Here’s the eternal conundrum of Juliette: When she’s in a good headspace, she’s serene, warm, nurturing, and — okay, I’ll say it — a little dull. When she’s in a bad headspace, she’s confrontational, sarcastic, defiant, self-destructive … and fun as hell. On the one hand, I want Juliette to be emotionally healthy. On the other, I like fun things. Conundrum!
All of this is to say that we didn’t quite get the Real Housewives of Nashville fireworks we were hoping for when Juliette walked in on Avery and Alannah. Juliette actually apologizes (lame!) and sweetly introduces herself to Alannah, explaining that she just wants to see Cadence. Meanwhile, Alannah can’t get out of there fast enough and Avery basically runs around in a Hugh Grant-esque dither. He follows Alannah to the door, telling her he needs to sort things out and he’ll call her later. “You don’t have to,” she says, which is so annoying. Alannah has this way of assuming the worst about every situation. (Hey, I just realized that Alannah officially has a personality! An annoying personality, but a personality all the same. Good job, Nashville writers!) “I want to,” he assures her. He goes back inside and finds Juliette in the nursery. “You can wake her up,” he says. But Juliette won’t do it.
“All the times my mama woke me up in the middle of the night just to say she was sorry …” she says, which is actually pretty poignant.
Avery tells Juliette to stay — after all, it’s her house (thanks for noticing, pal). But Juliette doesn’t want to disrupt Cadence’s world any further so she goes to … Hallie Jordan.
“I still can’t believe this,” Hallie says. (She’s talking about Juliette’s experience with the cult, but she might as well be talking about the fact that she’s on the show again.)
Juliette tells Hallie that she’s lost Avery — for good this time. But Hallie tells her to be patient, that he’ll come around.
I honestly don’t know if that’s true.
I mean, Avery really does seem done with Juliette and I don’t blame him. He says that her leaving him at the airport with Cadence was the last straw. As we’ve established, the man has been traumatized at airports one too many times! But it’s not like Alannah is such great shakes. In her own way, she’s as self-sabotaging as Juliette. And what does Alannah mean when she says that she’ll make Brad an “offer he can’t refuse”? Sounds like a terrible idea!
Anyway, let’s turn our attention to Sean, because we’re about to have a thrilling “the pupil becomes the teacher” moment. (Okay, thrilling might be a bit over-the-top, but I’m trying to add some drama here.) So Scarlett takes Sean to the VA hospital and there’s a five-hour wait.
“I don’t understand,” Scarlett says to the attending nurse. “These people sacrificed so much for their country. How do they get treated this way?”
I love when Nashville does PSAs.
Meanwhile, as Scarlett is complaining to the nurse, Sean has made like Alannah and gotten the hell out of there. She follows him into the parking lot and tells him if he doesn’t get professional help, she’s ditching him as a friend. Later, he shows up at her house and starts asking her why she took such a keen interest in him. She gives him the whole “because you’re a wonderful person” spiel, but Sean knows differently. He says it’s because he’s a musician and that music is Scarlett’s world.
“The person who needs to be back on that stage is you,” he says. “As a smart person once said to me, ‘What do you gain by giving up the thing you love most?’”
You tell her, Grasshopper.
My favorite part of the show mostly revolved around Deacon (for a change). At the supermarket, he literally bumps carts with Jessie. They have a sweet, halting, emotional conversation, where they admit how much they miss each other and how hard it’s been to stay apart. Then they hug (and kiss) good-bye and Jessie rolls her cart away. (If this were anything like real life, Deacon and Jessie would awkwardly bump into each other several times in various aisles, not knowing if they should hug again or nod at each other or avoid eye contact or what … but I digress.)
Pappy Claybourne is continuing with his whole “I’m the kindliest, cuddliest, rascaliest old gent ever!” routine, but part of that involves siding with the girls over Deacon in every argument — including encouraging Maddie to go on an “adventure” in Europe with Jonah when Deacon is rightly pumping the brakes — and downplaying how much abuse Deacon suffered as a child. It makes sense in a way. Deacon sees his childhood as an entirely horrible thing. Gideon acknowledges there was abuse but needs to cling to some good moments, too, for his own sanity. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but it’s not Deacon’s responsibility to make Gideon feel better.
Deacon goes to an AA meeting — his first in a while — and talks about his father. He says he wants to forgive, but it’s hard to forget the abuse. “It’s my job to remember,” he says. “If I don’t … he gets away with it.” At the same time, he knows he has to let go of the anger.
“Hatred is an armor,” he says. “I’ve worn it so long, I don’t know who I’d be if I took it off.” Whoa.
Meanwhile, Daphne is having a mini crisis on the set of Nashville’s Next Star. Both Brad and Ilse want her to lose the guitar, which is a bit of a crutch, and expose more of herself to the audience. Daphne is freaking out and behaves in a believably 14-year-old girl way — she shuts down and doesn’t show up for rehearsal. Ilse goes to see Deacon and explains that the show just has Daphne’s best interests at heart. (A note about Dutch country-pop star Ilse DeLange, who plays Ilse. Remember back in the day when every man on Nashville looked exactly the same? Like Deacon looked like Teddy who looked like Luke Wheeler who looked like Gunnar’s goateed brother? Well, if Ilse isn’t a perfect blend of Scarlett and Jessie then I’m Abe Lincoln.) (Also, I googled her. Girl is 41? Dag, what’s in the water in Holland? Retinol?)
This all culminates with Daphne going up on the Nashville’s Next Star stage with her guitar as Deacon and Maddie watch from the wings. Brad scowls when he sees her. Daphne looks out at the audience, blinks, and puts down her guitar. “I’m not going to use this,” she says. Then she begins to sing. Reader, I cried.
But the crying was just beginning. Once the family gets home, Deacon tells the girls he’ll meet them inside.
“I just want you to know that I’m trying,” he says to his father.
“I appreciate that, son,” Gideon replies.
And then, as they walk back inside, Deacon rests his hand on his father’s back. Hold me.