Juliette is meeting with a detective, summarizing the sad end of her mother’s life. They found coke stuff in the house, they found oxy stuff in the house. He asks if it could have been a drug deal gone bad, or perhaps even ... a lover’s quarrel? Juliette says that her mother and Dante did not have a romantic relationship, but she wouldn’t put it past ‘em. The detective tells her Jolene’s body is A-OK to be carted off to the funeral (he said that more respectful and police-y), so Juliette leaves the station, greeted by paparazzi throwing around phrases like “clearly distraught” and “drug-fueled murder-suicide.”
Rayna and her daughters are watching these sordid proceedings on TV, before Rayna shuts the gaucheness down. “No matter how old you are, it’s a terrible thing to lose your mother,” she says. “Or your father,” responds Maddie, rather pointedly. The youngest daughter Daphne gracefully segues the conversation into the CMA Awards. Rayna tells the girls that “Uncle Deacon” (ha always gross) has asked her to go with him ... as a date. She is seeing him, he is her BF, they are steady, they are doing it. Maddie’s like, “Oh, well, you know they used to date ... just before she married dad.”
At Juliette’s house, Deacon pops by to offer his support. He knows they’ve had some problems, but he does care about her and he cared about her mom. In fact, he tried to help her. She suggests that maybe he should not try to help people who cannot be helped. She’s fine, though, ain’t no thang, she is getting ready for the CMA Awards because “I’m going to win Female Vocalist of the Year tonight.” Deacon gets back home in time for a knock-knock from our friend Maddie. “I think that you might be my father,” she Maury Povich-es at him. Deacon says “Wut.”
Rayna and Brad Paisley are going to sing a duet. Brad Paisley is wearing his lucky cowboy hat, which is all cowboy hats, and Rayna is wearing a boob-revealing tube top covered in glimmering crystals, ice skater style, and blue pleather pants. What is this, CMA Night or Stefon's wedding? Brad gives her the eye without shame, since his real-life wife has been helping Teddy the Mayor (as the kids call it these days) "drum up some council support." “Where’d you get that top, from a gypsy stripper?” Uh-oh, Brad made an accidental racism!
Deacon arrives, and Rayna asks why he didn’t pick her up for the CMAs. So when she called this a “date” earlier, she apparently meant it very literally. She’s old-fashioned that way. On a date, the boy picks up the
girl mother of his secret daughter and drives her to the movies perform on the nationally televised awards show together. He also pays for dinner. On stage, she gives Deacon a sad face (on live TV in front of millions). They play the entire song, which lasts about a minute. “Hey,” Brad asks Rayna afterwards, “Did you know that every Persian is required by Sharia Law to learn how to weave a rug?” Oh, Brad!
Backstage, Deacon pops into Rayna’s dressing room for a quick rap session, i.e., “Maddie stopped by my place to ask if I was her real father, any word on that?” Rayna’s silence and lack of eye contact confirm his line of questioning. Good police work! He’s pretty upset about the revelation that Rayna hid the fact that he, like, fathered a child with her and so forth, but Rayna protests that he was kind of an alcoholic dickbag back then and Teddy was more than happy to take care of any ol’ baby that might come along. She just wanted to do best by Maddie. Deacon storms out. Rayna is crying, in her gown. “Miss Jaymes, you’re on in 40 seconds,” says someone who is not in the mood.
Meanwhile, Juliette is in her dressing room letting the suits and her old manager know that she’s fine. Totally fine. She’s so fine right now. They’re afraid she’s going to have a meltdown. “I am not going to have a meltdown!” she screams, as she has a meltdown. Everyone around her is insisting she take some time to grieve, but Three Mile Island Juliette is like “Grieve? I should be celebrating that it’s finally over! She’s not going to take anything else from me!” She pretty much immediately realizes she’s gone over the line, and calls takesies-backsies.
Deacon has decided to be a dummy and sit out the rest of the ceremony at a bar. The awards are on TV (weird bar) and they’re about to announce who won Female Blonde of the Year, when Deacon requests that the barkeep turn it off. “Not a country music fan?” “Not tonight.” Oh no — will reformed drinker Deacon do a full Andy Sipowicz backflip off the wagon? Faster than you can say "There stands the glass," the show is handed over to guest director Michael Bay for a dozen rapid-fire cuts of Deacon downing a drink from different angles. Seriously, all that's needed is Bruce Willis putting together a crack team to knock the glass out of his hand. Hahaha remember when Deacon went out on the road with the gross rock band? Hahaha also apparently the barkeep let Deacon pass out in a booth overnight, because the sun was most assuredly up when he got kicked out. What a loosey-goosey town.
“I left the show to come see you,” Juliette says. Who could she be talking to? Avery? A psychic? The Billy Graham statue? No, it’s just the corpse of her mother, sitting alone in a funeral parlor. Juliette says she’s sorry, and maybe she could sing for her. "How could you leave me? Now I have no one." That sort of thing. It is all very sad and dramatic, made even more so by the fact she’s still wearing her fancy CMA gown.
