Nashville‘s Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) has certainly not had an easy go of it in the series’ four seasons, and things don’t seem to be getting any better in the fifth season that just premiered on CMT. She’s not only the survivor of a deadly plane crash that left her temporarily paralyzed from the waist down, it has taken part of her with it. After all she’s done, does Juliette deserve to have a happy ending? Does she deserve to end up with Avery and Cadence?

What She’s Done

Juliette hasn’t exactly been the most loving person in Nashville. She’s made many, many mistakes, and she’s paid for most of them. Perhaps the most memorable is her role in the death of Jeff Fordham and how she dealt with that. Her suicide attempt, her postpartum depression, her guilt over leaving her daughter and Avery, each of those things separately would’ve driven her mad, but combined, it’s amazing she was able to get through it.

Her behavior has threatened many things, including her own career. Season 2 saw Juliette dealing with blowback from her actions, and then she had her words twisted and sank deeper into the hole. She got herself into that situation, and she never really seemed to learn from it. She cheated on Avery with Jeff, and she abandoned Avery and her daughter to focus on the career she felt she was losing.

What’s Happened to Her

Juliette’s life has been less than pleasant. Growing up with a mother that was more focused on drugs than on her daughter, losing her father, and having to take care of herself from such a young age, it’s really no wonder Juliette ended up in the state she did. What’s surprising is how she’s been able to build a career with the struggles she continues to face from the scars of her childhood, especially as she copes with being a mother herself and deals with her postpartum depression.

While much of Juliette’s problems have been created internally, she’s also dealt with extreme criticism from the public, and the consequences of her actions in almost every case. The season 4 finale saw Juliette finally taking credit for her role in Jeff’s death which is perhaps her most responsible move throughout the entire series. It wasn’t about the publicity anymore; she messed up, and the guilt was eating her alive. She couldn’t pretend anymore, that’s all she’s done.

Should She Receive a Happy Ending?

The season 5 premiere brought viewers to the next stage in Juliette’s life: recovering from the deadly plane crash that she miraculously survived. Considering everyone else on the plane died, Juliette has survivor’s guilt, and she’s dealing with the most important question of all: why did she survive?

While this event brought Avery and Cadence back to her, she needs more than her family to be happy. Juliette needs to start loving herself and taking care of herself, and stop relying on everyone else to provide her with the adoration she needs to uphold her confidence. Her recovery is about more than just her physical recovery; it’s time for Juliette to make strides toward being a person she can be proud of, and to focus on being present.

After all she’s been through, Juliette Barnes deserves her happy ending. Whether that’s with her family or just with herself remains to be seen, but she deserves to live a life free of the guilt and crushing pain of her past, and isn’t that a happy ending on its own? 

What do you think? Does Juliette deserve a happy ending? What do you think of her season 5 storyline so far? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Nashville airs at 9/8c on CMT every Thursday, streaming on Hulu the next day! Like our Nashville Facebook page for more news!

(Image courtesy of CMT)


Jay Ruymann

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV