Need to catch up? Check out the previous Nashville recap here.
Every tune has its final chord, Nashies, and now it’s time for ours.
Nashville wraps its six-season run with an episode that is simultaneously satisfying (in that it gives all of the main characters happy, or happy-ish, endings) and frustrating (in that I would’ve liked maybe more than five minutes of Javery domestic bliss). But in retrospect, isn’t that fitting for a series that often made me ridiculously happy, sometimes made me weep and occasionally made me roll my eyes in exasperation?
Before we get to the return of a certain redhead, please allow me a moment to thank you all for reading along all these years. Nashville was one of the first series I covered for TVLine. Knowing that you guys were right there with me when it came to Gunnar’s hair or Scarlett’s hemp necklaces or Juliette’s general lack of character progression prior to Season 4 made it a blast to write about this show.
Not exactly sure where I’ll next apply my talent for coming up with country-music-tinged double-entendres, but that’s a problem for another time.
Read on for the highlights of “Beyond the Sunset.”
CLAYBOURNE ON THE ROAD? | Bucky shows up at Deacon’s house in the morning and is practically vibrating with excitement: Since Deke’s Opry appearance, there’s serious interest in a new tour. “Who’s the headliner?” Deacon asks, clueless. “You,” Buck says. Deke scoffs, but Maddie and Daphne are excited for him. Anyway, the whole thing is tabled for a while when Deacon calls Zach — who has ditched the sweatshirt for a suit and is busy with staff at his Zach Welles for Senate 2018 campaign headquarters — and says he’s got an “opportunity” for the guy we all once thought might be gunning to kill Rayna. (We were wrong! It’s cool!)
THE GUYS RECONCILE | Will thinks it’s a good time to try to lure Avery back to their band, so Gunnar puts on his big-boy pants and asks Barkley to return. “What I’ve learned from this whole mess is, I find these girls and I think they’re just going to solve all my problems. But really, it’s time for me to grow out of that,” he says. Um, Avery? Have you not read a single recap I’ve written? I STARTED SUGGESTING THIS IN SEASON 1. #Hailey #NeverForget
Then the boys get into a fun bit of reflection that’s rewarding for long-time viewers. They think back to Avery as we met him, all greasy and lascivious and not-real-nice. Or, as Gunny puts it: “You were a total tool!” (Ha!) “I was insecure!” Avery counters. (Double ha!)
It’s a nice, light moment for Avery, who elsewhere in the episode learns that Juliette is selling her home in Music City and planning to move to a farm half an hour outside town. While she’s nattering on about how she’s going to raise sheep and goats and have a fresh start, Avery’s eyes narrow. “There’s something you’re not telling me,” he says, but she deflects, assuring him that he’ll be able to see Cadence as often as he likes.
AVERY KNOWS | Later, Avery comes into the studio while Hallie is recording. (Side note: It is a tragedy that we didn’t get more of Rhiannon Giddens singing in this show. The woman’s voice is like honey dripped over a piece of sun-warmed amber.) While they’re talking, Avery tells her about Ju’s farm dream, mentioning that his ex-wife’s impulsive actions remind him why he can’t be with her anymore… which prompts Hallie to blurt “She’s pregnant.” Normally, I’d take issue with Avery finding out this way, but we’ve only got about 20 minutes left, so I’ll let it pass.
“How could you keep this from me?” an understandably angry Avery demands when he arrives at Juliette’s immediately after. You’ve gotta give it to our girl: She keeps calm and tries to explain her actions in a way he might understand. “I was going to tell you. I just didn’t want to influence you or how you felt,” she says. “Avery, I love you, but I don’t want to trap you. I want you to come up to me and say that you need me and you want to spend the rest of your life with me, not because you feel like you have to save me or you’re worried about me, but because you’re worried about yourself without me. But you don’t feel that way anymore. And I will survive.” Damn, Avery, I’m about to say all that to her, and she’s not carrying my kid!
NASHVILLE’S NEXT COUNTRY STAR IS… | Nashville’s Next Country Star is down to the Top 3, and Daphne is one of them. (Jenny Leigh and the other guy But Brad gets to pick her finale song, and he chooses a huge, commercial number that she hates because it doesn’t jive with her stripped-down, acoustic aesthetic. Ilse is mad on her behalf, but Brad — shocker! — doesn’t care. “I’m just giving her a chance to sink or swim,” he maintains.
Gideon sends Daphne a good-luck card and necklace, which infuriates Deacon so much that he runs over to the motel and demands that his dad not manipulate his daughter. Gideon says he meant no harm, and explains that he was sober for 28 years but started taking “sips” of booze to calm himself after he lost his home in the storm. But he soon realized he couldn’t control it, and he knew he’d miss out on even more of Deacon and the girls’ lives if he didn’t do something. He promises that he hasn’t had a drink since Daphne found him with the broken glass, and points out that the bottle Deke threw last episode was full and had an intact seal.
“I can’t say I’ll never drink, but I’ll never be the man who hurt you again. And I’ll never hurt those girls,” he vows.
