroom. Avery goes to hug her, but she’s unresponsive — in fact, she’s almost robotic. She tells him they didn’t take her phone from her; she chose not to call. She says she’s not the person that she was before (no s—! Is she even a person anymore?) but more “herself than she ever has been in her life.” Avery’s like, Okay, what the heck does that even mean?

Juliette explains that up until now she’s lived her life for everyone else, and now she’s doing it on her own terms (only this quiet existence doesn’t look a whole lot like living!). Apparently brainwashing is fast, because she goes on to tell the father of her baby that he’s been part of the problem because he had a stake in keeping her the way she was. She tells him she can’t be with him or have anything to do with him or her old life (THAT INCLUDES YOUR CHILD, JULIETTE) and that she’s not coming home. She half suggests that Cadence come live with her in this cell-like room, or they can FaceTime every day as an alternative. Avery is quite alarmed by this point, realizing he’s losing her. He begs Juliette to come back with him, but she robotically kisses him on the head, tells him her decision is made, and turns her back on him. Avery leaves in stunned tears. WHAT THE HECK?!

Back home, Alannah shows up at Gunnar’s door for some, um, fun, while Will does a million crunches and pull-ups at the gym, to the point of almost passing out. I hope, if nothing else, we’ve all learned something about the dangers of drugs in this episode. Tune in next week to see if Juliette can break the Scientology Church of Coherent Philosophy spell.

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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