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Nashville - Reasons to Quit - Review: "Into the Sunset" + POLL

Okay guys, so that’s how you do a season finale. I take back everything I’ve said about the previous episodes in season 5B. By comparison, those episodes were lackluster at best and a waste of time at worst. It’s like seeing the world as blurry for most of your life, and then getting glasses and realizing ‘oh wow’ things actually have shape. It’s like you never really knew that things to be in such sharp focus. If this is the quality and caliber of work the writers can do, then every episode should be as balanced and focused as this. As a disclaimer, I want to apologize for being unable to write a preview this week. Life has been very crazy last couple days, but I want to thank everyone for sticking with the show and me through this wild ride we’ve been on. I hope to see everyone next season, and without further ado, let’s break this episode.

So the big plot points going into this episode was the battle and future of Highway 65. Deacon continued to step up in a big way when Zach decided to be the worst investor ever and drain all of Highway 65’s accounts. Instead of getting discouraged and giving up, Deacon and the troops rallied and temporarily set up shop at Tracks. I loved all the artists coming together to create a makeshift office and banding together through song. Those moments were greatly appreciated, and Deacon is a much bigger man than I am. Even after all the bullshit Zach pulled, Deacon still offered Zach a second chance to do things fairly as partners. Apparently, the reason Zach has been holding the record label “hostage” and meeting with Brad and making these empty threats is because Zach doesn’t want his time in the music industry to end. Brad and Deacon both pick up on that, but Deacon realizes that Zach had been lonely for a long time and finally found happiness and a family in Nashville. So when Zach felt betrayed, he started lashing out and making threats, hoping someone would give in so he didn’t have to leave. The thing is that Deacon has been in the same boat of loneliness. When Deacon finally married Rayna, everything came together in his life as he was with the woman of his dreams and a part of something bigger than himself. Deacon sees that pain and loneliness in Zach, finally understanding who he is as a person, so Deacon extends an olive branch, and it looks like Zach reluctantly takes it.

In the end Highway 65 is saved, but not by some outside force or a new owner. It’s a combination of Deacon reaching out a hand and offering Zach a lifeboat, Zach finally giving up some control, and Juliette playing puppeteer behind the scenes. So what happens next is anyone’s guess. I’m assuming the show will try to redeem Zach and make us like him. We have seen sympathetic sides of him, particularly with his relationship with Will. While I am willing to give him one more chance, goodness knows how many we’ve given Juliette, I am officially done with Alyssa. Have I mentioned how much I hate her now? When she was first introduced, she was a refreshing character who told it like it was. However, over the past few episodes she has emerged as a snake in sheep’s clothing. We all knew Zach was a douche, but Alyssa surpassed him this episode. We got to see him breakdown, and I actually felt sorry for him. We’ve all felt lonely and wanted love; we just don’t destroy companies when we feel that way. However, her bullshit speech how about she’s cursed to see the pain in people and how she pities Deacon and thought he needed it when she kissed him were too much for me. Seriously, who does this woman think she is? She is no Summer Roberts or Zoe Hart. I just want her gone for next season. I don’t care how they do it or even if she’s written out in the most absurd and unbelievable way. If I never hear the name Alyssa Greene it will be too soon. She needs to be on the next flight out of Nashville or hit by a bus, but she needs to disappear like yesterday. If the writers want must redeem Zach, then I will suffer through more of him, but I am completely done with all things Alyssa.

So while something romantic did happen this season finale with Deacon, it was a drunken kiss from Alyssa instead of a sober one with Jessie. What we did get from Deacon and Jessie was a long hug as Deacon was about depart for LA. There was a moment where it looked like they might kiss, but I’m glad it didn’t come to that. Otherwise, we didn’t really see much of Jessie besides her interacting with her son and being there as a friend for Deacon, picking up Daphne from the party and bringing him food. Their relationship works best as a slow burn, and that hug was the best way to end the season between them. It hinted that something might happen in the future, but for now, Deacon’s focus is his daughters and Highway 65. The conversation between him and Daphne about how he only needs her and Maddie was sweet, but Daphne questioning if Jessie was going to be around needed to be addressed. She and Maddie aren’t little kids anymore and understand that Deacon may eventually move on from Rayna. She’s afraid that Deacon is trying to replace Rayna, so it was nice that Deacon took the time to comfort her. While Deacon sometimes has no idea what he’s doing as a father, moments like these show he gets it right when it really counts. The fatherly relationship between Deacon and his daughters, but especially Daphne, has been one of my favorite parts of the season because Daphne was once afraid of being on the outside if he joined their family. I love how she started calling him dad, and how he stepped when she was lashing out. So while it was awful that Rayna died, their relationship is stronger because of it and I can’t fault that.

As for the other question mark going into this episode, we finally got a resolution on Juliette stealing Maddie’s song. I called Deacon “dropping” Juliette from the label when he found out and thought she would eventually come clean this episode. What I didn’t expect was for her to basically save Highway 65. Her going to Mackenzie Rhodes to set the wheels in motion for Zach backing down was epic. Juliette basically had Mackenzie threaten to run a story about how a billionaire fanboy destroyed Rayna’s legacy only to rile Zach up, but instead gave Mackenzie the exclusive of how she stole “Water Rising.” After a season of being continually frustrated by Juliette, we finally saw the character we know and love. I knew she was underneath there somewhere, and it was good to see her finally take responsibility for her actions. Juliette coming clean and removing her name from the AMA nomination was the right call. Even though Maddie didn’t end up winning, Juliette did her best to make things right. While Maddie and Deacon may not be willing to forgive Juliette right now, they know she sacrificed herself to save Highway 65. Going forward, I want to see more of this Juliette. A person who uses her powers of manipulation for the greater good and thinks of other instead of just herself. She basically destroyed her career to make up for what she did, but I couldn’t be prouder. We all knew she was capable of being this person, which was why it was so disappointing to see her backslide. Moving forward, I don’t know what the future will hold for her, but at least she has the support of the people who love her. In time, I think Deacon and Maddie will forgive her, but for now she still has Avery.

