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‘Nashville’ Midseason Finale Honors Rayna, Ends With Shocking Cliffhanger

Photo by Mark Levine, Courtesy of CMT
Photo by Mark Levine, Courtesy of CMT

A combination of poignant and emotional, the midseason finale of Nashville‘s Season 5  brought plenty of drama and a piece of shocking news to Thursday night’s (March 9) episode.

As the family recuperates after Rayna’s (Connie Britton) death, Maddie is fielding offers to appear on national TV after her emotional performance at her mother’s CMT tribute show. Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) takes her to New York for appearances on the Late Show With Trevor Noah and Harry Connick Jr.’s talk show, where she gets emotional talking about her mom and reveals plans to record an album of her own music in the future.

But all of this attention leaves Daphne feeling alienated and the newfound fame comes with a price, as Maddie has an emotional breakdown after reading articles about herself saying that she doesn’t care about her mother’s death and cancels her final TV appearance on the Today Show. Juliette later informs Maddie that she wants to manage her career and take her “all the way to the top.”

Nashville Stars Who Could Become Country Stars

On the business side of things, Zach Welles is pressuring Deacon (Charles Esten) to finish Rayna’s final album while the news of her death is still prominent, so they can release it and bring in more profit for Highway 65, much to Deacon’s dismay. The two come to blows when Zach insists he needs a decision by the end of the week about finishing the record.

Meanwhile, Deacon discovers an old box tucked away in Rayna’s closet of old mementos including CDs, videos and even her diary. He takes a walk down memory lane, watching old videos of the two of them in the recording studio, Maddie’s first birthday and scenes from their wedding day while reading entries in her diary, revealing her innermost thoughts about Deacon and their journey together.

He has a heart-wrenching breakdown of his own while watching recent footage of Rayna talking about what a strong support system he is for her and the girls, in between clips of them at home. He finds a confidant in Avery, who creates a silver lining when he brings many of the important people in Rayna’s life together to finish the album for Deacon. Avery, Gunnar, Scarlett, Will (Chris Carmack), Juliette and Maddie and Daphne all unite to sing different parts on Rayna’s songs together in her home studio. Though unsure at first, Deacon works up the courage to sing his verses, with a video of Rayna singing her part right next to him.

But the episode ends with a shocking cliffhanger, as Scarlett drops a bomb on Gunnar saying that she’s pregnant — and is unsure who the father is.

How Did Rayna Die? And Why?

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