Like Will, I never know what to say at these moments. Bless Scarlett’s heart for absolving us of our need to say the perfect thing.
We are at Rayna’s graveside. Even Nashville is crying for Rayna, and has released a flock of birds in tribute.
Teddy sighting! Tandy sighting! Will sighting! Clay is at the funeral to support Maddie. Bucky! Emily! Glenn! Holy sh*t, Watty White!!
Everyone goes back to Rayna and Deacon’s house for a teary reception after the funeral. Deacon comes home in a daze and goes straight up to their bedroom without hearing a word anyone says to him.
Scarlett tells Maddie and Daphne to stay together and take care of each other all day, which is lovely, but also leaves Clay standing alone amongst strangers. I’m not sure what Tandy’s thinking when she hands him a platter of food to pass around, but I’m pretty sure Clay feels like he’s been mistaken for a servant. Thankfully, Gunnar rescues him after a minute.
Zach plays some of the Rayna/Deacon documentary footage for a few people. Bucky emotionally rushes from the room. Zach feels terrible and apologizes. Actually, I’ve seen people playing video and photo montages at funerals, so not that big a mistake, necessarily. But also something people might not be ready for so soon.
Zach and Will are on the couch in the TV room. Juliette and Avery join them. Then Gunnar and Scarlett mosey in. Look, it’s the cast of nashvillesomething! Clay and Maddie are missing, but they’ll be integrated into the main cast in time. I hope.
Glenn calls Juliette away to tell her that the CMT Awards are trying to decide who should sing the tribute song to Rayna. Juliette wants to do it. Glenn says they weren’t sure if she was feeling up to it yet. She feels like she was closest to Rayna among the big country stars, so it should be her.
Teddy is out of prison on a 3 day standard bereavement leave. Tandy is worried that Deacon won’t be able to handle the girls and the business by himself. They meet with the lawyers tomorrow to start sorting out the legalities.
Before he leaves, Zach reminds Will to call him. Will wasn’t sure it would be right for them to date, since Zach is now his boss, but Zach doesn’t care about propriety.
Glenn tells Juliette he got her the tribute song. She looks at herself in Rayna’s mirror and has a moment of self-doubt. Is she ready for this?
Maddie finds Clay outside getting some air at the end of the evening, and is upset with him, even though he’s been around all day. He’s had as much as he can take, and needs to leave, but she really wants him to stay and be there for her, now that she can just sit for a while. This whole situation is putting a lot of pressure on such a new relationship, especially one with all of the challenges they face. He’s got his own mental health issues, reminders of his own mother’s death, and all of the veiled (and probably not so veiled, though we didn’t see it) racism he’s been facing all day to deal with. No one treated him like a member of the family, which is understandable, or even a friend. He needs to take care of himself, too, and Maddie is surrounded by people who love her.
Scarlett has been the organizer and rock for everyone all day, and probably continuously since the accident. She finally has a moment to herself and collapses in tears. Gunnar rushes over to her, and she asks him to hold her.
Maddie finds Deacon, still sitting alone in his bedroom in his grief-stricken inertia. She gets him to lay down on the bed, even though that’s the last place he thinks he wants to be. Maddie stays with him so neither of them has to be alone.
Deacon: I don’t know who I am without her. Maddie: You’re my dad.
Bucky cries his eyes out. He’s lost the woman he built his life around.
The next morning, Deacon, Tandy, Teddy, and Scarlett meet with Rayna’s lawyer. Rayna hadn’t reassigned legal guardianship since she and Deacon married. The guardian will also be in charge of Rayna’s businesses. Teddy is Daphne’s bio dad and Maddie’s adoptive dad, so he is automatically their guardian, but anyone who disagrees can contest it in court. Deacon isn’t happy with the situation.
Teddy tells Tandy that he’ll be out of jail in three months. Teddy and Tandy are worried about the girls, and discuss what would be best for them. Teddy brings up Maddie’s testimony in court against Deacon. Maddie overhears part of the conversation, and gets mad at Teddy, because she lied in court, then goes to tell Deacon that Teddy is going to try to take the girls from Deacon. Maddie’s view of her family fluctuates with the wind, especially which father she prefers.
Deacon confronts Tandy and Teddy. Tandy reminds him that she is an investor in Highway 65, and has an interest in how it’s run. She also tells him that it’s understandable if he can’t handle everything on his own right now, or ever. Deacon bristles defensively. He’s FINE. He CAN do it all, if it means keeping Teddy away.