And though Deacon doesn’t love the idea, Daphne invites her granddad to the Nashville’s Next Country Star finale. She performs the song Brad wanted, but does so on acoustic guitar, which infuriates the Shiny New Records label head. Then, she loses the competition to Jenny Leigh. Daph holds it together until she comes off stage, then she cries to her family, who assure her they’re still very proud of her. Ilse swings by to offer her condolences, and… my, my, does Daphne’s coach have a thing for Deacon? Sure seems so by her offer to write with him when he gets back from his tour, which is like the Nashville equivalent of swiping right on Tinder. Deke blushes, and his daughters pick up on it. “I would not be opposed to that!” Daphne says.
#METOO FTW! | Alannah continues her weird flirtation (?) with Brad, even going as far as to head to his hotel room while they’re in Memphis for a gig. “You lured me here with the promise of a party,” she says, noting that he’s the only person there, and isn’t that sketchy? You already know what’s going to happen, so I’ll shorthand it: He is a physically aggressive letch, she pushes him away and has to hit him in order to get him to stop, he says she’ll never work again as she hightails it out of his suite.
Later, Alanna, Zach and Deacon march into Shiny New like they own the place… which they probably will in a few minutes. “Here’s what’s gonna happen, Brad. I am gonna offer you $15 million, and you are going to sell me Shiny New Records before we walk out of here.” Brad balks — the company’s worth a heck of a lot more — but it turns out Alannah recorded him attacking her in the hotel room via her phone’s memo app. PLUS, she’s got all the women he Weinstein’d before — including Jessie and the ones who agreed to settlements — to join her in taking him down. Looks like there’s not a fidget spinner in the world big enough to calm you down now, you porkpie-hat-wearing jackass! Oh, Jessie adds, “And one more thing: You’re gonna grant me full custody of Jake.”
ALL’S TERRIBLE THAT ENDS TERRIBLE | Hope you guys didn’t like Twig, because he’s the one somewhat sympathetic character who gets wholly shafted in this finale. Maddie likes him but doesn’t like-like him, which Scarlett picks up on as the chat. “OK, you listen to me: The only thing you need to do right now is to honor what you’re feeling at the moment,” Scarlett says. No, Maddie, you listen to me: DO NOT TAKE ROMANTIC ADVICE FROM SCARLETT
My cries fall on deaf ears, though, because Mads gives Twig some really nice, professional grade headphones as a sort of consolation prize, because she’s totally breaking up with him. Can you break up with someone you kissed twice? Eh, now Twig is crying and I feel bad and let’s just let this whole storyline go, shall we?
WRAPPING IT UP | As Juliette is packing up her house for the move, she sits down at a keyboard and starts to sing her feelings. And that’s convenient, because now we have a soundtrack for our time jump!
In a montage, we see:
* Daphne sign as a Highway 65 artist
* Maddie moving into her own place
* Zach and Will holding hands and looking happy, apparently reunited
* Jessie and Jake watching a scary movie together
* Gunnar, Will and Avery putting out an album as The Last Highways
Then we get to Avery pulling up at Juliette’s farm, where she’s pushing Cadence on the swingset. As she turns around, we can see that she’s very pregnant. Avery wastes no time. “Juliette, I need you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. And if you would — ” She interrupts him. “Yes.” They cry. It’s soooo what I wanted to happen… last season. Or even 45 minutes ago. But I guess we get what we get and we don’t get upset.
Then we go to the Ryman, where Deacon is getting ready to go onstage. Scarlett is having a small heart attack about not being able to find her engagement ring (wha??), but then she does. Turns out, Scar is getting hitched to one of the other musicians we’ve never met before! (Side note: That’s actually Clare Bowen’s real-life husband, Brandon Robert Young.) Gideon also is there to tell Deacon he’s proud of him, but things still aren’t OK between them, and his presence sends Deke back into the dressing room to freak out and have a minute to himself.
Except, he’s not alone. As he flashes back to his wedding night with Rayna, suddenly we’re in their bedroom and he asks, “Is this real?” She appears in a nightie and silky robe, all glowy from their nuptials. “You bet your sweet ass this is real, honey,” she teases him, “and I’ve got the ring to prove it.” They talk about how they’ve had their hard times in the past, and they’ll probably hurt each other in the future, but they have to choose each other because they’re made for each other. “And I’m going to love you forever. Forever and ever,” she says, smiling. “Amen,” he adds. You know what they say: The couple that quotes Randy Travis lyrics together stays together… until a stupid complication from a stupid car crash sends one to the Grand Ole Opry in the sky. (Side note: Wouldn’t that Rayna reveal have had a lot more power if CMT hadn’t spoiled it in a teaser weeks ago?)
‘IS THIS REAL?’ | With that memory fresh in his mind, Deacon takes the stage at the Ryman and invites Gideon to join him. “This man has been a profound influence on my life and my music,” he tells the crowd as a stunned Gideon gets suited up with a guitar. As the band launches into “A Life That’s Good,” Deke suddenly remembers something. “Oh Dad, I’m sorry. Do you know this song?” he whispers. “Son, I know all your songs,” Gideon answers simply, and OK, Nashville, you got me a little teary with that one.
As they sing, they’re joined by Maddie and Daphne, then Scarlett, Gunnar, Avery, Juliette, Will and Rayna. WAIT WHAT? Yup. As the scene dissolves into real life, the fourth wall is broken and the show’s entire cast — including some actors we haven’t seen in a very long time — as well as the crew join in the singing.
And then it’s over, y’all.
Now it’s your turn. Grade the finale via the poll below, then hit the comments with all of your thoughts about Nashville‘s last hurrah.