I have been eating up Nashville’s melodramatic goodness since the show began. It’s the kind of drama ABC seems to excel at. No grit, just pretty ladies, rugged men, big relationships and bigger problems. The first season of this soap opry (see what I did there?) wrapped up tonight, and boy howdy, was it exciting!
The penultimate episode really did go full soap opera. Juliette’s drugged out mother murders the infamous Dante, a truly devious character who used the ruse of sobriety sponsorship to worm his way into the business, and bed, of a wealthy music superstar (and he even has a soap opera villain name!). After shooting him, she kills herself with a drug overdose. Heavy stuff. So this week, Juliette is all over the place. I really like when Hayden Panettiere is in bitch mode, but I thought she handled all the emotional heavy lifting pretty well. I got teary-eyed a few times.
Gunnar is working hard to win back Scarlett. He comes clean to the skeevy producer he was working with about his brother’s lyrics and brings his gal flowers, promising to fly right. Then he finds out that she’s been having lunch with Avery, which, by the way…when did Avery turn into a good dude? He’s the character that’s changed the most. I didn’t like him at all at the beginning of the season, but I guess we’re meant to think that his fall from grace and epic fail at trying to be a solo artist has humbled him and taught him many lessons. Regardless, it’s kind of refreshing. In any event, Gunnar’s gotta bring his A game, which he does, by way of helping out and being there for Scarlett when Deacon goes off the rails.
And that was the really big story of the finale. There were some other minor events…a shake up between Lamar and Tandy over the family business, and some drama nobody cares about between Peggy and Teddy (the infamous Cumberland deal is back! Peggy is preggers!), but that was nothing compared to watching Deacon implode.
How it goes down is this: for whatever reason, young Maddie is snooping around, perhaps spurred on by her parents’ divorce, and finds evidence that she is not Teddy’s biological daughter. (Why this evidence is laying around in a box in Rayna’s walk-in closet is another conversation.) So she finds out THE TRUTH. Rather than ask her parents about it, she does the worst thing she could possibly do, which is to go straight to Deacon. But she’s like 12 and she just found out something crazy, so I guess we can cut her some slack.
Deacon confronts Rayna about it backstage at the CMAs (as you would do, if you’re a famous country music musician) and Rayna can’t lie when asked the question directly, so Deacon takes off and she’s left standing in her dressing room in her red carpet gown, crying. I mean, it’s just fucking delicious, really.
The moment Deacon falls off the wagon is so over-the-top it’s almost funny, except he’s become such a solid and likeable character that you can’t help but feel bad. He’s sitting at this bar, staring at a glass of whiskey, and he raises the glass…then puts it down…then raises it again, and then…GULP. Down the hatch. “I think I’d like another,” he says, immediately sounding boozy. Rayna is trying to track him down and freaking out about what might have happened to him, so she calls Coleman, his trusted sponsor.
Deacon stays out all night drinking and wakes up in a booth in the bar. Then he goes out and attacks Teddy while he’s walking to the courthouse. They scuffle a little but then security is on him, and the mayor walks away, yelling at Deacon to stay away from his family. Then Deacon goes home, where Gunnar discovers him puking over the side of the porch and has to help him get inside his own house. Gunnar calls Scarlett and Coleman, and then shit really goes down. They have to break down the door to get into Deacon’s house and he physically attacks Coleman once they do get inside. Gunnar is scared and Scarlett is crying and Deacon is yelling and once again…it is fucking delicious.
In the end, Deacon tells Coleman he’s going to a meeting, but instead brushes his teeth with more whiskey and heads to the Bluebird where Juliette is having a memorial concert for her mother. But when Rayna sees him there, they get into it, and he wants to take off, but she decides to drive him because he’s still basically hammered. Naturally, while Juliette is singing her sad song, we see Gunnar popping the question to Scarlett (we’ll find out her answer next season) and Deacon and Rayna continuing to argue as they drive. Now, any emotional scene that happens in a car usually leads to one thing, and while the car crash that ended the finale was predictable, even cliche, I kind of don’t expect anything else with Nashville. You know what else is cliche in primetime soaps? Pregnancies and baby daddy reveals and proposals and murders and scandals and all the rest of it, and this show rolls around in all that shit and makes it work.
I will miss it over the summer, but I’m glad it’s coming back in the fall, and I can’t wait to see how they throw us back in after this hot mess of a finale.