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Nashville - Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound - Review: "Make the Same Mistakes"

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“Can’t Help but Wonder Where I’m Bound” was a frustrating episode all around. From Juliette still being AWOL for most of the episode to Gunnar’s continued inability to handle a casual relationship and Maddie’s complicated romantic woes, it was not the season’s finest hour. The one saving grace of the episode was Jonathan Jackson and his portrayal of a confused and heartbroken man. While I’ve hated the Juliette joining a cult plotline, the unintentional byproduct of Jackson actually getting a decent amount of screen time has made it more bearable. For all the series’ faults, bringing Avery to the foreground for the final season isn’t one of them. Long regarded by fans as Mr. Juliette Barnes, Avery gets to take a more active role, albeit in a disappointing storyline, and finally step front and center with his non-marital woes and involvement in the supergroup. However, Jackson’s spectacular acting still wasn’t enough to save this episode. So let’s dive in, shall we.

Avery and Cadence go to the airport to welcome Juliette home, but, unsurprisingly, there’s no Juliette among the crew members exiting the plane.  She didn’t even have the decency to call Avery and let him know she wasn’t coming home because again Juliette can’t be bothered to pick up a phone. So Avery calls the Movement for Coherent Philosophy in Bolivia looking for Juliette, but apparently the cult can’t divulge any information about their members. Juliette is apparently safe, but the cult won’t put her on the phone as she is free to contact Avery whenever she wants. Avery is properly infuriated that Juliette has disappeared on him and Cadence…again, believing she will come back when she feels like it, because let’s be honest, Juliette only ever does what she wants. She has repeatedly shown that she puts herself above others and doesn’t even seem to care how her actions are hurting her loved ones. If she cared, she would have told Avery she was going to Bolivia before she left. If she cared, she would at least have left a note. If she cared, she would have called because they’re family. Like I’ve said, she’s been through something traumatic and that takes time to process, but you don’t cut your loved ones out at a time like this; you lean on them for strength. Despite confiding in Deacon, Avery tells the guys Juliette decided to extend her trip by a couple days, but he lets Gunnar in on the truth during their guy’s night. Avery has no idea if Juliette extended her trip as he can’t reach her. He has no idea about anything. Like his non-wife could be lying dead in a ditch somewhere and he would be none the wiser. While he loves her and Cadence needs her, he can’t believe he let this happen again, and trust me, neither can viewers. However, Deacon tells Avery to go get Juliette if he’s tired of waiting. I mean, he does have access to a private jet after all. So instead of waiting to see if she’ll come back on her own, Avery flies to Bolivia. He arrives at the facility, but the receptionist won’t let Avery see Juliette without an appointment. Getting really tired of this bullshit, Avery announces that he’s not leaving that room until he sees Juliette. After coming this far, he’s resolved not to go home empty-handed, but his reunion with his non-wife isn’t the fairytale ending he was hoping for.

When Avery finally comes face to face with Juliette, she’s not the Juliette we’ve come to know, love, and hate over the series. Even when she was at her worst, she was still Juliette, emotional baggage and all. However, this version of her is cold, almost robotic-like. Avery wants to know what’s going on, but Juliette claims she’s more herself than she’s ever been, which is crap because the Juliette in Bolivia is a shell of the former country singer. She may have lived her whole for other people, but she’s certainly not doing that now. Apparently she needed people too much, which may be true, but Avery is hardly the problem. This is a guy who has stood by her again and again as she has put him through literal hell. Any sane person would have walked away a long time ago, but Avery just can’t seem to. She apparently can’t have anything to do with Avery or her own life until she learns how to fill the hole in her heart on her own, and she’ll apparently learn how to do that by standing isolated in a cult. Juliette refuses to leave with Avery and has the laughable idea that Cadence can come live with her. Juliette wonders why it’s any different with Cadence being with Avery, but Avery tells her that’s not an option. Besides that being utterly and completely ridiculous, does she not remember that she signed away her parental rights. She then settles on FaceTiming her daughter every day, claiming she’s not abandoning her, just Avery. Avery is somehow the problem and Juliette can’t communicate with anyone else until she changes that. Avery came down because he’s worried and doesn’t want to lose her, but Juliette has already made up her mind. So besides this not making any sense, does anyone else feel like Juliette was legitimately brainwashed. I know I refer to the Movement of Coherent Philosophy as a cult, but I really feel like there is some sort of brainwashing going on. Her words seemed prompted and rehearsed, like she’d been coached on what to say. We’ve seen a lot of versions of Juliette over the years, but we’ve never seen her like this: unfeeling. It’s like she’s had the life force sucked out of her and she’s just a shell of the person she used to be. Like there is something seriously wrong with her, and Avery should have dragged her back to Nashville to get deprogramed or something.

