The season finale of Nashville went in like a lion and out like a lamb. On the Thursday, March 9, episode, everyone was dealing with the aftermath of Rayna's (Connie Britton) death, both emotionally and professionally. Her absence left Highway 65 in a precarious position, and not everyone saw eye-to-eye on the best way forward.
Back to Business
Zach (Cameron Scoggins) seemed determined to get back to business as usual at Highway 65. "I do know that Rayna was proud of this album," Zach argued. "Don't you think we maybe owe it to her fans?" Deacon (Charles Esten) replied that the only person he owed anything to was Rayna. That shut Zach up … until he had dinner with Will (Chris Carmack).
Over dinner, Zach convinced Will to see the issue of Rayna's unfinished final album his way, and sent Will to advocate for him to change the minds of the other powers-that-be at Highway 65.
Maddie Makes the Most of a Tough Time
Meanwhile, Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) was mortified when she heard that Scarlett (Clare Bowen) was hanging up on major TV shows that were trying to book Maddie (Lennon Stella). Scarlett said she felt the family needed to be together now, but Juliette said she would even take Maddie and chaperone. Deacon, perhaps surprisingly, agreed with Juliette — and off the girls went.
Maddie appeared on a late-night show. Though she was nervous at first, Juliette told her the adrenaline alone would get her through it, and it seemed that Juliette was right. Back home, Daphne (Maisy Stella) watched with Scarlett and Deacon. After, she asked Scarlett why the TV folks only wanted Maddie when both of them had sung, and Scarlett didn't miss a beat in telling her that was because "the world is shallow" and everyone is obsessed with beautiful young women. Ouch. After the taping, host Trevor Noah talked Maddie into singing. Everything was going perfectly … until it wasn't.
Maddie Breaks Down
As she continued her tour of the talk-show circuit, Maddie made a misstep and said something that didn't quite come out right. It rubbed Daphne the wrong way, and Scarlett felt she couldn't leave Daphne alone — which meant she couldn't go on tour with Gunnar. He was obviously not very pleased about that.
After seeing the headlines twisting her words to make it seem like she didn't care that her mother had died, Maddie decided she couldn't go on any more shows, much to Juliette's displeasure.
Maddie returned home, hugged her sister and Deacon, and confessed, "I just forgot how sad I was for one moment." The next morning, Juliette showed up and told Maddie she "patched things up with the Today show," and she could go again next week. Scarlett told Juliette to back off, and Maddie stormed out.
Deacon Spars With Zach
Back home, Deacon was struggling as he wandered the empty hallways, bedrooms and closets. He pulled out an old suitcase full of memorabilia, documenting their relationship. Later, at a meeting, Zach tried to pressure Deacon to finish the album he and Rayna had been working on, and Deacon didn't take too kindly to that. "I'm done listening to you trying to profit off our grave," Deacon said before storming out. Bucky (David Alford) was frustrated, but seemed committed to trying to save Highway 65.
Avery (Jonathan Jackson) dropped by to try to help, but Deacon wasn't up for chatting. Deacon confessed he couldn't finish his album with Rayna because he couldn't even listen to it, and then he shut the door in Avery's face. Instead, he continued to watch old videos of himself with Rayna and read her diary entries until he completely broke down.
In a different part of town, Zach was feeling sorry for himself because he felt he was being painted as a villain when all he was trying to do was help. Will said that wasn't true, but Zach seemed unconvinced.
Juliette Offers to Manage Maddie
Juliette wasn't giving up, though. She found Maddie and made a pitch, telling her Glenn (Ed Amatrudo) could handle "the boring stuff," but she could offer unique guidance to the budding star. Juliette added that she owed Rayna for everything Rayna had done for her, and this would be her chance to return the favor. "I want to manage your career," Juliette said. "I can take you all the way to the top."
Deacon Changes His Mind
As he sorted through his videos of Rayna, he came across a studio interview in which she talked about how much she loved him and what she loved about him — and on her list was the fact that she knew he would never give up on the girls or on the album they were making together. At that same moment, Maddie and Daphne revealed that everyone had gotten together to figure out the best way to help him complete the album. They were all going to pitch in.
Juliette, Avery, Scarlett, Will, Maddie, Daphne and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) were all there to pitch in and complete the album "the way Rayna would have wanted." Deacon stepped in at the end to sing his part against Rayna's pre-recorded track. It was a really beautiful, touching gesture that ended the season on a bittersweet note, which seemed pretty perfect.
Oh, except at the very last second, Scarlett revealed to Gunnar that she was pregnant. And she didn't know if he was the father.
Tell Us: What did you think of the Nashville season finale?
Nashville airs on CMT Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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