5 Awesome Things from the Nashville Series Finale

Nashville (Screen: ABC)

The Exes and Autumn continue their tour following a two week break. Scarlett frets about reuniting with Gunnar, knowing she must declare her true feelings for him.1 He greets her backstage, saying he has something to discuss. Before he can say anything, she says she’s in love with him. Autumn waltzes in that very second and says, “Oh good, you’ve talked,” drapes her arm around Gunnar and says to Scarlett, “I really hope this isn’t gonna make things weird at all around here.” OOF.

Rayna, Deacon and Daphne are in New York City for that fundraiser thingie in honor of Vita.2 They’re all unpleasantly aware that Maddie is in town, living it up on social media with her cash advance and famous new friends. Meanwhile, Maddie’s label pairs her with world-famous, legendary producer Vince Pierce. Rayna freaks when she gets wind of this, because Vince tried to rape her back when she was a young, rising star.

Juliette’s in Los Angeles for pre-Oscars parties, hating every fake ass minute of it, and pining for baby Cadence. Glenn reminds her she can use her private jet to fly Avery, Layla and the baby out for the weekend. Avery dutifully accepts the invite for Cadence’s sake, which Layla vocally resents. But then a reporter publicly confronts Juliette about her involvement in Jeff the skeevy exec’s death. When that news hits the internet, Layla feigns shock while Avery refuses to jump to conclusions.

Will wants to confront homophobic pundit Cynthia Davis on her shitty show, but she won’t allow it. So he and Luke organize a protest/concert outside her Atlanta studio. They ask Kevin Bix to rally some allies. He obliges, mentioning to Will that his schedule is way less busy these days. Ooh-la-la!

Fighting back the tears as I type this – here are 5 awesome things from the Nashville series finale

Will checks out with dignity to spare I’ve had many complaints about the trajectory of Will’s coming out process,3 but I love the climax we’re given in this episode. After he and Luke take the stage in ATL to drown out some noisy counter-protesters — singing a feel-good jam about how “some brothers are chosen”4 — Cynthia’s producer meets them on the street and invites Will to appear on the show immediately. He accepts.

When the camera rolls, Will graciously thanks Cynthia for inviting him. Despite his million dollar “aw shucks” grin, she just rages at him nonstop! He finally interrupts, observing, “You’re scared, aren’t you?” Cynthia is aghast, but agrees to let him speak. He continues, “You don’t want your audience to see me or hear me, you know why? Because they might recognize me.” Yes, that’s it exactly! – not just why this fictional bigot is avoiding Will, but also what makes his character lovable. He’s just a sweet, good natured country boy and loyal pal, v.relatable. Of all the characters on this show, he’s the one I’d want to be friends with most. His final words to Cynthia are, “I’m a good man, a good son. There’s nothing to be scared of here.” We don’t hear her response, but who cares? Will wins because Will finally loves Will.

Luke is reborn as a softie Pretty much every dude on this show must battle his own sort of toxic masculinity at one point or another. Luke sold out lots of people5 to maintain the beer-swilling, truck-driving, manly image that made him rich. When his corporate branding deal fell apart, we had to wonder what was left for him to do, or who he really was.

Turns out, Luke’s a romantic. First he pushes Will to make a move on suddenly single Kevin, because he always thought they made a cute couple. Aw!6 Even more interesting, when he learns Colt told Layla the truth about Jeff’s death, he calls Avery to warn him that his new girlfriend is scheming. Now why would he do that? Obviously he wants Avery to know Layla can’t be trusted, but it seems like he’s also defending Juliette’s honor. He probably thinks #JulAvery made a cute couple, too <3 Turns out Mr. Wheeler's revisiting old feelings for the former Mrs. Wheeler, who is also newly single (according to Colt). In our last Luke sighting, we see him phoning daughter Sage7 and asking to speak to her mother. Hearts! Best of luck to you, Luke. I never liked you as much as I do right now.

Gunnar wisely chooses his heart over his head It’s weird that Gunnar can’t see how much Autumn gets off on making Scarlett miserable. Like, he totally wants to believe her BS theory that Blondie only wants him now that he’s a rising star. Plus it’s super sketch when she offers to keep him on the tour as a solo act, should The Exes decide to break up.

That’s exactly what Scarlett and Gunnar decide to do, and boy is their manager PISSED. He later encourages Blondie to have a more thorough discussion about her feelings with Gunnar, and she does. Gunnar’s still uncertain that she’s in it for the long haul. She says she’ll still be in love with him no matter what he does.

That evening, Autumn gloats as The Exes give one final, dazzling performance. Despite Gunnar and Scarlett’s incredible onstage chemistry, Autumn remarks to The Exes’ manager, “Some people just aren’t meant to be together.” But when the song ends, Gunnar crosses the stage and pulls Scarlett in for a kiss. “Looks like they’re still a duo!” the manager quips. Autumn seethes and says, “Yeah, but they are SO FIRED.” Win-win-win! Don’t let the tour bus door hit your ass on the way outta town, ya creepy sociopath. And best of luck to the reunited Exes. I enjoyed mocking both of you,8 but your talent and good looks are undeniable.

The Jaymes/Conrad/Claybourn clan finally get it together Rayna must warn Maddie about Vince Pierce, but can’t reach her through normal channels. She even asks label head Caitlyn for help, but the latter’s response is (paraphrasing), “Vince hasn’t tried to rape me. This is par for the course. It’s just what women in the industry face.” That’s when Queen Ray tells Deacon she’s gonna “go old school, and write a letter.” And by “old school” she means an open letter in the Huffington Post.9

Meanwhile, Maddie finishes her first day in the studio recording that terrible sex robot “Wild Card” song. She looks so bad – totally traded in her cute, boho hipster look for a fake tan and stringy blonde highlights. This is no deterrent to Vince, who invites Maddie and Cash to his home for a party that evening. Later when they arrive, Cash wanders off to try and screw Chris Martin10 while Vince escorts Maddie to his in-home studio.

