Post Mortems
Nashville Finale Recap Season 5 Juliette Avery Reunion Rings

Nashville Finale: EP Talks Avery/Juliette Reunion (and Rings!), H65's Chances

The record label Rayna Jaymes worked so hard to build may be in shambles, and if it does survive, it’ll do so without one of its marquee players. Still, Nashville showrunner Marshall Herskovitz says, we should consider the Season 5 finale a win… for Juliette, if no one else.

Even though Ms. Barnes spends the end of the hour wondering if she’s irrevocably messed-up, “She also does this remarkable thing to redeem herself,” the EP tells TVLine. He’s referring to Juliette’s pulling herself out of the running for an American Music Award and outing herself — via morally questionable journalist Mackenzie Rhodes — as having stolen Maddie’s song, while simultaneously using the power of the press to shame Zach into (probably) sticking with Highway 65.

“If you look at her across the season, she survives a plane crash. She heals herself. She finds God. She has failure in her career. She goes through so many difficult things in this year and finds the strength in the end not just to do the right thing but at great, great cost to her career,” Herskovitz adds. “To me, it shows growth in her character, no matter how miserable she might feel about it. She manages to do something really selfless at that moment. That’s what I love about her.”

In a moment, we’ll hear more of Herskovitz’s thoughts on the season-ender. But first, here’s a quick rundown of the crucial highlights:

* Zach plays hardball by emptying Highway 65’s bank accounts and turning off its electricity, forcing the company to set up a makeshift office at the studio. Kacey Musgraves comes by to hang out. It would seem like a party, except for Deacon’s fuming all over the place. When he finally figures out what’s going on in Zach’s head, he gently confronts the tech whiz, whom he’s realized hasn’t left “because you love it here and you don’t want it to end.” Deacon pitches a true partnership, where they make decisions together, but it’s unclear what the label’s future will be.

* When Deacon finds out what went down between Juliette and Maddie, he angrily informs Juliette that she’s no longer a Highway 65 artist. Maddie later loses the AMA to Katy Perry, but happily tells her dad that she feels “free.”

* Scarlett and Gunnar break up again. I did not think that was possible after they’d already broken up three times in the past two episodes, but maybe this one will stick?

* Upon learning about what Juliette did to make things right with Maddie, Avery drives home to Nashville in a terrible storm to hug his woman. She says she loves him, and it’s clear they missed each other a lot.

* Will and Zach break up.

* Alyssa kisses Deacon outside The Bluebird, shocking him. She later explains that she felt like he “needed” it. (Hear what star Charles Esten had to say about that scene here.)

* Deacon and Jessie hug at one point, and it seems like they both acknowledge for a moment that there might be something brewing between them. Daphne is still wary of the new woman in her father’s life, but she seems to be becoming friends with Jessie and Brad’s son, Jake.

Read on for Herskovitz’s answers to a few of our burning questions from “Reasons to Quit.”

TVLINE | Deacon and Jessie have a lovely friendship building in the back half of this season. Were you tempted to speed it up or slow it down even more?
I would say there was more conversation and even disagreement about the speed and nature of that relationship than anything we dealt with all year. And that was not just among the writers, but among the actors, as well. The idea of Deacon moving on was so triggering to so many people. Should he? If he did, what would it look like? How long would it take? That sort of thing. Frankly, we were never clear, in our own minds, what this relationship was. It’s not like we had a master plan.

I have to say this is closer to the kind of work that Ed [Zwick, co-showrunner] and I have done in all our other series that in some way, over time, was improvisational… in the sense of, well, what’s going to happen between these people? We don’t know. Let’s see what it feels like. We felt that [series creator] Callie Khouri summed it up the best one day when she said, “These are two people both of whom are carrying around such pain themselves that there’s just no way for them to be in a relationship right now.” Once she said that, it clarified for us what we were doing. And then there’s what happens when you cast the right person and what happens between two people. [Charles] Esten and Kaitlin Doubleday just knew how to play off each other. It was just some fortuitous workings out of circumstance that helped that relationship grow.

