On this episode of Nashville, “The Slender Thread That Binds Us Here,” Deacon is emotionally volatile after his sister’s death, Layla’s big night is crashed by Markus Keen and Juliette starts using drugs.

Deacon can’t catch a break. For the first two seasons, he moped over Rayna. During season three, he moped because he had cancer, and now, he’s moping because his sister, Beverly, died. In addition to being the resident sad sack, Deacon has decided to shut out Scarlett, giving her the cold shoulder at Beverly’s funeral.

Nashville Recap: What Does Scarlett Decide About Her Mother? >>>

Scarlett Pulls Away From Caleb

Scarlett isn’t completely without support. Zoey has returned to Nashville to be a shoulder for her friend to cry on, and Gunnar (whose hair has become dangerously tall) is also eager to give Scarlett prolonged embraces, something that hasn’t escaped the attention of her boyfriend, Dr. Hottie.

And Dr. Hottie, Caleb, is trying his hardest to comfort Scarlett, but quoting books about grief isn’t doing the trick. Scarlett tells Caleb that he makes her feel like a patient and confides in Zoey that Caleb has all the warmth of a textbook.

Sensing he’s bombing in the bereavement department, Caleb goes to Gunnar for help. Caleb wants to connect with Scarlett and has started writing a song for her. The problem is, he’s a doctor and not a musician, so he needs a little help … okay a lot of help … putting together something that will blow Scarlett’s socks off.

No Rest for the Wicked

Also down in the dumps is Juliette. Her career ambition has stalled, and Jeff is infuriated that his #1 client has started blowing off interviews in favor of holing herself up in her hotel room. Determined to get Juliette back on track, Jeff has arranged for a reporter from E! Online to shadow Juliette on every press appearance and fan event for 48 hours.

Juliette Can’t Cope

Avery meets up with Emily, who has been babysitting Cadence, while he attended Beverly’s funeral. Avery tells Emily that he’s probably going to need her to help out even more in the future because it’s time for daddy to go back to work.

He’s tucked those divorce papers away, for now. He confides in Emily that he still believes Juliette loves Cadence and hopes that what binds him and Juliette together isn’t broken. He wants to believe that in spite of her illness, Juliette is not a lost cause.

During their little heart-to-heart, a member of the paparazzi snaps a somewhat incriminating photo of Avery, Emily and Cadence that looks as if Avery has scored himself a side piece while his supposedly doting wife is toiling away on the road.

But things with Juliette are only getting worse. In order to put on a happy face for her fans and the press, Juliette gets her #1 lackey, Lindsay, to find a doctor willing to write a prescription for Adderall. This should guarantee a very high profile meltdown in 3…2…1…

Sure enough, Juliette is wired and unable to sleep, so she asks Lindsay for something to bring her down. Lindsay hands over a few sleeping pills, which Juliette washes down with some booze.

The next day, Juliette, hopped up on caffeine and Adderall, does a radio interview, during which, she’s blindsided by the picture of Avery and Emily that has found its way on to the cover of a tabloid. The headline suggests that Juliette’s baby daddy had found love elsewhere.

Juliette keeps her cool, explaining that Emily is a longtime friend, who also looks after Cadence while she’s on tour. But after the interview ends, Juliette calls Emily, accusing her of being a gold-digging, backstabbing whore.

And Markus Makes Three

As the saying goes “The show must go on,” so in the midst of all this doom and gloom, Rayna is playing the Opry. She’s also got to contend with her new artist, Markus Keen, who has unexpectedly blown into town and is ready to get to work.

Also making an appearance at the Opry is Layla. In fact, it’s Layla’s big debut. She may have some doubt about where she fits in at Highway 65, especially now that Markus in in the picture, but Rayna scoring the ingenue a slot at such a prestigious venue is sure to buy some goodwill.

After being neglected by her boyfriend-manager, Jeff, for weeks, he’s back in town. Jeff decided to make a long-distance booty call and show his other client some support. And even though he warned Layla that Highway 65 may no longer be the place for her, he seems to have had a change of heart. With a high-profile artist like Markus at the same label, Jeff sees Rayna’s big score a win for Layla as well. The bigger and better Highway 65 gets, the more it benefits all of Rayna’s artists.

That doesn’t mean her turnip doesn’t get chapped when Markus shows up backstage and steals both Rayna and the spotlight. Jeff assures Layla that nobody cares what goes on backstage, it’s her performance, which was a success, that counts.

Also lurking around backstage is Avery. He wants to produce Markus’ album and shows up to make his pitch. Unfortunately, Avery doesn’t have much time to sell himself before he receives a call from Emily telling him that Cadence is really sick, and she’s taking the baby to the hospital.

Layla should be in hog heaven after her big debut, and the icing on the cake is when Rayna takes the stage, and brings Layla out to praise her in front of the crowd. But Markus, being the big star that he is, didn’t get the memo that this is supposed to be Layla’s big night. He takes it upon himself to literally shove Layla out of the way, introduce himself to the crowd and suggest that he and Rayna sing a duet.

This proves to be the last straw for Layla, who stomps off and throws a hissy fit in her dressing room. Jeff, distracted by a phone call, undoubtedly about Juliette, isn’t able to give Layla the attention she so desperately craves, so she throws him out.

Markus is hyped about his performance with Rayna, but she does tell him it wasn’t exactly cool for him to hone in on Layla’s big night. Not to mention the fact that he failed to respect the sanctity of the Opry. Markus says he won’t let it happen again, but Rayna is starting to realize that by signing a rock star to her label, she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

Nashville Recap: Will Juliette Reconcile with Avery? >>>

Gone Girl

Jeff discovers it’s Avery on the other end of the line, and he demands Jeff give him Juliette’s new number. Jeff balks, but Avery makes it clear that Cadence is sick, and he has to get in touch with his wife. Unfortunately, Juliette’s shady new physician has injected her with something that has knocked her out for the unforeseeable future.

Avery gets through to Lindsay and demands that she relay the message to Juliette that Cadence is sick. Lindsay manages to rouse Juliette but fails to convey the urgency of the situation to her boss. Juliette says unless it has something to do with work, she doesn’t care, which is exactly what Lindsay tells Avery. Now, Avery is under the impression that Juliette knows her daughter is sick and is ambivalent, which isn’t exactly the case, but you just know this is the final straw for Avery.

Layla gets a pep talk from her gay ex-husband. He reminds her that she should be thankful for what she’s got, even if it’s not perfect. Layla’s already embarrassed, but now she feels even more sheepish, because she realizes poor Will has been completely sidelined.

Deacon Unravels

Elsewhere in Music City, Deacon is having a rough night. He bowed out of going with Rayna in favor of an AA meeting, but that didn’t improve his attitude. His next stop is his place, where he flies into a rage and destroys the guest room where his sister was supposed to be convalescing.

Deacon winds up at a bar, but he hasn’t fallen off the wagon, yet. It happens to be where his sponsor works. And Deacon admits just how badly he really wants to drink.

Baby Cadence only has an ear infection and will make a full recovery, but the same can’t be said of Avery and Juliette’s relationship.

Caleb presents Scarlett with his love song, and she’s appropriately touched. Nice job, Gunnar. You succeeded in getting the rival for your true love’s affection laid.

Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.