Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Nashville Recap: Juliette Turns to an Unlikely Source for Help

Plus: Rayna had better watch her back

Liz Raftery

Will Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) find God in Season 5 of Nashville?

It sure looks that way after the two-hour fifth-season premiere, which sees Juliette obsessively trying to track down the "angel" who rescued her after the plane crash in which the country diva was the only survivor.

Turns out the girl with the angelic voice is Hannah Lee, aka "Hallie" (Rhiannon Giddens), who sings in the choir at her local church but hasn't come forward as Juliette's savior because she has no desire to be in the spotlight. Juliette leaves her contact information with the church leader in the hopes that Hallie will contact her. (And judging by the fact that Giddens has joined the Nashville cast, it's a safe bet that she will.)

The discovery couldn't come soon enough for Juliette, who's having a tough time dealing with her recovery, to put it mildly. Feeling useless around her daughter Candice and taking her frustrations out on Avery (Jonathan Jackson) - who is, per usual, the best - Juliette is truly at a loss, and has no idea if she'll ever walk again, let alone perform on stage.

Hayden Panettiere, Nashville

But Juliette's not the only one reeling from the crash. Her musical counterpart's near-death experience, coupled with a less-than-inspiring performance at a Silicon Valley fundraiser, sends Rayna (Connie Britton) on a journey of self-discovery, one that causes her to get back in touch with her musical roots thanks to a blind stranger's rendition of "Wayfaring Stranger" and ends with her realizing that the best way to reinvent herself as an artist would be to do a concept album with Deacon (Charles Esten). Though he's less than thrilled with the idea at first, Deacon eventually comes around, because... well, he's Deacon.

Nashville boss teases more emotion, less "adrenaline" in Season 5

It's doubtful at best whether a Rayna-Deacon concept album will provide enough of a windfall to get Highway 65 out of the financial hole it's in after shelling out $275,000 to get Maddie (Lennon Stella) out of her contract, and losing out on the money The Exes would have earned on Autumn Chase's tour now that they've been dropped.

But one potential source Rayna could turn to for financial help is Zach Welles (Cameron Scoggins), the tech entrepreneur who invited her to play his Silicon Valley fundraiser. He seems friendly enough, but is it possible that his admiration of Rayna is more like an obsession? Him tracking down her cell phone number, coupled with the mysterious flowers she receives ("To the only woman I've ever loved") and the final shot of the episode, which indicates that someone's spying on her, certainly point to "Run, Rayna, Run!" Could it be a misdirect? Highway 65's new "social media and digital marketing manager," Randall St. Clair, also seems to have an unhealthy interest in his new boss.

Speaking of problematic crushes, Will (Chris Carmack) realizes that inadvertently coming out as a gay activist has buoyed his musical career... but may spell trouble for his relationship with Kevin (Kyle Dean Massey). For starters, his concert audiences are now peppered with gay men who seem incredibly willing and eager to throw themselves at Will.

And, while out for a birthday dinner with Kevin, Will catches the eye of men's fashion designer Jakob Fine (Murray Bartlett), who shamelessly flirts with Will and later tries to kiss him at a private party. Will rebuffs his advances for now, explaining that he wants to be faithful to his boyfriend - a concept Jakob calls "quaint" - but it's clear that he's more than a little tempted by the offer, which Jakob makes clear is still on the table should Will change his mind. When incredibly trusting Kevin asks Will if anything happened, Will takes Gunnar's (Sam Palladio) advice and stays mum about the almost-kiss, then doubles down and tells Kevin they should get a place together.

But Gunnar's got problems of his own, with Scarlett (Clare Bowen) consumed by jealousy when it dawns on her that some of the songs she and Gunnar sing together may have been written with one of his (several) former flames, many of whom had close ties to Scarlett, in mind. Looks like we're in for yet another season of ups and downs with these two.

So, fans, let's turn to you: What do you think of Nashville's CMT revival? Which new characters do you want to see more of? Should Will have told Kevin about Jakob's come-on? And who's stalking Rayna?

Nashville airs Thursdays at 9/8c on CMT. Episodes will be available on Hulu the day after broadcast.