Nashville Recap: Grace of the Ex

Need to catch up? Check out the previous Nashville recap here. 

It’s all over but the cryin’… but there’s a lot of cryin’ left to do in this week’s Nashville.

That’s to be expected, of course: While we’ve had a week to process Rayna’s unexpected death thanks to complications from a car accident, her loved ones have had just a few days. So when we check back into Music City, it’s a somber place, indeed. Deacon’s a mess. The girls aren’t much better. And the unholy alliance of Teddy and Tandy whirl into town to cause more potential heartache for Rayna’s grieving immediate family.

Let’s take a look at what goes down in “I’ll Fly Away.”

RAIN FOR RAYNA | The hour begins during Rayna’s graveside service, where Deacon is reading W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues” aloud in the pouring rain. He’s flanked by Maddie and Daphne; Tandy, Gunnar, Scarlett, Will, Bucky, Avery, Juliette (oh honey, are Bjork buns really the most appropriate funeral hairdo? Or is that just the grief talking?) and Clay are all there, too. Teddy’s there, too, let out of the clink for three days’ bereavement leave. For those of you who might be new to the show this season and are unacquainted with Rayna’s ex-husband, allow me to bring you up to speed: He married Rayna when she was pregnant with Deacon’s kid, did some shady things with money, covered them up, became mayor, got involved with a few really unsavory women (aw, remember Ol’ Leopard Panties?), had fisticuffs with Deacon, and eventually went to federal prison for embezzlement and other assorted ridiculousness.

Deacon holds it together pretty well, considering, but he’s incapable of dealing with anyone during the post-ceremony reception at Rayna’s house. (And I’m incapable of not noticing that majestic entryway — have we ever seen it before?) He staggers up to the bedroom and stays there for the duration of the day.

GRIEF TALKING | And that’s probably for the best, because Zach is downstairs doing his darndest to be the most socially awkward person at an inherently socially awkward event. He pulls out his laptop and plays some of the behind-the-scenes video his guy shot; seeing Ray alive and happy literally sends Bucky running from the room in tears. Then Zach takes it upon himself to be the first to raise a toast to his fallen bestie (of all of a few weeks), saying that he “always felt a connection to her” WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HER STALKER SAID. It’s a good thing that Zach has Will nearby (“You meant well,” Lexington says by way of smoothing the rough moment) and Cadence in proximity, because a cute kid goes a long way toward easing lots of social gaffes.

Glenn grabs a quiet moment with Juliette to let her know that the CMT awards are looking to have Faith Hill perform a tribute to Rayna, but Ju is adamant that she do it instead, declaring she is ” absolutely damn well enough!” to perform. And when the network agrees, Juliette is overjoyed… for a moment, until she sees herself in a full-length mirror, limping down the hallway. (We’ll get back to this in a moment.)

GO AWAY, TANDY | Scarlett is super helpful — a phrase I never thought I’d write in relation to this show — and makes sure Tandy is supported and the girls are comforted and Deacon is as comfortable as possible. Of course, once the taking-care-of-everyone calms down a bit, she falls apart, too, sobbing in a hallway until Gunnar finds her and compiles with her sad request to “Please hold onto me.”

By the end of the evening, Rayna’s place looks like the site of the saddest house party ever: guests passed out on couches (Side note: Poor Bucky!), empty cups and plates all over, and Maddie — who wanted to lean on Clay but was disappointed when he couldn’t emotionally step up — tucking Deacon into bed. “I don’t know who I am without her,” Deke says. “You’re my dad,” Maddie replies, sitting with him, rubbing his back and seeming far more mature than she ever has before.

After most of the guests have left, Teddy and Tandy have a conversation in which she notes that Deacon is “barely functioning” and suggests that she and Rayna’s ex will need to step up in the days to come. And when they — as well as Scarlett and a very not-into-the-proceedings Deacon — meet with the lawyer the next day, the lawyer reveals that Rayna hadn’t determined who would have guardianship of her girls and her business (and the two are tied) in the event of her death.

The basics: Legally, both Daphne and Maddie are Teddy’s kids, because he adopted Maddie after she was born. And that can be contested, but it’ll mean a messy court battle in which the girls will have to testify. Deacon comes out of his fog for the first time when Teddy starts talking about how he’ll be out of jail in three months and will be around more in order to take care of things. And Tandy is on board with that, because she’s got millions invested in Highway 65 (oh right! Who else forgot about that little detail?), and she doesn’t think Deke is up to the task of managing the business and fathering two girls. (Side note: I kind of hate Tandy in this episode.)