Rayna has also ditched the show, which is evidently looking now like three hours of Clint Eastwood's Chair Live! She's at home dealing with a packing-up Maddie, who's screaming things like, “So Deacon’s my dad!” Teddy loves both of his daughters the same, the parents argue, but she ain’t having it. She asks Teddy how he could marry Rayna, knowing she was pregnant with someone else’s child. Teddy basically says, “Well, I didn’t know for sure ...,” but Maddie is not placated. Rayna is a big fat liar and she’s moving in with Teddy.
Old manager Glenn shows up at Juliette's house, award in hand. She won! Juliette’s got everything she ever wanted ... or has she? (No.) All ready to go in her nicest funeral blacks (“I know a joke about funeral blacks,” says Brad Paisley), Glenn is like “Oh also there is oooone more thing” and gives her a nice paternal friendhug. He’s like *hug* and she’s like *cryface.*
Down at the graveyard, Rayna is commiserating with Juliette. “I lost my mom too, sux huh?” “Yeah bummers was your mom a dirt-poor junkie? It was not kewl, we were literally covered in dirt.” Juliette lived her whole life part dreading/part wanting her mother’s death (equal parts dread and desire are also the basic emotions one feels for constipation relief), but if she was good enough at all that singing stuff then everything would be all right. She’s afraid she’s not good enough. “No, you’re good enough,” Rayna says. “I invoke takesies-backsies on all those mean things I said.” Juliette, in response, asks if Deacon is coming.
Jolene’s small funeral. Avery shows up, which is kind of #inappropriate. Juliette does not actually put the CMA Award into the grave with her mom which is what I 100 percent expected, so congratulations on the restraint. She gets hugs from all of her favorite former rivals, hired goons, and business associates, some of which she has tried to bang. Speaking of business associates she has tried to bang, she tells Avery that she has a favor to ask of him. My favor is that he take Jolene’s place in the cold, cold ground.
Oh, do you know why Deacon couldn’t make it to the funeral? Because he was too busy getting into a fistfight with Teddy on the lawn of Public Square Park: Nashville’s Flattest Park. In order to enjoy this scene fully, please mute the sound and play this clip in the background (only three more days!). The two men yell at one another about Maddie and Rayna and Deacon being a drunkard. Deacon very much gets arrested for assaulting the mayor in front of the courthouse.
The Fallout/The Memorial Service
So, Deacon’s puking off the side of his porch. Gunnar has arrived just in time to watch, and asks if he’s okay. “My key doesn’t work,” and the door opens right up for Gunnar. “You’ve been drinking! J'accuse!” Gunnar says as Deacon picks up a brown bag full of suspiciously clinking bottles. “I just came by to get some advice on how to get your niece to want to bang me again,” (we’ll get to that nonsense later) but Deacon slams the door in Gunnar’s face, which everyone should do, sober or not. Gunnar calls Scarlett and tells her to call Coleman, Deacon’s sponsor.
Coleman and Scarlett arrive. Being a sponsor must be exhausting, because drunk Deacon is ANGRY, SMASHING Deacon. He yells that Gunnar isn’t good enough for Scarlett, that he wants Coleman to get out of his house with that AA “crap,” and Deacon and Coleman tussle and grapple and Greco-Roman and it’s supposed to be scary, but it’s kind of funny. Coleman gets the upper hand, points at a frightened Scarlett, and is like “Look at what you’re doing to her! She’s wearing an unwound skein of yarn around her arms and has decided ‘likes to clean’ counts as a personality!” Gunnar and Scarlett exit, and Deacon passes out.
Coleman has stayed and played babysitter through the night, however, and Rayna told him everything that happened. About the daughter stuff. Deacon says he wants to go to a meeting, and that he is pretty :( about 13 years of sobriety going poof. Haha you know who will definitely blame herself for this? Maddie. I know she’s been kind of bummed about secrets lately but for the good of her psyche this should probs stay under wraps.
Reconciliations, in brief: Rayna and Maddie. “I loved Teddy and wanted you to have a father who loved you.” HUGZ. Juliette and Deacon. “I should have been there for you.” “It would mean a lot if you came to her memorial at The Bluebird.”
The detective from earlier is again talking to Juliette, and lets her know they found an SD card all mangled up in her mother’s garbage disposal, but the nerds down at the lab were unable to get any data off of it. She got a way better detective than Gunnar’s dead brother, huh? The detective says it seemed like a “deliberate act” (no shit?) and that she’s welcome to keep the card. The detective leaves, and *gulp* Juliette gets a letter from Jolene, a suicide note/confession. Juliette realizes that her mother did the whole murder/suicide thing on purpose to save her from scandal. Kind of backfired, but at least there’s no sex tape? Just a dead mom. God takes public sex videos out of one hand, and puts your dead mom in the other. It's almost Buddhist.
