'Nashville' recap: Juliette and Avery hang out, watch movies, and continue to be the best part of the whole show

You’ve always got to watch the promos for next week’s episode before you can confirm anything, but it looks like we may finally be done with Lamar and his shady southern dealings. That’s just a month and change after Peggy was confirmed dead, which begs the question — is Nashville listening to the haters (me!) and actively trimming its least interesting plotlines? It would never get this far, but imagine the deaths and sudden disappearances over the next few months of Teddy, Scarlett, Zoe, all of Edgehill Republic, LUKE. How glorious this show could be if it jettisoned all its empty weight and just kept things lean.

So boring are the non-music plots on this show that a potential COLD CASE involving Lamar and the wife he may or may not have run over so many years ago barely registers a pulse. We understand that this is a dramatic, stunning revelation that might have repercussions for Rayna and her family for years to come; can intellectualize it as an appropriate soap opera plot. But it’s so by-the-books, so precisely expected, that you could spend all those scenes playing Words with Friends and not miss much of anything.

Just like last week, the best part of this show remains Juliette. And tonight we got to see her… domesticated! She and Avery are finally shacking up together, which means movies on the couch and poorly prepared dinner. It’s actually the sweetest, least contrived thing we’ve ever seen on this show (short of the puppy Juliette got Deacon last season) — and honesty something I could have spent 20 more minutes watching. That’s the frustrating thing about Nashville, the way it never just luxuriates in a moment or plot. How great would it be to just enjoy Juliette and Avery… enjoying each other for more than a few minutes?

The good news is that, at least by episode’s end, the new couple is still together. Kissing. Holding hands. All that shit. “Is this a… ” Deacon asks as he points from Avery to Juliette. “I like it.” Us too, Deacon! In Juliette and Avery, the writers have found a pairing that feels both surprising and totally natural at the same time. We don’t know exactly where it might go because they’re not stock soap opera characters, and their time together rings authentic. Will Nashville have the guts to actually keep them together longer than a few episodes. We’ll soon see!

Image: CMT/ABC