Warning: The following recap contains spoilers from Wednesday’s season finale of Nashville. If you haven’t watched yet, boot-scootin’ boogie on outta here. Everyone else, read on.
Nashville‘s Rayna Jaymes, I’m mad at you.
This episode’s unpleasantness could’ve been avoided if, at some point in the past 13 years, you had taken Deacon aside and told him the truth: He’s the father of your older daughter, and you kept mum until you were sure he was ready (and sober) enough to handle that tough reality.
And Deacon, don’t think you’re getting out of this any easier. Stop with the hurt eyes and the and earnest soul-gazing – you know darn well that Rayna had good reason not to trust your first stab at sobriety. Or your second. Or your fifth, as it turns out. As Rayna mentioned – and you exhibited this week — you’re a violent and mean drunk. And, not for nothing: Maddie is 13. You and Rayna broke up 13 years ago. Can you not do math? It’s enough to make a girl want to take a Louisville slugger to both headlights in frustration… though it looks like Rayna’s already seen to that, in a way.
While I’m at it — Teddy, if you didn’t see that insanity flailing its arms, wearing an aluminum-foil hat and talking to itself from a mile away, you don’t get any sympathy. Have we learned nothing from every primetime soap ever? Crazy-eyed, obsessive females always wind up preggers with the clueless guy’s kid.
Scarlett, Gunnar, Will? We’ll get to you later. Don’t look so smug, Avery. You’ve only got a few dollars in the bank of likability, and my checking fees are very high.
Now everyone settle in, and we’ll review the finer points of what happened in the Season 1 finale, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.”
MISSING MOM | As the episode begins, Juliette is under the impression that Jolene’s final actions were related to either a drug deal gone bad or some twisted lovers’ quarrel. Kudos to both Hayden Panettiere and the Nashville makeup team: Ju really looks like she’s been crying for a long time (though even in her grief, she’s managed to achieve the perfect ponytail pouf). Deacon swings by to tell her he’s sorry, but she loudly blames him for raising her hopes in the first place. “I knew she would never stay clean,” she spits, kicking him out so she can get ready. For what? he wonders. The CMAs: She’s still going, and she still wants to win.
But in her dressing room at the ceremony, even though she looks flawless, Juliette is not doing well. A simple check-in by Marshall sets her on a tear. “You afraid I’m going to have some sort of meltdown?” she screams… as she does just that.
Next we see Ju, she’s still decked out in her awards-show gown and sitting by her mother’s open coffin at the funeral home. She laments that she always felt like the adult in their relationship, then sobs, “How could you leave me? Now I have no one.” Oh Ju, at least you have Glenn – who shows up at her place before the funeral the next morning to deliver the CMA for Best Female Vocalist – she won, after all – and a big hug. (Aww.) They attend the graveside service, where Rayna sweetly assures her tour mate that she’s “good enough” and Avery offers his condolences.
Later, the cops bring Juliette the mangled SD card Jolene shoved down the garbage disposal; Ms. Barnes claims not to know what it held. Just then, Emily gives her a letter from Jolene that arrived in the mail: Among other things, Ju’s mom explains that she took on the scandal because “you deserve to be clean, you deserve to be free.” That’s sweet and all, but a drug-fueled murder-suicide is a much bigger stigma in Juliette’s career than a little sex tape would’ve been, right? Oh Jolene, you misguided creature. I guess Ju’s happiness depended on you and whatever you decided to do.
THE HEART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS | Gunnar showers (progress!), ‘fesses up to stealing his brother’s songs (side note: bespectacled manager guy doesn’t care) and gets rather irked that Scarlett is hanging out with Avery again. So he does the absolute dumbest thing possible: He asks her to marry him. Thank goodness she wasn’t drinking anything at the time, because Gunnar surely would’ve gotten a spit-take for an answer. Meanwhile, though we – and Gunny — see Will in bed with a girl at one point in the episode, he later makes eye contact with a dude at a club, then gives a subtle-yet-frantic shake of the head that sends the guy walking past him. (I tried using my mojo to make Will and Gunnar kiss again, especially when Chris Carmack was rocking those black boxer briefs, but even my powers have limits, guys.)
THIS HAPPENED, TOO | Lamar demotes Tandy, so she quits. The U.S. Attorney’s office is investigating Teddy’s past embezzlement and offers Peggy immunity if she rats him out. But she doesn’t. Why? Because she’s pregnant. Yep. There’s too much more to get through, so we’ll deal with that next season, mmmkay?
DADDY? | Rayna tells her daughters that she and Deacon are an item; both seem OK with it, but Maddie acts a little aloof. Soon, she’s on Deke’s doorstep, crying, “I think that you might be my father.” He is, understandably, taken aback.
Dealing with that development causes Deacon to show up late for the CMAs; he gets there just in time to back up Rayna’s breathy duet with Brad Paisley. (And to see Ms. Connie “Eat this, 20-somethings” Britton work the hell out of a sparkly bustier and leather pants. Get it, mama!) Deacon confronts her after the performance, and she affirms what Maddie told him. Both Britton and Chip Esten are so, so good here; rewatch, in particular, for the way she works overtime to keep her voice level and quiet as he starts spinning into the universe.
THREE DEKES TO THE WIND | He lands at a bar, where he seriously considers the drink before him… then downs it and asks for another. Oh, Deke… He wakes up there the next morning, attacks Teddy (Tedster was totally in the right, but I loved watching them throwdown, regardless) and pukes off his own front porch before Coleman, Gunnar and Scarlett show up and beg him to stop drinking. A few drunken punches and gulping sobs later, Deacon is alone with his sponsor. He promises to get to a meeting… but when Coleman leaves, Deacon washes down some pills with some booze – and then drives to The Bluebird for Juliette’s memorial service for Jolene.
Rayna’s there, too. And when she sees him, he makes a beeline for his car. She angrily wrestles his keys away and gets in the driver’s seat; on the way home, they argue (though we can’t hear anything over Juliette crooning “Nothing in this world is ever gonna break my heart again”) and cry and yell – and when Rayna is distracted, they get into a car accident that sends Deacon’s SUV rolling over and landing in a ditch. (A huge reveal, a new pregnancy, a proposal and a car accident involving two of the lead characters? Good god, Nashville – save something for next season!)
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!