Points for effort, Nashville, points for effort. Last night’s season finale, “I Will Never Get Out of This World Alive,” certainly had all the ingredients of a solid ABC finale. Car accidents! Surprise proposals! Unexpected babies! But, honestly, I found it fairly predictable. For the first time all season, I’m more interested in the characters that I typically wish I could vote off the island, i.e. Peggy, Will, Teddy. Juliette is alone, Scarlett‘s torn between Avery and Gunnar again, and Rayna and Deacon are, obviously, having relationship issues. The gang sure did come full circle.
“Nothing in This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again” Played by Juliette Barnes
Juliette is in the midst of the crime scene investigation, clearly unaware of her mother’s true intentions to protect her. The media labels the tragedy a “drug-fueled murder suicide,” and Jules is quick to believe the worst of her mother, per usual. Refusing to let Jolene steal her spotlight, she gets dolled up for the CMAs, but has an emotional breakdown in her dressing room. Rather than staying to win the award for Best Female Vocalist (apparently the CMAs like her more than her real-life counterpart Taylor Swift), she visits her mother’s casket and gets in a good cry, realizing that she is truly alone. Rayna and Juliette share a moment at the funeral, where Jules admits her feelings of inadequacy, assuming that she was never good enough for her mother. I may or may not have yelled at the tv at this point – I cannot even handle how self-centered Juliette acts all the time. Thankfully, the detectives give Juliette the destroyed SD card and, simultaneously, she finds a letter from her mother. It all falls into place as Jules understands her mother’s sacrifice for her, taking the blame for everything so that Juliette may escape the scandal. Betcha feel bad now, huh, Jules? She finally gets her moment at the Bluebird, dedicating a sweet song to her mother. For all the trouble she normally causes, hers is the only plotline without a finale cliffhanger. And I am perfectly okay with that. We could all use a break from her shenanigans.
“Moon is High” Played by Avery Barkley and Scarlett O’Connor
Reeling from Scarlett‘s brush off last week, Gunnar quits his record label and returns to her, flowers in hand, begging for her forgiveness. Little does he know, Avery has managed to become mildly relevant again after flirting with Scarlett over brunch. Clearly torn between her two suitors, she goes to see Avery perform and ends up singing a duet which he originally wrote for her. Groan. Cowboy Will tips Gunnar off, and he arrives just in time to stare longingly at his girl on stage with her former flame. After the Deacon drama, Gunnar and Scarlett seem to make up, talking sweetly on a park bench. The next thing we know, Gunnar’s on one knee proposing marraige and Scarlett doesn’t seem as excited as she should be. Look girl, if you don’t want him, I’d be glad to take him off your hands. Truly. For now, I’ll obviously just spend each waking moment this summer wondering what she’ll say.
In a twist that I don’t fully understand, Cowboy Will, after acting all macho man and squiring ladies around town (and his bed), makes awkward eye contact with a man in a bar. But WHAT DOES IT MEAN? I even rewound to try to process it better, but I can’t tell if this mysterious man is an ex-lover that could threaten his up-and-coming career or just a hot rando dude that makes Will regret the little lady on his arm. I have to give him credit, though. For such a seemingly insignificant character when he first appeared, Will has done a good bit to shake things up. Safe to say we’ll see lots more of him next season.
Teddy‘s dirty financial misdeeds once again come back to haunt him, because really, he’s pretty vanilla outside of that. Caught in the midst of Lamar‘s shady politics and a US Attorney’s investigation, he meets with Peggy in a secluded parking garage (because that doesn’t imply guilt at all) to see if she talked. She just WON’T go away, this woman. Turns out that the US Attorney offered her immunity, but she stayed loyal to her man because – SURPRISE! It’s a girl! That’s right, Peggo is preggo. And this time Teddy is definitely the baby daddy. Congrats, Pops!
“Bitter Memory” Played by Rayna James and Brad Paisley
Speaking of baby daddys, Maddie shows up on Deacon‘s doorstep and tearfully tells him that he is her father. Call me crazy, but I’ve been envisioning a really sweet moment in my head all season, and this was certainly not it. Deacon arrives late to the CMAs, shooting cold stares across the stage as Rayna performs the aptly titled, “Bitter Memory” with not-so-tactful country star Brad Paisley. Post-show, he confronts her in the dressing room, and Rayna admits that she and Teddy decided to keep it secret due to Deacon’s alcoholism. We knew Deac had a drinking problem back then, but what we didn’t know was that he also had a brief spell as The Hulk – apparently he broke every piece of Ray’s furniture when they were dating. Yikes. Regardless, Deacon storms off to a bar and drowns his sorrows in bouron like any good Tennesseean. So much for 13 years of sobriety.
Meanwhile, Teddy and Rayna try to console Maddie, who angrily blames her mother and wants to live with her faux-father. After everyone has simmeredd down, Rayna uses that maternal magic and explains that she wanted a Maddie’s father to love her as much as she does. Cue collective “awww” as they hug.
Deacon, however, has hit rock bottom. Gunnar finds him drunk and sick, and Scarlett brings Cole to help. In a drunken fury, Deacon violently attacks his sponsor and almost chokes him, until Scarlett bursts into hysterics and he realizes what he has done. Waking up hours later, he tells Cole to meet him at an AA meeting that night and intends to clean himself up. Showered and seemingly sober, Deacon pops some aspirin… and washes it down with a swig of liqour. He shows up drunk at Juliette’s memorial show, where Rayna chases him outside and takes his keys. It’s clear that the two are screaming at each other as she drives him home, and as we can guess, she loses control and the car rolls several times. Predicatable? Yup. Dramatic? Nope. I mean, they were driving a huge SUV, they’re two principal characters…it’s all gonna be fine, folks. I appreciate the effort to give a solid cliffhanger, but at this point, I’m more excited about Peggy’s bun in the over and Will’s mystery man. We’ll see if that sustains me through the summer. TBD, at this point.