Post Mortems
Nashville Finale Recap Season 4 Deacon Alyssa Kiss

Nashville Finale: Charles Esten, EP Weigh In On That Surprising Kiss

Deacon might’ve been taken mightily aback by the moment in Nashville‘s Season 5 finale when Alyssa kisses him on the lips outside The Bluebird, but co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz saw it coming from the moment the bespectacled strategy guru first walked into Highway 65.

“It was our plan to do that scene all along. From the moment we introduced Alyssa, one of the things we said was that she was going to kiss Deacon,” the executive producer tells TVLine. “But what we had in mind for that kiss was very different from what you saw.”

He explains that, in the original concept, Alyssa came on a lot stronger, and that the smooch was her way of making Deacon acknowledge the sexual tension that had been building between them during the season. “It was Rachel [Bilson] herself who said, ‘We haven’t played that. That’s not the relationship that has happened between us.’ And we realized she was totally correct.”

Instead, “We wrote to the Alyssa that emerged, as opposed to the Alyssa we thought she was going to be,” he says. “And that has a lot to do with who Rachel Bilson is and how she comes off on screen.”

Even on the day of shooting, star Charles Esten recalls, the liplock wasn’t an absolute sure thing. “We shot it both ways,” he says — with and without the kiss — “and they were just going to wait and see if it worked or not.”

Herskovitz says he’s satisfied with the finished product. “It was a combination of [co-executive producer] Liberty [Godshall] and [series creator] Callie [Khouri] came up with that wonderful line— I really don’t remember [who] it was — where she said, ‘I just see people’s pain too much. It’s just exhausting.’ It was so beautiful,” he says. “It makes you just love her. This wasn’t coming onto him, this was actually feeling for him and who Alyssa was with Rachel playing her.”

The finale marked the end of Bilson’s guest-starring arc; Herskovitz declined to comment on whether Alyssa will be around when Nashville returns. Meanwhile, the season-ender made a point of showing Deacon and Jessie lingering over a slightly-more-than-friendly embrace, possibly paving the way for the widower to find love in Season 6. (Read our finale breakdown with Herskovitz for more on finding the right pacing in the Deacon-Jessie story.)

“Kaitlin [Doubleday] is fantastic, and I’ve really enjoyed these scenes,” Esten says. “She was playing what I was playing: Two broken people that just happen to be around these other people that artistically they click with, and that they understand and feel for.

“And also, I like where it ends up, which is: Who the heck knows where it ends up?” he adds, laughing.

Grade the Nashville finale via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the kiss and everything else related to Music City.


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. Shaun says:

    It was a weird ending to a season.Hope the material is stronger next season.

  2. dsrbroadway says:

    Anything they can do to make it less of The Maddie Show in S6, I’ll be very happy. Really tired of a whole season revolving around her – including Rayna’s death.

  3. LEANN says:

    I don’t think the kiss felt right to me, Alyssa isnt right character for Deacon, she acts desperate, which is unbecoming & immature, wrong match.
    In the scene where Deacon & blonde lady (forget her name) she’s more mature, & felt right. It really seemed as if a kiss was going to happen w/ embracing hug/ then the endearing look between both, but no kiss (darn). This is what viewers are anxiously waiting for, I’d like to see Deacon & blonde (?name) hook up

  4. Salena Slayer says:

    The kiss was awkward. Also the reason for her doing it lame. Like I felt sorry for you and gave you a pity kiss. She seemed very professional and the kiss out of character. There should have heen something to draw them together first.

  5. LaVeda Berry says:

    Love this show. The acting is so great. I have laughed and cried. So emotional!

  6. izzie b says:

    That kiss thing was just so bizarre. The character of Alyssa has been laughable all season – she doesn’t fit with the Hwy 65 group at all. As far as the showrunners saying how beautiful a scene it was where she said “I just feel people’s pain too much, it’s just exhausting”….. That was actually kind of fakey and if he feels that it makes the show better, I’m afraid for the future of the series. I love all things related to the show and haven’t missed an episode, but that thing last night was just totally misplaced.

    BTW. Charles Esten is an awesome actor! Last night’s exceptional scenes: with Daphne on the sofa and even though I didn’t like it, the scene with Jesse where they hugged and had a moment – he just really emotes well. Love this show!

  7. The kiss came out of nowhere. Rachel’s character has barely done anything and they talked about sexual tension with Deacon?! What? Did they even have more than 2 scenes together?

  8. ellajasper says:

    Sexual tension? I guess I slept thru that part of the show. Never saw it. I felt like he was kissing someone his daughter’s age. You are rushing the Deacon and romance deal. Let him spend time with his daughters and his friends. And please find Will somebody to love. He’s such a great guy and always ends up with jerks.

  9. Beverly says:

    Kiss totally unnessary! No story line. Love show but I am getting bored with Maddie. . Devon to sad all the time, shape up and become the man we loved. Do what you have to do but get Jessie back. Also to many ads counted over ten in segment, more ads then show timed it. Need more singing also that was the plan when they moved to your station. Get back to original theme.

  10. Love this show!!!
    My mom and all her friends at the hairdresser cannot wait till January!!!!!!!!!

  11. Amy says:

    Yea, that kiss was just plain off. No real reason for it. No previous “sexual tension” or any tension. Akward. Weird. Not even acted well. And reason weird too. Seems like Marshall’s in his own head on this…the rest of us were left just scratching ours like wth was that for?
    I also agree about find Will a GOOD guy…be is SO talented and such a nice guy and as someone said “always end up with jerks” (except Kevin, who I liked but I guess Will didn’t love enough.) He needs more storylines, more performing…he is one of the best performers on the show.

  12. KiLovely says:

    It was okay, but waiting until January sucks! At least this ending was better than last season when Rayna died. That was so stupid to kill her off like that. It was just weird! So abrupt and out of the blue, like it was rushed, but they claim it was planned for a while. Moving on, I loved watching Deacon develop a friendship and maybe a chance for more with Jessie. Zach is an annoying brat that I was wishing they would have found a way to get rid of. He totally went back on his word to preserve Rayna’s vision of Highway 65, and starting this petty immature tirade. I was hoping Deacon would have found another investor and told Zach to kick rocks. Arrogant jerk! I’m still mad that he hurt my Boo Will! You don’t hurt Sweet & Dreamy like that. I guess that was his karma though for hurting Kevin. lol Next, I can’t take what they are doing to Scarlett and Gunnar. They’re like the younger version of Deacon and Rayna, but without the heavy drinking. These two are a hot mess! A total disaster but I feel like they love each other more than any of the couples on the show, so it pains me to see them like this. Juliette and Avery are totally proving to be a power couple! I l truly oved watching Avery and Juliette at the end! He was soooo supportive! Their love is so awesome! I looooove how much of a great guy Avery has turned out to be. Dear Lord I would love to have a guy like him! lol Scarlett and Gunnar are so disappointing to watch because these two just can’t get it together to save their life! I really hated the fact that Scarlett became pregnant by that other guy. I’m like, why are they doing this to these two. They don’t deserve this! I can’t wait for the next season to start, I loooove this show! They definitely had better season finales in the past. This was okay.

  13. luv2cook says:

    Absolutely hated that character and the kiss. It was ridiculous on every level. That being said, in my opinion this show got better every episode after Rayna’s death and Daphne’s stupid homeless friend storyline. I’m good to go with everything else. I also have to say that Lennon Stella is growing up to be quite beautiful.