The bourbon bottle Deacon found in his father’s car and hurled into the night in last week’s Nashville might as well have been a bomb, for all the damage it will cause for the Claybourne men.
The revelation that Gideon, Deacon’s estranged father and fellow recovering alcoholic, is drinking again pretty much obliterates the men’s fledgling reconciliation, showrunner Marshall Herskovitz tells TVLine.
“Going into the finale, Deacon feels that there’s just been too many betrayals,” the EP previews. “He cannot trust this man, and he’s got to draw boundaries, otherwise, he’s going to get drawn into it in some way.”
It’s a rough place for Deacon to be as the CMT series kicks off its swan song (Thursday, 9/8c), but Herskovitz says series star Charles Esten outright asked for it.
“I remember talking about this with Chip before the season started, and I remember Chip saying to me, ‘Whatever you do, just put me in the worst position possible,'” Herskovitz says, laughing. “That’s what I just love about him as an actor. It’s like, just make it as hard as you can make it for Deacon, because he knew that’s where the gold is.”
If that’s the case, consider the series-ender dipped in 24 karats of misery: While Deke is wrestling with his inability to forgive his father’s transgressions, an opportunity he thought impossible presents itself. Before the end of the hour, Deacon is caught up in reflecting on his life, which longtime viewers know hasn’t always been as good as his hit song suggests.
“For me, the anger is so intense because of how hard [Deacon] held off not letting him back into [his] life, to keep the wound protected,” Esten says. “Not only that, but it’s just a reminder of the frailty” that reminds Deacon he might someday lose his sobriety, as well.
Still, the actor previews, “It’s really satisfying to me that the arc finishes not just in the last episode, but maybe in the last line of the last scene of the last episode… If we’re talking about solving the Rubik’s cube of who he is and his deepest hurts, and trying to overcome them, I think we just did that.”