'Nashville' Recap: Deacon and Jessie Go Deep, Maddie Vexed by Jonah's Ex

Juliette makes a life-changing decision, while Will, Gunnar and Avery add a new member to their group in the latest episode of the CMT/Hulu drama

Deacon (Charles Esten) gets prepared to take things with Jessie to the next level in this week's 'Nashville.' Credit: Mark Levine/CMT

William Shakespeare, in his play Twelfth Night, wrote, "If music be the food of love, play on." For Deacon and Jessie, it's cheeseburgers then music that fuel their newfound passions, which would explain why they end up dancing together in the Elliston Place Soda Shop, then making out hot and heavy while parked outside. Frankly, anyone who has ever had one of their killer milkshakes knows you need to do something to work off all those calories. However, Jessie pumps the brakes on what would otherwise happen next when she mentions protection. Deacon, who is clearly no Boy Scout, is not at all prepared and they talk each other out of it, deciding to wait until the time is right later on. Had they read ahead in Shakespeare's play they would have realized this was inevitable as the Duke says, "Enough, no more. 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before. O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou. That, notwithstanding thy capacity, receiveth as the sea, nought enters there." Which is a fancy way of saying they might as well have had another cheeseburger and milkshake. Later, they make plans for an adult play date.

Avery, Gunnar and Will are rehearsing together and when Gunnar hits a note so high it wakes up every dog in the neighborhood, he questions why he's always the one consigned to the falsetto parts. "You're the one with the high, girly voice," Will tells him. Gunnar, who isn't interested in becoming his generation's Barry Gibb, suggests bringing in an "actual girl… somebody who's great to look at, super-talented and can sing high," to join their group. Bucky notes that it's "working really well" for Little Big Town and Alabama Shakes, and while that might seem like an innocuous statement, the whole exchange really comes off as quite sexist – and yet, probably more true-to-life when it comes to the real Nashville than anyone would care to admit. Like a reversal of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, they drop in to various venues around town to get a quick listen to a trio of singers running the gamut, respectively, from not bad to frightening to just plain hopeless. Of course, the next singer they encounter is just right. Played by Aussie newcomer Rainee Lyleson, Alannah commands the stage with soulful confidence and, for the first time in a long time, Avery, Will and Gunnar find themselves in total agreement, practically pouncing on her before she has a chance to escape. They call her later to welcome her to the group and tell her they already have their first gig. Without seemingly so much as a single rehearsal, the four of them become a polished, cohesive unit, playing their first gig before any of them fight – or sleep – with one another.

Maddie is distraught when she sees a music video by Jonah's ex-girlfriend, who sings (if you can call it that), without a hint of Taylor Swift's gift for subtlety, "Maddie J., you're in the way. You can't have him." She ignores a call from Jonah but can't exactly ignore him when he shows up on the street with his entourage and they're all suddenly surrounded by a slew of paparazzi. In real-life Nashville, it's more likely they'd be accosted by a pedal tavern. Later, she tells Deacon that she really cares about Jonah but sometimes he is really with her and sometimes he's "so gone." As Deacon points out, Jonah is "that famous" and he's worried his daughter will get lost in his life instead of carrying on with her own. Jonah shows up and tells Maddie he feels like a freak in his own life, that his ex, Mia, is delusional. They hit up a donut shop where Jonah buys entire racks of baked goods. Sometimes food, not music, is the food of love.

In addition to doling out some heartfelt fatherly advice to Maddie after her dust-up with Jonah, Deacon is getting ready to get down to business with Jessie. While shopping for condoms, he has a guy behind him in line ask, "How do those work for you?" Having desperately tried to keep a low profile in the drug store, he starts to feel like there's a neon sign over his head flashing, "Please feel free to ask me about my sex life!" He's relieved, sort of, when he realizes the guy is only asking about the razors he picked up in an effort to make the whole transaction less awkward. His impending tryst with Jessie is shaping up to be yet another American Pie sequel, and we all know what happened to a certain baked good in that first movie.

At the Bluebird, Deacon sings a song about giving in to darkness and looking for the light and, as usual, it's impossible to tell what Jessie is thinking. Can't say the same for the daggers shooting out of Daphne's eyes in her direction. Daphne later tells Deacon that the sleepover she had planned has been cancelled, but after calling Jessie, finds out that this was just a false alarm. At Jessie's, the awkwardness takes a heartbreaking turn as Deacon pumps the brakes on their lovemaking and is reduced to a puddle of big, ugly tears. He's been counting the months, weeks, days, and (like us) probably the hours, minutes and seconds, since Rayna died but it hasn't been getting any easier. Needless to say, the condoms stayed in the box. To her credit, Jessie is comforting and understanding. Later, they eat ice cream, talk about Deacon's relationship with his violent father and how he secretly wishes he had a son. The next morning, they wake up next to each other on the floor and as Deacon is leaving, Jessie is visibly annoyed and lashes out at him for wanting to take off, but he tells her not to give up on him even though he's damaged. 

Meanwhile, Juliette is still processing the horrific memory of being sexually molested as a little girl. "Maybe every choice I've ever made has been affected by this in some way," she says to Avery. "Even us?" Avery wonders, questioning Darius's influence on Juliette, which is what ultimately led her to recall that long-repressed memory. In a session, Darius tells Juliette to imagine her life without the trauma in it, wondering if she thinks she might have ever become a wife, mother, or even a celebrity without that experience. She reasons that she has always needed constant approval from other people and has always felt cut off from others and frozen inside. "You are an amazing human being, Juliette. Don't ever forget that," he says. "Look at the way you've attracted so many people to you. You became a charming, captivating irresistible narcissist. Because you had to." And for the first time, we feel as though Darius is a decent human being with Juliette's best interest at heart. We're also convinced that feeling won't last long. And, in fact, it starts to unravel when Darius suggests it's time for Juliette to work with young children who have endured terrible trauma and loss … in Bolivia.

She later breaks the news to Avery, who finally says what we're all thinking: "I don't trust this guy." They have a major blow-up later on, with Juliette telling Avery, "I don't need you to save me; I am saved." After Avery returns from his gig, the two get comfy on the couch, but when he wakes up the next morning, she is nowhere to be found. It's safe to assume she didn't just go out for donuts or cheeseburgers.