Nashville crashed in its first season finale ... literally and figuratively. "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" pulled out plenty of cliffhangers, but none of them were original. Instead, the show took the easy path and ended with typical tropes: a pregnancy, a proposal, and a car crash.
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Despite the story choices, the acting was superb. As unbelievable as it was that Deacon would so easily give up his 13 years of sobriety, Charles Esten was believable as a drunk that fell off the wagon. His heartbreak, anger and mean drunk personas were scary. He took Deacon from the nicest guy around and impressively portrayed him as a mean drunk.
In addition, Hayden Panettiere pulled off a grieving and alone Juliette. The grieving daughter's emotional state changed second by second and every feeling was seen on the screen. The highlights included when Juliette lashed out in her CMA dressing room and then tried to take back what she said about her mother. Also, the performance at the Bluebird was not only a gorgeous song, but Juliette's pain was palpable throughout.
The finale's predictability was disappointing, though the road to the end was highly affecting. Throughout the season, these characters were personalized and then it was painful to see them torn apart in the end.
The Truth Comes Out
Rayna and Deacon's love was destined to end in heartbreak due to the secret of Maddie's paternity, but did it have to happen so soon? In a way, it's a relief that the truth is out there, though at the same time depressing that Rayna and Deacon weren't able to be happy for any length of time.
From Maddie showing up on Deacon's doorstep to Deacon glaring at Rayna through the CMA performance, and then the final confrontation between the two lovers, it was a terrible and hurtful way for the reveal to come about for all involved.
Deacon's pain was understandable, but it was difficult to believe that he would immediately turn to booze. If he'd only been sober a short amount of time, then it would have made more sense. Given his support system, it was disappointing that the writers chose to go that route.
It created drama, which was the purpose, but it destroyed his character and returned him to the person he was when Maddie was born. It's sad to know that the doubts about his ability to be a partner to Rayna and father to Maddie have been reaffirmed.
Teddy has reason to be concerned, but it was a pleasant surprise to see him supportive of Rayna. The two of them need to stick together for Maddie. Her rebellion felt authentic, but so did her easy reconciliation with her mother. Maddie should make it through this relatively unscathed.
Rayna's love for Deacon made her stick by his side during his time of pain, even though he was drinking again. The car crash was predictable and tragic, but I hope that will snap Deacon out of his drunken stupor and wake up and realize all he has gained.
Rayna loves him. He loves her. And, they have a gorgeous daughter together. The betrayal and his pain isn't worth losing them.
Juliette Says Goodbye
Poor Juliette. All she wanted was to make her mother proud and instead she was left disappointed once again. Instead of the truth coming out about the video, Jolene's plan to kill Dante and then overdose worked. She did prevent the story from breaking and hurting her daughter. At least her death wasn't in vain, even if Juliette was unaware of the sacrifice
Though, that doesn't mean that it wasn't tragic and hurtful. Juliette has had to be strong all her life and she held on to that as tight as she could in order to cope. She went to the CMAs and then fell apart.
Even though she felt that she was alone, she really wasn't. Despite the breakup with Glenn, he was there for her. He's probably the longest relationship that she's ever had. In the dressing room, she finally broke when she said, "I should be celebrating it's finally over." With that she opened up to her grief.
Jolene didn't leave her daughter without an explanation though. Juliette received a letter that explained what she did and why. That letter provided the closure that she needed to have with her mother.
While she would have preferred to have her mother back, at least, Juliette learned that her mother did love her, appreciate her, and was proud of her. That was a precious gift that Juliette needed in her life.
Juliette won the CMA, but in the big picture it didn't even matter.
Path to a Proposal
Gunnar told his music producer the truth about Jason's songs and co-opting his persona. When Gunnar refused to continue down that path, he lost that recording opportunity.
Gunnar tried to make up with Scarlett by bringing her flowers, but she wasn't ready to forgive him. Instead, she got closer to Avery. They had lunch and sang together. When Gunnar saw them singing together, he was upset.
Instead of acting out, Gunnar decided to take matters into his own hands and to fight for the girl. He proposed to her! How will she respond?
Teddy's in Trouble
Not only did the truth about Maddie's paternity come out, but the US Attorney's Office renewed their interest in his embezzlement. If they find evidence of his misdeeds, he's facing years in prison.
At least he doesn't have to worry about Peggy turning on him for immunity, though that came at a cost. She's pregnant! Though, if they are both implicated in the fraud, what happens to the baby? Could he have to sacrifice himself for the good of his unborn child?
His personal and professional lives are in a free fall.
Lamar betrayed Tandy by promoting someone over her. In response, she quit. Ouch. Lamar could be in trouble, because the US Attorney's Office approached her for information about her father. Will she turn on him after his betrayal? She'd be able to make him pay, while regaining control of the family company. A win-win for her.
Will continued to struggle with his sexuality. He wants to be a big country star and he's willing to pretend to be someone he's not to get there. Gunnar wasn't willing to continue his outlaw ways, could he help convince Will to give up the womanizing persona?
Avery's turnaround has been impressive. It was so easy to hate him for most of the season. After his professional downfall, he's really changed. He's lost the jealous streak, been supportive of both Juliette and Scarlett, and just an all around good guy. Is this the Avery that Scarlett fell in love with?
What did you think about the finale? Too predictable? What about Deacon's drinking? Yay or nay? Which cliffhanger has you most interested in knowing what happens next?
(Image courtesy of ABC.)