'Nashville' season finale: Everyone's alive, everyone's a mess

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"Nashville" ended its first season in a mess. Webs are tangled. The sins of the fathers -- and mothers -- come back to haunt everyone. And almost everything falls apart.

"I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" is a great season finale.


Deacon and Rayna

If you'd been wondering why two people as in love as Rayna ( Connie Britton) and Deacon ( Charles Esten) would ever break up, this season finale explained it in simple terms: Deacon is a mean drunk.

Maddie ( Lennon Stella), having figured out her questionable paternity breaks the news to her biological father. And Deacon reacts in the only way he knows how -- after questioning and yelling at Rayna, the bender begins.

Everyone tries to snap Deacon out of it, and it almost seems to work. For about a minute. And then the guitarist is back on the sauce and ready to yell at Rayna some more. Unfortunately, Deacon chooses to yell at Rayna while she drives his drunken carcass home.

In a moment of distraction, a near collision sends the car flipping into a ditch. It's Rayna's mother all over again.


Juliette, alone

It's not a shock that Juliette ( Hayden Panettiere) would be a mess in the finale. That's what happens when your mother kills your blackmailer and then herself. But Juliette chooses to deal in her accustomed manner, by pretending everything is fine.

Everyone knows she's lying. Even Juliette figures out that she is lying pretty quickly.

Interestingly, Juliette accepts her mother's death quickly -- she's been waiting for that all her life. What takes her longer to accept is that none of it is her fault and she is not alone. Juliette is so not alone, in fact, that the funeral brings sympathy from her old manager, Rayna and even Avery ( Jonathan Jackson).

The police quickly close the case. And then Juliette gets a letter from her mother. What does it do to someone to learn that a deadly, excruciatingly final act was the greatest gift a mother could ever give?

We'll find that out next season. For now, Juliette just sings.

Oh, and Juliette totally won that CMA award. Amazing how it doesn't seem to matter much now, isn't it?


Teddy is having a bad week

Teddy ( Eric Close) has absolutely no fun in the "Nashville" season finale. Why?

  • He has to deal with Maddie's anger when she finds out he's not her father.
  • Deacon beats him up.
  • The US Attorney is looking into an embezzlement issue. Teddy is totally guilty of this crime but thought Lamar (Powers Boothe) had made it go away.
  • Peggy is pregnant.

Of all the bad in this finale, Teddy just might have it the worst.


Lamar's lesson is still to come

Powerful men should never turn on their children. Lamar should have figured this out by now.

However, it is very obvious that he has not. Although Lamar and Rayna are more or less getting along now, the man's relationship with Tandy ( Judith Hoag) has soured. Lamer, awful father that he is, expresses this by going over Tandy's head in the business.

Bad move, Lamar. Tandy quits. And walks straight into the welcoming arms of the Justice Department.


Every ending needs a little happy

Are you depressed enough yet? You ought to be, if you care anything for the messy people of "Nashville."

There is only one sunny patch in this sea of dark clouds -- Gunnar ( Sam Palladio) and Scarlett ( Clare Bowen) make up and start thinking about how to move forward with their lives.

For Gunnar, this means a proposal. We'll have to wait until Season 2 to learn Scarlett's answer to that bit of sparkle.


And that's the first season of "Nashville" done. Was it a good ending? Are there any bad things left to happen to these people?

Photo/Video credit: ABC