Nashville Recap Season 5 Episode 11

Nashville Finale Recap: Duet Again

Need to catch up? Check out last week’s Nashville recap

Nashville’s Rayna Jaymes was such a force of nature, it takes not one, not two but a whole recording booth full of people to replace her.

(On her final album, at least.)

This week’s episode of the CMT drama — its midseason finale — allows for some closure following Rayna’s unexpected death two episodes back; where last week’s hour was all about the surreal numbness that permeates immediately following a huge loss, “Fire and Rain” sets the series back in its groove.

The question of how (or whether) Rayna’s final songs will be released is addressed. The Exes line up a tour. Maddie has a taste of what her career might be like. And Scarlett ends the hour with quite the bombshell:

She’s pregnant (!). And that’s only half of it, so prepare to clutch your Minnie Pearls. Read on for the episode’s highlights.

BACK TO WORK | Rayna’s family is doing the thing that families do in the wake of a death: numbly stumbling along, going through the motions of banal activities like breakfast, waiting to feel better again. Deacon’s not quite as checked-out as he was in the previous episode; he balks when Scarlett hesitates to agree to a tour, gruffly-yet-tacitly suggesting that he doesn’t need her to stick around to mother him and the girls. And he’s irate when Zach suggests that they need to release Rayna’s final album pronto — even Bucky’s reasoning that they need cash, and fast, to pay for Wheelin’ Dealin’ Records, as well as the easy-out clause means Zach and his money could walk any day, doesn’t move Deke one inch.

Luckily, Rayna recorded her scratch vocals for all of the songs before she died. So all that’s left is for Deacon to lay down his vocals, then for some production magic to whip the whole thing into sellable shape. And that’ll happen…? “Never,” Deacon vows, countering Zach’s argument that he owes it to Big Red’s fans by saying, “The only person I owe anything to is Rayna.”

Also, because it seems important to raise this point early: Isn’t Zach richer than God? Couldn’t he just float Highway 65 until the album sales start rolling in?

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JU STEPS IN | Meanwhile, Maddie and Scarlett have been steadfastly refusing the myriad media requests that have come in since Mads, Daphne and Deacon performed “Sanctuary” at the CMT Awards. And when Juliette happens to be around as Scarlett hangs up on “one of the Jimmys” — Fallon? Kimmel? The world may never know! — she is incensed.

“The girl is having a moment, whether it’s good timing or bad,” Juliette reasons, but Scarlett is very frowny/judgy about Ju’s offer to chaperone Maddie during a media tour of New York. “I am a different person than whatever that look you just gave me implied,” Juliette quips, and GUYS, I LOVE HOW SELF-AWARE JULIETTE IS THIS SEASON. Ahem. Sorry, I just get really excited about character growth.

After talking it over with Deacon, Maddie decides that she will do a few talk shows, so she and Juliette fly to the Big Apple. First up is The Daily Show, where host Trevor Noah is incredibly nice to a very uncomfortable Maddie. (Side note: I was going to snark about how odd it seems to hear Noah play himself as a Mads fan, but then I remembered when we were stuck with Good Morning America or bust for every. single. media. thing. and I decided to just chill.)

“Why did they want Maddie and not both of us?”  Daphne asks Scarlett after they watch at home, and Scar’s answer — ”because the world is obsessed with beautiful young women, which is good for you, because you are fast becoming one” —  is maybe not the most graceful way of explaining it?

DEACON’S DARK HOUR | In case you’re wondering what Deacon is up to, he’s holed up in the bedroom, sniffing Rayna’s sweaters and trawling through her trove of old videos, journals and memorabilia. Nashville apparently has finally given up on trying to CGI-back the years and/or shoot Connie Britton and Charles Esten through gauze/scrim/trees or whatever they did the last time we were supposed to be seeing Deke and Rayna in their younger years. This time, different actors play the pair in 1991, and we watch a shaky amateur video of them kissing and goofing around in the recording studio. (For what it’s worth, I approve of the change.)

