‘Nashville’ Season 5, Episode 4 Recap: Now We’re Going in the Right Direction
In its fourth episode, the fifth season of Nashville started digging into the meaty storylines set up in the season premiere. Thursday night's (Jan. 19) episode brought big decisions and a whole lot of relationship drama for pretty much every one of the characters in the show's fictional country music universe.
Episode 4, "A Leap of Faith," kicks off with Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) in physical therapy, continuing to rehab her plane crash-related injuries after regaining sensation in her legs (in an awkwardly adorable scene in Episode 3). Ever headstrong, Juliette pressures her physical therapist into letting her try out a therapy that allows people recovering from spinal injuries to walk with assistance. When the therapist suggests that she might not be ready for that big of a step just yet, she pulls a classic Juliette diva move and asks her doctor directly, going over the physical therapist’s head.
Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and Bucky Dawes (David Alford), meanwhile, are struggling to find a director for the Exes’ new music video. Rayna’s Highway 65 label seems to be having a bit of a cashflow problem, and they’re struggling to come up with funds to push the Exes’ new album. In a heavy-handed dose of foreshadowing, Bucky jokingly suggests that Rayna reach out to her new BFF (and uber-rich tech executive) Zach Welles (Cameron Scoggins), who just so happens to be meeting up with Rayna and Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) to watch the Exes play at the Bluebird Café later on.
Also struggling is Will Lexington (Chris Carmack), who recently asked his on-again boyfriend Kevin Bicks (Kyle Dean Massey) to move in. When Kevin can’t meet up with Will to check out an apartment because he’s busy writing a song with Kacey Musgraves, Will is left to scope it out with the assistance of an overly friendly leasing agent who isn’t particularly subtle in conveying his attraction to Will.
When Rayna and Deacon are at the Bluebird with Zach to see the Exes, Zach tells Rayna that he wants to make an investment in Highway 65. Of course, Deacon is skeptical of Zach’s intentions, because he generally thinks that any man who tries to get close to Rayna is going to make a move on her ... but, frankly, if you remember Markus Keen (Riley Smith), the dreamy brooding rock star who made a move in Season 4, he probably has a little room for concern. Still, Rayna later meets up with Zach to talk business and eat a plate of ribs. He makes his offer, a 20-percent stake in the company in exchange for funding the development of new and existing artists, and extends complete creative control to Rayna. Highway 65 was born almost entirely out of Rayna’s desire to control her own music, so it’s an offer that's obviously pretty tempting for the cash-strapped label.
Juliette's storyline continues when, after a nasty fall, she reveals to Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) that she’s been refusing to take the narcotic pain pills prescribed to her after the accident. When he tells her that the medicine is necessary for her recovery, she reminds him of her previous medication abuse, which led to a suicide attempt in Season 4, and says that she can’t rely on a drug to help her get through the pain. It's hard to tell whether Juliette's talking about physical or emotional pain here, but it’s a clear evolution of her character: She is growing up, she is more rational, and she is desperate to get back to her old self. Still, she fights with Avery and rebuffs his attempts for help, in keeping with her proclivity for pushing away the one person who cares about her.
As such, Juliette heads to the church that Hallie Jordan (Rhiannon Giddens), the woman who found Juliette after the plane crash, attends. She meets with the preacher and asks him how to pray, then gets on to the real issue that the writers have been hinting at all season: Juliette doesn’t feel worthy of being the crash’s sole survivor; her guilt is so intense that when she tries to use the walking device that she pushed for, she has flashbacks to the accident that result in a panic attack.
Of course, this Nashville episode just had to drop in a new twist to Rayna’s stalker drama. We don’t know yet who the creepy lingerer is — all signs point to Zach, the weirdo who stopped her on the street in Episode 3 or Randall (Jordan Woods-Robinson), the awkward social media manager — but this week, the mystery person sent Rayna an envelope full of handwritten letters and rose petals. Even creepier: Viewers learn that the envelope didn’t include a mailing address, which suggests that the stalker has discovered where Rayna lives. She shows the letters to Bucky, who just tells her to beef up her home security. Obviously this isn’t the first time that the reigning queen of country music has dealt with obsessive fans.
When Avery gets home to a recalcitrant Juliette, she admits that he’s right, and that she doesn’t want to be a burden on him in the future. Of course, because Avery is perhaps the best person in the Nashville universe, he is endlessly supportive and says that he wants to take care of Juliette. (Apparently, almost losing someone twice is enough to give someone a little perspective, even with regards to someone who is as much of a pain in the ass as Juliette.) Still, as things heat up between the two, Avery tells Juliette that he just isn’t ready to get intimate yet; the divorce, two near-death experiences and cheating that this couple has experienced throughout the show's seasons does sort of complicate matters, even now.
Unfortunately, things aren’t going so well with Will and Kevin: Near the end of this episode, Will shows up at Kevin’s to invite him to a gig that he’s playing, and Kevin tells Will that he found the application for the apartment they were supposed to move into together in the trash. Will tells Kevin that he doesn’t want to live together, and Kevin responds by calling him out for being a coward and being honest about how he really felt about the whole fiasco. (Good for you, Kevin!) Things start looking up for the couple when Will, at his gig, stops the rollicking song that was originally slated to kick off his set to instead perform a soft, artsy love song that he wrote with Kevin, whom he calls his first love. It’s a different side of Will, but it might not be enough, because while he’s crooning, Kevin is bagging up all of Will’s belongings.
The good news is, by the end of Episode 4, pretty much everyone else’s relationships are heading in the right direction. And although viewers don’t see Rayna definitively sign the deal with Zach, it’s clear that she wants to. Perhaps more importantly, though, Avery and Juliette rekindle their romance between the sheets, and that’s been a long time coming.
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