A truly entertaining episode, which sees characters make decisions to make make or break their relationships.
The fourth episode of Nashville‘s fourth season follows the darker tone of last week’s episode, as the drama opens to Beverly’s funeral. Deacon (Charles Esten) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen) are the main focus of this episode, as we see how they are coping with losing someone they both loved. Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) also plays an important role, as she continues down a dark road – with tragic consequences.
It’s clear from the first few minutes that Deacon is struggling to cope with Beverly’s death, and, unable to reconcile himself with the fact that she’s gone, he lashes out at those around him, particularly Scarlett. The rift between them seems certain now and it’s unclear how deep the wounds will be once their fight is over. Despite the strong support group that he has around him, Deacon seems unable to lean on them. His anger and grief eat him up, and unless he finds a way to work it out of his system, it seems likely that he’ll relapse.
Scarlett is in similarly bad shape as she also struggles to come to terms with her mother’s death. She is no longer able to lean on Deacon and seems to be distancing herself from Caleb (Nick Jandl), after he was unwilling to advise her about what do with her mother last episode. As a result, Scarlett turns to Gunnar (Sam Palladio) to help her through her grief, reigniting the close bond and friendship between the two which fans had feared was gone for good. However, Caleb isn’t done fighting for their relationship, and he visits Gunnar in a desperate attempt to reach Scarlett through music. The beautiful song that they co-write is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful tracks on the show so far.
Juliette continues to head down a dark path, as she attempts to run away from her responsibilities with a fear of failure. Exhausted by her schedule and trying to distract herself from anything to do with her family, she turns to drugs to help her through. Already wired from what she has taken, a photo of Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and Emily (Kourtney Hansen) playing with Cadence sends Juliette over the edge, leading to a particularly nasty phone call and even more erratic behaviour. Juliette’s drug abuse reaches new lows when she is too doped up to finish hearing out a message from a frantic Avery, who is calling to tell her that their daughter is in hospital. As a consequence, Juliette tells her assistant that whatever the problem is she doesn’t care; not actually knowing that it is to do with her child. A furious Avery can’t believe Juliette’s response and in a conversation he has later with Emily, he suggests that their marriage is finally over.
Rayna (Connie Britton) is finally having some luck with her label after Markus Keen (Riley Smith) signs with Highway 65. Back in the spotlight for all the right reasons, Rayna is determined to make sure everything with Markus is a success, despite the distraction of the problems in her personal life. Markus also seems excited about his new label and flies to Nashville, eager to make music. This draws a lot of attention from fans and professionals alike, and Layla’s (Aubrey Peeples) debut at the Grand Ole Opry is quickly overshadowed, much to her fury. After Markus literally steals her place on stage with Rayna, she throws a terrible fit in her dressing room, largely taking her anger out on Jeff (Oliver Hudson), her manager and boyfriend. Layla’s dissatisfaction is clear and unless she starts to feel like a priority for Highway 65, Rayna might have one less client on her hands.
Many bonds are broken or reignited in this episode, as the characters are faced with some of the most important and difficult moments in their lives. Both Avery and Juliette’s relationship and Deacon and Scarlett’s might be permanently broken, as miscommunication and anger leads to bitterness and blame. However, while those relationships are in jeopardy, other relationships have strengthened. Jeff and Layla officially go public as a couple, while Will and Layla seem to become even closer friends after he helps her deal with her humiliation at her Grand Ole Opry debut.
Nashville Season 4 airs Thursday nights on Sky Living, at 10pm. Watch the trailer below.