As Deacon digs through the memories, he unearths video of one of Maddie’s first birthday parties, and watches Rayna on their wedding day as he reads her thoughts about finally, FINALLY becoming his wife. Then he cues up the behind-the-scenes footage that Zach’s camera guy shot for the making-of-the-duets-album video. It’s all too much for the cowboy, who has a full-body breakdown and winds up crouching and sobbing in the corner of the room. I feel for you, Deacon, I really do, but you’ll forgive me for a sec if I’m distracted by the shots of you and Rayna going at it like teenagers against the bowling alley wall a few episodes back… which means Camera Guy Gene succeeded in stalking you like a creepy creepster who creeps. Eew. (Does this revelation affect the hotness of the clip, though? No, it does not.)

STRIKING WHILE THE IRON IS HOT (SAD, BUT HOT)  | In New York, Maddie is more comfortable during a stop at Harry!. Unfortunately, that means that she speaks without thinking, which leads her to glibly blurt that “I’m not all like, ‘Thanks, Mom, for all the attention I’m getting” in the aftermath of Rayna’s death.

She’s horrified to see that entertainment blogs are running with the “thanks, Mom,” quote, and she cries to Scarlett on the phone the next morning that she wants to come home. Scarlett very quickly says that her cousin shouldn’t care what Juliette thinks, because “Look at her life, look at some of the choices she’s made.” Oh, I’m sorry, Scarlett, you put on a strand of pearls and suddenly you’re the Queen of Perfect Decision-Making? Because I’m standing here with Damien and Liam and Caleb, and they’re all making faces similar to the one you shot at Juliette earlier in the episode.

So Juliette cancels the Today appearance, but once they’re back in Nashville, she makes it clear “that I am disappointed by your lack of professionalism in New York,” adding that if the teen doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity afforded her by Rayna’s death, “you will regret it for the rest of your life.” And when Scarlett vehemently objects, Ju wheels on her, asking, “How would you know? Just because you’re afraid of success?” OUCH. Also? Kinda TRUE.

They eventually all make nice, and Juliette goes a step farther by offering to guide Maddie’s career, because “I want to take you all the way to the top.” Ooh, I like where this is going…

OOPS!  | Meanwhile, Avery is torn up about not being able to help Deacon when he needs it most. So Avery organizes everyone — Gunnar, Scarlett, Juliette, Will and the girls — and assembles them all in Rayna’s home studio. When Deacon finds them there, they reveal that they’re going to help him finish the album by singing some of the tracks with Rayna, “in a way she would’ve loved,” Avery says gently.

It’s a feel-good way to end the episode, and seeing/hearing everyone pitch in finally gets Deacon to the point where he can record some vocals of his own. A casual listening party at Highway 65 indicates that Zach and Bucky are pleased with the result, which is great and all… but I’m a jerk, because all I keep wondering is: Are Rayna’s fans really going to be into this? Especially if they had any indication that the original concept was an entire album of Rayna and Deacon duets? In short: Is this album going to sell?

But don’t ponder that too deeply, because we’ve got bigger problems in the immediate future. After everyone leaves Rayna’s record company in a good mood, Scarlett hangs back to tell Gunnar that she will go on tour with him. But there’s one thing: “I’m pregnant.” And nope, she doesn’t know whether he or video director Damien is the father. See ya in a few months, y’all!

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the midseason finale? 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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58 Comments
  1. David Hess says:

    The songs on this show are better than alot of songs actually on country radio these days. This show is true country music.

  2. Rebecca Rogers says:

    I have a feeling they wouldn’t make Damien the father of Scarlett’s baby but I don’t know.

  3. Jess says:

    I started watching this show because of Connie and wasn’t sure I’d continue once she departed, but these last two episodes have been some of the best yet. The entire cast is bringing it! Loving the flashbacks with Rayna, hoping there might be a few more to come. Charles is killing it! Loving the Scarlette and Juliette dynamics

    • Mary says:

      Yes, I often find that is the case. I loved Rayna but in all honesty I thought it was becoming mundane. When the unbelievable happens I find the best acting to come out.
      I thought Grey’s was the same way, shock and upset as I was I personally found it more entertaining.

    • Garbo says:

      The cast is doing a great job for sure but I’m still not sure the show will work narratively post-Rayna. And to be completely honest, Maddie going on a press tour all giggly and fake-humble right after her mom’s funeral, didn’t exactly endear her to me. At all. As in the less Maddie in the future the better, at least until they figure out how to write that character RIGHT.

