Y’all! Can you believe it’s the last ever episode of Nashville? What will we do without weekly visits in the ‘ville? No more overwhelming drama, emotional rollercoasters, eye-rolling nostalgia, tears from Deacon, and general loveliness from our favorite country musicians! They should probably write a song about saying goodbye to this show, just saying, there’s a wealth of material to mine.
Anyway! As I was saying, it’s the last episode and boy, do we have a lot of loose ends to wrap up with pretty much every major character on the show, so let’s get right into it!
As has become the norm, we kick things off with breakfast at the Jaymes-Claybourne house. It’s the morning after last episode’s benefit and the girls are upset about not knowing where their grandfather is. Deacon is all, not my concern! but considering Deacon is just about the nicest person ever, I’m sure he’s not going to completely wash his hands of the whole situation. Just then, Bucky walks in with some good news: There’s been so much positive interest in Deacon since his recent performance that he thinks Deacon should go out on tour — as the headliner! Deacon thinks it’s a joke but Bucky is dead serious. He says he’ll think about it, having the girls to consider and all.
It’s not just the finale of Nashville, it’s also the finale of the talent show within the show, Nashville’s Next. For the big showdown, they’re shaking things up. Each artist is assigned a song that’s not necessarily their style and they have to make it work. Daphne isn’t a fan of her song and her mentor Elsa agrees that it’s too mainstream for her. She’s freaking out about it to Deacon when she gets a letter from her granddad wishing her luck. Deacon is pissed thinking grandpa is just trying to manipulate her, but Daphne invites him to the finale, regardless. So Deacon goes to see the old man at his motel, where his dad admits that after 28 years of not drinking, he indulged in the odd sip or two after his home was destroyed. But, he promises, everything is under control. Deacon is skeptical to say the least, but his dad presses on, telling him that when Daphne discovered him drinking, the look on her face made him stop for good. He promises he will never hurt Deacon or the girls again. Unconvinced, Deacon walks away.
While Daphne gets ready for the big night, Maddie is recording with Twig, who gazes at her longingly while pretending to be a producer. He tells her she’ll be headlining her own tour soon and wants to go along with her when she does. I don’t blame Maddie for looking a little uneasy with that proposition. Later, when chatting to Scarlett, her cousin notices Maddie doesn’t light up when she talks about Twig (or “Branch” as she calls him). Maddie feels like she has to give him a chance, but Scar thinks she should just honor what she’s feeling right now, be free and have fun. Oh to be a teenager!
So Maddie meets Twig for coffee and he can tell it’s bad news. Maddie thanks Twig for having the courage to tell her the truth when no one else would and gives him a new pair of super-fancy headphones, which he realizes is a consolation prize. She tells him he deserves to be put at the center of her universe and she can’t put him there right now. He says he’d take her just as she is, but she thinks he deserves more. It’s emotional. There are tears … from Twig. Poor guy, but please let’s not make breakup gifts a thing, okay? (Recap continues on page 2.)
And so the night of the big finale comes around and Daph is nervous as heck backstage. She’s last to perform after a mediocre blonde girl and a light-on-his-toes friendly dude — the one she bonded with back on the very first day. When it’s her turn, Daphne heads on stage, where Brad points out for all to hear that she’s struggled this week. Daph agrees it’s been tough, but when she grabs her guitar and sings a slowed-down, hair-raising rendering of the song, all fears are allayed. Granddad is emotional in the audience and, in the moment, Deacon looks like he might forgive him. But Daphne’s not crowned winner. The average blonde girl gets it instead (whatever, Daphne was always too good for Brad’s crappy TV show anyway) and Deacon and Maddie head backstage to comfort a crying Daph. Everyone is supportive and loving. Deacon thanks Elsa for all her help and they make plans to write when he gets back from tour (the girls get all excited thinking it could be romantic).
Speaking of Brad and bad outcomes, he shows up at Alannah’s apartment to tell her she’s playing a gig the following night in Memphis. He’s going too but has got them separate rooms. Why is that not comforting at all? After the show, Brad invites her up to his room for a party with “people she should meet.” But when she gets upstairs, he’s the only person he wants her to meet — oh, and a glass of whiskey. He starts kissing her and is all, it’s just one night, no one has to know. When she protests, he starts to force himself on her and she punches him in the face. As she goes to leave, he says she knew what she was doing and what the deal was. He warns her that if she doesn’t hold up her side of things, he’ll make sure she never works again.
Remember last week when Alannah and Deacon had a private little convo we weren’t privy to? Well, it was so worth being left out in the dark for this next scene. Smug as ever, Brad is lounging behind his desk when in walks Deacon, Alannah, and Zach (yes the senator-to-be is back!). Zach takes a seat and nonchalantly tells Brad he’s going to offer him $15 million for Shiny New Records (Brad’s label) and Brad’s going to accept before he walks out. Brad laughs, but Zach’s entirely serious. That offer is only 5% of what the company’s worth, but if he doesn’t take it, Alannah is going to sell her story to the world (luckily she has a handy recording of their interaction). Then, to sweeten the deal, a bunch of other women show up who are also ready to tell their stories. Zach even has a paper trail proving that Brad paid for women’s silence. All together it’s pretty damning evidence, so in addition to selling his company for pennies on the dollar, Jessie adds that she wants full custody of their son as part of the arrangement. Woo! Win, win, win! See ya, Brad, you creepy, sleazy piece of garbage!
Elsewhere, Gunnar and Will miss being in the band and want Avery to come back into the fold too. Gunnar goes to Avery and asks him to play with them again, telling him he’s learned that girls can’t solve all his problems. They talk about all the growing they’ve done over the last six years. Remember when Avery was just Scarlett’s mean, manipulative boyfriend and Gunnar was trying to steal that same poem-writing girl away from him? How times have changed. Avery says he’ll think about rejoining the band.
Over at Juliette’s place, she’s sold her house and is packing it up, discarding emblems of her pop/country star success, including a pair of skyscraper sparkly heels. Avery’s pissed for a minute that she sold the house without telling him, but she assures him the new farm house is only 30 minutes outside the city and they’ll make it work. Avery knows she’s not telling him something but can’t figure it out. When he goes to chat with Hallie, she unnecessarily lets it slip that J is pregnant. Guess this is the final episode and we don’t have a lot of time.
Avery runs off to see his ex-wife, who says she wasn’t ready to tell him yet because she didn’t want it to influence how he felt about her. She didn’t want to trap him. Juliette wants him to come to her and tell her he loves her and needs her, not because he feels like he has to save her, but because he’s worried about himself without her. But she also says she realizes he doesn’t feel that way anymore and tells him it’s okay, she’ll survive without him.
Later, she sits down at her keyboard one last time in her big empty house (bet it makes for great acoustics!) and sings a song about beginning again. And then… (Recap continues on page 3.)
A FEW MONTHS LATER flashes on the screen. Let’s find out where they all are, shall we?
We see most of this in flashes until the end, so here’s what we get in a quick snapshot: Daphne is signing with Highway 65 and Maddie is putting up photos in what looks like Scarlett’s house — guess she moved in there. Zach and Will are back together, walking hand-in-hand, and Jessie and Jake are happy together, snuggled up watching a movie. Alannah is opening for the Lumineers, and the guys (Will, Gunnar, and Avery) have gotten The Last Highways back together, much to the delight of some screaming female fans.
Next, we see Juliette out on her farm with long curly hair and a very pregnant belly. She’s pushing Cadence on a swing when Avery walks up behind her with a bag slung over his shoulder. He tells her, “I need you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you” — and before he can say anything else, she steps in and kisses him. They scoop up Cadence and head off to show daddy all the animals. Never has a tiny couple been so perfectly proportioned for one another.
Okay, ready for the tears? Deacon is having a blast on tour. Scarlett is opening for him and has lost her engagement ring?! Yup, that’s right; she’s met someone and is engaged already. She finds it right in time for her guitar-playing fiancé (played by her real life husband Brandon Robert Young) to come up and ask if everything’s okay. They kiss, all happy. Then grandpa shows up on the girls’s invitation. He’s been reading about the tour and he’s so proud of his son. Deacon thanks him and excuses himself.
Sitting backstage, he has a flashback to his wedding night with Rayna (Connie Britton cameo alert!). “Is this real,” he asks her as she saunters in from the bathroom. She flashes her ring at him to show that their marriage really just happened. In the memory, he tells her it’s all too good to be true and he can’t quite fathom how all these regrets are just gone. She says they’re not gone, just passed. She knows they’ve hurt each other, but if somebody gets into your bloodstream, it doesn’t matter how much you fail each other. She’s going to love him forever and ever. Then Scarlett walks in and interrupts his memories to tell him his audience awaits. *Refreshes tissue supply*
So Deacon takes the stage and makes a touching speech about how much he loves everyone, before singling out his dad in the crowd and inviting him up on stage to perform with him. He turns to his dad and asks if he knows the song. His dad says he knows all his songs. If you’re not crying yet, you don’t have eyes. Then the girls come on and join in too, and then Scarlett and Gunnar, and Avery and Will, and retired Juliette and Rayna! And the fourth wall comes down and a bunch of members of the cast and crew come up on stage too. There’s Bucky and Jessie and Rayna’s sister and Teddy and Luke! Then Callie Khouri, the show’s creator, makes a speech. “I want to thank the city of Nashville, the beautiful people of Nashville, the incredible cast and crew, the family that we’ve made,” she says, “and may we all have a life that’s good.” Before adding, “And says that’s a warp!”
And that’s it, y’all. It’s been a pleasure recapping this show with you every week. If anyone wants to form a Connie Britton appreciation society, hit me up on Twitter — I’ll be over there stalking Charles Esten anyway.