‘Nashville’ Season 4 Premiere – Recap & Discussion Post!

Welcome back to Nashville!

We rejoin the show one month after the Season 3 finale and at a red carpet premiere event for Shenandoah Girl, Juliette’s Patsy Cline biopic. Juliette is all smiles and sleek sophistication as she waves to her fans, and an entertainment show voiceover informs us that her album is out the next week. The show also describes her as “country music sweetheart,” conveniently forgetting that whole plotline where Juliette had to fight for a comeback after being accused of rejecting the existence of God.

Back in Nashville, we get teases that Rayna is all alone, seeing to Maddie & Daphne and generally looking glum, as if they really killed Deacon off. As if.

At the red carpet, a stand-in for Jeff (Oliver Hudson is off filming Scream Queens) is handling Juliette, who is not happy to see Layla preening and posing. Jeff is not there because he is trying to get Juliette booked as the new face of Chanel (a reach considering Chanel’s never tried to cater to the country market, but OK). But Juliette calls out Substitute Jeff as somebody Jeff brought in in part because he’s sleeping with Layla. Substitute Jeff cannot deny it and Juliette can only roll her eyes. She lets A.J. Hammer pull her aside for an interview, in which he softens her up with talk of Oscar buzz and great reviews. Luke cameos in their interview, plugging Juliette’s new album on his new label. Asked if she has any second thoughts about leaving Rayna’s label, Juliette says it’s the best decision she ever made.

Back to Nashville, where Bucky has called Rayna to see if she wants to respond to the negative press from Juliette’s Highway 65 dissing. Rayna just wants to wash her hands of the situation, which includes legal wrangling and a deal that will involve Wheelin’ & Dealin’ Records buying out Juliette’s contract with Highway 65. Rayna is ready to sign. Still no sign of Deacon, and there are more teases that Deacon isn’t around, as Rayna talks about the goodbyes she’s said lately and then invites the girls to go see Aunt Beverly. Uh huh. Still not buying it.

When we do see Aunt Beverly, it turns out she had an aneurysm and has been in a coma for the past month. In a rare display of show memory, the girls ask Rayna if Aunt Beverly feels their presence like she did. Rayna thinks she might. And then…there’s DEACON! That’s right. He’s alive, people, and he has been there with Aunt Beverly all night. I’m sure we’re all stunned. He reports that Beverly’s EEG shows an uptick in activity and that there’s hope she will recover.

Meanwhile, we head over to a studio, where we find out that Scarlett has been missing band meetings with Manager Noel and a newly coiffed Gunnar as she keeps a vigil for her mother. Manager Noel wants to know if all is well between them. He suggests that they track separately if necessary, but a newly coiffed Gunnar insists that’s not how they work. They are scheduled for a recording session that night, which you know is not going to happen for some reason. But let’s go with it. Gunnar calls Scarlett, thinking that they should talk about what almost happened on the hospital roof about a month ago. Their conversation is cordial enough – Scarlett agrees to meet a few hours before their recording session to rehearse. She hangs up just as Young Blandly Cute Dr. Rand arrives to sit next to her on the bed. When she tells him it was Gunnar, he notes he hasn’t heard that name much lately. Dr. Caleb presents Scarlett with a lovely vintage necklace to celebrate one month of living together and then stumbles into an “I love being a plot device…having you here.” Scarlett replies with an equally awkward, “I love being here.”

Over to Ohio, where Avery has been staying with his parents and Cadence. The TV is on and just happens to be on the channel with an entertainment news show on, that just happens to be airing Juliette’s interview. Naturally, Juliette gushes about her “incredibly supportive husband” and baby who is doing “so good.” Avery’s mom encourages him to get in touch with her, but Avery reminds her that Juliette said she didn’t need them.

Except that when we cut to Juliette, she’s drunk at a Hollywood party. She stumbles into the bathroom to puke into the toilet and weeps.

Rayna is at Highway 65 offices with Bucky looking over the paperwork that allows Wheelin & Dealin’ Records to assume full rights to Juliette’s new album and the rights to her next two. They’re happy enough with the money they’ll make off the deal. Just as Rayna signs, she gets a phone call from Juliette and is surprised to find Juliette is sobbing, “I can’t – I need.” But Juliette hangs up before she can explain anything to Rayna, who realizes something is “really, really wrong.”

We catch our first glimpse of Will this season, and…now he’s grown a beard? It turns out he has been hiding out and completely unproductive ever since coming out. Kevin has indulged this, but he needles a bearded Will about getting off his butt and doing something with his life. Sure, he’s keeping a low profile, but that doesn’t mean he can’t write songs. How reasonable.

Back over to the hospital, where Deacon plays “Hymn For Her,” written in real life by Andrew Dorff and Jon McLaughlin for Beverly. It’s a mournful, reflective and loving ballad that speaks to the guilt he feels about the current state of things.

To DOWNLOAD “Hymn For Her,” written by Andrew Dorff and Jon McLaughlin and performed by Charles Esten, click HERE!

