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Juliette in Mourning, Nashville “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive” 

Photo Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC
Photo Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC

This was an exciting season finale, in more ways than one. A lot happened but I want to focus on Juliette in this episode. I’ve never made a secret of how much I love Hayden Panettiere in this role. There are moments when her spoiled, self-righteous behavior gets on my nerves. But there are also times when her willingness to love and learn make me want to understand her and give her as many more chances as she needs to become a better person. In “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” we see some of the people Juliette’s mistreated along the way come back into her life and offer what she needs the most – their love. Her ex-manager Glenn shows up when we least expect it. Deacon tries to be there for Juliette, although she pushes him away at first. Avery is there when she needs a friend (he’s making strides, but he’s still not fully redeemed. I’m not sure he ever can be for me). Even Rayna is there for Juliette.

Juliette is a master at pushing people away with one arm and pulling them back in close with the other. Even though Juliette’s relationship with her mother could be described as difficult – and that’s on a good day – there were moments where they really seemed to connect. Juliette wasn’t shy about blaming her mother for Dante’s presence in her life to begin with (as well as a host of other things). When we met him in “Dear Brother,” I really thought Dante was going to be good for Juliette and he was at first. He didn’t put up with her crap and he was helping Jolene. But as soon as their relationship got physical, things went downhill. I feel like that’s the case almost 100% of the time – as soon as Juliette has sex with someone, it’s an invitation for trouble.

Jolene obviously took Juliette’s constant berating to heart. I’m not blaming Juliette for Jolene’s death – that’s on Jolene. Her mother was an addict. I’m not saying that would’ve killed her in the end, but it certainly wasn’t good for her chances. Jolene saw an opportunity to shield her daughter from the terrible embarrassment and ridicule that the sex tape would have brought down on Juliette. Maybe Jolene felt she owed this to Juliette now because she could never really be there for her daughter when she was younger. Maybe Jolene thought this sacrifice would somehow redeem her in Juliette’s eyes. Whatever her justification, it wasn’t a good enough reason to abandon her daughter forever. Juliette still needed her mom, even after (or maybe because of) everything they’d been through. She still needed that human connection, that love to feel worthy in this world.

I thought Jolene’s death would send Juliette over the edge and that did seem to be where she was going. But Glenn managed to pull her back, after Juliette claimed she should be celebrating that it was finally over. And of course she didn’t mean it. Of course she didn’t want that. I’m glad in that moment Juliette was able to take a step back and realize what she was doing to herself. I’m also glad she was willing to let a very small group of people into her grieving process. If this has taught her nothing else, hopefully she at least knows she is loved. I might have cried when she dedicated that song to her mother at the Bluebird. What a fitting tribute.

I can’t wait to see what Juliette gets up to next season. I think she’ll find that love she’s looking for eventually, but until then I kind of like it when she’s causing trouble.

Season 2 of Nashville returns in the fall.

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