A point I’d like to raise: Isn’t Maddie legally emancipated? Doesn’t that mean that she’s exempt from this custody war? (Anyone with actual legal expertise, feel free to chime in down in the comments. You can bill us later.)

DON’T DO IT, DEACON! | The next day, Will and Zach have a business meeting at an art museum. Except, “This isn’t a business meeting,” Zach notes, and Will sheepishly replies, “I know.” They wind up kissing against a column, then Zach brings up the inherent conundrum of life: You know you’re going to die, but you’ve got to keep going regardless. Then they hold hands. Maybe this is the grief talking, but I don’t hate this pairing, y’all.

Back at Rayna’s, Teddy and Deacon almost come to blows in the kitchen. It’s ugly. Later, Deke overhears Daphne crying to Scarlett that “either way I lose” if she has to choose between the two men. And by the time everyone arrives at Bridgestone Arena for the CMT awards, Deacon has decided to be the bigger man: He pulls Teddy aside and tells him that he won’t contest Teddy’s guardianship, if only to save the girls from a prolonged and painful fight. Noooooo!

Nashville Recap Season 5 Episode 10Will opens the awards ceremony by performing “By Your Side” while footage of Rayna flashes on the screens behind him. While that’s happening, Juliette — whom earlier we saw having a hard time in rehearsal — summons Maddie to her dressing room and suggests that Rayna’s older daughter take Ju’s place and sing during the show.

Maddie protests that her mother would be so happy to know that Juliette was singing her song, “Sanctuary,” as part of the tribute. “No she wouldn’t,” Ju replies (ha!), and the Line Reading of the Night Award goes to Hayden Panettiere for that one. Brilliant. Maddie still says no… until Juliette goes out on stage and starts talking about listening to Rayna’s music on the radio in the trailer park when she was growing up, and then the teen has a change of heart.

Juliette can somehow sense that, so she introduces Maddie, who walks out on stage. No rehearsal? No in-ear monitors? A super emotionally charged moment? WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

TOEPICK TO THE HEART! | At first, Maddie does really well. But then everything hits her and she just can’t make it through the quiet ballad. Deacon and Daphne rush up on stage to hug her, which makes the crowd erupt in applause. And then little Daphne steps up to the mic and continues her mom’s tune, a capella. Deke grabs another microphone and joins in, and pretty soon the band and Maddie are back, too. The audience is on its feet in moments, Juliette is in tears on the side of the stage, and the whole thing is enough to sway Teddy to do the right thing.

After Deacon and the girls exit the stage, Teddy meets him in the wings, calling his adversary “a good father” and adding, “I’d be obliged if you watched over them, be their guardian for now.” Deke gladly accepts, and the trio goes back out for a curtain call. The clapping? The tears? The triumphant reversal of something that seemed doomed just moments before? This is just like the end of The Cutting Edge, only sadder! And who would’ve thought Teddy, of all people, would land the emotional Pamchenko?

Now it’s your turn: What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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51 Comments
  1. iHeart says:

    yeah but the article says he would be out of jail in three months (how many years was he even sentenced for?) that basically means he’ll be back. I am not looking forward to that.

    • Jim says:

      Teddy’s the worst. The absolute worst. I’ll take a dozen Laylas, Zoey’s, Luke Wheeler’s sons, and Jeff Fordhams over him.

      • iHeart says:

        to be honest I never hated Zoey, I’d replace her with Cash.

      • Fabrizia says:

        The show has always brought him down to bring Rayna and Deacon up. If you actually look at the facts he has been a good father to the girls, has accepted to raise a child that wasn’t his and loved a wife while knowing that her heart belonged to someone else. Since they didn’t know what to do with the character they wrote him off with a terrible plotline that didn’t make sense (it was basically entrapment by prostitute).

  2. Jason says:

    Major points for The Cutting Edge reference. This episode continued to prove to me that nobody writes adolescent characters better than Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz.

    • Ptf says:

      But this show was never about adolescents! Why push the teenagers front and center? It’s tedious. There are loads of shows with teenagers as the main characters, one of Nashville’s strengths was that it focussed on grown-ups not kids.