  4. Izzie b says:

    I’ve got to say, these recent episodes are painful but they are really knocking it out of the park finally!

  5. JM says:

    Scarlett already has enough underlying mental health issues as is. How will viewers cope with that and hormonal imbalances when she’ll be approximately 5 months pregnant when the show returns?

  6. Carla Krae says:

    Fans buy tribute albums for fallen artists. Rayna’s final album absolutely would break even and then some. And it’s easy to market it as a tribute to her story and life from the people that knew and loved her most. Especially because our crew also has fans, too, in the same genre.

    • Heather Windrow says:

      I agree! I loved what they did with the album! I would buy it!! Bad idea to go with the story line that fans are upset about the album! They need to write in the album soared!! So if they ever have to end the series they could end it by them all going on tour together in honour of Rayna!

  7. Jakay says:

    I hate Scarlett. Like, a lot.

  8. Rebecca Rogers says:

    They are getting really close to soap opera territory with having Scarlett not knowing who the father of her baby is and I’m still confused as to why she broke up with Gunnar to essentially hook up with a different guy because she was fascinated when with him. Scarlett is the one who last year told Gunnar she was still in love with him and wanted to get back together to a few episodes before into this season breaking up with him and saying she feels nothing for him and then going to hope up with essentially a random guy that she doesn’t really know afterwards;I’m confused how you go to being in love with someone to not feeling anything for them and hooking up with someone else in a short period of time

    • erninlow says:

      Yes! Exactly my thoughts too!

    • Nerwen Aldarion says:

      I’ve given up on figuring out Scarlet and why she does what she does. I mean its like she only wants Gunnar when someone else has him. And it was ludicrous, he was being as sweet as can be with her and she just dumps him for a mysognist director.

    • Mary says:

      It is questionable, but I am going with because of the new writers. I am willing to give them time and see where it goes. Hopefully the end game will be worth the annoyance.

    • Pia says:

      This show is a soap.

    • TVFAN says:

      Gunnar went for people like her best friend, that flake brunette who couldn’t fix the board when it went out mid concert, then the b**** of a superstar who was telling him to leave Scarlett. We know this baby is gonna be Gunnar’s. That would be a screw to the whole series if they made it some two episode extra instead of the love of her life. Especially if the series doesn’t go pass this season. Is it renewed yet?

  9. Maureen Casiano says:

    What’s the name of the song Deacon sand at the end with Ryna? I want to download that record and dedicate to my husband

  10. Heather Windrow says:

    I just started watching this show but it is truly one of the best shows I’ve watched in a long time! I tend to agree with most the back and forth with Gunner and Scarlett is getting blah! Deacon being a good dad to both girls, thumbs up!The music is amazing! The chemistry of the cast perfect! Can’t wait for more! Well done!

  11. Jim says:

    Man, this is great television. (And yes, that final album would sell bucketloads in these circumstances. Notwithstanding that it might even be good!)

  12. Gina says:

    I was wondering how the show was going to play out but the last few episodes have been great. Scarlett, though, the worst. She manages to be irritating and boring at the same time.

    • Stephanie G. says:

      “Scarlett, though, the worst. She manages to be irritating and boring at the same time.”

      Thank you for articulating why Scarlett has always been my least favorite character on Nashville! I loved when Juliette called her out in this episode.

  13. sg says:

    While I enjoyed this episode for the most part, for me it would have played better if the push for the new music was more about Zack being an egotist jerk and not knowing how to deal with his “grief” than focusing on the money and Highway 65 lack of it.