TVLINE | Is there a chance Highway 65 will survive into the next season?
Yes. There is a chance that Highway 65 will survive but they’re still facing the same kind of real difficulties record labels face these days. Like Zach says, this is not a charity. It still needs to somehow figure out how to make money. So put it this way: They survived this season. Whether they make it to next season is still an open question.

TVLINE | Are Juliette and Avery married? Divorced? What’s their status right now?
[Laughs] They are actually divorced and not yet remarried. They have decided to start wearing their rings again, which, by the way, perturbed many fans. Like, “Wait a minute, did we miss something?” This is something that the actors felt they wanted to do and I said fine. I didn’t realize it would cause a Twitter firestorm. But they are technically no longer married, even though obviously still very close and in love and very deeply connected to each other.

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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  1. iHeart says:

    you know what happened here with Maddie eventually losing, I was so hoping that in the season 1 finale that neither Rayna or Juliette wins the CMA in their category.

    • Jeanne says:

      You mean “Maddie”, not Rayna, correct?

      • fightfan3 says:

        no, IHeart was referring to season 1 when Rayna and Juliette were up against each other and one of them won the award (can’t remember who) and was hoping that it happened then as well like it happened this year when Maddie didn’t win.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I really wanted Scarlett and Gunnar to get back together and I’m really sad that they didn’t before the end of the season and they seemed to end the season even more apart, In hindsight I see that Scarlett really needs to work on trusting people and letting them all the way in and not pick them apart before she can get back together with Gunnar and their relationship wouldn’t be a complete disaster

  3. Jim says:

    I can’t even begin to figure out what the deal is with Scarlett and Gunnar anymore and why they are or aren’t together. All their scenes just have them saying nonsense to each other about their relationship and I can’t make heads or tails of it. Do they actually have any real issues or problems? Anything that feels true to their characters? No, the writers are just throwing “relationship issues word salad” out at the viewers now to try to justify keeping them apart for manufactured drama. I get that they were (originally) supposed to the sort-of younger versions of Rayna and Deacon, to kind of be a mirror to that relationship. And that means they need to be perennially on-again, off-again and have this whole long, tortured romance. But it long ago stopped making any sense, or feeling authentic, or being even the slightest bit compelling.

    • skyebright8 says:

      Yeah Rayna and Deacon’s issue was presumably his alcoholism. Maybe if they’d played Scarlett consistently as having issues from her mother it would work, but they just seem to make up new issues or introduce new romances regularly for G and S. It’s gotten to the stage where I just think they shouldn’t get together.

    • Amy says:

      Wow, Jim…so WELL SAID! I had been feeling ALL that and didn’t even realize it.
      Frustrated with that. The writers have GOT to do better with them (and with other things, to be honest)…because they are SO special together musically, and even as a couple have a unique chemistry. But they not only are being written badly but what you said…it ceased making any real sense a long time ago. FIX IT, writers!! This show still sucks me in somehow–I love the characters and actors and Nashville the city and a country music biz themed show….but so disappointed in so many things that have changed, not the least of which is a complete direction change by killing one of THE main characters.

    • Jeanne says:

      I’m tired of this tug rope game between Scarlett and Gunnar. No real romantic chemistry between them anymore. Just let the characters move on already. They are obviously not happy together.

  4. sladewilson says:

    Personally, I’ve always believed that, in the end, Scarlett and Gunnar will be together and probably be the one of the strongest couples because of all the absolute crap they’ve been through and put each other through. Now it’s Scarlett’s time to get her crap in order. Gunnar finally is on the road and PLEASE keep him single next season and have his songwriting get stronger because of growth. Take him to that new place so when they finally get together, it’s real and strong and then end the damn series.

    Love Maddie’s growth and Daphne is getting there but she’s way ahead of the game. Oh, and whoever doesn’t see Deacon and Jesse as the end game isn’t watching and listening….

