8:02pm PT by Kate Stanhope
'Nashville' Series Finale Ends on a Huge Cliffhanger
[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Wednesday's series finale of Nashville, "Maybe You'll Appreciate Me Someday."]
The name of the last episode of Nashville — at least the final one on ABC — seems to be hinting at something, no? The show has always drawn a modest but extremely loyal fan base during its four-season run on ABC, and viewers have been fired up on social media ever since the Disney-owned network unexpectedly pulled the plug on the country music drama earlier this month.
Lionsgate Television, which co-produces the series with ABC Studios, has actively been searching for a new home for the show for a potential fifth season, but so far there's nothing official to report. So although there are some serious cliffhangers in this what-was-supposed-to-be-just-a-season-finale, for now fans must try and find whatever closure they can from the episode. So without further ado, let's get to the main event:
Juliette (Hayden Panettiere)
The final episode opens with Juliette far from her home city and very unhappy about it. That's because she's in Los Angeles doing press ahead of the Oscars to push hard for the win. Before one event, she asks if she can do it in her pajamas, but then her world is rocked when a random photographer asks if she was on the hotel roof with her manager Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson) the night he died. Even months after his sudden death, Nashville's arguably best villain rises from the ashes to wreak havoc on what is supposed to be Juliette's big week.
Juliette comes clean to her manager about what happened on the roof that night and her struggle with postpartum depression. But the question remains, why did they find out and why now? It turns out it's Jeff's sister, Kate — a reference to the actor's sister, Kate Hudson — is suing her for wrongful death.
Juliette agrees to pay millions to Jeff's sister and then fires her attorney, because that's how Juliette rolls. The one last thing her attorney does is convince Kate to keep her mouth shut about the payment and issue a retraction. Although it seems like everything is resolved, on the way to the Oscars everything starts to weigh on Juliette. Why does every mistake she makes get swept under the rug so quickly? The guilt is too much, and although she originally had no plans to do red-carpet interviews before the show, she asks for a sit-down as soon as she gets out of the car. Juliette comes clean on national television and tells the world what really happened about her depression, Jeff's heroics, everything. She says she doesn't want anyone's sympathy, she just wants everyone to know the truth and to know that Jeff died saving her.
Glenn tells her he's proud of her after the fact when Juliette is at the bar during the Oscars. And then Juliette gets the call she was really hoping for, from Avery. He asks her if she tried to kill herself after he served her divorce papers, and tells her he and Cadence are still there for her. Juliette doesn't even wait until the end of the ceremony before jumping on a plane to head back home.
However, the final moments of the episode offer little resolution for her and Avery. While waiting for her at the airport, he learns from a airport worker that her plane has gone missing. And that's where the episode ends. Did she live? Did she die? Fans may never know.
However, on social media, Lionsgate TV used the cliffhanger as a way to reignite interest in a possible fifth season on another platform.
Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and Layla (Aubrey Peeples)
Juliette is missing Cadence, so she offers to fly her baby girl and her baby daddy Avery to Los Angeles so they can be there on her big night. Avery has recently been wavering, at least privately, between his ex-wife and Layla and now his decision seems to be made. Of course, when Layla hears, she loses it. She's played second fiddle to Juliette so many times before, she's not doing it again, at least not lying down. At least her album is selling well? Small victories, people.
Layla tries to use the accusations about Juliette to get Avery to stay, but that doesn't seem to work. So then she goes straight to the source and calls Kate Fordham and tells her if she wants to win the case against Juliette to call Luke's son, Colt, who, as we recall, was recently banged up pretty badly. Juliette refuses to get on the phone with Avery to talk about the case with him, and she also tells him not to come to Los Angeles. Layla almost looks delighted when she hears that Jeff's sister has an eyewitness to the crime.
Glenn calls Layla and asks her straight-up if she was the one who leaked the info about Juliette and Jeff. Layla not only denies that claim but denies that Juliette ever told her the truth weeks earlier. Glenn says he still believes Juliette and fires Layla as a client.
