Nashville Deacon Lives Season 4 Premiere Recap

Nashville Season 4 Premiere Recap: Deacon's Fate Revealed!

It’s been a cruel summer for Nashville fans, but all of that candle-lighting, vigil-holding and praying to St. Tammy Wynette turns out to have been worth it: Deacon Claybourne is indeed alive, well and living in Music City.

His sister, Beverly, who so selflessly (yet somehow also rather bitchily) donated part of her liver so her brother could go on? Well, she’s not doing so great — though she’s not yet singing backup for Hank Williams, so there’s that.

Elsewhere, Juliette’s got Oscar buzz (and inner turmoil), the newly out Will feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere, Gunnar and Scarlett sing and cry and Daphne tries sass on for size.

Read on as we review the major developments of “Can’t Let Go.”

LONG LIVE DEACON | Let’s handle the most pressing matters first: Deacon not only survived that scary moment in the operating suite, he’s recovering quite nicely from his liver transplant. But the show teases us a little in the very beginning of the episode, making Rayna seem vaguely sad and showing her going to bed alone… but it’s just because Deke spent the night at the hospital by Beverly’s bedside! (Side note: I am very interested to know who among you actually feared that Deacon was done for. You can admit it in the comments. You’re among friends.)

Everything we’re watching is happening a month after the events of the finale, a time span Bev has spent hooked up to a ventilator… and under the care of a very misguided hairdresser? Seriously, what’s with her clipped locks? Is this a we-had-to-shave-her-head-for-an-operation thing? (If you have any medical training and/or an idea of what’s happened here, leave a comment.) We learn that she hadn’t been completely honest about some supplements she was taking for menopause, which thinned her blood and made it harder for doctors to control the damage when things went south.

Rayna comes to the hospital to keep Deacon company. I feel like, even though there’s a comatose woman in the room, we should revel in every hug, kiss, casual touch, adoring gaze, “babe” and the like between Rayna and her man. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THIS SHOW IS GOING TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM US AGAIN. Rayna tells Deacon she’s heading to Los Angeles (for reasons we’ll deal with in a moment), and he volunteers to keep an eye on the girls while she’s gone.

Later on, after some bedside crooning and a bit of self-blame for her predicament, Deacon is overjoyed when Bev grasps his hand and seems to know what’s going on — though she still can’t talk, thanks to the ventilator she still needs. He later tells Maddie that he’ll marry her mom when Beverly is better, so she can be part of the proceedings. Daphne, who believes Teddy is innocent and earlier played the “you’re not my dad” card with Deke, overhears and seems perturbed about the whole situation.

Nashville Steven Tyler Season 4‘GIRL, YOU BREAK MY HEART’ | Now, about Rayna’s hasty trip to the West Coast: No sooner has Big Red signed the papers releasing Juliette from her Highway 65 contract than she gets a phone call from a sobbing, drunken Juliette who has just coughed up her dinner (and about 3 gallons of booze, I’m estimating) into her hotel room’s commode. Poor Ju is clearly in trouble — she’s so upset, she’s barely making words into the phone — hence Rayna’s worry that the new mom could use a friendly face pronto.

To the rest of the world, though, Juliette Barnes is riding high. Her Patsy Cline movie, Shenandoah Girl, is generating Oscar buzz — though even that, surprisingly, isn’t enough to get Noah West to make an appearance at his own film’s premiere. She duets on stage with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. (An odd cameo, but it didn’t interrupt the flow of the story, so I’ll allow it.) And she has such pull with Jeff that she gets Layla — still also repped by/sleeping with the Smirky Turtle — bounced from the City of Angels just because she annoys Juliette. (Sample dialogue, courtesy of Ms. Barnes: “You’re in bed with Jeff Fordham, literally? You must hate yourself.” Heh.)

But when Rayna shows up and — with one withering glance at Juliette’s new hanger-on/”best friend” discerns exactly what a mess this whole situation is — Juliette claims her cry for help was only “a butt dial.” Ray knows that’s not the truth, but Ju refuses to engage… though make sure you rewind to watch her face when she realizes that Rayna isn’t putting up a fight about her leaving the label. That’s one sad girl right there.

After a few attempts to get Juliette to say what’s wrong fall flat, the new mom shows her surrogate mom the door. “You break my heart, girl. You really do,” Rayna tells her, disappointed. Right there with ya, Ray.

SAME STORY, DIFFERENT DAY | Gunnar and Scarlett haven’t talked much since that night on the roof, and the first substantial conversation they do have turns into a makeout session that she abruptly stops. “You make me feel like somebody I don’t want to be,” she says, citing Caleb as someone who makes her feel safe. Later in the hour, Scarlett declares her love for the hot doc, while Gunnar forlornly records his portions of their harmonies all by his lonesome.

