Juliette is struggling with postpartum depression, Teddy has skipped town, Deacon is about to get a liver transplant (and propose!), and Will’s secret is out. And those are only four major developments from Nashville heading into the soap’s season 3 finale.
Add on more drama between Scarlett and Gunner and the always-evolving relationship between Jeff and Layla, and this finale is shaping up to be as dramatic as any hour of the show thus far. That’s why we spoke with Nashville showrunner Callie Khouri about what fans can expect in the season’s final hour, and whether Deacon could walk away from this surgery:
Juliette’s struggle isn’t ending anytime soon. This season, viewers witnessed Juliette Barnes make the transition from country music star to mother … and then back to country music star? That’s her plan, at least, but Avery’s most concerned that it stems from postpartum depression. According to Khouri, there’s more story to be told there.
“Juliette has gone through some pretty massive changes,” Khouri said. “Like a lot of young people, I don’t think she realized what [having a baby] really would mean to her and to her lifestyle and who she is, so she is really, really trying to hold onto her identity of being Juliette Barnes, pop star extraordinaire. And she’s really struggling, and I think we see that come into really sharp relief [in the finale].”
Beverly’s arrival does not mean Deacon is out of the woods. The promo for the finale features Deacon both proposing to Rayna and then heading into surgery. Will he make it out? Will they get engaged? All Khouri would say was, “They have never had an easy road, those two, and it doesn’t get an easier now.” But maybe that at least means there will still be a road?
Teddy’s problems will be revealed. Last week, Teddy skipped town after his escort/friend told him that she’d worn a wire for the FBI. And in the finale, Khouri promised that “you do see the hole he’s dug himself into.” Let’s just hope his daughters don’t see.
Scarlett and Gunnar are a lot like Rayna and Deacon. For the past several weeks, Scarlett and Gunnar have been dancing around their romantic feelings for each other. “I think both of them are resistant in a very big way to that way back, him less so than her,” Khouri said. “So they have a little bit of a Rayna and Deacon thing in them as well. There’s a lot of push, pull and so they find themselves pulled and yet, at the same time, again, nothing’s ever simple with them.”
Will has some big choices to make. With Luke learning the truth about Will, it’s finally time for Will to decide who he wants to be. “He’s going to essentially have to come to terms with who he is or who he wants to be, what he’s willing to trade,” Khouri said. “We see the culmination of that decision, what he’s willing to give up for his career, who he’s willing to give up for career, if anybody.”
In short, Jeff and Layla’s relationship is… complicated. “Jeff is a love-to-hate kind of guy,” Khouri said. “The relationship he and Layla have is one of the stranger ones we’ve ever tried to put together on the show, but it’s certainly not an unusual thing for a young female artist to become involved with an older, more savvy business guy. They’re both making a deal with the devil there. And they’re in a place where they really need each other, as much as they both would [hate] to admit that. So the tables always kind of turn round and round with those two.”
Sadie could return, but there are no plans yet. This season, fans quickly fell in love with Laura Benanti’s Sadie, who skipped town after she shot her ex-husband. As much as Khouri said that the show loves her, bringing her back is all about timing. “Just making the schedule work becomes the biggest challenge of the whole thing,” Khouri said, adding, “We love her relationship with Luke, and we love her relationship with Rayna. If there’s a possibility, we will be looking for a way to bring her back. We hope.”
This finale will be a combination of the first two season’s finales. Season 1 ended with a car crash, and season 2 ended with Rayna juggling two proposals, but Khouri claimed this year is a combination of the more emotional cliffhangers and something a bit more dramatic. “Season 3 I think is splitting the difference,” she said. “It’s really emotional. [And] it’s not a car crash, but it is a life-and-death situation.”
Nashville airs tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC.