Warning: Tears are inevitable.

Credit: Mark Levine/ABC
S3 E22
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  • CMT

Does anyone else feel like Nashville just sucker-punched them in the gut over and over again? Wednesday night’s finale firmly beat up my emotions, locked them in a safe and sucked them deep to the bottom of the Hudson River. As your regular recapper Madison is off for the night, I get the distinct pleasure and challenge of trying to phrase coherent sentences about how this finale has made me feel. So before I can no longer resist curling up in fetal position and rocking myself into a restless, Deacon-type screwed dream-filled sleep, it’s time to get in one last recap for Season 3.

Let’s just start with the huge cliffhanging elephant in the room. Who flatlined? Is Deacon dead? Considering we’ve all spent years of our lives watching and dissecting every move that might or might not be bringing Deacon and Rayna together, it would be quite the crappy move on the Nashville writers’ parts to pull their happy ending away for good by killing Deacon. Seriously, snarkiness aside, I will legitimately bawl my eyes out if there is a distinct lack of Chip Esten in Season 4. I will protest outside of the ABC building all by my lonesome self. What should (and hopefully will) happen is that Beverly is the one who has flatlined, but real question is: Did she flatline before her operation was successful? Will Deacon’s life be saved by his sister’s final sacrifice? Obviously the show wants us to freak out as much as possible, considering Deacon’s dreams correspond in almost eerily perfect ways at times, because the writers enjoy putting us through overwhelming pain and anxiety, but hopefully that’s all a red herring? I’d love to get your opinions in the comments, folks. Your (usually way better) theories are welcomed with open arms.

In the meantime, the other, less important news: Teddy got arrested (FINALLY), Gunnar and Scarlett sing a great song together and look like they’re about to make out, as usual. Though random thought, where on Earth were Gunnar and Scarlett sitting while playing this song? Because I’m assuming it was supposed to be the hospital roof, but with what looked like chairs and tables all set up, I was genuinely confused that they were on a rooftop cafe. Nice hospital accommodations for sure if that is the case. Anyway, Gunnar and Scarlett’s sexual tension goes flying all over the place, but does that mean that Gunnar chose not to accompany Kylie on her trip to Austin to see Micah? Let’s hope so, because that girl has some serious explaining to do to her parents for abandoning her kid, and she needs to do that all on her own. Oh and Dr. Hot Dork (Caleb’s new and improved nickname) asked Scarlett to move in with him and she said yes, all while he was wearing one of the worst ties I’ve ever seen in my life. It looks like an elementary school drawing gone horribly, terribly wrong.

Before we really delve into the truly depressing moments from the finale, let’s talk about the best. News. Ever. Will is out and proud y’all! I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud or breathed a bigger sigh of relief for a TV character in my life. After seasons of seeing Will hide his true self, it’s a wonderful feeling to see him not only admit he’s gay and say he’s proud of it, but also see that he’s finally found someone for whom he would sacrifice his career. Because Kevin makes him feel like this. “Like I could finally say something I never thought I would.” No, folks, I’m not crying. I just have something in my eye; like a twig, or a branch or something. I actually can’t wait to see how the show handles the new direction of Will’s career now that he’s an out country singer. It would be a nice change of pace to see him succeed with that different direction rather than have his career fall apart. Also who else loved Will’s fierce glare toward his father after his announcement? Priceless.

NEXT: Layla, you in danger girl.

All right, time to move on to the hardcore stuff. Steam is still rising out of my ears over Layla and Jeff’s relationship. After telling Layla she has too much “girth,” making her recite interview quotes verbatim, generally exercising “complete control” over her entire life including probably bathroom breaks, and for creating what has to be the creepiest workplace atmosphere of every HR staffer’s nightmares, Jeff’s misdeeds are finally exposed by Layla. (Seriously, the butt slap followed by the line “Looking good by the way”? Could not handle that). And what is Layla’s reaction? Smashing the crap out of his car’s windshield and then immediately forgiving him because he tells her he can’t lose her. Layla, sweetheart, if Jeff really means that phrase in a romantic sense and not from a business/livelihood standpoint (as I suspect it is), then Jeff is officially too emotionally and physically scarring to stay with any longer. We’ve already seen glimpses of an abusive relationship thanks to Sadie’s old relationship with her deceased ex-husband. And as much as Layla annoys the everything out of me, no woman, no one period, should have to be subjected to this kind of complete anguish whether she believes that’s what is happening yet or not.

And now we come to Juliette and Avery. I think it’s safe to say that anytime Avery cries, I am reduced to a ball of tears. Not only has Juliette basically glazed over the sheer love and concern her friends and husband have for her to even broach the subject of Postpartum Depression in as calm and direct way as possible. But as the doctor Avery spoke with says about Juliette’s probable condition, “It’s classic detachment… Postpartum Depression often triggers feelings of failure for new mothers.” When Avery attempts to get Juliette to just hold her baby, she literally states “I don’t have time for that today.” And when Avery yells back that their baby has a name, the cracks in Juliette’s mental stability start to show even more, “I carried that baby for 9 months. I labored for four hours and pushed for two. I think I know what her name is.” Quick side question: Is six hours of labor and pushing normal? It feels slightly on the shorter side, but what do I know?

But babies be damned seems to be Juliette’s attitude as she’s finished her album in record time and hails it the best thing she’s ever done. But when she brings it to Rayna, Bucky, and Glenn, they once again echo the sentiments of everyone else that cares about Juliette. It’s probably too soon and what she’s been doing for promotion is detrimental. Juliette’s eloquent response is “Screw you, screw you and definitely screw you, lady” and then storms on over to the one person who cares more about business and being back on top with top-selling artists and less about literally any human person on the planet (especially women he’s slept with), Jeff the freaking Spawn of Satan Fordham. Clearly Juliette isn’t in the right frame of mind to realize that she’s once again hurting the love of her life by going to the person with whom she betrayed him in the first place. But all Juliette wants is success. Those words from the doctor about “feelings of failure” are really weighing heavy in this scene for sure, especially when Juliette is so desperate for results that she goes to Jeff purely because he couldn’t care one bit for Juliette’s well-being over her career (or more accurately, over how him turning her career around will help him in the future).

Because switching to a different story line is an absolute must at this point, Deacon’s dreams before his surgery are insane. Getting buried alive and being awake during your own flatlining are legitimately two of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, so thanks for that, Nashville writers. Do we need to be concerned for your collective well-being? Aside from Deacon looking distractingly handsome in a blue v-neck T-shirt, the dreams shared a common theme: Being alive to watch oneself die, which is basically what he feels like he’s been doing from the moment he received his cancer diagnosis. He’s literally been watching himself die as the days go by. The fascinating thing about the dreams is the song that plays over them. The lyrics to Jeff Reeves’ “A Fool Such As I” are applicable to the whole episode, and not just Deacon’s storyline. Lines like “I’m a fool but I’ll love you dear until the day I die” weigh heavy during Deacon’s surgery but lines like “You taught me how to love, And now you say that we are through” echo fears I have over the future of Avery and Juliette’s relationship.

NEXT: Cliffhangers, cliffhangers are no fun. Cliffhangers hurt everyone.

The way things end with the most recently married couple are bleak and horrible to watch considering how much heartache they went through before they could finally be together. In fact, they were in many ways my favorite couple for a time, despite Juliette’s horrible mistake with Spawn of Satan Fordham. And now seeing Juliette literally throw a snow globe picture frame at Avery and her baby is frightening. And seeing how quickly she jumped onto the Jeff as manager bandwagon and picked him over Avery and the baby is horrifying. All I can hope is that eventually Juliette will realize what she’s going through and ask for help. Of course Juliette asking for help won’t happen anytime soon as Luke decided to sign Juliette after she leaves Rayna and Highway 65 and signs Spawn of Satan as her new manager. Luke had just gotten angry at Jeff for not telling him Will is gay because he basically didn’t do his research and now he’s letting a new mother who clearly has Postpartum Depression go on tour with him? Top notch business skills, buddy.

So finally, Deacon’s surgery is moments away. After having a quote from Beverly trigger his scary dreams once again, Deacon freaks out and attempts to marry Rayna on the spot. Rayna being a rational, amazing, all-around perfect human with a side pony that would make the gods weep with joy, immediately says no but says her vows with Deacon anyway as a promise that they will have a real wedding, a real marriage, a real family and a real life together. Question is, is it really going to happen? So how many more agonizing days until Season 4?

Episode Recaps



Legendary music icon Rayna Jaymes struggles to maintain her place in the spotlight while dealing with the ambitious rising pop vixen Juliette Barnes.
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