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‘Nashville’ Recap: Zach Takes Off, Deacon Moves On

In this week’s episode of the CMT/Hulu drama, Will’s ex eyes a political career and Deacon fills the Rayna-shaped hole in his heart

Cameron Scoggins, Charles Esten

Zach (Cameron Scoggins) says goodbye to Deacon (Charles Esten) in this week's episode of 'Nashville.'

Jake Giles Netter/CMT

In the past five seasons of Nashville, whenever things have looked their bleakest – or their most deadeningly dull – one of the most reliable go-to moves has been a song from the Stella sisters, Lennon (Maddie) and/or Maisy (Daphne). This week there were far less stifled yawns than during last week’s near-coma-inducing hour, and things perked up considerably in the last few minutes thanks to a sweet, heart-touching performance from Maisy, whose Daphne spent the majority of the episode pouting at the prospect of Deacon and Jessie being a couple. She was not alone … we’re just starting to get some feeling back in our down-turned face muscles.

Zach tells Deacon he’s eyeing a major move – to embark on a Senate run in California, because “the polls look promising. We hate to think what would happen if he lost. Remember all that blubbering he did when his hostile takeover of Highway 65 went south? California‘s had enough natural disasters; they don’t need to add a flood to the mix.

Maddie’s making googly eyes at her laptop screen, which is full of Jonah Ford singing, when she gets a text from him that asks, “What are you doing rn?” He invites her to a club the following night. Maddie gets to the posh and trendy Sinema, where she’s quickly ushered up a winding staircase to the VIP room. (Fun fact: Sinema is located in the building that once housed Nashville’s opulent Melrose Theatre, which opened July 1st, 1942, with a film called Play Mates.)

Jonah introduces her to his entourage and tells her he wants her to record with him the next day. When they leave the studio they have to escape the paparazzi. Hanging out with Jonah’s pals to watch a movie, Maddie is distressed by an online article that hints at the pair being a couple. When she complains to Deacon about the nasty online comments, she asks, “How many times do I have to deal with this whole mean Internet thing?” (We totally get it because Nashville viewers are asking themselves the same thing.) Maddie then spends time with Jonah’s longtime friend, Twig, who seems pretty much to be his “yes man” (or perhaps his “like, yeah man”). He does his best to keep Maddie entertained and hydrated, offering her water she doesn’t want until he has no choice but to start using the bottle like a microphone to spout all the exposition we need to know about his odd (but, so far, entertaining) character. Turns out he and Jonah met when he was in 8th grade and Jonah and his bullying buddies threw Twig’s backpack in the toilet; they eventually became friends and it’s weird now that his friend is wildly famous. Maddie can’t deal with everyone being all up in their business, but Jonah’s not ready to give up and wants to get to know her without anyone watching. So, of course, they do the only thing a pair of famous millennials can do (…more on that later).

Avery wakes up to find Juliette is already wide awake and craving both pancakes and more personal connection as a family. She starts jabbering on about the lack of communication being the root of the world’s problems and Avery’s already rolling his eyes, which are going to fall right out of his head before this is all over if Juliette keeps on spouting all this touchy-feely new-age claptrap. And who has time for all that when there are pancakes waiting? Avery goes to the center and meets Darius. He tells him he’s heard good things about Darius and the center. Afterward, on the ride home, Avery, whose eyes would probably resemble a pair of fidget spinners if it wasn’t so dark, says their visit was “interesting,” which is basically code for “WTF are you thinking?!” Later, when she goes to an outdoor picnic at the center, Juliette spontaneously bursts into song. It would have been less weird if she had burst into flames. “What would happen if nobody ever praised you for your voice? Would you still sing?” Darius asks her later. When he also asks her why all her fame and success isn’t enough, she quips, “Because I’m greedy.” At least she’s embracing honesty. Hey, Darius, take away Juliette’s fame and success and what’s 30 percent of zero income?

Meanwhile, Will can’t get out of bed because he’s still hung up on Zach and Mark. He goes to see Zach, who admits he’s not good at forgiveness and Will tells him he wishes him the best and hopes it really works out for him and Mark in California. Zach thanks him, which is when we realize what he’s really not good at is identifying caustic sarcasm from a bitter ex. Will then goes to the gym, meets a guy and immediately takes him back to the house where they start making out – until Gunnar walks in on them. Later, Will and Dave, or Dan, or whatever the guy’s name is – there’s not much point in Will learning it as he probably won’t see him again – end up in bed, where Will’s “little Will” gets a bad case of stage fright. He immediately goes to see a doctor and wonders if there’s a drug he can take, but she tells him it might just be psychological. When she says she’s going to have her nurse take some samples to determine the problem, you can almost see he’s relieved once he realizes she means blood samples. But later, when the doctor reveals the results, Will confesses he’s been taking human growth hormones and steroids. Oh, good, another cutting-edge storyline we’ve never seen before. (That, dear, departed Zach, is sarcasm.)

Jessie and Deacon meet for coffee and share a kiss that’s almost as awkward as that Nicole Kidman-Keith Urban face collision at this year’s Golden Globes. Jessie tells him she went to VanderbiltUniversity to look into becoming a student, which means the alimony payments from that sleazy ex of hers must be pretty substantial since Vandy isn’t cheap. Their conversation is so riveting we wish they’d hold up a menu so we could at least read that while whatever the hell this mess is drags on. Perhaps instead of psychology at Vanderbilt, she ought to consider studying chemistry because there’s absolutely none between these two. Once Daphne walks in with a classmate, the whole thing gets even more awkward since they hadn’t planned on telling their kids. The next morning, as she’s leaving for school, Daphne doesn’t want to talk about it. He eventually tells his daughters he and Jessie do have feelings for each other even if he doesn’t know what the feelings are yet. They, of course, act like it’s all fine now but Daphne’s pout tells a very different story.

When Deacon calls and tries to make a dinner date with Jessie she blows him off and tells him she has to go, which could have finally been the end of it. But he shows up at her house and confesses that he doesn’t want whatever they have to end, after which they kiss. Daphne finally confesses she is definitely not OK with any of this and tells her sister, “I meant what I said about wanting him to be happy, but I hate this and I hate her.” It’s official: we’re Team Daphne all the way. She sings poignantly as the episode closes with its usual montage, but this one’s actually quite moving as Zach leaves town with Mark, Gunnar catches Will shooting up, Jonah and Maddie play bingo (yes, bingo!) with a group of senior citizens, Juliette helps build a house, Scarlett catches a glimpse of her future purpose in a TV news story about equine therapy, and, because we haven’t been tortured enough with their complete lack of compatibility, Deacon and Jessie give dating another try. OK, we’re trying to be supportive, but that room-shaking sound you just heard was a deep sigh.

In This Article: Nashville

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