Nashville Season 5 Episode 9: If Tomorrow Never Comes Recap


Okay, as the narrator says at the beginning of Jane the Virgin every week, let’s do this thing! If Jane and her telenovela narrator can get through their tough times, so can we! Everybody grab the hand of the person next to you, your favorite beverage for hydration, and a box of tissues.

Last episode, Rayna was held hostage, in a very triggery scene, which she escaped thanks to her own quick thinking. But, then a truck collided with the police car she was riding home in, smashing directly into the side of the car that Rayna was sitting in, as she was talking to Deacon on the phone. We join her again as she’s being rushed into the hospital with serious injuries. She’s in bad shape.

When Deacon arrives, a nurse tells him that Rayna has a shattered pelvis and hip, but is on morphine, so she’s resting comfortably. HA! From my experience, even morphine isn’t going to make that kind of trauma “comfortable,” but whatever. TV medicine. Rayna doesn’t appear to have blood in her brain, and their top ortho is coming in to do Rayna’s surgery.


Rayna wakes up and shakes her head at the universe throwing her into another car accident, then decides that this is the perfect time to write another song. She’s Rayna James, damnit, if the writing muse hits, she’s going to write. She thinks that their duet record, which is almost finished (that was fast) needs one more song, which should express the happiness she and Deacon have found together. 😢

Scarlett and the girls arrive at the hospital in time to see Rayna before she goes into surgery. Maddie blames herself, because Rayna was held hostage, then injured, after following Maddie to Clay’s show. Scarlett talks her down, reminding Maddie that she’s a normal teenager. We get a reference to Beverly’s abuse of Scarlett. Daphne stays at the hospital during the surgery, but Maddie leaves with Clay.

The surgery takes 4 hours, which seems short to me for surgery that extensive. The doctor says Rayna will be able to go home in a few days. Rayna wants a cheeseburger when she wakes up. Most of the cast wanders through the waiting room and hospital hallways. Bucky sighting!! Very brief Will sighting.

Maddie and Clay go to the bridge where Deacon proposed to Rayna. Maddie tells him about Rayna, and he tells her about his unreliable drug addict mom, who eventually abandoned him. Deacon texts that Rayna came through surgery okay and is going to be resting overnight. Maddie decides to stay with Clay rather than going to the hospital. It seems odd to me that she wouldn’t at least go check in with her mom again that night, but I guess with the doctor being optimistic, the situation doesn’t feel as serious any more.


Juliette’s leg is bothering her, so she’s being a normal person and googling every horrible, rare bone illness that it could be. Avery plans to make an appointment with her doctor on Monday. When they hear that Rayna’s out of surgery, they go to the hospital to see her. Rayna and Juliette have a moment of connection.

At Clay’s place, Maddie tells him about her troubled past with her mother. She realizes that she could rebel against her mother because of how reliable her mother’s always been, and how lucky she’s been to have that.

In the morning, Deacon brings Rayna a smoothie and a cheeseburger. Rayna feels like she should be healthy and eat the smoothie, but she goes for the burger. Sometime over the course of the day (and the commercial breaks) they write the song Rayna wanted to write.

Daphne was supposed to have a solo during her school choir concert that evening, but she doesn’t see the point in performing if her mom can’t go. She tells Scarlett that her dad can’t go either (not clear if she means Teddy or Deacon here), and that Maddie is with Clay and doesn’t care about her anyway. Her mom is the only person who cares about her any more. Scarlett texts Maddie about Daphne, so Maddie hurries to get there. Remember what I said about how important Tandy and Teddy were for providing the girls with stability?

