Beware: Spoilers ahead! With an episode that focused on the seemingly forgotten Juliette and brought the very-much-missed Hayden Panettiere back into the spotlight, the looming series finale of Nashville keeps getting closer with less and less to care about, Panettiere definitely notwithstanding. Nobody keeps Juliette in a corner (or locked in a room), if they know what’s good for them. Watching her go all Cesar Chavez in support of her fellow “volunteers” in the Movement, then plotting her Bolivian exodus with the help of another basically imprisoned Movement follower was a welcome distraction from the otherwise comatose action back in
When one of her fellow “volunteers” at the cult compound faints from overwork, Juliette gets angry, alleging abuse. She meets with Darius, telling him she wants to help make things right in terms of working conditions, but that after that she is going back to
The following day, Juliette seems to do just that, tearfully telling Darius’ minions that her feelings of powerlessness cause her to lash out and that she’s trying to get better about controlling her anger. They obviously never saw her Oscar-nominated performance as Patsy Cline, because it’s all an act. Juliette (or, rather, Hayden Panettiere), can pour on the drama but she’s also good for a laugh, as when she’s attempting to coach Rosa on how to act helpless and flirty in order to facilitate her escape.
Back in the city that’s quite literally crawling with drunken bachelorettes and slow-moving pedal taverns, Avery and Gunnar are instead fighting over Alannah. Once again (as in the case of Deacon and Jessie), there’s so little actual spark between Alannah and Avery, and with Gunnar lately it’s like somebody unplugged his battery and left him completely drained of any personality, so this particular triangle has become particularly annoying pretty quickly. But, with her offer of a solo deal from Brad’s Shiny New Records label, Alannah could be history anyway. Jessie, who sees Brad cozying up to Alannah when she drops by his office, goes to warn her about her ex-husband and his evil ways. Alannah, however, has already wised up to him, saying he reminds her of her dad, who was a narcissist.
Still, Alannah signs with Shiny New then calls Avery to tell him but is less than enthusiastic about her decision. She whines about how every time she gets close to something good she ruins it. Later, when Avery shows up at her place, she’s humiliated and tells him she spewed her feelings “all over you like the girl in The Exorcist.” As they try to one-up each other with just which one of them is more fucked up than the other it’s all we can do to keep from spraying the walls with pea soup.
Avery and Gunnar make up with each other over a beer, with Avery telling him about Alannah’s new deal and admitting he might really like her but he just isn’t sure. We get it. Gunnar tells him he’s allowed to move on from Juliette because she chose to leave. Obviously, all of this is a way to set up the drama that will (with any luck) ensue once the prodigal country-pop superstar returns home. Because if Avery and Alannah do end up together you can forget about plane crashes, car accidents, shootings and falling off buildings – they are just going to bore each other to death.
Twig shows up at Maddie’s because of an “emergency” text but the emergency is that she has written a song. It’s a chirpy little tune about how “we belong together.” Twig thinks the song is awesome and perfect, until Maddie mentions that she wrote it for Jonah. When Jonah tries to get Trip to leave because Mia, his crazy not-so-ex-girlfriend, is arriving, Trip warns him Maddie could find out he’s still seeing her. Maddie shows up at Jonah’s house ready for a hike, but he’s not there, so Maddie and Twig eat pizza and play a dance game. Twig also plays his mix of her song for her but as Jonah shows up, Twig is crestfallen. He goes to visit Maddie later and says she deserves to be with someone that really cares about her. Twig, in his infinite Twig-ness, gets it all wrong and starts over, but his next move, trying to kiss her, proves even more disastrous. He later apologizes for making things weird but makes things weirder by saying that it’s funny when girls think it’s possible for guys to be friends with them when they want more. But he says he’ll try and restrain himself and they both go on their merry, clueless ways into the friend zone. No doubt Rayna is surveying the scene from the great beyond, shaking her fiery red mane and delivering a bemused “Bless their hearts.”