Any faithful “Nashville” fans who took a peek at the previews for this week’s Episode 12 of Season 6, “The House That Built Me,” had to be looking forward to this episode. Besides the anticipation of Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) making her way back home, now with her head on straight and a baby on the way, the performances by the entire cast, particularly Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne, are riveting, raw, and wrenching.

Veteran actor Ronny Cox, familiar to viewers of a certain age from his major roles in “Deliverance,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Robocop,” not to mention the TV series “Apple’s Way” and a seemingly endless roster of guest-starring stints, comes to “Nashville” as Deacon’s dad.

For the last several years, Cox has devoted himself to music, so this part on the drama that melds music into the very seams of storylines is truly a treat.

The father wants to mend fences with the son, who left his home and his abusive, alcoholic parent as a teen. The pivotal moments in life can come when least expected, and when dear old dad turns up at a performance, trying to touch base after a meet-and-greet, Deacon can't dash for the door fast enough.

Alannah (Rainee Blake) and her bid for solo success, and Avery (Jonathan Jackson) wreak havoc on the Last Highway as a band, and Scarlett (Clare Bowen) puts herself on the line to bring healing to Sean (Jake Etheridge) and his family.

Not the typical day

Maddie and Daphne (Lennon and Maisy Stella) are sharing some writing time together at home, teasing their dad about being a “dinosaur” and his choice of wardrobe for a performance that evening. Daphne is bemoaning her nickname of “Princess” that fans of her talent competition have bestowed upon her. Maddie reminds her, “you’ll win, and that’ll show ‘em,” proving that her talent is worthy beyond being related to country music royalty.

Deacon shows off some dobro skills singing “Like New,” but a ghost from the past shows up among his fans when Gideon Claybourne greets his son with a simple “Hello.” Deacon closes the greeting time with fans and rushes his girls to leave as his father yells out that he’s staying at the Super 8 by the Opry. Maddie asks, “Who is that?” as she and Daphne are pressed out the door.

That evening, Deacon discloses more of his hurtful past and relationship, and both girls are understanding, but also convey that “people change,” and it should never be too late for a family. Deacon muses that he feels sorry for saying too much.

Deacon does pay a visit to his dad's motel room, really thinking that some money will take care of the man that reminds him of so much pain. For his part, Gideon does own up to his failings but insists that he still was a father who loved his son. The emotion and the chemistry between these actors are so you utterly compelling. Deacon won't let his dad off with comparing how things “seemed” to his son, countering with “That's how it was!” Gideon is not after money and is not dying from cancer, but what he does want is more costly than gold in an emotional sense.

Hashing out 40 years of hurt is never easy, and Deacon leaves on a note that “it's never gonna happen.”

Band no more

Will (Chris Carmack) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) fear that no more gigs will happen for their band since Alannah has departed, even though Avery pushes that they can still perform. Brad (Jeffrey Nordling) is a delightful character to hate, and he is as slimy as ever when he promises that the Lumineers will tour with Alannah as their opening act. He is even more of a snake when he plays quid pro quo, hinting for sexual favors without saying too much. Alannah tells Avery that she plans to confront him, but when she stops by his office, he plays that “professional” was all that his efforts were about.

He promises a dinner with the Lumineers to firm up the details of the tour, but when Alannah arrives, only an assistant greets her, telling her that everything with the tour has fallen through. Seeking consolation, she propositions Avery for a writing session. The band feels completely betrayed that Avery is not just dating the once band singer, but sharing songs with her, too.

One breath at a time

Scarlett sets up a brief show for Sean and invites his wife, too. When Sean calls Scarlett to the stage, giving her his gratitude, and asking her to sing, his wife (Devon Ochs) leaves, not knowing how to react. Later, Scarlett goes to see his wife and child, assuring that her motives are purely for their wholeness and Sean’s wellness.

She coaxes Sean to try to reconcile with his family, and not just for a few short hours on the weekend. He sees that a friend, Derek, has died by suicide on social media, and Sean goes into a desperate spiral. His wife calls Scarlett, in a panic.

Scarlett arrives to learn that Sean has locked himself in the bathroom with a gun. She convinces him to let her in and lets him speak about all Derek meant to the young soldier, teaching him “everything I know,” and saving him in many situations. Feeling the breeze from an open window, she asks if Sean feels the wind on his face. That sensation is only a small thing, but it is something to be thankful for, something to live for, just for now. She reminds him that every day, one breath at a time, the pain gets easier and life gets better.

Her intercession pulls him from the brink of death. Sean falls asleep with his son beside him.

Big arrivals

Maddie pays her own visit to Gideon at his temporary Nashville digs and holds out a hand of hope and an invitation into her life. She tells her grandfather that he is all the family that her dad has, and that seems wholly untrue, seeing that she, her sister, and his niece, Scarlett, all count as family, not to mention the friends he's known for years. She relates to Deacon how much their family has forgiven from the past. That is enough for the ice to break just enough for Deacon to give another chance, and Gideon reminds him that he saw his son “becoming me,” and he feels thankful for that future never turning into reality.

The scene that follows shows Deacon bringing Gideon home, and Daphne giving him a hug to the beautiful duet “Love Can Hold It All,” by the Stella sisters.

Allanah and Avery compliment each other's songwriting, but Allanah moves in for a more intimate collaboration. Just as her wardrobe comes off, Avery has a dead stare towards the doorway. There Juliette stands, dropping her bag in disbelief. Credits roll.

No drama does a jaw-dropping ending like “Nashville.” That's just one of the things fans will miss.