    • Amy says:

      Oh I’m watching and listening…and agree re: Jessie/Deacon…and, while I don’t see it for NOW…I’m not mad about it. Chemistry. And “real life.”. I see it as part of his grief process…not too soon for that because life doesn’t stop while you are greiving, and people still come into your life, as she has his…and it will evolve.
      But that aside….I SO hope you are right with all you said for Scunnar…would love to see ALL that happen…and I don’t see that as no happening at this point, and not what maybe writers have in their minds too…I hope. Meanwhile, though…Jim is righ above…they just haven’t written their “angst” and “problems” very clearly…I couldn’t tell you what the problems really are!

  5. Pepper says:

    This show is mess!!! I kept watching hoping that it would find it’s footing (not much to watch on Thursday evenings), but it hasn’t. It’s like each episode has set of writers that have NEVER seen the previous show. Sad Scarlett, who cares? Juliette miserable and under utilized. Hadyen P deserves better than this, her character should have been elevated after Rayna’s death. Will has no storyline, except for a few lines in this episode. Deacon and the girls driving off in a convertible at the end? I hope they were going to the airport because LA to Nashville is a very long drive. I get that it was maybe a callback to the beginning of the season but, Rayna used to fly private.

    Maybe this season was all about Rayna’s death and how everyone was affected by it. Even with that they did a horrible job, with the exception of Deacon, Maddie & Daphnie. If the show comes back for another season, lets hope that everyone will get a fresh start and new storylines.

    • drhenning says:

      ummmm if the show comes back for Season 6??? Made a big deal of announcing it returns in January.. I was impressed that it got 22 episodes this season.. longer than most shows get in this day and age.. I wonder if they are doing that many next year?? I also figured when Marshall and Ed were hired to run the show, they were given a 2 year contract All the cross overs and product placements make it perfect programming for CMT.. Everything available on HULU sans commercials if you have that option paid for..

  6. ellajasper says:

    Very tired of Gunnar and Scarlett breaking up. Either put them together or STOP. Too soon for Deacon to even be thinking of another woman. Seriously, Rayna was the love of his life, he has her children with him, TOO SOON. And that kiss from what’s her name was just ridiculous. How did that even play into the storyline? I hope Jessie’s ex is not going to be in Season 6. How boring.
    And please get Avery and Juliette remarried and give those two excellent actors some screen time. Seriously. Jessie’s ex got more screen time than they did. You have two proven stars here and you relegate them to talking on the phone.
    I do love this show and I want it to succeed. Loved the music last night.

    • Amy says:

      Lots of good points (made by, noticibly, very few people…is anyone watching anymore here?) I agree about get Javery married again, and these two ARE very talented and need to be properly utilized. I just don’t get whyyyyyyy this show is so resistent, (especially now that it is on CMT… are you listeninnnng???), to going back to it’s roots and having the dramas revolve around the REAL (not imposed Zach style) music biz stories (remember when all the Country music old legends had cameos and roles?) Country is a mix of new school and also at it’s base, is steeped in TRADITION. S5 was like “Millenial time” at Highway 65. I realize it represents what’s going on with the changing music biz…but still…blend both. Kinda like Deacon/Zach “working togetherrrr” as he suggested last night. I don’t like Zach…but perhaps from that we might just get that story told…how you respect the art, the country roots and tradition and also bring it forward with today’s marketing tactics, to make Highway 65 thrive…and Reyna’s dream really succeed. AND THEN…she comes back in a dream or some visions or some “remembered scenes” perhaps with Deac? Or will that be just too sad? Probably. I’m stream of conscious rambling now. I’ll stop. 🤔😏

  7. Debbie Daubert says:

    I love the fact that though he had many opportunities Every didn’t cheat.

  8. Dawn Bennett says:

    Best thing on t/v
    I will not miss one episode

  9. The bottom line is that Gunnar is madly in love with Scarlett, but it is not reciprocal.