As he finishes up, Scarlett arrives and wants to know how long he’s been there. Deacon admits he feels responsible for what happened and feels like he should be there. Scarlett reminds him that it was Beverly who neglected to mention she had been taking supplements for menopause that thinned her blood, and that it was her choice to donate part of her liver. It’s Deacon’s choice, Scarlett says, to lead the life she gave him the way he wants.

Layla on phone with Jeff, being a combination of girlfriend-y and business-y. Substitute Jeff’s name is Patrick, it seems, and he strolls in to inform Layla that she is no longer attending the Luke/Juliette concert that night, because she will be meeting with a producer of Shenandoah Girl who remembers her audition and thinks she has a future. Layla laps this all up, except that of course we find out from Patrick and absent Jeff’s subsequent conversation that they made this all up as a cover to ensure Layla is not at the concert as Juliette ordered.

Back in Nashville, Rayna goes to see Deacon at Beverly’s room. She tells him about Juliette’s meltdown and, despite everything going on there with Deacon’s recovery and Teddy’s arrest, decides she needs to go see Juliette in L.A., despite the likely result that is obvious to us all Rayna is aware of Juliette’s post-partum depression and that Avery’s back in Ohio with Cadence. Rayna has tried to reach out to both Jeff and Luke, but neither is returning her calls. So Rayna is in fix-it mode.

Back at Casa Jaymes, Maddie is not amused that Rayna’s going to L.A. without them. As they sort through the day’s mail, we learn that Teddy has written letters to them. To Daphne’s horror, Maddie rips hers up, saying it will say the same things as the last two – that he’s sorry and that he loves them. Not enough.

Meanwhile, Will is on the couch grousing to Gunnar about his situation. Gunnar suggests he’s exaggerating his plight, because Luke only pulled him off the tour temporarily and asked him to run all press requests through the label. But Will is uninterested in doing any press. “I don’t get why you’d come out just to stay in,” Gunnar says. Gunnar thinks Kevin’s been pretty patient and encourages Will to get out there some.

Over in Ohio, Avery hovers over a napping Cadence and texts Juliette that they’re still there. Aw.

But Juliette has acquired a new squad in L.A., and her new friends are excited about the concert after-party. She sees the text and plays it off as nothing.

When we return to Nashville, Juliette is making her way to the concert stage when Substitute Jeff assures her that they’ve pulled Layla from the concert. Juliette is pleased.

Back in Ohio, Avery now sees a magazine cover with Juliette on it, because his otherwise considerate parents were obviously not going to check the mail and toss something like that out before he could see it.. Avery’s mom reminds him that he took a vow to be a husband, not a martyr and that eventually, he’s going to have do something. Avery’s dad invites him to stay, surrounded by people who care, and promises to set him up with a job.

Back to L.A. we go, where backstage at his concert, Luke greets Steven Tyler and they exchange greetings and compliments, complete with pimping of Steven Tyler’s country single. Juliette, meanwhile, is performing “Mississippi Flood,” cowritten by Tofer Brown, Jamie Floyd and Lucie Silvas.

As Steven Tyler walks off, Rayna walks in and she and Luke trade some banter about how there’s no difference between country and rock & roll these days per Rayna and how he thought her days of flying across the country to see him were over. Rayna asks him about Juliette and naturally, Luke thinks everything’s all good. Rayna reminds him of how they’ve had no time off since leaving Nashville and rhetorically asks how much time Juliette’s spent with her husband and baby, suggesting that might be an issue of concern.

In Nashville, Will has started trimming his beard.

Over at the studio, Scarlett shows up for rehearsal with Gunnar and they share an awkward hug. Gunnar says he cancelled his trip to see Kylie and Micah in Texas in case Scarlett needs support, but Scarlett glibly tells him she has plenty of support. Gunnar also thinks they should discuss what happened a month ago at the hospital, but Scarlett denies anything ever happened of significance.

On stage in Los Angeles, Juliette sings “Crazy” with Steven Tyler joining in. This is to promo his country project, but it also recalls when Steven Tyler was Carrie Underwood’s surprise guest at the ACM Awards in 2010. Watching from sidestage, Rayna and Juliette’s new friend banter. “Old friends are cool,” says Juliette’s self-proclaimed new bestie. Rayna takes it like Rayna can.

To DOWNLOAD “Crazy,” written by Willie Nelson and performed by Hayden Panettiere and Steven Tyler, click HERE!

Meanwhile in Nashville, Deacon is still keeping vigil and is rewarded by Beverly squeezes his hand and starts to blink her eyes. She appears to be regaining consciousness. Deacon sobs with relief.

Scarlett and Gunnar rehearse “Wake Up When It’s Over,” cowritten by Michael Logen and new Columbia Nashville artist Maren Morris, a yearning, folky number with pretty harmonies. After many a loaded glance, they start to make out. Scarlett tries to Gunnar for taking advantage of her vulnerability but he correctly points out that she wants this too. Scarlett shuts him down saying she has a boyfriend, that Gunnar makes her feel out of control but that Dr. Caleb makes her feel safe and like the person she wants to be. She says she loves Dr. Caleb but admits she is not in love with him, and flounces out. She cries in frustration in her car.

