'Nashville' Finale Recap: Will Comes Out, Deacon Goes Under - Rolling Stone
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‘Nashville’ Finale Recap: Will Comes Out, Deacon Goes Under

Country’s gay rising star is in the closet no more, while Deacon reconnects with Rayna before his big surgery

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Deacon and Rayna share a hospital bedside kiss on the Season Three finale of 'Nashville.'

ABC/Mark Levine

Season Three of Nashville ended Wednesday night with five scary words: “I have some bad news.” Spoken by Dr. Caleb to Rayna, after Deacon and his sister, Beverly, both went under the knife at the hospital, such an admission could only mean one of three things: Deacon didn’t make it, Beverly didn’t make it, or the hospital cafeteria ran out of corned beef hash. OK, so that last thing seems very unlikely. There was some good news, though, for fans of the ABC drama. Nashville was renewed for a fourth season, so it’s not like that whole Sopranos thing where we’re left to forever wonder about the fate of the characters while “Don’t Stop Believin'” plays on an endless loop in our heads.

Related: Connie Britton Goes Behind-the-Scenes of ‘Nashville’

Actually, this episode had another song on a loop, as Deacon’s very unsettling dreams of a dirt nap were accompanied by Rodney Crowell’s fantastic cover of “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such As I,” (from Crowell’s Ain’t Living Long Like This, his 1978 LP that also has him covering “Elvira.” Yes, seriously.)

As nuts as that might seem, that’s nothing compared to Juliette. That may sound rather insensitive, as we know there are many non-fictional women who have actually suffered postpartum depression, but Juliette has become increasingly unhinged since the birth of her son. Or did she have a daughter? Even Juliette herself doesn’t seem to know, what with her “classic detachment,” as the therapist Avery goes to for help puts it, noting that she’s probably showing signs of irritability, moodiness and lashing out. “Irritability, moodiness, lashing out? That describes my wife before all this,” Avery says. (Shit, that describes his wife in Season One before she even met him!)

Juliette’s determined to deliver her album to Rayna for Highway 65, but in the process, she decides to drop Glenn, her longtime manager, and pick right back up with that sneering Grumpy Cat, Jeff, who very nearly became the father of her child instead of Avery. She also decides to dump Highway 65 and offer her album to Rayna’s ex, Luke, and his Wheelin’ Dealin’ label. To his credit, Luke declines the offer, which almost makes up for all that creepy business with Jade St. John. Almost.

After Juliette lobs a glass snowglobe across the nursery, she brings home a new one to replace it. But Avery has already sent the baby to stay with Emily, Juliette’s assistant, because, he says, she’s not safe there. Avery was already upset about Juliette’s sickness, but he’s so sickened himself by her new unholy alliance with Jeff that he packs a bag and takes off.

Meanwhile, Will’s dad can’t wait to meet the lady in his son’s life — he’s in for a long, long wait. Since he clearly is aware that his son has had same-sex attractions in the past, Will’s dad isn’t all that shocked when a tabloid story breaks, questioning his relationship with Kevin. But Will assures him the story isn’t true and that he and Kevin are just pals — pals on a “working vacation” who just happen to like walking around shirtless while constantly touching each other in a totally manly way. Yeah, that’s it. A press conference is planned to get the story under control and Will asks Kevin to deny their relationship. Needless to say, his partner is not happy about it at all. But Kevin does, indeed, lie to the press, leaving Will free to either deny away or to come out as an openly gay male country singer.

Surprisingly, he bravely chooses the latter. We’ll find out next season just what the impact of that decision will be on Will’s career, but, in simplest terms, he has more likely than not just “Dixie Chick”ed himself. Will finally has the courage to say, “I love you” to Kevin, however, and isn’t all that concerned about the repercussions of his coming-out. Yet.

Layla, who has apparently been declared the victor in the Twitter war (That’s a thing? Really?) with Jade St. John, is doing a radio interview as Jeff feeds her answers. After Bucky calls Rayna with concerns about Layla’s contract and Jeff’s control over her, Rayna calls Layla and leaves her a message saying she wants to talk. Layla deletes the message so Jeff can’t hear it. OK, so she may have given up a Harvard education to pursue music, a reality show and marriage to a gay guy, but Layla seems to have finally smartened up. Realizing it was Jeff who sent out the tweet seen round the world, Layla brandishes a golf club and goes all “Before He Cheats” on Jeff’s nice, shiny car. Since Luke has already called off their friendship after Jeff failed to inform him about Will being gay, let’s hope Jeff’s new alignment with Juliette makes up for the fact that he’s losing friends faster than Nashville’s soon-to-be-ex mayor.

At this point, it should be noted that in real-life Tennessee politics, both alleged and convicted criminals have been known to remain in office even after landing behind bars, so, if the fictional Music City reflects that, Teddy could conceivably sail through the next chapter of his life just fine. But refusing to cooperate with the Feds to expose a prostitution ring, not to mention the fact that his ex-wife Rayna’s record label might have been funded with dirty money, will more than likely alienate him from a few of his constituents. Not to mention his friends and family. 

While Dr. Caleb is dealing with Deacon and Beverly and the liver transplant, he’s also thinking about taking things to the next level with Scarlett by asking her to move in. Hopping across the bed like a parkour master, Scarlett says, “I think we should do it.” She means move in together, but presumably, they “do it” a lot now. But if Caleb is about to tell her that her mother or her uncle died on the operating table, that could be the end of Scarlett’s bed-hopping days — with Caleb, anyway. 

Kylie asks Gunnar to go to Austin with him, since she’s not sure how it’s going to go with her parents. He wants to forget the kiss they shared, but she still wonders if there is anything between them. Well, yes, there is, as a matter of fact, and her name is Scarlett. Later, after they write a song together, Scarlett and Gunnar lean in and kiss. Or do they? (Cue “Don’t Stop Believin'” again.)

Just before he goes under the knife, Deacon proposes to Rayna. He tells her about his scary dreams and she says, “I’ve got dreams, too, about you and me getting old together.” They say their unofficial marriage vows to each other before Deacon is wheeled into the operating room, where he’ll be until sometime in September, listening to Rodney Crowell.  

In This Article: Charles Esten, Nashville


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