In the style that only “Nashville” can master, tonight’s October 28 episode, “Please Help Me I’m Fallin,’” the sixth of Season 4, respectably borrowing from the treasured Hank Locklin song, weaves together tribute and torment, bitter and sweet, seamlessly, all sailing on the power of song. This time, loyal viewers are truly left on the ledge!
Maddie (Lennon Stella) is lovesick for Colt (Keann Johnson), out on the road with dad, while she is at odds with mom over love and her artistic image. They are trading “I love you’s,” but it ends with her losing her phone, based on her recent disrespect and “poor choices” regarding Rayna’s (Connie Britton) boundaries. Avery (Jonathan Jackson) makes clear his divorce terms, and only further sends Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) along in her tailspin, as she dons hoodie and shades, attempting incognito, only to be accosted by an excited fan, which unleashes her wrath in public view, thanks to dozens of cell phones. Scarlett and Deacon (Clare Bowen and Charles Esten) both struggle to move on after losing Beverly, but find comfort in the local bar, where so many of her friends loved her, and her family, through her sharing. Markus Keen (Riley Smith) declares that he wants Rayna as his producer, and she tries to give it a go. Will (Chris Carmack) tells Kevin (Kyle Dean Massey) that it kills him to have his songs performed by someone else, and his heart is in being a performer. Kevin tells him he will help him get on the bill at Luke Wheeler’s event. The bottle cannot fix all that is broken inside. Juliette, but no one dares to offer her real help. Jeff wants to try to spin the beat-down incident as not her fault, but even he will not embrace the problem. He expects his efforts to be in trade for Gabrielle (Cynthia McWilliams) pushing Luke (Will Chase) to make him his new CEO. Markus has a new tune to try out, but it sounds like his song, “Boulevard” with his old band, so Rayna dares him to find new inspiration, and he bolts.
Falling back on her pattern of using sex to temporarily solve problems, Juliette comes on to Jeff, but he wants none of it, telling her she was a “bang in the broom closet” for him. Deacon wants to go to the struggling hometown bar that Beverly loved, to be part of the healing community there, but Scarlett hesitates. Markus is continuing to be hard to handle, never happy, so Rayna brings her girls to drop-in on his rehearsals. Maddie feels honored. Daphne (Maisy Stella) wants to turn down all singing after hearing the gossip and disrespect of her dad in the bathroom on the night of the talent show, and mom reminds her of her gift of music be something that “can never be taken away,” and the youngest daughter feels reassured. Layla (Aubrey Peeples) is very unsettled by the Barnes battle scars on Jeff’s (Oliver Hudson) body, but ire fades when he tells her that he is up for the position of Luke’s CEO, making way for her to move in, and let their relationship be public. While Scarlett finds her mother’s song samples and letters to radio, still reaching to find her star, Deacon spends time drowning in the past at the bar, but also comes to a new sense of healing, knowing that Beverly had support all around her. A plastic, public apology to Juliette airs from the assaulted fan, reeking of Jeff’s typical MO. Avery calls, demanding that Jeff do something for his still-wife, not merely wipe the bad publicity away. When Scarlett comes to tell Deacon that she’s ready to leave, he introduces her to everyone at the bar, and she is instantly welcomed, like long-lost kin.
Gunnar (Sam Palladio) keeps chasing hopeless relationships, hoping to fill his void, and the one with Erin (Scout Taylor Compton) is no different. They exchange a brief “hi and bye” at Luke’s party, and then, Gunnar later has her turning up at his door, bringing the “fun.” Avery tries to plead Juliette’s case to fired, but still caring, manager, Glenn. He refuses to help, saying that she has to find her way back on her own, and he tells Avery to distance himself, too. Maddie inspires something special from Markus, and Rayna uses the moment to help her gain insight into the difference between a performance and becoming an artist, but it doesn’t sink in. Scarlett is surrounded by comments and stories of how proud her mother always was of her career, and she starts to feel wholeness again. Luke tells Jeff that he will take him on again as CEO, and he and Layla already want to celebrate. Will is disheartened after his performance, when fans push a male audience member to the front, clearly gay, to be serenaded. He doesn’t want to be standard entertainment “for the gay pride parade.” Kevin can’t deal with the back-and-forth identity crisis again, and he leaves, saying “I’m done.” Scarlett sings her mother’s “closer song” embracing how her life did matter, amidst beautiful imagery of Deacon seeing Beverly sing at the place where Scarlett sits—and the tender response of the audience. It was drama at its delicate best. Deacon assures his niece that “she’s still proud of you,” as they drive down the road. He makes a call to the bar, with ideas for “how to save her,” and an idea for a name change, too, “Beverly’s.” He’s ready for a new beginning now. Juliette, drunk and delirious, sends an “I’m sorry” text to Avery, and heeding his earlier counsel, he deletes it.
Juliette staggers away from her room with a bottle. Jeff sees her as the party winds down. Luke finally gets his cozy moment with Gabrielle, for all it’s worth. As Juliette teeters unaware on a hotel ledge, Colt not even realizing the danger below during a call from Maddie. Jeff rushes to grab her just in the final “Nashville” seconds, and she is safe, while he is thrust over the edge.
The real ACM awards will preempt next week, but look for Jessy Schram of “Once Upon a Time” to step in as Cash Gray, a new songwriter in town. She will start to make appearances in a few weeks, when Hayden Panettiere’s medical leave begins.