If the events of “Beneath Still Waters” served as a catalyst for Jessie and Daphne to actually talk, then “Can’t Help but Wonder Where I’m Bound” did the same for Deacon and Jake. At the start of the episode, Jessie lets Deacon know Brad will most likely be at the open house that night and wants to make sure she and Deacon don’t do anything to “provoke” Brad. Apparently this open house doubles as a talent show because Daphne performs a song and Jake does a spoken word performance where he essentially calls out Brad for being a huge asshole and a crappy father. While Daphne’s performance is met with praise from Brad, he doesn’t really know what to make of his son. Having grown up with a douche for a father, Jake thinks Deacon’s compliment of his performance being “something else” is code that Deacon hated it. However, when Deacon goes to Jessie’s house, presumably for date night, he tells Jake again how much he enjoyed his performance. Despite Deacon not being cool enough to understand the medium well, the words behind it were really powerful. Deacon then shares with Jake how his father used to tell him he wouldn’t make anything of himself and wasn’t worth much. And for a long time, Deacon believed his father, but eventually he realized his dad was wrong. Like Deacon, Jake feels things deeply and that can be hard, especially when you have an awful father telling you you’re not good enough and never will be. In the end, that’s worth it, as the most powerful art comes from those feelings, and Jake should just keep doing what he’s doing. Unlike Jessie and Daphne’s conversation, the one between Deacon and Jake was less about what was said and more about what was understood. Daphne needed to hear Jessie say she wasn’t trying to replace Rayna while Jake just needed someone to see him and believe him. This quiet moment of kindness, something Brad would never do, leads to Deacon and Jessie having sex for the first time. After their non-sexcapades in “Where the Night Goes,” I figured their first time would be showier. The series may this big deal about how Deacon wasn’t ready then, but he suddenly is now. For him, nothing has really changed. If Jessie was the one with reservations, I could see this tipping the scale, but it’s the other way around. Sure it was a nice and sweet moment, but it almost felt out of place in this episode. It was like it was almost an afterthought, like the writers decided they would have sex in episode 7 and forgot, so they just hastily added it in.

Despite Gunnar going home alone at the end of “Beneath Still Waters,” he is still unwisely hooking up with Alannah. After an “incredible” time, Gunnar tries to get to know Alannah on a deeper level, but she rebuffs his attempts. Things only get slightly more awkward when Alannah gets a call from her ex, and Gunnar is left wondering what that exactly means. He’s still obsessing over that when he shows up at Avery’s, pizza and beer in hand, wondering what it means that Alannah has been out to dinner with her ex for four hours. Despite Avery’s reassurances that people can be friends with their exes, Gunnar still wants to check in on how things are going. As Avery rightfully points out, nothing good can from calling Alannah as she is not his girlfriend. So even though he heeds Avery’s advice, Gunnar can’t stop from asking Alannah what she was up to before their gig. And apparently he isn’t satisfied by her vague answer, as he pushes for more detail. Was she with her ex all night? Did she sleep with him? The very questions a boyfriend would get to ask, but not so much the guy you’re casually sleeping with. Again, Alannah rightfully tells Gunnar that it’s not really his business as this was just supposed to be something casual between them. However, if Gunnar’s jealousy is going to get in the way of her making music, then she may need to find some other people to play with. So if everything was said and done, Gunnar probably could have found a way to get on the same page, but then Alannah shows up at his place, with this messy arrangement continuing to persist. So while I have no problem with Alannah wanting something casual, it was definitely a mistake to show up on Gunnar’s doorstep. He continued to prove this episode that he can’t handle a friends-with-benefits type of situation and continuing to sleep with Alannah is only going to blur the lines more. Like this is a guy who is literally incapable of having a fling. He was literally itching to call Alannah, his non-girlfriend, while she was having dinner with her ex. He should have realized by now that their arrangement isn’t working for him, but he probably thinks he can change her mind or convince her. This was a fun experiment, but both of them should have walked away once it became clear it had run its course. Of course, if that happened, then we wouldn’t get to watch this inevitable relationship implode.

