In Nashville‘s recently launched Season 5, Rayna and Deacon are snugglier than they’ve been in seasons. More comfortable with each other. And are they rapidly approaching “Rayna, I’m done talkin‘!” levels of sexy, or what?
Series star Charles Esten has a good explanation for why Deacon Claybourne and his missus are experiencing a romantic renaissance in the wake of a very tough year.
“I think they’re in a safe spot,” he tells TVLine. Until now, “there was always something that had one of them slightly off keel and off base,” which doesn’t lead to much canoodling.
Esten refers, of course, to the parade of hell that marched through the couple’s life in the past few seasons: Deacon’s life-threatening illness, his sister’s death, Rayna’s struggles to start and keep a record label, Deacon’s impulsive purchase of a bar and Maddie’s bid to become an emancipated minor when her folks wouldn’t let her sign a record deal.
But with the start of the country-music series’ fifth season — under the direction of showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick — Rayna and Deacon now have a little breathing, er, cuddling room.
“Now, it’s the day-to-day,” Esten continues. “That’s how I am with my wife, honestly. If she’s doing dishes, I just come up behind her and put my hand on her shoulder and gave her a quick kiss or something like that. Yes, we have things to deal with, but none of them are existential. Deacon and Rayna have always had existential crises of ‘Will they or won’t they survive this?’ It’s only when you get through it that you see both of us relax.”
He draws another parallel between his real-life relationship and his on-screen one, recalling a disagreement he and wife Patty had in the early years of their marriage.
“I don’t remember the exact details, but I remember it occurring to me that, ‘Oh, I get it! No matter what happens in this fight, we’re still married and we still go to sleep tonight, and tomorrow we wake up and this bill needs to be paid and that. When you get that, it’s sort of like, ‘This is still interesting, it’s still dramatic, but it lets you relax into it a little bit.”
While he refrained from saying much about upcoming storylines for fear of giving anything away, Esten did indicate that he’d enjoy sharing more screentime with Hayden Panettiere’s Juliette — “not that it would ever be the way it was between the two of them” in Season 1, when they slept together, “but I love that other place we got to,” he says. “In a lot of ways, Avery supplanted that need. And he’s [now] her rational voice that Deacon used to be.
“And when Deacon’s your rational voice…” he trails off, laughing. Y’all know the rest.
Nashville airs Thursday at 9/8c on CMT.