GOODNIGHT, SWEETHEART, WELL IT’S TIME TO GO | Someone needs to catch Will up on gay slang: You’re supposed to cultivate a beard when you’re still in the closet, honey, not right after you come out! But yes, in the aftermath of him declaring his sexuality, Mr. Lexington and his bushy facial hair are hiding from the world. He eventually decides to shave (thank GOD) and go out for a nice dinner with Kevin, which turns into a night at a gay club — neither of which make Will feel normal or welcome, so he bails.

The next morning, he and Gunnar are bemoaning their love/life troubles over breakfast at the house when Avery returns from Ohio with Cadence — who’s even cuter than she was last season — in tow. Gunnar’s all, “Oh right! We have a new roommie!” “Two, in fact,” Avery adds. And if Nashville is taking inspiration from Three Men and a Baby, I’m totally OK with that.

Now it’s your turn. Grade the season premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments with all your Nashville-related thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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40 Comments
  1. It’s a ventilator, not a respirator. Small detail, but important! Respirators are what you use when you’re painting or working with hazardous materials, to make sure you don’t inhale something dangerous.

  2. Jake L. says:

    How is Rayna paying the operating costs at Highway 65 if the only album she has released to date is her own? I hate to agree with the gossip, but I don’t understand how this business plan is working.

    • Gail says:

      They also mention that the settlement they got for Juliet leaving the label was very generous so they have money coming in.

    • Wordsmith says:

      And I believe she still has all of that questionable money from her dad, which is now free and clear since Teddy turned himself in to prevent further investigation.

  3. steven says:

    From the moment I saw that Beverly was alive, I thought, wow, the worst possible thing happened, but then Deacon showed up, and I was overjoyed.

    • Gail says:

      Not looking forward to Beverly recovering and being bitch, talking about the how she almost died for her brother. Its true but you know she is going to milk it for all she can get.

  4. Shaun says:

    Gunnar and Scarlett still making great music.Best musical duo/trio on the show.

  5. Shira says:

    I’ll think about what actually happened during the episode later (when I’ll rewatch) but for now just wanted to say I missed this show so much, It’s so fun!!! Also, in a twisted heartbreaking way LOVE how the Rayna/Juliette dynamic evolved. It’s complicated as hell but fascinating and both Connie and Hayden shine in those scenes.

  6. Ananda says:

    I thought for sure that the empty space in Rayna’s bed meant Deacon was dead. I was super thrilled to see that was not the case. Juliet Juliet Juliet. I’m so sad for you. .she clearly is lost and needs support but it will take a strong person to handle the crap she will dish out to them. . Scarlet, really now and Gunnar please stop, both of you need to figure this out. Btw loovve the duet, at least they still sound awesome together.

  7. Sarah says:

    I am here for Avery living with Gunnar and Will. Can I move in too?

  8. Wordsmith says:

    What do people think: was Juliette flat-out lying to Rayna’s face about her bathroom-stall-cry-for-help, or was she so blackout drunk at the time that she genuinely didn’t remember making the call?

    • Sissy says:

      In the light of day/Hollywood-style, Juliette cannot admit that she needs help. It was in her drunken/dazed/barfed-out state that she reached out to Rayna.

    • toralil says:

      I don’t think she remembered it at first, she was very surprised to see Rayna, but then when probably remembered/realized she had made the call, but would of course not admit it.

  9. Alex says:

    “Juliette and champagne”, “Will’s denial” and “Scarlett and Gunnar” again? Do writers have have any other ideas in store?

  10. Alicia says:

    Loved this ep. All the good #Deyna stuff and wedding chat. Just hope that it isn’t a one ep thing. As always Kim love ur take of the ep xx

  11. Amy says:

    No way in the world were they ever going to kill off Deacon. He’s the reason behind much of their fan base. And either get Scarlett and Gunnar back together, or drop this whole story line. Love the Three Men and a Baby plot though! Overall a fun first episode this season.

  12. Allison says:

    Loved this episode to pieces!!! I love Nashville and was so excited for the premiere. I thought it was cute how they tried to make us believe Deacon had kicked the bucket, but I knew better. Seeing Juliette continue in her downward spiral was heartbreaking, but thanks to next week’s promo, I see she is finally coming back to her senses. I love the idea of Gunnar, Will, Avery and baby Cadence as roommates – so many adorable and hilarious possibilities! I did not appreciate the sass Daphne gave to Deacon – I understood it, but I did not like it. She was always the sweet one! Anyway, I am glad Nashville has returned and the song with Gunnar and Juliette was so beautiful – as always. They always make beautiful music together. They should stick with that and just that because the relationship thing just does not work for those two. Will, I hope will find his comfort level. It took him forever to accept himself so it is going to take a while for him to find his comfort zone. It was nice to see Luke again. I always like him as long as he is not romantically involved with Rayna. Layla again was whining, but she just needs to be on a mic and she will be fine. She has talent, she just needs a showcase. Avery’s parents are so loving and supportive, but I am glad Avery chose to go after his dreams and be a man that he and his daughter can be proud of. I am so glad this show is back and I cannot wait to see how this season unfolds!

