TV-PG 16 x One Hour
YEAR OF PRODUCTION: 2018
KEY TALENTS: Hayden Panettiere, Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella
DIRECTOR: Timothy Busfield
By: Kat Harlton
The first episode of the final season of Nashville jumps ahead about 6 months from where we left off at the end of Season 5. Deacon, Maddie, Daphne and Scarlett are posing for a late family Christmas photo and are only days away from New Years Eve.
After Maddie receives a call from Bucky to perform in LA it causes some tension, as it’s their first New Years Eve without Rayna. Deacon is initially upset, but eventually decides that Maddie can go if she’s chaperoned by Scarlett. Scarlett’s still dealing with her breakup from Gunner, but once she gets to LA, starts displaying that strength and determination that we always knew she had in her. Meanwhile, Maddie meets Jonah Ford who is a mashup of a Jonas Brother with Justin Bieber. It’s obvious this is a setup for a future romantic storyline, but after Jonah ditches a recording session that he invited Maddie too, my guess is this guy will be bad news and lead to heartbreak and another lesson learned for Maddie.
Juliette is in a frenzy trying to prepare for the opening of her tour, and at first glance seems a lot like the Juliette we met in Season one. She’s stressed and nervous about her return to stage and ends up throwing everyone out. On opening night, Juliette only makes it about halfway through her first song before launching into a meltdown on stage, ranting about how no one truly loves her and walks off.
Deciding that Juliette needs a vacation, Avery books a few days for them out of town, and after not being able to sleep through the night, Juliette goes downstairs to the lobby where she’s introduced to Darius. Part cult leader, part motivational speaker (and a creep if you ask me) Darius tries to convince Juliette he knows what she’s going through and that he can help. Juliette is defensive at first and dismisses the idea that he knows her what’s best for her, but eventually comes around and starts to take that first step towards dealing with her depression and bettering herself.
Working on performing as a solo artist, Gunner is struggling to be on stage without Scarlett, so Will decides to take him under his wing and help. Will for his part is still dealing with some lingering issues over the fallout with Zach, so it’s nice to see these two friends really leaning on each other again.
And pretty much every character on the show asks Deacon at some point if he’s lonely, and what his plans are for New Years Eve. It’s clear this is a setup for Deacon to have a romantic interest and move forward with a life that doesn’t include Rayna. Based on the connection that started between them last season, I think it’s safe to assume that he’ll be developing a relationship with Jessie in future episodes.
The final season of Nashville premieres Thursday, January 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on W Network (Canada) and 9/8c on CMT Televison.