Oh Avery, how did Juliette get so lucky to have you in her life? I really didn’t want to think Avery would cheat on Juliette, but the writers kept repeatedly hinting at it, so I was afraid it was going to happen. Thankfully, Avery didn’t stray with the random tour girl, but instead returned home when he found out that Juliette came clean about stealing Maddie’s song. He drove in the pouring rain and gave us an epic Javery reunion. I was somewhat expecting for him to end up in a car accident given this show’s track record, but it was perfect ending to the mess that Javery has been going through since the plane crash. I really hope Juliette gets it through her head that Avery isn’t going anywhere, no matter how badly she messes up. I also hope she starts to trust him and stops with these crazy accusations about how he must be cheating on her and guilt tripping him when he takes time for himself. Going into next season, I would really like to see a stable Javery with Juliette being more supportive and realizing she deserves happiness and love. Avery has proved time and time again he’s not going anywhere, so Juliette really needs to get onboard. I don’t think I could sit through another season of her continuing to question his loyalty. I hope moving forward they can have a healthier relationship where they mutually trust and support one another. Avery shouldn’t have to defend himself or hold Juliette’s hand at every corner. He really is one of the unsung heroes of this show.

So is this finally the end of Scunnar? After all the back and forth this season, it looks like the couple may be done for good, or at least the time being. Gunnar was in rare form this episode, finally telling Scarlett he was really ready to talk and calling her out on not really ever trusting anyone or letting anyone in. No one has been good enough for Scarlett, and she constantly keeps picking at everyone’s faults. I was so proud of Gunnar for finally realizing that while he has things to work on, not everything that went wrong in their relationship was his fault. When he said he was done trying, I silently cheered because he has spent so much of this season being a silent doormat, letting Scarlett walk all over him Even though it was somewhat heartbreaking watching Scarlett pack the last of her things from Gunnar’s, and the song that they sang wrecked me, I think it’s for the best. Both Scarlett and Gunnar have been unhappy in this relationship, but they have been trying so hard to make something work that’s been broken. While Gunnar may have needed Scarlett to be happy, and Scarlett only stayed because she was afraid of making the wrong choice, they both need some time apart, and by apart, I mean by themselves and broken up, not on a “break.” I also really hated how Scarlett threw some shade at Gunnar for not being able to do soul searching on his own. It’s like he’s taking responsibility and admitting to things he needs to work on, and you need to get off your high horse and realize your faults too. While I still think Scunnar is endgame, I would really like to see Gunnar in a deserving relationship next season and Scarlett finally owning up to her mistakes and working on herself, potentially in therapy. She and Juliette cans start a group.

And then we have Daphne. Her story arc was not what I was expecting. I was expecting to moan and groan about her screen time this episode, but her limited appearance wasn’t really that filler. Instead, it provided viewers with more information about Jessie’s largely absent son Jake. This was the first time the audience got a chance to see Jessie interact with her son, and Daphne’s brief storyline about the end of year party was the perfect opportunity for her and Jake to interact. I found myself liking Jake for the most part. After what a complete jerk his father continued to prove this episode, it’s no wonder he wants to live with his mom. I also liked the brief interactions we got between Jake and Daphne. He’s an outsider, no doubt, but he also understands some of what Daphne has been going through with her depression as he has social anxiety. The two characters played off each other nicely with just the right amount of awkwardness and knowing who the other person was without ever having met. I am hoping to see more of him next season, as he is definitely preferred over Liv as Daphne’s confidant and friend. He understands the world she’s from and some of what she’s been dealing with. He also adds a missing piece of the puzzle to Jessie. We’ve heard about how she’s been fighting for her son, but we never really saw her be a mother until now. So I would welcome the return of Jake, in a limited capacity of course.

Lastly, we have Will who had too little screen time this episode, but he sure did make the most of it. He was great during his confrontation with Zach. I guess they were still technically together, but Will really stood his ground. He basically blasted Zach for hurting the people Will considers family and called him out that his family has always supported him even when the rest of the world has not. I wish we had seen more of Will this season, and while I hated his relationship with Zach, I’m really proud of how Will has grown. We really saw Will step up this season in standing up for what he wants and really accepting himself. For so long Will has struggled with his identity and sexuality, and it was great to see him finally stop questioning and hating himself for who he is. This was one of only good changes the new EPs made this season, along with course correcting Maddie’s character. So while I wish we had more of Will, at least his some of screen time showed how much he’s come into his own. I could have done without the necessary relationship drama and more time focused on his friends and music, but I really love how far he’s come.

So what happens next? Well, we get a great final scene of Deacon, Maddie, and Daphne riding off into the sunset, knowing that Highway 65 has been saved, and everything will be all right. We get an epic Javery reunion and a definitive Scunnar breakup. We see a softer side to Zach, who will probably be redeemed next season. We also see Juliette making things right even though it will probably cost her her career. And, we are teased about the possibility of a Deacon and Jessie romance in the future. So there we have it. Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. Are you planning on watching season 6? What was your favorite part of this episode? Who were you most proud of and who did you hate? Where do we go from here?

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