'Nashville' season finale: Every kind of cliffhanger

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Image Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched Nashville‘s season 1 finale, stop reading now. We’re going to break down the cliffhangers, of which there are many.

• Rayna and Deacon were in a serious car accident. Predictably on a scale of 1 to 10: 9.5. I deducted .5 only because I originally thought Deacon — who fell off the wagon (and rolled off a cliff) after hearing Maddie’s theory that he was her father confirmed by Rayna — would be behind the wheel. Instead, Rayna succeeded in convincing him to let her drive them away from the intimate Bluebird memorial for Juliette’s mother, and a massive, distracting fight ensued. Knowing the accident was coming did make watching that montage brutal. But after it happened, it made me angry. We’ll just have to trust that the manipulation will be worth it: Perhaps this was the only thing that could get Deacon back in the program, and now Rayna may not want his forgiveness. Regardless, Charles Esten’s performance was wonderful: We’ve had a season to fall hard for Deacon, so like Rayna, we, too, have to confront our frustration at having our happily ever delayed. Watching Deacon unravel was painful, and his broken “I’m sorry” to Scarlett after she saw him attack Coleman was heartbreaking.

• Gunnar proposed to Scarlett. Predictability: 6. I mean, a proposal is a season finale staple. I just didn’t think that Gunnar would believe now is the right time. And of course, it wasn’t. Scarlett didn’t answer him yet, but no way will she say “yes.” She needs to cut him some slack — he was reeling from his brother’s death, while Avery, who she’s forgiven, was just being an ass. But Gunnar has to prove he’s himself again for longer than, like, a day.

• Peggy is pregnant with Teddy’s child. Predictability: 5. Again, it was a bit of an eye roll when it happened because a surprise pregnancy is a finale cliché, but I didn’t expect them to tie Peggy to the show like that. She broke the news to Teddy when he asked her why she didn’t take the immunity deal from the U.S. Attorney’s office and turn on him now that they’re investigating the Cumberland deal. That deal is one of two things I’d rather not hear about in season 2 (the other is Lamar’s damn baseball stadium).

• Will saw a man, presumably an ex lover. Predictability: 3. After Will bedded a girl and insisted to Gunnar that he would do anything to make it as a country singer, he shook off a guy from approaching him at a bar. Okay, maybe it deserves a higher number. But it’s a pleasant surprise that the show is setting Will up for a story line of his own in season 2 — arguably its freshest and most interesting.

• Could Tandy turn on Lamar? Predictability: Oh, who even cares. Teddy appears to have deflected the heat to Lamar, so the U.S. Attorney’s office approached Tandy wanting to have a chat. Would she talk to take her spot at the head of the table? She quit after Lamar demoted her promoted a guy above her because of The Stadium Deal That Shall Not Be Named.

• Will Hayden Panettiere get an Emmy nomination for this episode? Predictability (at the start of the season): 0! We were rooting for Panettiere to get a nod before this finale — now the campaign is official. How about that scene backstage at the CMAs, where Juliette faked the crazy-eyed outburst that led to her saying she should be celebrating the end of the ordeal with her mother not grieving — then tearily realized she didn’t mean it? Her, in her gown, sitting beside her mother’s open casket and suggesting she sing to her before asking her, “How could you leave me?” The struggle and failure to fight back tears when her ex manager hugged her at her house the next day? The look on her face when Rayna told her she was good enough? It’s kind of amazing that Juliette — the young woman who found out her mother had committed murder and suicide to spare her another scandal — ended the season in the healthiest place. Her mother had always wanted to see her sing at the Bluebird, so she held that aforementioned memorial there and dedicated the song “Nothing in This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again” to her. That song, which you can buy on iTunes, was written by Sara Buxton and Kate York. They perform it below.

• Last but not least, are we supposed to like Avery now? Predictability (at the start of the season): -10. We’ve been building toward it for weeks, but can you believe you’re really asking yourself this question? He invited Scarlett onstage to sing with him and attended Juliette’s mother’s funeral (who told him about it?). So is this really a new, sensitive, giving Avery, or an Avery befriending an ex with a record deal and the new CMA Female Vocalist of the Year? I’d like to think the former.

Your turn. What did you think of the finale? Did it get you to stay tuned (or come back) for season 2?

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