      • here’s the thing–the older Stella girl is not a very good actress, and her solo voice is weak and thready, although it blends amazingly well with her sister’s. The plot lines for Maddie have turned me off to her, and I feel little empathy for any of the teenage conflicts that are written for her. I just hope that they dial back her appearances–isn’t it time for her to go off to college? Also, I am so tired of Scarlett’s insecurities and questionable mental health. Let Gunther stop being manipulated by a woman who isn’t self aware enough to know what she wants. Now that Rayna is gone, I think it’s time to bring on a couple of new characters in adult roles with good pipes. And increase screen time for Avery (best actor on the show).

  3. Chad says:

    Coincidentally Teddy will be out of jail in three months which is exactly when Nashville returns from the hiatus it begins following next week’s episode. Clearly there’s more to come in this custody fight.

    • Garbo says:

      Unfortunately my fears turned out to be legit. It just doesn’t work without Rayna. And bringing back Teddy, Tandy and focusing so much on Maddie – three questionable at best, unnecessary at worst characters – is just not going to cut it. Turn it into the Juliette Barnes show – she is a really strong character – or get someone else to help fill the Rayna-sized void (doesn’t Nicole Kidman live in Nashville, y’all ?) but whatever you do, do it soon!

  4. Mary says:

    Teddy and Deacon should just go the My Two Dads route and raise the girls together. Deacon proved to be a better parent by putting the girls first.

  5. christopher bee says:

    Man, i´ve cried my eyes out, i´ve lost my wife too and she was awsome. Thank you Hershowitz/Zwick for our must be tv show 30something back in the day and to remind us what true feelings can respond.

  6. Imagecrafters says:

    Great episode. Yeah, whose house was that. I never saw that stairway before either and the entrance seemed different too. Loved the 3 of them singing together at the end.

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      I didn’t recognize house… Figured it was upgrade with money they saved due to not paying Connie (even though name was in opening credits multiple times!) this week.

    • seller says:

      It’s the actual house that you see in all of the exterior shots. They’ve the interior before, but mostly in the first season. In season three it was in the episode when Rayna cancelled the wedding and Deacon came to the house to see her and in season four when Rayna and Deacon did the magazine interview during Maddie’s emancipation mess.

      • Maxwill2 says:

        That’s exactly right. When we visited Nashville last year, I made my husband drive by both Deacon’s bungalow and Rayna’s mansion. Her place is out in the Belle Meade area. The house is set back pretty far from the road, but I sat on the stone wall along the road and took photos. Then I Googled the house and saw interior photos. Nashville normally uses a set for the “Rayna kitchen” scenes that makes the place look much more intimate and cozy, but when I saw the entryway, I thought “Oh, they are using the REAL mansion interiors for this episode.”

  7. Paula Marsh says:

    Yes to everything but mostly “pamchenko”!!

  8. Jim says:

    I also couldn’t help noticing that we finally got to see more of Rayna’s house than that kitchen and some bedrooms, ha. And hate Tandi all you want, but put yourself in her shoes. She’s never been a fan of Deacon, that’s always been clear. And it’s because she’s seen all the things he did as a drunk and how Rayna suffered. She hasn’t been around to see him much in the last two years since they got married, being off in California, and what kind of father he’s become. Given that weight of experience and the trauma of losing Rayna, she must think he’s a ticking time bomb. Wouldn’t you? Can she really trust that he’s not, especially with a matter as important as her nieces? If we’re all being honest, in that situation and given that history we’d all be wary, too. Not like Teddy’s some prize though. Or that I’d believe she’s up to taking on the task very much herself. At any rate . . . why, Connie, why?!

    • Fabrizia says:

      Deacon almost killed her sister, then after the transpant he bought a bar with his former AA sponsor (two alcoholics owning a bar, even Rayna said she was scared), then beated up that paparazzo which gave Maddie a good argument for the trial. Tandy has seen enought to not trust D, handsome face and all.

  9. Mimi says:

    I cried, what a great episode. Love those writers.

  10. TinLV says:

    Very emotional episode.. I cried and I never cry over tv shows.. but when Maddie broke down onstage, what else could I do ? omg.. anyway.. good show.. if they keep churning out good stories and good songs, I’ll keep watching, even without Rayna..