So besides the drama of Gunnar and Alannah’s non-relationship, the still untitled band Will has to deal with Alannah’s continued rise. While the band is rehearsing, Bucky calls Gunnar, telling the band several reporters wants interviews…with Alannah. Alannah, being the team player she’s shaping up to be, tells Bucky the reporters can either talk to all of them or none of them. So the reporters talk to all of them, but not really, since they mostly ask Alannah-centric questions. Even though she does a decent job of refocusing the answers, it’s clear the reporters are only there for her, which is proven when one of them reveals Brad called, claiming he found the next big thing. While Gunnar tells the guys it’s not Alannah’s fault, Will is still hasn’t hopped on the bandwagon. According to Will, this little experiment of theirs wasn’t supposed to be an actual band. It was supposed to be a way for the guys to hang out and make music, not turn into a business venture. However, this train of thought literally makes no sense as Gunnar and Will practically had to kidnap Avery to get him on board because Avery didn’t want this interfering with his actual band. And then things get even more confusing after Will hijacks Alannah’s performance during the band’s gig. Apparently the only reason Gunnar wants Alannah in the band is because he’s afraid of being upstaged by Will Lexington, the gay cowboy. Um, say what? Since when has Gunnar been even the littlest bit homophobic? He literally accepted Will as gay before Will even accepted that about himself. Like Gunnar is somehow afraid of the supergroup being turned into a gay band is mindboggling. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Will taking drugs along with steroids because he literally sounds insane right not. I’m still of the theory that Will’s insecure about sharing the spotlight but can’t for the life of me fathom what motivated him this episode. We’re still no closer to understanding what’s going on with Will, but his comments this episode were just ridiculous. Toward the end of the episode, we saw Will working out at the gym like he’s done all season, but this time, he had blurred vision. Based on the promos for next week’s episode, it looks like we may finally get some answers, but more likely Will’s steroid use is going to catch up with him. So we’re going to have to watch this completely contrived storyline play out for several more episodes before we get any real answers.

And then we have Maddie and her pointless relationship drama. Maddie goes to Miami to perform a concert with Jonah but ends up spending most of her time with Twig when Jonah rushes off to some audition. While it may have been speculative in past episodes that Twig had a thing for Maddie, this episode may it clear the guy is crushing hard. While Jonah and Maddie were performing together, we saw Twig watching from the curtains, and the following morning, Twig was all too happy to make Maddie breakfast. So instead of spending the day with Jonah, Maddie ends up growing closer to Twig. Maybe Jonah wouldn’t have been so quick to tell Maddie to say in Miami with his entourage if he knew his best friend liked his girlfriend. As Maddie and Twig are playing a card game, Jonah’s douchey friends suggest they do mushrooms. While Maddie responsibly passes, Twig gives in to peer pressure. Granted getting high on shrooms isn’t exactly the best way to get a girl to notice you, but when in Miami. However, Twig ends up having a bad trip and Maddie has to take care of him as his so-called friends are too busy being assholes to actually be considerate. Being the sober friend, Maddie stays with him until it’s over. We learn that Twig wishes he was the kind of guy who could just cut loose but always worries that no will step up and be the responsible one. This comes from his childhood experience of always having to parent his siblings after his dad left, as his mom sort of checked out. As a side note, this confession feels more than Jonah’s in “Where the Night Goes,” with him claiming he has really bad anxiety and he’s not trying to hide her. That just felt like some sort of line; like Jonah told Maddie what she wanted to hear. But anyway, the next morning Twig apologizes again and just as he and Maddie are about to exchange numbers, Jonah reenters the picture. So Twig then has to watch as his best friend and the girl he likes fawn all over each other, as Maddie only has eyes for Jonah. While I’ve said I don’t really care about Maddie and this inevitable love triangle, I would rather see her end up with Twig over Jonah. Twig seems like a genuine, nice guy while Jonah is all flash and no substance. It’s still really hard to get a gauge on how he actually feels about Maddie, and while he may like her, he prioritizes other things above her. So hopefully she’ll take Deacon’s advice and eventually see Jonah for who he really is.

Some stray thoughts:
- Brad really has upped his douche game from sending reporters to interview just Alannah and telling Daphne she’s a star while his own son is nothing special. And based on the promo for next week’s episode, he’s planning on shipping Jake off to boarding school and possibly physically abusing him.
- So based on the promo and Daphne’s interest in Brad’s country music competition, it looks like she’ll be entering, despite Deacon’s wishes. He may have big plans to launch Daphne’s music career when he thinks she’s ready, but Daphne thinks she’s ready now. With it being the last season, it makes sense for the series to explore Daphne as a solo artist, even though she’s a few younger than Maddie was.
So hit the comments to let me know your thoughts. Why does Avery keep putting himself through the pain? What is really going on with Juliette? Did Deacon and Jessie sleep together too soon? Should Alannah have showed up on Gunnar’s doorstep? What is Will’s deal? Will Maddie end up dating Twig?

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