To DOWNLOAD “Wake Up When It’s Over,” cowritten by Michael Logen and Maren Morris and performed by Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio, click HERE!

Back in Ohio, Avery looks over his high school memorabilia, which includes music trophies and other mementos of his early promise.

Will, it turns out, has invited Kevin to dinner. Will is spending most of it feeling squirmy and self-conscious. Kevin teases Will good-naturedly about his now-shaved beard, saying he was just indulging him when he said he could pull it off. But before Will can relax, he is confronted by a woman who announces to the world that he humiliated her by sleeping with her when it turns out he was gay. And that’s the end of their evening at that particular restaurant. Kevin suggests they go somewhere where this won’t happen.

We’re now at a concert afterparty, where Juliette is sulking and we learn that Juliette’s best friend does her social media now. Rayna shows up and wants to chat with Juliette. Juliette does her best Juliette, pretending nothing happened and acting like Rayna is only trying to serve her own interests. Juliette lays into Rayna about how Highway 65 is just a vanity label and how she’s grateful to actually be able to work now and be bigger than ever. Rayna tells Juliette that she’s a heart breaker.

Scarlett has rushed to the hospital upon learning from Caleb about Beverly’s progress. Deacon tells her that Beverly’s CAT scans are looking good. It’s going to take a couple days but Beverly is set to wake up.

Back in Ohio, Avery goes to talk to his parents and acknowledges all of the good things that would come with him settling back with his parents in Ohio. But he tells them that he doesn’t want Cadence to grow up looking at Avery as the man who gave up on his dreams. Whether or not Juliette is there, Nashville is home for him and he is going to return.

At another home, Casa Jaymes, Daphne has retrieved scraps of Teddy’s letter to Maddie and is reading them when Maddie catches her. They fight, with Daphne saying she wanted to see if Teddy said anything to Maddie about visiting, because she’s older. Maddie is having none of it. Deacon walks in and separates them. Daphne reminds Deacon he is not her father. Deacon accepts that but reminds her that she knows how much he cares about her and that she can talk to him. Daphne flounces off. Maddie tells Deacon he should just marry her mother so Daphne can’t talk to him that way. As a glum Daphne listens from the stairs, Deacon says they’re just waiting for Beverly to recover so she can be in the wedding.

Kevin has now taken to Will to a gay club, because this isn’t about stereotyping at all and he just met Will yesterday. Shockingly, Will can’t dance and he feels uncomfortable.

Rayna has made her way back to the plane and calls Deacon. She’s happy to hear about Beverly and tells Deacon about Juliette. Deacon reminds her that you “Can’t save somebody when they don’t want to be saved.” No lies detected. Rayna opens up her tablet to start reading some of her recent press.

Layla shows up to Juliette’s afterparty after all, and Juliette begins sneering to Layla about her lack of self-respect, being involved with Jeff. Layla insists it’s love. Juliette contemptuously reminds Layla that Jeff will put Juliette first and that Layla will never be Juliette. Layla says that’s good, and Juliette wanly tries to throw her champagne in the direction of an exiting Layla.

Will feels so out of sorts that he walks out of the club as Kevin gives chase. Will just isn’t sure where he belongs any more, and he’ll talk to Kevin sometime tomorrow.

Substitute Jeff checks in on Juliette, who tells him that she wants Layla gone. He tries to protest, but Juliette pulls rank, so he agrees. Meanwhile, Layla leaves a message for Jeff, telling him that she gets that Juliette is a bigger star but wants to know she’s still #1 where it counts. Oy.

Back in Nashville, Gunnar arrives in studio expecting to see Scarlett, only to be informed by Noel that Scarlett came in an hour earlier to lay down her tracks. He glumly starts recording “Wake Me Up When It’s Over,” as we flash through the following scenes: Deacon in Beverly’s room, changing shirts and showing his surgery scars, Rayna reading negative press on her label, Avery driving back to Nashville, Juliette scrolling through phone pictures of Avery and Cadence, and Scarlett needing to tell Dr. Caleb something. A confession? Yes – that she loves him. As Gunnar wraps up his recording, Manager Noel says it’s some of their best stuff despite them not recording together.

The next morning, we find Will is at Gunnar’s – he says it was a bad night. Gunnar tells him his sad story of Scarlett choosing Dr. Caleb. Just then, we see Avery walk in – he’ll be living there with Gunnar and Will. Three men and a baby hijinks will ensue, no doubt.

As we close out the show, Rayna is driving from the airport with local radio on. Local DJs are discussing how they love Rayna but that among Rayna’s signings so far, Scarlett, Sadie and Juliette, none has panned out into an album for Highway 65. They suggest some people are just not cut out to run businesses. Well, and we’ll just see about that now, won’t we? There’s a whole season to come where we can be the judge. Join us again next week to see how it unfolds, won’t you?

About Deb B 432 Articles
Also known as Windmills, I cover country music news and live televised country events, in addition to recapping ABC's 'Nashville.' Additionally, I occasionally do long-form chart analysis that has been cited by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The New Republic, NPR, and more.