Deacon is like a wounded animal at this point, in pain and lashing out based on instinct, without regard to whether the people he lashing out at are actually threats to him or not. Maddie is his child, no one can take that away. Daphne cares about him, that won’t change. No one can completely take the girls from him. But the reality is that they are, and always have been, Teddy’s daughters legally. He needs to deal with that fact, now that Teddy’s getting out of prison.
Deacon’s never shown any interest in Highway 65 at all. Not in the day to day operations, the business side of it, scouting and producing new talent, none of it. He’s always liked being a working songwriter, session player, and touring guitar player for hire, when he wasn’t working with Rayna. It makes no sense to think he’s going to be able to handle a new challenge and more responsibility right now. Maybe in a few months, if he’s still interested. Even then, they’ve shown us that he has even less of a head for business than Rayna. Leave that to Tandy and Zach. Who knows what kind of creative accounting Teddy would resort to.
Daphne and Maddie talk about the custody dispute. They agree that they won’t allow themselves to be separated from each other to live with their different bio dads.
Tandy talks to Deacon about giving up the girls, and the business. Teddy tries to talk to Maddie, but Deacon interrupts them. The confrontation gets ugly. It’s like the girls are the only thing left of Rayna, and these two are going to play that rivalry out all over again, while tearing the two girls, who’ve just lost their mother, apart. Have these people never heard of shared custody or visitation? The house is big enough, can’t Teddy move into his own bedroom, so they can all see each other everyday? Tandy, too? I’m a sucker for a My Two Dads story.
Clay comes back over to work things out with Maddie. He explains that when his mother died, people kept telling him to “be a man.” He thought it must mean he shouldn’t feel anything and he never dealt with his mother’s death. He didn’t mean to leave Maddie alone. Maddie says she just really wanted him there with her. They cuddle on the couch together.
Zach and Will go on a
business meeting date. Will still isn’t sure they should date, because Zach’s money and image make him uncomfortable. Zach points out that he could just as easily judge Will by his gorgeous, but possibly dumb, blonde image, which is offensive, or hilarious, or maybe both. But he’s right, either way. Will keeps coming up with different ways to voice the same objection, until Zach finally kisses him. I haven’t been sure about Zach’s trustworthiness, and I’m still not, but there is some definite chemistry here. Both actors totally sold it, as far as I’m concerned.
Cameron Scoggins, who plays Zach, is one of those amazing actors who can just turn his emotions on and off. There are a lot of times that I don’t feel any particular chemistry between Zach and Will, but then, as soon as Zach comes on to Will, the sexual tension in the room sky rockets. At the end of the scene, he makes a sweet speech about life being short and pairing up to make the most of it. Zach usually seems so glib, but Will brings out a sincerity and vulnerability in him that we haven’t seen anywhere else. It would be nice to see Will being swept off his feet by Prince Charming.
Juliette has been preparing for her tribute to Rayna. She feels like it isn’t gelling somehow, but she can’t pinpoint how. Avery reassures her that she just needs to get used to performing again.
Tandy, Daphne, and Maddie discuss attending the awards and tribute to Rayna. Maddie starts an argument, because she’s Maddie and doesn’t know any other way to process her emotions. Daphne, who got all of the emotional intelligence that was meant to go to both sisters, talks to Tandy about the things she misses about her mother.
Scarlett and Daphne have a talk while Daphne is falling asleep for the night. Daphne asks why her mother had to die. Then she says she doesn’t know how to choose a dad, and that one side of her family will hate her, no matter which side she chooses. Deacon is in the hall, passing by her room. If he wasn’t already all cried out, he’d be crying as hard as the rest of us.
Backstage at the CMT Awards, Deacon pulls Teddy aside. He’ll step aside and let Teddy be the girls’ guardian. He can’t stand the way it’s tearing the girls apart.
Juliette calls for Maddie to meet her backstage. She wants Maddie to take over and sing the tribute to Rayna. Maddie refuses. She doesn’t feel ready.
Juliette goes out onstage to sing, and introduces her song, but then Maddie signals that she wants to sing after all. Juliette introduces Maddie, who sings Rayna’s song, Sanctuary, while a photo montage of Rayna runs in the background. Maddie only gets through a little bit of the song before she breaks down crying. Deacon and Daphne rush to her. Daphne takes over singing, then Deacon and Maddie join in, and they finish together.
I hope Connie Britton is happy with what she’s wrought. I cried my eyes out watching this scene, even the second time. Teddy was moved as well, and tells Deacon he wants Deacon’s help with the girls. They’ll work something out, so everyone can be happy.
Chip Eston deserves an Emmy for this episode. The entire cast was amazing, but he tore my heart out. I don’t think I’ve cried as much over a TV show in the last 20 years as I have over the last two episodes of Nashville.