The Bluebird interrupts its regularly scheduled writers in the round or whatever for Jolene's impromptu memorial service. “My momma passed away, she was kind of a mess.” Yikes, dial it back. “But she was my mess,” and so on and so forth, and her “biggest dream” was to see her daughter sing at The Bluebird. They would probably all be happier if she had chosen a dream like “my daughter should go to college,” but here we are. Avery is her guitar player on her mournful dead momma music, which plays over the end-of-episode montage. And let's hear it for the "Addicted to Love" backup dancers string section!
Surprise, you know who is not contrite at all? DEACON. He broke Rule Number One, mixing his pills and booze. A pill’d out, drunken Deacon pops into the Bluebird long enough for Rayna to notice him and follow him outside. Lots of yelling and literal finger-pointing ensues, and she takes the wheel of his car. They careen along down the road, yelling at one another. Deacon has stashed a bottle, and as Rayna tries to snatch it from his hands, oh nooooo there is a car crash! It’s in slow motion and everything! There is a POV looking out of the windshield even! It is such a TV car crash, you can almost hear the preferred music. ("Let me play it!" — Avery.)
The last image of the season is of a distraught but beautiful Juliette, with a single tear rolling down her cheek. She, at least, has definitely made it out of the season alive. Can the same be said for Rayna and Deacon?
And The Rest...
The Cumberland Deal-Breakers
A dude named DASHIELL BRINKS calls up Teddy (that character was named after looking at the bookshelf and then seeing a commercial for a home security system, guaran-fucking-tee it), and it turns out he’s with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Music City Credit Union Cumberland Project Loan (Embezzlement), can I meet with you? Blah blah. Teddy meets with his lawyer about Peggy being a big ol’ embezzler on his behalf, and how he thought Lamar was going to make it all go away.
And oh, speaking of Lamar, he is in talks about that baseball stadium again (is he a businessman or sports fan? serious question) and Tandy is like, “But daddy, I wanted a mall!” Lamar promotes some other guy and Tandy is like, “You can’t demote me, I quit.” Chandler HomeShield later approaches her to have a little conversation about her father.
Teddy meets up with Peggy, Deep Throat style in a parking garage. She tells him that she knew all about the government, as they approached her already and offered immunity. She told Spillane FrontPoint nothing. Why? Because she is pregnant! It would be great if she were pregnant by Deacon, like everyone else Teddy has a relationship with.
Scarlett & Gunnar & Avery & Will
Gunnar’s producer is right pleased, he has found Gunnar’s mugshot online! Did he have Google Alerts or something? That was fast. Gunnar confesses that the lyrics belong to his Dead Brother, and they are his brother’s life and words. “So you stole these? That’s not Outlaw?” HE’S GOT YOU THERE! Well, you see, his girlfriend is not a fan of his new dirtbag persona, and the producer is not a fan of him having a girlfriend he’s willing to throw away success for even though he’s “not going to remember” her in 10 years. HE’S GOT YOU AGAIN!
Upstairs Cowboy Will thanks Scarlett (a child’s bucket of tarnished, gummy pennies) for bailing him out of jail. He says that Gunnar spent the night on his sofa, and they should probably figure things out. If she wants to. Which she might not want to, because Avery arrives for the BRUNCH DATE the dynamic duo of Mr. Sympathetic and Miss Charisma have set up. She tells Avery that Gunnar was not at her Opry performance last week. He says she was “truly great,” and his soul patch slides off of his face and splashes in his mimosa. She’s an “artist” and whatnot, and Avery’s big regret is that Gunnar was the one who brought it out of her instead of him. I would think his biggest regret would be that blown record deal. He invites her to an upcoming gig, and even offers to put her on the list. Ooh, looks like it’s serious again!
Gunnar delivers flowers to Scarlett, but she Ain’t Having It. “You can’t walk in here with pretty flowers and your hair combed right!” Yeah, Gunnar, don’t you know you two had a serious fight which means she is now basically dating her ex-boyfriend again? Actually she refers to Avery as an “old friend” as she clomps off to his gig. Now who’s the Outlaw? (Not Scarlett.) (Or Gunnar.)
Deacon barges into Will’s apartment, right as Will was getting intimate on the floor mattress with a rando lady. Gunnar is like “What about your gay thing?” and Will is like “I am going to be a country music superstar and the First Step is to nail a bunch of waitresses, where have you been?” Will tells Gunnar about Scarlett’s date with Avery (I am so tired of writing these sentences), and Gunnar goes to glower at the gig and angrily sip his beer. He is just so politely enraged at seeing Gunnar and Scarlett whispering together!
Then there is that fight at Deacon’s house. That was bad.
Even worse. Gunnar proposes to Scarlett with the most well-lit ring in the history of bended knees. Good luck, you trash clowns.
That’s it. Season One is done. Thanks for reading and watching all damn year. We’re getting our Wednesdays back, guys! Have any hopes for Season Two? Any ideas for spinoffs? (Deacon and Ghost Jolene solve mysteries is my idea.) Hear any good show rumors? Spot any cast members around town? Share all, below. C U this fall! Have a great summer! :)