Avery is the next to part ways with Layla. He starts to put the pieces together and when she says she wanted to "show" him what a terrible person Juliette is, he knows for sure that she leaked the info. He asks her if she was only with him out for revenge but doesn't even pay attention to her absurd response. "You're crazy and we're done," he tells her as he storms out. Layla is left looking angry and crying.
Avery is home alone when Juliette's TV interview comes on the screen. Tears well in his eyes as he realizes just much pain Juliette was going through when she tried to kill herself. Layla later gets some news from Bucky about being an artist of the month, but is she really enjoying it?
Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten)
It's a little unfortunate that the last episode of the series sees Rayna's storyline so closely tied to her daughter's storyline and not anything more juicy. Ditto that for dear Deacon. Rayna is worried because Maddie (Lennon Stella), post-emancipation, is working with a producer who once got handsy with Rayna way back when and, naturally, she is worried the sleazeball will try the same with Maddie. Rayna tries to go to Maddie's new label head, but no luck there. Possible to reach out to Maddie on Twitter? No, she blocked her and Deacon. Eek. Rayna decides to go the old-fashioned way and write a letter about what happened to her and the way this producer abused her in the past.
Maddie and Cash hit the producer's house for a major rager — even Coldplay's Chris Martin is there! Rayna posts her heartfelt and emotional letter online for the world to see, even though she tearily addresses it to Maddie. At first, Maddie doesn't see it but she finally reads it right as the creepy producer is getting her a drink and sits with her in private. "I thought you wanted to be a grown-up and have a real grown-up career," he says. The producer grabs her arm to keep her from going.
Deacon bursts in in the nick of time, and he somehow manages to keep from punching the guy out. Cash comes in, but Maddie blows up at her for not coming to her aid sooner and leaves with her dad. She tearfully reunites with Rayna at Rayna's charity concert, and Rayna kisses Deacon for bringing her back.
Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen)
After her revealing photo session in the penultimate episode, Scarlett is ready to reveal her feelings straight to Gunnar. She tells him she loves him, only to have Autumn (Alicia Witt) come and put her arm on Gunnar's shoulder. She asks Gunnar if he's told her yet, and then tells Scarlett herself about their two-week tropical excursion. Oof. He never gets to respond to Scarlett, and she instantly tries to forget what she ever said to him.
Autumn says she is just trying to keep him on a leash and implies Scarlett doesn't mean it. Gunnar sees her trying to leave the hotel with her things and confronts her about what she said. He tells her there's no future for them if they keep living in the past. They break the news to their manager that The Exes are breaking up and, duh, their manager is livid. They're breaking their contract, they're going to have to start over again, etc. Gunnar also mentions that Autumn offered to take him out as a solo act, which doesn't help anything. As the manager says, they're both going to have to start over. Too bad, the last show is tonight. Just like the show. (Too soon?)
After prompting from her and Gunnar's manager, Scarlett comes clean again. "I love you because I love you," she says when he questions the timing and the motives of her confession. She goes on to say how much her feelings for him scare her but she needs to tell him the truth. They are pulled onstage for what is supposed to be their last show, but will it really be?
They take the last stage and just when their manager and Autumn are calling time on The Exes — "some people just aren't meant to be together" — the two lock lips onstage. Autumn fires them, but who cares?
Will (Chris Carmack) and Luke (Will Chase)
Luke Wheeler continues to lend a helping hand to Will after not being so kind to him earlier this season. Despite protests, the two take the stage together for a public concert and Will's ex Kevin also comes back in the fold to help them navigate everything. The concert finally gets the conservative Nancy Grace wannabe TV host to invite Will onto her show. Will does a flawless job on the talk show, calling out the host for not letting him talk and for being scared. Luke is impressed. The night ends with Luke leaving Will and Kevin to officially rekindle their romance.
What did you think of the finale?