  11. tjchurch2001 says:

    I saw & heard FAR too little of “Clay” this week (& what we do get is constantly stuck in/around his past). Also, help me, but I can’t recognize Tandy from the past (thought she was someone Teddy met in his past dalliances, or while in jail, plus I seem to confuse the sisters of the spouses). On top of that, I thought Teddy had refused to be a CI or something, & he’d been put in therefore for FAR longer than this!

    Regardless, I had no clue what was going on physically with Juliette when she had problems, or why the pics of Rayna kept changing (or why her daughter knew that & insisted on constantly looking to/at them)… Anyway, ending was SUPER predictable! (Just like a lot of the CMT episodes, especially last week, & “Suits” finale”, so maybe this is “Predictable Week”!)

    • Mike says:

      Tandy is Rayna’s sister. She hasn’t been on much lately but has had major storylines in the past. Juliette is still in mourning and recovering from the accident. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that she’s not quite ready to do a big show like that. Besides, it was just a forced reason to let Maddie sing. Predictable or not, it was heartfelt and that’s all that should matter.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        You’d think such shows that use “Preciously on…” before most episodes would hint at dead characters that haven’t been seen at all in a while at the start of episodes where they will be shown/mentioned/used (especially after an episode where they had a conversation between a then-living character & their dead parent who’d never been shown or discussed before).

        Also, Juliette may be in mourning over losing Rayna, but the way she pushed Bucky spoke against that. Also, while she may be mourning the recent loss, she is not recovering emotionally from her own accident, constantly pushing Avery, her therapists & others, while also angrily questioning what she perceives as lack of recovery speed.

        It was far from a forced reason to let Maddie sing; Maybe the writers were aiming for that, but Juliette would have simply thrown the mic down (not just a “drop the mic” as is huge in pop culture these days) or stood there with the focus on her despite being silent (after recovering from her own accident & public disappearance, reminiscient of the focus-on-her-career she had in the show’s first season before anyone knew her).

    • Fabrizia says:

      Juliette was in a PLANE CRASH, I still can’t believe that she’s alive.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        She wasn’t (alive or dead for sure) at the end of last season, & ( any thought) the show. The second CMT picked-up the show (making me expect more music, except the new “Thirtysomething”-alumni showrunners lied on this very site to fans about less drama & more music), “Juliette” renewed her contract for a full season & “Rayna” for far less, so had a feeling they wouldn’t pay her that cash to play a ghost the whole time like Hamlet’s father.

  12. RichieS says:

    My guess is up in ” Nashville afterlife ” ole Lamar is still bustin’ Rayna’s balls ( and Deacon’s sis is lovin it ).

  13. Sharon says:

    Reality check, a star that tours as much as Rayna did would have provisions for her children’s care and for her business (doubt she could get insurance otherwise). My guess after Teddy’s issues and her understanding of how much Tandy was in daddy’s pocket, and Deacon’s previous instability that she would leave both to the one person she could trust…Bucky.

  14. ToyCannon says:

    Does Tandy not know or remember that Teddy let her father die?

  15. Celina says:

    I haven’t watched the episode yet, but isn’t Maddie emancipated??
    So she can stay with whoever she wants!!!

    • Nashville fan says:

      I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one to notice the cringe-worthy and terribly offensive Bjork buns (like, really girl? The ’90s are over, you are NOT Gwen Stefani, not are lstill in high school). To me this look seemed like another Juliette-worthy grab for attention (just like showing up to church late).
      I also hated Tandy over the “Deacon is barely functioning” remark. Well, maybe he gets a couple hours to freak out over the DEATH OF HIS WIFE AND SOULMATE, you cold-hearted, money-grubbing sea cow!!!!
      Lastly, I do not have legal expertise, but I do have GOOGLE expertise, and Google tells us that an emancipate minor may have their emancipation reversed, if they go to court and request it from a judge. I find it super-annoying that they don’t mention Maddie’s emancipation AT ALL during their discussion with the lawyer, because I was harboring a tiny little pipe dream where Maddie filed for legal guardianship of Daphne,

      The other thing that bothered me: Teddy got a 3-day bereavement leave from prison for his EX-WIFE?!?!?! Geezzzz, I didn’t realize that it was that easy to get out of prison! I sincerely doubt thatAs a matter of fact, the whole “out in three months” thing was a tad too cute (and convenient) for my taste.

    • MMD says:

      You’re exactly correct.

    • Fabrizia says:

      Between season 4 and 5 things happened without being mentioned:

      1) Maddie had the emancipation reversed.
      2) Maddie is free from the contract she signed with the New York label.
      3) Layla was never mentioned again (she’s on tour?).

