It was a dark week in Nashville. When we last saw Deacon, Maddie, and Daphne, they were at Rayna’s side during her final moments in the hospital. This week’s sobering opening drops us right into her funeral.
Deacon takes Rayna’s death the hardest of anyone, including the girls. After the burial, he’s inconsolable. At the wake, he heads straight upstairs without so much as making an appearance. Most heartbreaking of all, he stands in the room he and Rayna shared, staring listlessly at their empty bed. Maddie takes care of Deacon, even though it should be the other way around. One of the tenderest moments of the episode comes when she convinces him he needs sleep, then covers him with a blanket and lays down with him.
Another heart-melter: Deacon admitting to Maddie he doesn’t know who he is without Rayna and her responding, “You’re my dad.”
Will’s date with Zach is the only moment of levity this week – and it’s definitely needed. We haven’t seen enough of Will in recent weeks and if he’s not going to be with Kevin, it would be nice to see him with someone else who makes him happy.
It’s too early to say whether Zach is that guy. Right now Zach seems a little slick for Will, with his offer to whisk him away to tour Berlin's art galleries. Kevin’s uncomfortable with the power imbalance between them – as an investor in Highway 65, he’s technically Will’s boss – and tells Will as much. But maybe Zach will be good for him. Maybe, as Zach says, Will just thinks too much.
Either way, Zach is pursuing Will hard, and it’s satisfying to see Will as the object of the chase. Just look at how quickly Zach went in for the kiss:
The CMT Awards ask Juliette to sing a tribute to Rayna, but at the very last minute she pulls a selfless power move and calls Maddie backstage to tell her she should be the one singing the tribute. Maddie takes the stage in a star-making turn in front of the whole country music world. She sounds incredible, but breaks into tears mid-song. Then what could have been a downcast moment turns into a triumphant one when Deacon and Daphne rush to stage. As Deacon comforts Maddie, Daphne walks towards the mic, at once uneasy and sure of herself.
She sings the next verse, then Deacon and Maddie join to thunderous applause.
After a gloomy episode, the performance is a beacon of hope. Then we get one final scene of Deacon, Daphne, and Maddie returning to the stage hand in hand for a standing ovation. And even without Rayna, they looked like a family.