Juliette has the same doctor as Rayna. They’ve taken an xray of her leg, and it shows an irregularity where the fixator was attached to the bone, so she wants to do an mri to rule out complications. Juliette jumps straight to cancer. Avery and the doctor treat her like she’s an idiot. The doctor suggests that the pain might be psychological, so Juliette will have to push through it. Avery sits next to Juliette making faces. This is before complications have been ruled out. This is without knowing if the pain is being caused by the doctor’s other suggestion, nerve endings still healing. And there is no offer to help Juliette deal with the pain, whatever is causing it. This doctor is a condescending, patronizing quack. I usually love Avery, but he’s being a terrible, unsupportive partner this time. Even if she’s developing a chronic, phantom pain syndrome like fibromyalgia, or they never discover the source of the pain, she deserves to be taken seriously. Women having their symptoms dismissed is a huge real life problem. I have seen it with every generation and type of female in my family, from the adult with the boldest personality, to the 10 year old with a serious illness. Women’s lives are endangered and their medical complications are increased because medical personel dismiss them.

Rayna hallucinates a visit from her mother. They tell each other how much they’ve missed each other. Her mom tells her she’s been watching her all along. Rayna says she’s trying to write a tag for her song. Mom says, “Maybe you don’t need one. Maybe this song is finished.”  😭😭😭

Gunnar begs Scarlett to tell him how he can fight for her. He knows she spent the day in bed with Damien because it her so long to respond after Rayna’s accident. Seeing what’s happening to Rayna has opened Gunnar’s eyes, and he’s not going to let Scarlett go easily.

Rayna tells Deacon about seeing her mother. He gets the quack doctor to check Rayna out, but she can’t find anything wrong, and blames it on the morphine. That sounds very similar to what she said about Juliette’s pain.

It’s Scarlett’s turn for a talk with Rayna. She tells Rayna about Damien and Gunnar. Rayna tells her to remember that the choice is hers. Scarlett doesn’t have to be with either man just because he wants her. That’s one of the smartest, best things that Rayna’s ever said, but did she have to say it when Damien was one of the men involved?

Daphne lies on the bed with Rayna, who is looking noticeably worse. They actually bring up Teddy! Rayna seems to know she’s fading at this point, because she’s telling Daphne that Deacon loves her and they can rely on each other. She tells Daphne that she’s talented and needs to share her gift, and generally sounds like a mother on her deathbed giving her daughter the last advice and words of love she’ll ever give her. 😰 😰 😰

Daphne’s school choir arrives at the hospital, so that Daphne can sing her solo for her mom after all. It was her boyfriend, Flynn’s idea. Daphne sings To Make You Feel My Love. If I’m not mistaken, it’s Maisy Lennon’s first solo performance on the show. She sounds beautiful. Rayna’s vitals go crazy halfway through, so the song is cut short, and Rayna is rushed to the ICU. 😭 😭 😭

Maddie hasn’t gotten to the hospital yet because she’s stuck in traffic. When she gets Deacon’s text telling her to come NOW, she jumps out of the car to make her way on foot.

Rayna’s kidneys are shutting down because fat from her bone marrow leaked into her blood stream and overwhelmed them. They may have to put her on dialysis. Um, shouldn’t she have been on dialysis hours ago if she’s in the ICU DYING? I’m not a medical professional, but it seems to me you ought to use the technology that takes over for the kidneys before they shut down and kill the patient. Maybe we should have done a few tests when Rayna started hallucinating.


Doctor Quack and her colleague inform Deacon and Daphne that Rayna has had multiple emboli, affecting multiple organs. They usually clear on their own, but Rayna isn’t responding. They are artificially supporting her blood pressure, and her organs are shutting down.

Doctor Quack was informing Juliette that her mri results were normal, other than a little calcification, when she was called to Rayna’s room. Juliette follows, and hands Avery her crutches. No one is going to get away with implying that Juliette Barnes is crazy or weak. She’ll walk without the d*mn crutches if it kills her.

Juliette and Maddie get to Rayna’s room at about the same time. Juliette says her final goodbye, telling Rayna, “All I ever wanted was for you to be proud of me.”