    Maybe I’m remembering wrong, but I thought one of Rayna first big fights with Jeff in season 2 was getting the rights to her music and back catalog. She wanted those when she created Highway 65, so Highway 65 would own the rights to those songs and all the money from the sales of that music. Which is why there is no way Highway 65 would have been struggling with money this soon after Rayna’s death. The cold hard fact is that as soon as a musician dies, their record sales surge. Someone of Rayna James stature; who was still touring, winning awards for new music and recording, and as well as had a huge back catalog; I’m sorry but there is no way they would have been hurting for money, especially in the digital age where the sales and money would have been instant.
    Don’t believe me, here’s some facts. The week after Prince died, 2.5 million of his songs and 654,000 albums were sold. 477,000 of George Michael albums and 103,000 of Wham! Albums sold after George passed away. David Bowie’s estate made $27 million in 2106 in music sales and he was the only one who actually had an album with new material, but of course all that money didn’t come from the new album sales. Michael Jackson made $750 million in 2016 more money than any celebrity dead or alive . His estates own the rights to his and the Beatles’ music . Elvis Presley made 1 million dollars in 2016 and he’s been dead for over 40 years.

    While I know this is a TV show, it’s still supposed to be based some in the real world. Every time they started to talk about the money, it took me out of the story and the moment.

    • z says:

      they lost a lot of money when Laura Benanti’s character(the one who accidentally killed her husband in self defense) suddenly left and also when they paid that rocker dude (actor from Frequency) to not sue them. Also they just bought Luke WHeeler’s label. And those dont all amount to just a meager $1 million.

      Also, it was Tandy that “lent” them her money for Highway 65 to get off the ground

    • Freyalinn says:

      I have always had a problem with how the writers have dealt with money in this show. Even from season 1 they claim Rayna diden´t have any money, sure Teddy did some bad business deals and they lost their money but Rayna beeing the big star they say she is she would make new money fairly easy. Then when her father Lamar died she should inherit pretty much I would say. One could say they weren´t always on good turns with each other but I don´t think he would cut her from his will completely. At least the girls should gotten trust funds, not a word of that we heard.

    • HGM says:

      This. Even if the new record isn’t ready yet, her catalog would be selling by the bucketful. Certainly they are stretched by the Wheelin’ Dealin’ purchase, but did neither label have anything in the pipeline? That would be horribly bad planning by both labels!

  14. Sherry Kenachu says:

    I would love to buy the final duet cd…..some beautiful music and I love how they all blended with Rayna. I’m going to miss her but I think the show will do just fine with the rest of the cast. It definitely was a shocker!!!

  15. Debbi Clemons says:

    Thought it was a great show last night, so glad that it’s still on TV. Wondering what the name of the song that they did, I want to buy it. Music is just great…keep up the great work !Very well written show!

  16. Debbi Clemons says:

    Nashville is great, wonderful writing, and great music. Does anyone know the name of the song they all sung at the end of the show, I want buy it!

  17. Celina says:

    Scarlett is pregnant? Really??

    “Less soap”

    Car crash again
    Pregnant character that for a while doesn’t know who’s the father. Again

    Been there, done that. Sincerely, ABC.

  18. Sissy says:

    Just go ahead and give Chip Esten his Emmy! And Kimberly, you rock girl! I almost fell out of my chair laughing about those ‘Minnie Pearls’! The image of Donna Reed (yep, I’m a golden oldie) kept coming to my mind whenever Scarlett was on the screen!

  19. Babs says:

    So happy that Deacon is stepping up and not resorting to drinking! Chip is an excellent actor!

  20. When did Maddie Conrad/Claybourne suddenly become Maddie Jaymes? I’d really like to see a lot less of her going forward. Chip has been great, but right now this show is a hot mess. Kind of reminds me of the ABC days – all over the place.

  21. Lisabeth says:

    I absolutely love this show! Can’t wait to watch more, after my shock of Rayna’s death I think the midseason finale was a great way to end!

  22. Kelli says:

    Well I was just about to say that I like the way Nashville is going on CMT but then they go and do the most overdone thing on TV and make Scarlett pregnant. So trite! I have come to expect more from the writers. I mean they already had one unplanned pregnancy with Juliette. Does no one know what birth control is anymore?!?!?! Ridiculous!!!

  23. count me among those that would like to see that last album… the songs we have heard are stunning. I figured once Deacon heard Rayna tell the camera that she trusted him with her, her girls, her music and that specific album he was going to do it, I loved the resolution with the music family they have created all contributing and helping him through it. It was beautiful.

