Nashville took some time to build its audience, and to the network’s credit, ABC stuck with the drama that perfectly poises melodrama with dang good music and a cast worth giving a second, or more than a second, look. Some fans may have wondered what was going on in March with all those weeks of past episodes, but the series promised a big finish, and now that a second season is for sure, it makes the final episodes of this season all the more satisfying. This week’s, “A Picture from the Other Side of Life” explores the price of love from very different perspectives.
Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten) are reveling in their ever smoldering and newly rekindled love, as Rayna promises to introduce him into her life and her daughter’s lives “personally and professionally” at her own pace. For now, Deacon will settle with stolen kisses at shows, like at the Grand Ole Opry tonight to launch Rayna’s new label. Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) talk over some issues about finishing song ideas and the always right Juliette being “overserved” after Avery’s debut as her guitarist. Juliette has bigger fish to fry, figuring out how to destroy the sex tape that Dante (Jay Hernandez) has hovering over her career. Uncharacteristically, she makes a smart move, wanting to put her story out on The View instead of pretending to keep everything shushed as she initially tried. She takes a segment in practice, and her team applauds her courage, but her mother, Jolene (Sylvia Jefferies) has a plan of her own, thinking she will come through for her daughter this time.
Deacon, Rayna, and the girls, are doing just dandy on the cozy dinner date, until Teddy (Eric Close) crashes the new boyfriend bonding. He and Rayna spar over respecting boundaries, and Rayna reminds him that whatever their secrets, she always has portrayed and respected his place as father to their daughters, and Daphne (Maisy Stella) was “born of their love”– loaded words there. Scarlett (Clare Bowen) is brimming with joy over her Opry debut, as Gunnar (Sam Palladio) flippantly drops out dress preferences, but hardly has time with his busy promotion commitments. When he throws out that “I do what I want” during a radio interview, Scarlett decides “enough of that,” as that attitude nearly does her in. Will (Chris Carmack) uses Scarlett in his own way, too, dropping her name to Rayna as he wrangles an audition. The walk on turns out to be a wonder, as Rayna really likes this “real cowboy.” Dante ups the price of the SD card to $10 million, seemingly making it easier for Juliette to publicly tell the people “what they already know.” Scarlett adds bite as she comments “nice interview” to Gunnar, along with the apology that she sorry if “the Opry isn’t outlaw enough” for his new image. Rayna and Bucky (David Alford) celebrate the new names on their label, as Rayna is served papers, named on a restraining order from Teddy, barring Deacon from getting any closer than 100 feet from the girls. When Rayna confronts him, asking “What happened?” he simply retorts that he took her father’s advice and “grew a pair.” That kind of dialogue is part of why fans keep tuning in by bigger numbers!
Jolene scores some OxyContin, but this time, it’s part of settling the score with Dante. She makes a call to deal with him to get the SD card, saying she’s too in love not to do something. Speaking of love, when Maddie (Lennon Stella) probes into mom’s relationship with Deacon, Rayna replies that “that’s grown up stuff” and “private,” but will be shared when Maddie gets older. Beware the impatience of youth! The Stella sisters now get title credits, and bring refreshing realness in their roles, in music and acting. Rehearsals for their CMA awards presentation get ridiculous between Juliette and Rayna, as Juliette can’t suck it up and say scripted lines, and Rayna reminds her that even if she gets the award, it doesn’t mean “you’ve earned anything” before openly walking away with Deacon. Jolene clearly is pained as Juliette confesses, “I’m a train wreck,” however true the words. A club gig turns into a brawl for Gunnar and Will, and they spend the night in jail, discovering more brotherly bonding, following their awkward overtures. Lamar (Powers Boothe) assures his daughter that he will handle Teddy, who has “gotten too big for his britches.” Scarlett calls to Gunnar to let him know she can get him backstage, but a very special delivery of a kitchen whisk from Avery brings tears to her eyes. She sings “Looking for a Place to Shine” like a true star, Avery’s smile shining at her from the stage lights.
Daddy Lamar ditches daughter Tandy’s takeover of his affairs, and demands his chair back at the head of the boardroom. Jolene strengthens herself with self-medication as she awaits Dante at the door. When he demands the money before the card, she goes to her purse, and fires her gun, defending her daughter in her distraught mind. She calls Juliette to tell her to cancel The View, but by the time Juliette arrives, the painful shrieks of “Mama” make for pivotal moments, and more painful memories to escape. Scarlett bails out the guys in jail, then bids them farewell. At the same moment Rayna is pleading with Teddy to “keep trusting me” regarding paternity and the girls, Maddie already has found the revelation that Deacon is her dad, disclosed in a tearful conversation following a dig in mom’s closet.
The truth isn’t done hurting. Tune in to the Nashville season finale, “I’ll Never Get out of This World Alive,” next week, and be on the lookout for Brad Paisley as a guest star, too.