      My theory is that Rayna got the NY label to exchange Maddie for Layla.

      • J says:

        Actually Bucky mentioned to Rayna in episode 1 or 2 of this season how much it had cost her to pay off Maddie’s contract.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        #1 never happened (I don’t think). Either it fell apart during the court/legal phase, the daughter dropped it after he punched-out the audience member when she sang at a club with a fake ID, or Rayna made a special exception when he got the transplant from his immediately-deceased sister.

  16. Laura says:

    I am in the minority but I like Teddy. I always felt like he loved the girls and just got tossed aside. I hope he establishes a relationship with them both again.

    • Fabrizia says:

      Every time Maddie calls him “Teddy” I cringe. It’s like she completely forgot who raised her once she got another dad with a better back story.

  17. Judy says:

    Music was great, acting was great! And the tears we as fans are crying for the last 3 episodes is real, the gray sky was crying with us! Seeing all the Rayna flashbacks and photo’s was so good as she was there. But the Dayna love story was not suppose to end this way!! No justification for Rayna to be killed off. It is too sad and somber storyline! Cast was great though!

  18. Sissy says:

    I was fine until Daphne started singing. Finally, Daph gets to shine! You go girl!!! And the part when she said in her dreams, she heard Rayna singing. Rayna’s spirit will float among those lovely rooms. Yes, please show us more of that house! About Maddie’s situation, my best guess would be that she would try to intervene with Deacon and Teddy, but the Judge will remind her that she threw her mother and father under the bus and really doesn’t have any sway in the custody battle. Again, Daphne will have to step up and like she said, she is the one who would lose. Certainly that house is large enough for both Deacon and Teddy to live and take care of Daphne as she deals with the loss of her mother and those wonderful/horrible teen-age years. I know it rains in Nashville, but please, a monsoon during the funeral? Yes, everyone got it. Maybe that’s why Juliette’s hair was in those crazy lookin’ bun things Kimberly mentioned.

  19. Kate says:

    This ep sucks. Ugh. Didn’t sign up for this! Not watching this show any more.

    • J says:

      Me either. Grief and heartbreak and no frikkin’ Rayna. No thanks. Plus the upcoming Maddie Show. I think not. Miles away from the way the show started, it has been utterly ruined.

    • Celina says:

      I think we have a lot of problems…
      First, they’ve promised more songs and more problems in the music industry. We didn’t get any of those. Instead, they are focusing on the things we hated the most: maddie, legal issues around rayna’s family, horrible drama between The Exes. Secondly, they’ve said it would bem less soapy, but all we got was that, soap soap soap.
      I feel like the characters just don’t do anything… Avery is just there… Same for Gunnar…Juliette is trying to do something new, but is taking too long… Scarlett just forgot about everything that’ve happened before… argh

  20. Katherine215 says:

    OMG, The Cutting Edge references!!

  21. Carla Krae says:

    I was okay until they showed Bucky sobbing on a sofa.
    It was weird that Luke wasn’t seen anywhere in this episode. I’m sure there were logistical reasons, but still weird.

  22. A.J. says:

    Is it just me or did Connie Britton imply she would be in this episode? And I took that to mean new scenes. After reading the interview last week I thought someone would have a dream of her or a detailed memory which would be new footage that included Connie. Unless some of the montage on stage at the CMT awards was newly shot footage, I didn’t see anything that tells me Connie Britton acted for this episode.
    That all being said, I cried my eyes out. Too sad!

    • A.J. says:

      I stand corrected. She definitely shot new scenes for episode 11 (not 10) and man did they pack an emotional punch!

  23. dlonyc says:

    Kimberly Roots, you are officially my new favorite person for bringing the phrase “emotional Pamchenko” into my life.

  24. Mindi says:

    Where was Luke? That seemed off but I love this show and I cried. Just allow yourself to be entertained. This isn’t real life people…. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

  25. Catie says:

    Why would Teddy have adopted Maddie when he thought he was the father until Maddie was a teenager? Am I the only one wondering this?

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      If you haven’t realized in the last 6 months, maybe you never will, but the answer is politics.

      1] He wanted to appear a better candidate, & many like to appear in good standing on family values, so he needed his to be a full, real, legal family.

      2] He is/was a politician, so (as Trump proved many times before his election) he wasn’t thinking