'Nashville' Recap: Midseason Finale - Rolling Stone
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‘Nashville’ Recap: Will Spirals, Deacon Lashes Out in Midseason Finale

Several characters are in potentially life-changing peril as the final season of the CMT/Hulu drama reaches its midpoint

Chris Carmack

Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) and his band, Last Highway, make a memorable TV appearance on the 'Nashville' midseason finale.

Jake Giles Netter/CMT

Nashville stuffed its last-ever midseason finale like a musical powder keg and detonated it with a frenzied performance that blew up on network television. The explosive action leaves a question mark hanging over the head of one series regular and could have serious ramifications for others. Meanwhile, Deacon, who has lately been enjoying his renewed status as lover-not-fighter thanks to Jessie, revisited his pugilistic past – courtesy of the actions of Jessie’s scummy ex, Brad. And Avery continues to ask, “Oh, Juliette, where art thou?” Actually, he knows where she art; he’s just not sure when or if she art ever returning… or if he even wants her to.

Scarlett, who has long been challenging Jude to take over as the patron saint of lost causes, invites Sean to the Bluebird to hear Deacon perform. Naturally, he’s reluctant, and not just because there’s a per-seat minimum. The next day, he has not only washed Scarlett’s blanket, he offers to go see Deacon, unaware that he’s already missed the show. Not to worry, there’s another show that she can get them into, even though it is sold out. From the look on his face, you can tell those last two words are as scary as the words “tax audit” to most people. He shows up that night, drunk, on edge and dangerously close to getting a “Shhhhh…” from the Bluebird staff. But instead of screaming “Free Bird!” at the top of his lungs and getting his ass kicked all the way out to the middle of Hillsboro Road, he rushes outside with Scarlett following close behind, attempting to calm him down. Scarlett tries to reason with him, telling him that in spite of the horrific things he has witnessed and experienced in war, he doesn’t have to feel like he’s the only one who has had to deal with something terrible. “You don’t got to get shot at to feel like the world’s closin’ in on you,” she tells him, in her own special Scarlett way. “It’s hard to be a person… without ever having been shot at.” We know what she means, because everyone’s definitely dealing with some kind of shit that we wouldn’t want to, but just for the record, we’re definitely in the prefer-not-getting-shot-at camp. The next day, Sean invites her to the horse barn where he sings a gorgeous song about bringing him an angel. Scarlett, who doesn’t know when to just nod and say, “That’s nice, bless your heart,” tells him a whole lot of people out there will want to hear what she just did… and that even though he’s not sure he can do it, he doesn’t really have a choice.

Daphne, who tells her dad she wants to make an EP, doesn’t get the reaction she’d hoped for, so it’s no surprise she secretly auditions to be “Nashville’s Next Country Star,” something Deacon wouldn’t necessarily want her to do even if Jessie’s scummy ex, Brad, wasn’t involved. She breaks the news to Deacon and Maddie and things go slightly ballistic, but she and Deacon eventually hug it out and he agrees to let her do it. She makes it to the top three in the competition.

Jake breaks the news to his mom that Brad is shipping him off to boarding school. Deacon offers to intervene, but, wisely, Jessie discourages that idea. Jessie bursts into Brad’s office and they argue, during which he calls her the “Apache helicopter” of parents. This from the “Tsar Bomba” of fathers. (Scary fact: Russia‘s Tsar Bomba was 3,000 times more powerful than the bomb that level Hiroshima.) During a standoff with Jake, who has locked himself in his bedroom to listen to the Grateful Dead’s “Hell in a Bucket,” Brad breaks down the door and busts in. Deacon, who has been quietly simmering in the other room, eventually cracks and goes after Brad, which is no doubt exactly what Brad was after. He’s out of there faster than you can say, “I smell a lawsuit.”

Avery, meanwhile, has taken off his wedding ring and is giving up on Juliette returning to him and their daughter. While he and Alannah have a talk about their respective relationship difficulties, the sexual tension between the two of them is rapidly reaching code-red levels. The smoldering glances between the two could set off the smoke detector on the tour bus.

Gunnar, however, is too busy to notice all of that so far because of Will and the increasingly off-the-rails behavior that has him about one step away from becoming a beefy Marvel movie villain. His first mistake (well, if you don’t count injecting steroids) is attempting to diagnose his low-grade fever and other symptoms on the Internet. When the band, which finally has a name,

Last Highway

, gets invited on ABC’s daytime food fest The Chew, Alannah has been promised the lead vocals on both songs they will be performing. She declines, but Will is already pissed. By the time the group takes the stage, Will is so feverish he imagines he’s Jimi Hendrix on the brown acid at Woodstock. After a scene-stealing guitar solo, he collapses in a sweaty, hulking heap, stunning The Chew hosts, the unsuspecting audience and his bandmates.

Nashville returns on June 7th, with the series finale set for July 26th.

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