Backstage at the benefit, Deacon sees an internet pic of Maddie at Vince’s party and bolts, totally bailing on his performance with Rayna and Daphne. Meanwhile, Vince is plying Maddie with drinks and steps away to get another when she notices a message on her phone; a friend has texted a link to Rayna’s open letter! She reads it, then tries making a quick, subtle exit but Vince has other plans in mind.

Deacon arrives at Vince’s pad just as the crusty cretin is pinning Maddie’s arm and expressing his sexual demands. Deacon confronts Vince but DOESN’T punch him, then starts to leave with his daughter. That’s when trashy ol’ Cash stumbles in, making excuses for ditching Maddie,11 Deacon plays it super cool and tells his legally emancipated child, “It’s your choice.”

We next see Deacon and Maddie embracing Rayna and Daphne backstage at the benefit. Deacon apologizes for leaving without notice, but Ray interrupts by sucking his face cuz hey, he didn’t get violent!12 The reunited family heads back to Nashville, and all we’re left to wonder is how they’re gonna move forward with Maddie’s contract. All in all, a pretty satisfying end to many layers of drama.

My #JuLayVery prediction from last week was right on the money OH MY GOD. Jeff’s sister threatens to sue Juliette. At the mere mention of a settlement, Jules tells her lawyers, “Pay her whatever she wants.” She fully believes Jeff’s death is her fault and that she’s a horrible person. She refuses to take Avery’s calls but tells him via Glenn that he should stay home. She doesn’t even resent Layla for probably leaking the story.

But Glenn sure does! At the very moment Luke phones Avery to inform him of Layla’s prior knowledge, Glenn phones Layla, calls out her lying bullshit and abruptly quits.13 She immediately goes to Avery and says, “I just fired Glenn.” Haha, too late! Avery knows all about your ruse, pretending you didn’t know how Jeff died. Naturally, he wonders if their entire relationship was just a way to torment Jules. Maudlin to the end, Layla insists she’s the real victim and says, “I had to show you who she is.” OH-HO! Now Avery knows you’re the one who leaked the story. His response is my favorite Avery quote of the entire series – “Okay, you’re CRAZY and we’re done.”

Even after the settlement is handled, Juliette remains deeply contrite and dreads walking the Oscars red carpet. Instead of putting on a happy face for the cameras, or just skipping it altogether, she asks to speak ABC News‘s Deborah Roberts. Then Jules confesses the whole ugly truth on live TV – she tried to commit suicide (too drugged up to even remember) and Jeff accidentally died while pulling her back from the ledge. FUCKIN’ A, talk about an integrity move! Juliette’s exact words to the camera are, “I’m not doing any of this for sympathy. I don’t deserve it. I just want people to know the truth. And I want Jeff’s family and friends to know that he was a hero and he died saving my life.” Now what did I say last week about Juliette’s toughness trumping Layla’s self-pitying ass?14

After watching Juliette’s public confession, a concerned Avery phones and asks if the suicide attempt happened after he served her divorce papers. Juliette absolves him of any wrongdoing, again taking full responsibility for everything that went down, “even if it means losing everything”. Avery responds, “We’re still here.”

!!! Looks like everyone will be making out with the right person at the end of this crazy day, but the resurrection of #JulAvery is definitely the cherry on top.

BONUS THING: That not-awesome cliffhanger Exceeeept it doesn’t work out that way… The final scene of the episode shows Avery and Cadence awaiting Juliette’s private jet, only to learn her pilot issued a distress call and now the plane is missing. WTF?

In the hopes of continuing this cancelled on another networks, the producers added this bit so there would be something left hanging for a potential season 5 resolution. Guess they thought they couldn’t tie it all up with too neat a bow and expect a reprieve. WHATEVER. We all know if PPD, substance abuse, a deeply fucked family background and music industry creepers couldn’t kill Jules, a mere plane crash ain’t gonna do a damn thing.

  1. Obvi a tough moment, because she’s wearing the chunky white sweater of mope  
  2. Remember her?  
  3. Especially when GUNNAR of all people was giving him life advice  
  4. I’m verklempt  
  5. Will, Colt, himself  
  6. And it totally works! Will and Kevin make out after the Cynthia Davis appearance!!  
  7. Remember her?  
  8. Especially Scarlett, though I do admit that her worst qualities remind me of my own. Also she is a swan fairy who dresses way better than me pretty much always  
  9. BTW this particular situation may be the only reasonable excuse for either open letters or the Huffington Post  
  10. No cameo, sorry  
  11. To her credit, Maddie screams at Cash, “When I needed you, you were gone with some guy!” LOL that’s you, Chris Martin  
  12. Another win against toxic masculinity  
  13. He’s so angry, too!! I love you, Glenn. You’re the most upstanding dude on this show by far.  
  14. p.s. You’ll never be a boss bitch like Jules or Rayna by feeling sorry for yourself, Layla/anybody!  

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Tara Rose
About Tara Rose 106 Articles
Since 2009, Tara has been writing snarky essays about pop culture, motherhood and her various neuroses at Rare Oats. She spends most of her other time selling cheese, raising a small human and goofing off with her husband Dan. E-mail: tara@whatelseison.tv
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