With the announcement of a third season and a strong cult of fans backing it up, “Nashville” arrives at the completion of its second season with the confidence of a veteran TV drama. Having turned the original dynamic of young upstart country star Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) vs. fading country superstar Rayna James (Connie Britton channeling Shania) on its head in season two by expanding the cast and turning Juliette and Rayna into a duo of sorts, the series has found ample space to mine great drama and some pretty good country music.
Rayna vs. Will
The season 2 finale begins with a heavy focus on the battle for the top of the country charts between Rayna and her former protege Will Lexington (Chris Carmack). Only a show this confident can make insider talk about charts and downloads this entertaining and even a little exciting. Will Rayna be able to come out on top or can the upstart with his own reality show and very big secret break out at number one before it all falls apart? Really terrific stuff here.
Scarlett is leaving
After narrowly avoiding stardom Scarlett is ready to hightail it back to Mississippi but not before saying goodbye. First up is Uncle Deacon (Charles Eston), the least of her dramatic partings; her Uncle couldn’t be more proud of her decision to go back to school. Then there is Avery (Jonathan Jackson) who has other things on his mind (Avery-Juliette update in a moment) than a warm goodbye from his ex. And finally there’s Gunnar (Sam Palladio) who may or may not be able to bring her back with a song.
It was only a matter of time before Juliette’s secret and her very typical self-destruction came to light but give credit to Hayden Panettiere, no matter how little you sympathize with Juliette going in to the big reveal, you can’t help but have your heart break for her before it’s over.
Rayna’s Love Triangle
if you thought Rayna and Deacon’s relationship was complicated when they were together just you wait to see where things stand by the end of the finale. Hint: the song “Ball & Chain” and the episode title “The Other Hand” come into play in a major why. By the way, memo to Deacon, right down that final speech because that there is a hit country song in the making; even Charles Esten’s delivery felt like it was underscored with a little steel guitar.
These bullet points barely scratch the surface of one fantastic finale that also includes Will’s big secret, the battle of Rayna vs. Jeff Fordham coming to a head and a terrific new song from Avery. Don’t miss the season finale of “Nashville” on ABC, Wednesday at 10 Pm Eastern, 9 Pm Central.