  24. Sherry Coiulter says:

    I am enormously devastated and do not understand. It is almost like the show was built around Rayna and then they let her die. I really do not think it was her idea to leave, all actresses say that to save face.. BIG MISTAKE! I do not thing the show will be the same. I can only see one more season and then it will be curtains for Nashville. I love the rest of the actors but the circle is not complete anymore. There was so much more story line with Rayna. Shame on you all the letting her leave. My heart is broken because these actor become like family. Good luck at keep this show a live. Maybe moving the show to CMT was another mistake.

  25. Traci says:

    In the season finally last year, Scarlett told Gunner she was in love with him, Then all of a sudden she doesn’t know and has feelings for someone else.This so does not make any sense, plus the fact that she was feeling embarassed because she forgave Gunner for everything he did, and who he slept with, while she had moved on herself, saying that people will look at her differently for taking him back..Is this not what Rayna did over and over again with Deacon. Scarlett and Gunner have always been my favorite couple, but I dont know how much more of this I can handle!!! And now she’s pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is!!!

  26. Norma says:

    I think they should release the 2 songs that they were working on in the studio for the album. They were really good!!

  27. Rosie Mock says:

    My husband and I absolutely love this show and were sad when Rayna passed away and no longer on the show as she was one of the main stars. We hope they continue this show.

  28. Fan says:

    Great episode. Of course it will sell. I’m surprised they didn’t say that digital uploads of her old albums appeared on charts like they usually do when an artist dies. The album will sell.
    I admit to sitting straight up and saying the “Da F-word?!” when Scarlett dropped that bomb. The baby will be Gunnar so we can get them back on track. Can’t wait!

  29. Michelle says:

    Love , love, live the show and the music and can’t wait til it starts back up.

  30. Lani says:

    I can’t believe they didn’t take the opportunity (when Zack was comparing Will to Deacon) to say he was “born of the same clay.”

  31. tjchurch2001 says:

    I missed the opening minutes, so I didn’t know there was any discussion or consideration of a tour.

    That said, Scarlett’s announcement was not such a surprise for me. Not only had I seen the clip online a-night-or-two before, but her changing reactions to Rayna’s kids & their words & actions screamed “hormone issues” to a guy who grew up around mostly females.

    Regardless, I had missed the music, so I liked having more of it, though I was not as much of a fan of this episode’s offerings as I have been in the past.

    Two main complaints, however: One male (think it was Avery) seemed to suggest to others they act toward Deacon differently (let him have a say in things, etc.), & I agreed, but never saw anyone (even the “suggester” try it. Also, many talk when someone dies, guessing at “what they would have wanted”. I know Rayna was fictional, but she would NOT have wanted half of “Music City” recording one of her songs, especially one it seemed she never got to release herself, nor recording all/each of their vocals (& maybe a few guitars) over hers she couldn’t redub or anything to make louder.

  32. Rebecca says:

    I dont like that Rayna dies Scarlet should know it’s Gunnar’s baby Juliet is getting mean again “not good”

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      ALL of those things are opinion, & I’m sure many (myself included) disagree.

      Most-specifically, Scarlett not sure who the father adds drama to cover for the show, but is also REALISTIC!!

  33. ella jasper says:

    This episode was the best in a very long time. I hope it is a sign of things to come. When the cast is together, when people are singing, that’s what we love. These actors have such chemistry in scenes where they are together, at the awards, making the single. You really need to do more of this. That’s what will keep us coming back, the music. Great job with this episode.

  34. Pia says:

    1. My impression for the duet album was that most of the songs were completed with Rayna and Deacon, and that there are maybe one or two left with only scratch vocals.
    2. “Not graceful” is exactly how I’d describe what Scarlett said, but I think she means that it is good for Daphne to be free of shallow people’s obsession for a little while longer, since she is not a young woman yet.

  35. Kourtney says:

    I really hope the baby is Gunnars! They need to be together they love each other ! I can’t wait for more episodes, even tho these last 3 have made me cry like a baby!

  36. Karyn Owens says:

    I absolutely loved the season finale. Charles Esten should get a Grammy Award for that episode. What a convincing portrayal of a man trying to cope with the death of the love of his life! This show is one of the best shows on TV!! Great story!!