Nashville Review: The Wayfaring Stranger (Season 5 Episode 1)

Nashville made its way to CMT with the series’ best episode yet. As Juliette recovers from her plane crash, Rayna confronts a horrible truth: she’s lost her way, and her voice.

On Nashville Season 5 Episode 1, “The Wayfaring Stranger,” the outcome of Juliette’s horrifying plane crash is revealed, while Rayna has her first panic attack because of the way her life is going.

It’s always tough not to blame yourself after something horrible happens, and that’s no different for Juliette Barnes. Thankfully, she survived the plane crash, but there were consequences. Much deeper consequences than just physical pain.

Juliette: I caused this. It was gonna happen.
Rayna: You can’t make a plane crash.
Juliette: If not this then something else. Me in this chair, I knew it was gonna happen.
Rayna: Don’t think that way.
Juliette: I messed everything up in my life, and this is the result.

After stepping up for her role in Jeff Fordham’s death in the Season 4 finale, Juliette began to make peace with herself, or at least we thought. What will this plane crash do to her? Hope was little for her before, but now that she’s struggling to regain control of her body now too and not just her life, where is she headed? Will she completely fall apart, or will this be her wake-up call?

Her career is the last thought on her mind, and now that she has Avery and Cadence back in her life, she has to find herself. She got better for her daughter last season after her addiction and attempted suicide caused a man’s death, but if you can’t make peace with yourself then you’ll never find peace.

After everything she’s been through, Juliette’s struggle is going to be accepting that this didn’t happen to her because of anything she did. She survived for a reason, and that reason wasn’t just because Nashville couldn’t afford to lose their biggest talent (AKA Hayden Panettiere). 

Meanwhile, Rayna has to find herself, too.

It’s been awhile since Rayna released new music, and that wasn’t just because she’s been busy running Highway 65 Records. She’s lost, and her voice is gone. She has nothing to say anymore, or so she thinks. When you lose yourself, how do you find yourself again? It’s a question everyone seems to be asking this season.

Her newfound struggle with panic, anxiety, and panic attacks is not going to pair well with her upcoming story this season as teased by the season trailer: she has a stalker.

So many years in the business has left her vulnerable, and with her family in such a fragile state, how will this affect all of them? Rayna is already falling apart, and her journey to finding herself is going to become one of hiding herself as the threat for her life and her safety is revealed.

And, less surprisingly, Maddie hasn’t changed much at all. Her relationship with her sister is still the same, even after the mistakes she made at the end of Season 4. She’s lucky her parents love her because I would’ve just left her out on her own after her bitchy behavior.

Nashville Season 5 is gearing up to be the series’ best, and these characters we think we know are going to be discovering sides to themselves away from the drama that ABC network forced onto the show. Also, how scary was Juliette’s dream about the crash, and how fantastic is Hayden Panettiere?

Nashville premieres Thursday, January 5 at 9/8c on CMT, streaming on Hulu the next day!

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