After hanging on the edge of a cliffhanger since last summer, Nashies let out a collective sigh of relief when Nashville finally returned this week.
Deep breaths, Nashies: Juliette is alive. At the top of the premiere, we learn she was the sole survivor of her plane crash, but she shattered vertebrae in her back and is confined to a wheelchair. After seeing the carnage of the wreckage, we meet Juliette post-crash in the hospital, where she’s locked the whole world out, save for Avery and their baby.
The only sign of hope she’ll walk again is a twitching toe she’s able to move.
Avery rushes to Juliette’s side, but she’s skeptical their reconciliation will last. When he says he loves her, she asks how he'll feel in three weeks. This fits the pattern for Juliette, whose pain has been twisted into cynicism, but there’s no reason for fear this time: Avery truly seems in it for the long haul.
She finally lets Avery in when he takes her to the site of the plane crash. After he picks her up out of her wheelchair and carries her into the field, she breaks down into tears and tells him she thought she was going to die. He holds her in the middle of the cold, dark night; like a country song come to life. It was perfectly tender — a colour we don’t often see on Juliette.
Elsewhere Rayna is struggling to keep Highway 65 records afloat. Between The Exes exiting their opening gig on Autumn Chase’s tour and Rayna paying out $275,000 to get Maddie out of her deal with Lennox Hill records, the label has hit a rocky patch. To bring in revenue, Rayna takes a gig in Silicon Valley, playing a party for an app called Boogaroo.
The guy who owns the company is the only one who pays attention to her performance, and afterwards he fans out and has a very sweet conversation with Rayna about the first country song she ever loved, “Wayfaring Stranger” sung by Bill Munroe (add that to your Nashville playlist ASAP!) The conversation sparks something in Rayna, who lays up in bed late that night listening to the track, clearly set on the path towards finally writing songs again.
Shook by Juliette’s accident — and turbulence on her own flight to California — Rayna tells Deacon she’s too anxious to fly back to Nashville. He drops everything and flies across the country to bring her home. Husband of the year.
It was by far the sweetest, most romantic moment in the episode:
Rayna: Why are you here, you crazy person?
Deacon: Because my girl’s in trouble.
At the start of the premiere, all of the couples on Nashville are on an ON-streak: Deacon is making grand romantic gestures, Avery is doting on Juliette, Will is back together with Kevin(!), and Gunnar and Scarlett are playing house as an adorable set of babysitters for Daphne and Maddie.
By hour two, though, all couples face major challenges. Love can’t last forever, not in Nashville — at least not without a few major bumps.
Here’s a play-by-play of the hurdles each couple is facing:
The Nashville Relationship Report
Rayna and Deacon:
After Deacon’s grand gesture, Rayna still decides to rent a convertible and drive back to Nashville to clear her head. Along the way, she decides she wants to write a concept record with Deacon to tell their love story — a record every fan of the show would love to hear. Deacon is not convinced. He doesn’t want to retread the painful moments of his life and their relationship, and he doesn’t like that Rayna’s always taking the lead. He relents, though, and writes Rayna a beautiful song as a way of saying he’ll do the record with her.
Plus they have this adorable moment:
Will and Kevin:
Will’s put to the test when he meets a menswear designer named Jakob Fine who comes on to him.
Jakob flirts super hard. Right in front of Kevin!
And when Jakob tries to kiss him, Will proves himself a good ol’ boy and rejects Jackob's advances. The whole thing seems to bring Will and Kevin closer, even though Will doesn’t tell him about Jakob's advances. In the end, Will asks Kevin to move in with him. He even wants them to get a puppy!
Gunnar and Scarlett:
The episode starts with Gunnar and Scarlett full-on back together again — or so it seems. Just when they seem happy, the single Rayna chooses for The Exes to release brings up old wounds. Scarlett asks Gunnar if their new single is really about Zoe. He says it’s not, but she doesn’t seem to believe him; she tells him the song makes her want to “slap the living hell” out of him! After retreating to their confidants, Will and Deacon, Scarlett comes around. She marches right into the green room at their radio performance and gives him a major kiss.
When they sing the song, Gunnar changes the lyrics from “gold eyes” to “blue eyes” to make it without a doubt about Scarlett. Scarlett and Gunnar: totally back on.
Juliette and Avery:
Juliette’s baggage from the accident makes it hard for her and Avery to move on, but Avery is giving it everything he has. He’s proving himself to be Juliette’s rock in an admirable way. It’s easy to cheer for him. And eventually, Juliette comes around. They fall asleep in their vehicle at the site of the plane crash and when the sun comes up, they share a passionate kiss.
Tune in next Thursday at 9pm ET/PT as we continue to celebrate the return of Nashville.
Besides, aren't you dying to find out who Rayna's stalker is? Creepy!