The most loyal of “Nashville” fans are clinging to every second of the series that blends music worth keeping with melodrama in such perfect proportions, especially with the current Season 6 trimmed to just 16 episodes. This week's eighth episode, and the midseason finale, “Sometimes You Just Can't Win,” reflects all kinds of battles in life—battles from war and its deep scars, battles to break free and be independent, battles for love and happiness, and battles of being obsessed with the perfect body image. There's even a battle within the band for Avery (Jonathan Jackson), Gunnar (Sam Palladio), and Will (Chris Carmack) when Alannah (Rainee Blake) still seems to keep getting all the limelight, and she's making dangerous moves with relationships, too.

Some battles in life are worth the fight, others are a waste of the fighter’s own making. Whatever the cause, all battles leave scars, and hopefully, lessons for redemption and wisdom. Beloved “Nashville” characters are on the battlefront in this one.

For the children’s sake

Deacon (Charles Esten) and Jessie (Kaitlin Doubleday) are getting comfortable with each other in very intimate ways with their newfound love, but their children are struggling with issues bigger than adjusting to blended lives.

Daphne (Maisy Stella) feels ready to define herself as an artist in her musical career and wants to release an EP, but her dad pleads with her to delay this big decision and wait until she is “appreciated” for who she is. She already has the plot to enter the “Next Nashville Star” talent competition, and submits her application for auditions, not realizing that the entire endeavor is under Brad Maitland's (Jeffrey Nordling) empire.

Daphne offers a stellar song with “Dear Fear” at the audition, and it doesn't take a nanosecond before Brad Maitland’s predatory prowess starts spinning with all the ways to profit from her heritage and effort, as he says “that's Rayna Jaymes’ daughter,” in his sneering tone.

Daphne does her best to explain why this moment to stand on her own is important to her, saying that only when she sings does she feel “really happy” for the first time since losing her mother. Deacon agrees to support her, and he is there when she is only one of three selected for the competition.

Jake Maitland (Myles Moore) is facing the ultimate kind of rejection from his dad, who has already arranged to have him sent off to boarding school, despite his teachers recognizing his talents once he “applies himself.” Jessie understands completely that this is Brad's way of wounding her with the ultimate blow, but she is going to fight for her son. As Deacon listens to one climactic battle, he is haunted by his own memories of beatings from his father, and intervenes, pushing Brad against the wall.

Brad turns to rhetorically ask, “Did you just assault me?” Brad leaves, warning that “We’ll be talkin’!” Jessie turns to Deacon, terrified, both of what her ex-husband can do with this kind of ammunition and also because she has not seen Deacon under the “triggers” of his anger.

Healing is hard

Scarlett (Clare Bowen [VIDEO]) cannot help but keep reaching out to Sean (Jake Etheridge), despite the counsel of his aunt, the horse ranch director (Lisa Banes) to step back and bring him to her and the ranch when he is experiencing his worst moments. Scarlett always believes that her wide-open heart is big enough to heal anyone, but PTSD presents demons [VIDEO] for which no one can be prepared.

She asks Sean to go to a “songwriter’s round,” feeling that it might prompt him back to put his feelings into music. Just moments into the artists’ performances, the noise from the enthusiastic crowd triggers Sean in the worst way, and he runs out to the alley, with Scarlett following. She admits she was wrong to encourage him to come, and the two share a heartfelt talk in a moving scene, with Scarlett telling him how hard it is “to be a person” at all, and that everyone in this life is struggling, giving many examples, herself included, to assure him that he is not alone. She admits her mistake to his aunt.

Sean leaves a note for Scarlett to meet him in the barn, where he performs a song for an audience of one. She tells him that others want to hear his beautiful composition. This love connection looks like it will run deep.

Avery, on the other hand, has reached the point of “Done” in his mind, anyway, with Juliette. Utterly hurt and dejected, he only shares the tip of his feelings, with Deacon and Gunnar, and submerges himself into music, regardless of his heartache. He puts his wedding band in a box on the nightstand. Alannah makes herself very open to Avery as an empathetic friend, describing her own history of doomed love.

Will is feeling the physical effects of steroid/HGH abuse, which is his “medicine” for the broken heart left by Zach. He hides heart palpitations, fever, and almost dire symptoms until the band takes the road for some premiere gigs. He already feels like he is given “charity” after Alannah refuses to sing lead on three songs. She is playing all the ends she can get against the middle, even Bucky (David Alford). The girl loves herself.

At the peak of his guitar solo, Will collapses onstage, with not even a pulse by the time paramedics arrive. Gunnar embraces Avery in tears just as credits roll.

Look for “Nashville” to return June 7 for the remaining episodes, if this season follows the schedule of the last. The wait is long but worth it. The series makes a wonderful reprieve from summer reruns, and the music for this season is some of its best. Play the season soundtrack if the sorrow of this “Nashville” break becomes too much.