***Spoilers. Lots of spoilers. All of the spoilers.***
I feel kind of bad about wanting Rayna to leave the show. I loved her and Deacon’s love story but wasn’t fond of her character overall. I had wanted her to leave so they would focus on the other characters but never thought they’d do it. And it was so freaking sad I feel bad about wanting it.
As it turns out they only did it because Connie Britton was ready to leave the show. Which makes sense. It was a good end to the character. It’s a good motivation for the story to move forward. Rayna and Deacon were doing well. They were in a good place and while it sucks that they didn’t get more time together they did get some time together and it was better to end it in a good place than in a bad one.
And it opens a lot of story up for Deacon and will allow them to expand the screen time of Maddie and Daphne. So, while it was extremely sad, it makes sense.
Back to this episode, I don’t usually praise the cinematography of Nashville. It just isn’t a show that usually has amazing cinematography but this episode was truly amazing visually. It has some shots that were stunning and overall was much more cinematic than usual.
I don’t need to praise the acting because that is a given but the Stella sisters are the stars of this episode. Maddie and Daphne have a lot on their shoulders, including a potential custody battle (because apparently everyone has forgotten that Maddie is still legally emancipated) and Lennon and Maisy Stella do an amazing job portraying emotions they have likely never felt in real life. Which is something not many actors of any age can do convincingly. So, it is especially impressive coming from two so young.
They were already given them both more story but I really look forward to seeing more of them. Especially Daphne, who is the most underdeveloped character on the show and the most deserving of more screen time.
While I’m praising the acting (after saying I wouldn’t) Scarlett’s breakdown in the hallway after she is trying to handle everyone and everything and just…can’t….was brilliantly acted (and brilliantly shot). Even Gunnar was given some great moments (after being kind of a douchey dick in the last few episodes). He comforted Scarlett and gave Clay a moment of understanding as to how weird the situation was for him. It was a brief glimpse at the good guy that we know Gunnar is as opposed to the jealous and bitter prick he has been being lately.
The entire episode which spanned the time from the small and intimate funeral to the wake and then the meeting with the lawyer and the big CMT show to honor Rayna is brilliantly executed. It was a dramatic story twist that most people didn’t expect and it could have been over dramatic and cheesy and daytime soap-like but instead it acknowledged those possibilities and instead went another way.
Deacon’s mourning was low key and almost catatonic. Maddie and Daphne don’t act out. They just want to get through it. Daphne wants to be left alone but isn’t mean or over dramatic about it (and in fact Scarlett stays by her, seeming especially worried about her and doesn’t leave her alone at all and Daphne seems fine with this).Everyone is tired, numb and dragging.
The color is even washed out and the lighting is heavy on shadows.
No one has to fight or argue. Juliette gets the performance spot she wants without argument. Gunnar comforts Scarlett without words. Clay comes through for Maddie in the end. An almost fight doesn’t happen. The custody battle is even resolved without becoming a battle with first Deacon, not wanting to put the girls through court, tells Teddy, who is getting out of jail in 3 months, that he won’t fight him for custody. Then, after a tear-jerking performance at the CMT memorial where Deacon and Daphne hurry on stage to comfort Maddie after she breaks down during one of Rayna’s songs and Daphne then continues the song with Maddie and Deacon joining in, Teddy tells Deacon he is a good father and that he should take custody of the girls for now and they can work something out together once he is released.
It was a sad episode but I am sohappy they did it the way that they did. No cliche drama. Just numbness and shadows. It felt real. A pretty, stylized real but more real than these stories usually are.
Nashville airs on CMT Friday’s at 8pm.