  13. Averic says:

    I am totally with you on this… except for Will’s beard. Beards are in for gays. There’s even an insanely popular gay app called Scruff. I was sad to see the beard go.

  14. Janine says:

    So much going on… (1) Jules is a MESS. Help has been there since her pregnancy and until she is okay accepting it and admitting to herself she is a mess, she will continue to dig her hole deeper… she freaking admitted to Layla that she sleep with Jeff (2) And poor poor Layla. She is delusional and might even be worse than Jules. (3) Scarlett is going to spiral when her mom comes to and blames her for almost dying. As she told Deacon, she was the one that asked her. This is going to be horrible. (4) Beverly – we all know she is going to be one spiteful person. And this will make (5) Rayna one sadder lady. She only just discovered that her label is deemed a vanity label (which, of course it is, no one puts out records) And of course her kids will add drama because (6) Maddy and Daphne seem to have traded sulky, angry teenager places.

    So – in short – we will have a lot of messed up, sad and depressing ladies for the next few weeks. Can’t one be in a good place?

  15. Normandy says:

    That was the most awkward way to keep Jeff on the show even thought Oliver Hudson is on another show now. Are they going to keep having one sided phone conversations with him?

  16. Carolyn says:

    The whole Scarlett/Gunnar angst is getting tiring. I loved Scarlett’s singing, but her constantly looking like she was just told that he dog died is boring. Time for her to put on her big girl panties and grow up. Same for Gunnar. Move along Cowboy! Rayna’s kids go from precious to rude too often. And I have always wondered how long Juliette’s nastiness would go in Nashville in real life? Seems like County musicians are cut from kinder, gentler cloth, and she wouldn’t fit in with her temper tantrums and &itchiness. Just my opinion though!

  17. Will just needs me to get him on the straight and narrow.

  18. Karen says:

    I liked how Deacon appeared on screen at the same time his name was shown in the credits. I kept looking for Charles Esten as a series regular to see if Deacon made it or not, but that didn’t give it away.

  19. april-ann says:

    I wanted to like this. And I did, sort of. But everybody’s in a funk, and not in a good way. I want to see Rayna and Deke enjoy at least SOME of their happiness before the show splits them up yet again, and they just can’t do that with everyone around them funking out. I too think Bev will be nasty, forgetting how she came around for a short period of time before the surgery and people actually LIKED her and wanted her around. For such a cray-cray, Ju has never looked better. I thought she looked gorgeous. I think it would behoove her if the writers could show her having some “clear” moments at times other than when she’s completely wasted. What’s up with Will? Is he experiencing coming out remorse? Is he confused? Conflicted? Was timing mentioned when the young lady he slept with ripped on him? Is he bi? After everything he/we went through before he finally came out, I hope they’re not revisiting this. The “you’re-not-my-father” thing is old, worn out and cliche. Think of something else for strife here instead. I love Scarlett, but I’d love to see Gunnar get a girlfriend.

  20. H says:

    Bev is obvioulsly going to die, we just don’t know how many episodes from now. I think collapsing during D&R wedding would be nice.

  21. Lynda says:

    Where’s the great music and performances of previous seasons? Please get Will back and Deacon and Rayna back performing. And what’s the problem with Layla? Why don’t the writers give her some singing to do? She’s got the best voice on the show!

  22. stever1944 says:

    Thanks for your great summary. I JUST finished the DVD of Season 3 and HAD to know what happened to Deacon. I don’t have a DVR so I wait till a season finishes and but the DVD.

    A few things I did not see in your great detailed summary and I’d love to know.

    Without going past this Episode 1, can you tell me where Teddy stood in that episode. Last we saw at end of Season 3 was the TV screen with him being carted off and no one seeing the TV screen in hospital waiting room because their backs were to the TV

    Did Will’s dad just leave town without any confrontation?

    And didn’t Avery head off to see Micah? (or since this is a month later) can I assume he went and came home?

    Thanks!

    • Have enjoyed Nashville since day one. ABC promotes it less than any other show–stupid !!
      WHY? Outstanding acting and great songs. Breaks are too long. MORE of Rayna and Deacon together.

  23. Ashley Reed says:

    Omg! Me and my boyfriend watch the reruns of Nashville on Axs.TV , we started late and Deacon is our favorite! It had me tore up crying! I love this show, I am 18 years old and I spend my Saturdays at home watching NASHVILLE! Not to mention we live in Cannon County, which is roughly 45 minutes from Nashville so this TV show , is awesome and totally captures the real thing. The drama, the love, the list and the twist. Love love love !!!