Nashville's Series Finale Gives Happy Conclusions To Everyone Who Matters
Except one, but we won't talk about that.
An Innocent Request
Alert Type: Brayla Alert.
Issue: Missing her daughter while in L.A. for the Oscars, Juliette offers to send her jet and put Avery and Layla up so she can see Cadence.
Complicating Factors: Going around the bend again, Brayla tries to tell Avery that Juliette is manipulating him.
Resolution: Avery refuses to buy into the cuckoo and tells Layla he'd love for her to come, but he's going regardless.
Spoiler: When Brayla fails, Crayla will step in.
Name: Vince Pierce (played by Vincent Ventresca, probably best known as Fun Bobby from Friends). Age: 50-ish. Occupation: Music producer extraordinaire. Goal: To use his position of power to sleep with young, impressionable clients -- or at least to try to, as he apparently did with Rayna many years ago. (And since he's now Maddie's producer, you can see why she'd be worried.) Sample Dialogue: "I'm working with an artist out of my home studio in Williamsburg. You oughta come on out!"
I Love You OH SHIT
Situation: Encouraged by her manager, when Gunnar returns from his trip with Autumn, Scarlett immediately tells him she loves him.
What makes it awkward? Autumn enters with Gunnar still doing his best large-mouthed bass impression and makes it clear they're now an item.
How is order restored? Scarlett leaves the room with a quickness, as pretty much anyone would even if Autumn weren't involved.
A (Mostly) Gay Old Time
What's the occasion? Bigot Cynthia Davis won't have Will on her show, so Will gets Kevin -- KEVIN!!!!! hearts x1,000,000,000 -- to get a bunch of people to protest in front of her Atlanta studio.
What are the refreshments? These refreshments are mostly spiritual: A rockin' duet from Will and Luke and a highly appreciative and supportive crowd (and see if you can spot KEVINXOXOXOXO in there):
Whose big public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Well, given that Davis's dickhead producer comes out and offers Will a spot on the show that's starting in fifteen minutes? Will's.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Okay, so as I already mentioned, Kevin is back in the picture, but what I didn't say is that when Luke suggested Will get in touch with him, he "offhandedly" hinted that Kevin is single again, and Will snapped to attention at that news AS WELL HE MIGHT. And Kevin is unabashedly proud of Will's newfound activism (I read somewhere that he originally attended Will's mom's funeral, but the shots were cut), and you'd expect this would be a turn-on for him, given that they broke up because of Will's self-hatred. And I could make you wait until the end for this, but I'm not a monster, so when Will haltingly asks if Kevin could ever give him another chance, this is the result:
THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN, and I'm counting Avery and Juliette getting back together. (Since this is the end, I have to hand it to Chris Carmack; he made me never stop caring about Will even when he was next-level frustrating. I look forward to his next project. Kyle Dean Massey can come too!)
Oscar Day Of Reckoning
Alert Type: Lawsuit Alert.
Issue: The story that Juliette was present when Jeff died is out in the press, thanks to Crayla and her insecurity about Avery going to L.A.
Complicating Factors: Jeff's sister vows to make a distraught (over Jeff's death, not the fact she's been found out) Juliette pay, both literally and figuratively; her case is bolstered when Layla, in an effort to shut down Avery actually talking to Juliette, calls Jeff's sister anonymously (although they've kind of met, IIRC?) and points her at Colt, the only actual witness to the whole thing.
Resolution: Juliette agrees to pay Jeff's sister $3M to make the whole thing go away.
Spoiler: Crayla is not the best at scheme.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Crayla, Crayla, My Girlfriend's Dumped
Hee hee! So as mentioned, Crayla tries all sorts of scheme-hatchery to stop Avery from going to L.A., which is SO FUCKING DUMB because she could have essentially gotten an all-expenses-paid trip AND free babysitting to boot. But instead, everything she does backfires: She's the only reasonable candidate for the person who tipped the press off about Juliette and Jeff at this late date, so Glenn figures that out posthaste and drops her as a client.
And then, when she offers Colt up to Jeff's sister, Colt lets Luke know he told Layla about Jeff's death at the wedding, and Luke, solid dude that he is, clues Avery in, at which point Avery SPECTACULARLY dumps Crayla, figuring out the extent of her crazy (i.e., that she targeted Avery from the beginning to get back at Juliette) along the way. I do think her claim that she grew to care for Avery is at least partially true, but that only makes her more pathetic and therefore more laughable. Sorry, Crayla; there were times when I thought you could be redeemed, but the writers apparently didn't want it that way, and moments like this make me feel like they might have been on to something. Hee!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Will vs. Cynthia Davis/Bigotry
At first, Cynthia Davis seems like she's going to run roughshod over Will, talking a mile a minute about "aggressively insinuating himself on viewer screens" this and "domestic terrorism of the homosexual agenda" that, but Will waits for the merest fall in her geyser of hate to interject that she sounds scared; she won't let him speak because she doesn't want her audience to see or hear him. Neatly played into a corner by Will's two weeks of media training -- very solid line item for Wheelin Dealin Records there, Luke -- she lets him go on that if her audience heard him, they might recognize him not as a gay man, but as a brother, cousin, friend, or co-worker. For a pat soundbite, it's extremely effective, and Davis can do nothing but stew as Will goes on that he was raised on her brand of intolerance, but he's actually a human being, a good son, and a good guy. "There's nothing to be scared of here." You guys, Will is an out and proud gay man. Our long national nightmare is over!
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
HAAAAAA HA HA SUCK IT AUTUMN
Ha ha! So Gunnar, because he is nothing if not an idiot, actually tells Autumn about Scarlett's declaration of love, and Autumn, at least putting the right amount of faux-sympathy for Scarlett in her voice, tells him Scarlett is manipulating him, although she probably doesn't mean to. And when Gunnar complains that Scarlett is killing the band, Autumn coquettishly -- although if I'm being honest, Alicia Witt is looking way too busted in this role to pull that off -- tells Gunnar he can tour with her solo. But the manager (Noel, is it? I really should know this by now, but then again, it's way too late to care) kindly suggests that the future of the band is less important that Scarlett's happiness, so Scarlett -- kind of hilariously sternly; Clare Bowen is going out with a bang here -- informs Gunnar in no uncertain terms that she loves him, and he can do whatever he wants with that information. And after Autumn gloats in Noel's direction about it being the Exes' last performance together, this happens:
I'm historically lukewarm at best about these two as a couple, but the way this sticks it to Autumn makes it at least 1,156 times more enjoyable. Hee!
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
An Open Letter
Hoo boy. So with no regular channel of communication to Maddie available to her, Rayna writes her daughter an open letter about her experience with Vince Pierce, and I have to say, as bland as Rayna has often been in this role and as awful as Maddie is generally, it's nice to see Rayna confronting this issue from her past (and this doesn't seem out of nowhere; Rayna has often referred to what a snake pit it is out there for young women in music) for her daughter's sake. You can read most of it in the image above, but the part where she talks about how Maddie or anyone else shouldn't be shamed or tricked into a sexual situation with any man, especially the ones we're supposed to trust, rings especially poignant this week NO REASON. (But on that note, I find it hard to believe the Huffington Post would publish Rayna's letter without extensive legal vetting even with Rayna not calling the guy out by name. But it's satisfying enough that I'm willing to allow it.) (Also, because I am a horrible person, I wonder if Helvetica is the proper font for public abuser-confronting? It's times like this I wish my esteemed colleague David T. Cole read my Nashville coverage.)
