'Nashville' Recap: Rescue and Redemption

Juliette's caught in a lie and Daphne hides an injured Liv from Deacon in the latest episode of the CMT drama

Deacon (Charles Esten) sorts through troubles at home and work in this week's 'Nashville.' Credit: Courtesy of CMT

Throughout the 99 episodes of Nashville that have aired – first on ABC and now CMT – guest stars have popped up so organically that it's sometimes easy to miss them. This week's episode, building toward the milestone 100th next week, for instance, features the fictional country stars interacting with real-life celebs including Michael Ray, Cassadee Pope, RaeLynn and CMT's own Allison DeMarcus, wife of Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus. Another of the show's most reliable aspects, namely Juliette's ability to inspire chaos for everyone around her, especially herself, finds her seeking professional help to deal with stress and yet managing to psychoanalyze herself, which goes as well as expected.

The disappointing critical response to Juliette's gospel album finds her coming to the realization that her brain does not process failure, but with less than 40 hours to her return to the concert stage, she decides to kick the gospel choir to the curb and go solo, telling Hallie, who has been one of her most loyal supporters and saved her life after a plane crash, that her label wants her to play her old songs this time out. For those of a certain age who remember the TV commercials with the classic line, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature," Juliette's little fib inspires visions of her instantly being struck by lightning. As it is, she's struck by something much worse: guilt-ridden flashbacks of her father and his death when she was a little girl. Later, when she finds out from Emily that she and her choir mates were duped, the usually level-headed Hallie (played to continuing perfection by Rhiannon Giddens) lashes out, calling Juliette a "selfish, narcissistic bitch." Cue the thunder and lightning!

As Deacon tries to connect with his daughters, he finds they don't have time for him, what with Maddie romancing Clay and Daphne immersing herself in Nashville's homeless community and her new pal, the scrappy Liv, who gets badly injured and initially refuses Daphne's help even as she's bleeding out. In what is threatening to become one of the show's more cringe-worthy subplots, Daphne decides to take Liv home with her and hide her like a stray puppy in her bedroom. Deacon is none the wiser, but not for long, and just when it looks like he's ready to take Rayna's place as a responsible, practical parent, he tells the girls Liv can stay with them. Raise your hand if you think this is a swell idea. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?. . . Deacon can probably be forgiven for acting impulsively at this point, though, and to his credit he does stick up for Bucky when Zach continues to suggest that he needs to be let go from the record label, even suggesting that it's what Rayna would have wanted. Not cool, Zach. In the end, Bucky decides it's in his own best interest to leave his job there, but he tells Deacon to tread carefully because Zach probably has more roadblocks ahead for Highway 65. Just what Nashville needs – more traffic problems.

Scarlett keeps avoiding Damien's calls. At this rate their kid will be graduating from high school when Damien finds out he's the father. She finally reveals the news and he tells her he's in love with her. So, if you're keeping score, that's one baby, one daddy and one boyfriend. But these are musicians we're talking about, not mathematicians. It doesn't take much to see that those numbers aren't going to add up.

As the episode ends, Juliette makes amends with the choir and asks them to perform with her after all. But as she climbs the lighted steps to the stage, she's seized by yet another flashback and reminders of the many poor decisions she has made. And although that could in itself be the basis of a two-part episode (at least), she finally emerges, her arms outstretched, declaring that she is on her way to the redemption she has obviously been seeking after a lifetime of bad decisions and questionable behavior. Although to us it seems like only about five years. . . or 99 episodes-worth.