Then it’s just Maddie, Daphne and Deacon, sitting on the bed with Rayna, waiting it out. When Daphne wants to say something, but doesn’t know how, Maddie starts a song. Rayna opens her eyes to look at her beloved family one more time, then passes on. 😪 😪 😪 😪 😪


How is everyone doing? Are we all hydrated? Need more tissues? A hug? 💜 💗 💖

That was an amazing episode of television. One of the best handled deaths I’ve ever seen, with everyone given their time to say goodbye, but the shock of Rayna’s death kept intact until the last minute. All of the actors gave heart wrenching performances. Connie Britton was just so perfect as her character’s health faded throughout the episode, but Rayna’s inner strength kept pushing her to get done what she needed to get done, before she succumbed to what she instinctively knew was coming. Charles Eston, Lennon Stella, and Maisy Stella seemed like they were Rayna’s real life family, their anguish felt so real.

Scarlett isn’t exactly emotionless in this episode, but she’s not warm and caring, either. She’s sort of detached and snarky with everyone, even Daphne and Maddie. Maybe she’s triggered over her own mother’s death, having some very complicated feelings, and dealing with it by dissociating?

The decision to have Maddie stuck in traffic for, what? hours? is puzzling. Why rob both Maddie and Lennon Stella of the goodbye scene that everyone else got with Rayna/Connie Britton? It was great to see Daphne be the family and the episode’s main focus for once, but Maddie deserved to be there for more than just the very end.

I’m very worried about Juliette’s leg. That doctor screwed up and let Rayna die (please, someone get Deacon a lawyer and tell him to sue), and was very distracted while she was dealing with Juliette. Juliette really needs a second opinion, especially since she’s not feeling well in next week’s promo.

Here’s the thing. I know this is fiction, and that the doctor and the medical situations weren’t real. But, showing two famous, rich, powerful women having their symptoms minimized and dismissed by their doctor, and, in Juliette’s case, by her partner, only normalizes what is already a dangerous and traumatizing real life situation for women. If you talk to any woman who has an unusual medical condition, chronic pain, or who’s had unexpected medical complications, she’ll tell you a story about how hard she had to fight to be heard and get proper treatment, sometimes for years and through many doctors. She’ll tell you about being blamed for her symptoms by the doctors; told it was stress, that she was exaggerating the symptoms, or that it was otherwise psychological; having her symptoms ignored until they reached the emergency stage and treatment was much harder than had she been taken seriously to begin with; being condescended to, humiliated, insulted, and traumatized; having medical procedures performed on her without fully realizing what she’d consented to (even in this day and age, doctors obfuscate); and generally being dismissed as an attention-seeking liar when the doctor failed to solve her issue easily. Unless Nashville is leading up to a storyline about how women are treated by the health care industry, they just reinforced that behavior, and probably made it worse. If they are planning to do a story about the misogyny in women’s healthcare, and the suffering it causes, then Hallelujah! And, yes, sometimes well-meaning female healthcare professionals have internalized misogyny to the point where they perpetrate it as much as any man, sometimes more. Sometimes people who don’t have much experience with pain themselves are just judgemental and dismissive of chronic or unexplained pain, particularly with women.

Seeing Maddie and Clay open up to each other more was nice, as was watching Clay have the chance to step up and support Maddie through a crisis. Still loving them as a couple. He just maybe needs to find a better route to the hospital.

Teddy, Tandy, and Glenn are all back next week! My vote is for all three to stay on as recurring characters, at the very least. The girls need Tandy, especially, and Daphne needs Teddy. Glenn’s absence during Juliette’s recovery has been odd, since he’s like a father to her as much as he is her manager. He’d be there helping out with appointments and whatnot, like Emily is.

Tandy can help Bucky run Highway 65, and Teddy can manage someone’s career, maybe Avery, and be a meddlesome dad, if everyone has to be in the music industry. Laura Benanti can get out of prison, too, and she and Teddy can fall in love.

Save some tissues for next week.