Owning Up In A Real Big Way
Juliette may have paid Jeff's sister a cool three million, but in her mind, that doesn't make up for anything, so instead of doing the usual red-carpeting, she gets hold of Deborah Roberts.I have an amazing team that works very hard to protect me. But I think some things just shouldn't be swept under the rug.Are you referring to the recent rumors about the death of your manager?Yes. The fact is that I was up on that roof the night my manager died. And I was up there because I was trying to commit suicide.Did you tell anyone? Did you call the police?No, I was so messed up on drugs and alcohol, I didn't remember it happened. Not until later. And that's when I disappeared from the public eye and I went to rehab. And I've been trying to put my life back together ever since.Juliette, my heart goes out to you, truly.I appreciate that. But I'm not doin' any of this for sympathy. I don't deserve it. I just wanted people to know the truth, and I want Jeff's family and friends to know that he was a hero, and he died savin' my life.
Innocence Lost, Wisdom Gained
Okay. So as soon as Maddie arrives at sketchy Vince's place -- although I will say there's an actual party going on with a lot of people -- Cash ditches her to go catch up with some dude who might have said hi to her once like six years ago, leaving Vince an opening to take Maddie to a secluded part of his place, pour them some drinks, and bust out mondo-creeper lines about "intimacy between creative people when they make an album." Luckily, someone in Maddie's life I don't recognize sends her a link to her mother's letter, which acts like the wave of cold water it's meant to be. Unfortunately, Vince isn't so willing to let her go, and I do like that the show has Maddie make her best attempt to get out of the situation while clearly illustrating that she's in over her head. And Vince hits all the rapist marks, "I thought you wanted to be grown up" this and hands on the thighs that, but luckily Deacon has been on Maddie's social-media feed like butter on grits (is that a thing? Don't email me) and shows up to prevent this from getting rill rill ugly just in the nick of time. And by not slugging Vince, he shows that he's over his anger issues or something -- even though doing so would have been more than warranted here -- and is content to sneer that Vince's rep is ruined now, even though I think there would be lawsuits to come IRL. (Also awesome; Maddie screaming at Cash for letting his happen, however unwarranted the blame may be, and Maddie going to Rayna and Daphne's New York show for a happy reunion.) (Yes, Maddie still sucks, but everyone else in her family is overjoyed she's back, so I can't begrudge that too much.)
Wrap It Up
Juliette and Avery talk on the phone, and Avery realizes Juliette's Jeff-killing bender happened right after he served her with divorce papers! Juliette tells him she's got to take responsibility for her actions even if it means losing everything, but Avery replies that that won't happen -- he and Cadence are still there! Awwwwwww let's end the episode right now!
Layla gets a call from Bucky that her album is charting great, but she's in tears about Avery! HEE HEE HEE LOOKS HILARE ON YOU LAYLA!
With Luke having heard from Colt that his ex split from her boyfriend, he calls Sage and asks to talk to her mother! Obviously we haven't even met her, but Luke deserves happiness now, so yay! (Seriously, Luke's entire fourth-season arc was coming around to champion Will! That's pretty great!)
The attendant on Juliette's plane can't believe she walked out on the Oscars, but Juliette tells her she had someplace to be! This is an explicit parallel between Juliette and The Comeback's Valerie Cherish, and I AM HERE FOR IT!
What I am less here for is Avery getting word at the airstrip that Juliette's plane sent out a distress call before ceasing to transmit! I thought at first that this ending had something to do with Hayden Panettiere checking herself back into treatment for postpartum depression, leaving her an out to depart the show, but it turns out the show shot a happy ending for Juliette and Avery; the studio just decided not to air it because they think it will land someplace else for a fifth season! But I can tell you in no uncertain terms that even if that comes to pass, I won't be covering it! So let's all pretend that Juliette, Avery, and Cadence end as one big happy family! It's what should eventually happen in any iteration, so why pretend otherwise!
And just to cap my coverage, although the show was pretty terrible toward the end, I'll remember it fondly, if mostly for Hayden Panettiere, Jonathan Jackson, and Chris Carmack! Thanks to everyone who read, and hope to see you for the next country soap, whatever it may be!