Juliette was the one who survived a plane crash, but it was Rayna who complained, “It was just a day.”
She did have a lot on her plate, though, during the two-hour Nashville premiere event Thursday night (Jan. 5) on CMT.
Rayna had to worry about Juliette’s private plane crash, her record label’s struggle and her back-and-forth with her husband Deacon about whether or not they should make a concept album. You know, real people problems.
But first, Juliette.
The gods must be country fans, because heaven looked down on her in that field in Tennessee and saved her life. Well, actually it was a woman who witnessed the crash who really saved Juliette. She called for help, sang with her and prayed with her.
But while Juliette lived, she spent the whole episode stuck in a wheelchair with no real resolution in sight. There was some talk of nerve cells and thinking hopeful thoughts, but when Rayna came to visit her, Juliette admitted that she brought this pain on herself. Like karma is a bitch, and she is apparently very pissed at Juliette.
“I caused this. It was gonna happen. If not this, than something else. Me in this chair. I messed everything up in my life, and this is the result,” Juliette cried as she told Rayna about the angel who stayed with her after the crash.
“If you were doomed, why would an angel come and save your life?” Rayna asked her.
After a nightmare about that whole nightmare, Juliette made the always-willing Avery drive her to the scene of the crash so she could look for the angel. Juliette found her when she heard her voice coming from inside a church. Eventually, she tracked her down — her name is Halle — and then gave her cell phone number to the church’s pastor, in case Halle felt like she was ready to hear Juliette’s gratitude.
While Juliette was mending emotionally and physically, Rayna was on a mission to find a way, any way, to bring cash back into her record label.
So even though she wondered what the hell tech guys know about country music, she headed off to a gig in Silicon Valley.
“Go be amazing,” Deacon told Rayna before she left. And she was, but nobody was listening. The tech boss who hired her, Zach, explained that he was an insane, out-of-control fan boy, but his coding cohorts talked disruptively throughout her entire show. He consoled her with a post-show drink, and talk ultimately turned to the pressures of Nashville and what music used to mean to Rayna.
And the very first country song she loved.
“It was Bill Monroe singing ‘Wayfaring Stranger,’” Rayna said. “I was 11, and I felt like that man was looking right into my soul and seeing all the pain and loneliness I was hiding from the world.”
When it was time to leave California, Rayna decided that she would take the 32-hour drive instead of flying home. (She’d had a panic attack on the flight there and told Deacon she wasn’t scared, just lost.)
On her road trip, she stopped at a gas station, where there was an old man playing mandolin and singing — of all things — “Wayfaring Stranger.”
At first she said she didn’t want to sing along with him. “Don’t care for singing? You should let yourself sang. Singing’s good for the soul. You might find the joy you’re looking for,” the wise man told her.
And just like he’d predicted, by the time Rayna finished the 2,305-mile journey from Silicon Valley to Nashville, she found joy: “I want us to write our story together. Will you do that with me? A record. A concept album,” she asked Deacon when she made it home.
Deacon, though? He wasn’t so sure about her big idea.
“I’m under no illusions. I know what I am. I’m a sideman,” he said.
After a lot of arguing about whether or not this album was a good idea (which it absolutely is), Deacon explained his conundrum to his wife.
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world. But it’s just that I live in your beautiful house with your beautiful girls. It’s your label. It’s your world, baby, I’m just living in it. You make all the decisions,” Deacon told Rayna.
One decision she did have to make was whether or not to let Zach hack her cloud when he comes to Nashville. She said yes to the meeting, but something just felt off about it.
“These tech guys destroy the business, then they think they can come in and save it,” Rayna said.
And while Rayna was trying everything to keep her Highway 65 label from dying an early death, her daughters were living their own version of hell: creative differences.
Maddie and Daphne were fighting over a songwriting credits until their cousin Scarlett helped them bury the hatchet and discover the joys of collaborating.
Too bad Scarlett didn’t have a Scarlett around when she was having her own little fit of jealous rage. While Gunnar claimed he was ready to put the past in the past, ex-tourmate and short-term lover Autumn was not. She was texting Gunnar incessantly, telling him he could come back to the tour as long as he was not with Scarlett. Which made Scarlett think that the Exes’ next single — a love song — was a terrible idea because she knows it’s not about her. She pestered Gunnar to tell her who it was about. Zoe? Erin? Autumn? “It’s just a song,” he insisted.
Suspicions were high for Will and Kevin, too, when they were having dinner and were approached by Jacob, a hotshot menswear designer.
He invited Will to a trunk show, and Kevin encouraged him to go even though he called Jacob a world-class flirt. And when Will showed up at the swanky trunk show in Belle Meade, world-class flirt did indeed try to seduce Will, who turned him down. Jacob thought that was “quaint” and basically said his door was always open for Will.
When Will confessed the temptation to Gunnar, he told him he had a high-class problem and to just keep his mouth shut about it.
He never did tell Kevin about the near-kiss. That was in the past, anyway. What he did instead was focus on the future. A future with all the trimmings: a house, a yard and, possibly, a puppy.