[Updates]: Nashville’s second season premiere scored a 4.4 rating, which means that 4.4 percent of households tuned in last night for the premiere. In comparison, the show’s first season finale scored a 4.5 and its first-season premiere scored a 6.8.
As Season One ended of the ABC drama Nashville, the finale brought to light many of the scandals the first season only hinted at. Rising star Juliette Barnes’ (played by Hayden Panettiere) drug-addicted mother, committed suicide and murder in an attempt to save her daughter from a manipulative con artist. Country superstar Rayna Jaymes’ (played by Connie Britton) eldest daughter, Maddie (played by Lennon Stella), discovered a birth certificate with her mother’s former guitar player and love interest Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) listed as Maddie’s father (rather than father Teddy Conrad, portrayed by Eric Close). Meanwhile, Teddy’s relationship with flame Peggy Kenter (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) resulted in a surprise pregnancy. When Maddie revealed to Deacon that she believes he is her father, Deacon, a recovering alcoholic, delves back into drinking and confronts Rayna. When Rayna discovers Deacon has been drinking again, she confronts him outside the Bluebird Cafe, where he tries to drive away while intoxicated. She takes the wheel, and as they are fighting, they swerve to avoid a car, flipping their SUV.
Season Two Premiere
The season begins with Deacon pulling Rayna from the crumpled SUV, injuring his hand in the process. Later, with Rayna in the hospital, it is revealed that the singer has been in a coma for two weeks.
The judge sets Deacon’s bail at $1 million after some influence from Mayor Teddy, and the judge states that if Rayna doesn’t survive, Deacon’s charges will be increased to involuntary manslaughter, which includes a sentence of 10-30 years behind bars. It is later revealed that after police found that Deacon was indeed intoxicated, they ended further investigations, which would have revealed that Rayna had been in the driver’s seat.
Flashbacks abound in this episode, to reveal a young(er) Deacon and Rayna had once purchased a home together, just prior to her receiving her first CMA nomination and just after he had been released from Rehab. The home purchase was followed by a proposal from the addiction-riddled guitar player. During the flashback, Rayna accepted Deacon’s proposal, only to find that he had proposed while drunk and he didn’t remember the proposal the next morning. In one tense scene, she flings the engagement ring back at Deacon and leaves the house. Flashbacks also reveal that Rayna finds out she’s pregnant (presumably with first daughter Maddie) after the botched proposal; her sister Tandy Wyatt had talked her into keeping the pregnancy a secret from Deacon and not telling him that the child is his.
At the end of Season One, we find Gunnar proposing to Scarlett; as evidenced by a bash that Will throws for Gunner to help him get over Scarlett, we gather that Scarlett turned down the proposal. Will and a female friend scam to distract Gunnar from his loss with a wild party that ends with Gunnar burning the couch that Scarlett owned and Will’s female friend trying to seduce Gunnar.
Peggy revealed to Teddy that she is pregnant at the end of the last season; he makes it clear that he will offer financial support but nothing more. A distraught Peggy visits the doctor alone to find out how far along she is in the pregnancy; after hearing the heartbeat, she later finds that she has suffered a miscarriage.
“My mama used to listen to you while I was in her belly,” Juliette had sneered at Rayna during the first episode of the show’s first season. Now, with Juliette’s mother dead, we find the rising singer grappling for a way to grieve with not only the loss of her mother, but the possible loss of a singer whose music created a musical connection between mother and daughter. She also has to deal with the fan response to Rayna’s accident on album sales. As Juliette nears her album release time, Rayna’s album sales are skyrocketing. “Now I have to compete with a saint in a coma,” she wails at one point. Against the wishes of her manager, Juliette holds an album release concert (at Nashville’s Parthenon) and takes the opportunity to put herself in the limelight with Rayna by dedicating the song “This Love Ain’t Big Enough” to Rayna in concert, complete with photos of Rayna (with Juliette) on the screens and fans holding up glow sticks to honor Rayna.
Meanwhile, Scarlett, the Bluebird Cafe waitress-turned-professional singer with a record deal, is celebrating the end of her time working as a waitress and her newly minted deal with Rayna James’ label. Former boyfriend Avery Barkley is on hand to help her celebrate, until Gunnar realizes he still misses Scarlett and shows up unannounced at her going away bash at the Bluebird Cafe. The two sing “Why Can’t I Say Goodnight?” (written by Kim Richey), as Avery watches. Later Avery and Gunnar acknowledge their ongoing tension. “Can’t take no for an answer, huh?” says Avery of Gunnar’s rejected proposal. “Guess that makes two of us,” Gunnar replies.
Rayna’s father Lamar Wyatt later joins Teddy in Rayna’s hospital room, blaming him for cheating on Rayna with Peggy and driving her to return to Deacon. “Don’t blame me for not waiting until my wife packed her bags,” replied Teddy, who stated he had seen the writing on the wall for marriage. Maddie, Teddy and Daphne later wait outside Rayna’s hospital room as she is slowly brought out of the coma; they are warned that she may not remember any of them. Fortunately, she seems to recognize her family members, and is later shown sitting in a wheelchair on the hospital balcony, talking with her father Lamar.
She apparently recalls enough about the accident to confirm that it wasn’t Deacon driving the vehicle, which is enough for him to be released from behind bars.
Previews for next week’s episode (Oct. 2) reveal that Lamar may have had something to do with the death of Rayna’s mother, who died in a car accident when Rayna was 12. The preview also hints that Rayna has lost her singing voice after the accident. Deacon, whose hand was badly injured in the accident, may have trouble regaining his ability to play guitar, and Juliette will get a new rival in her quest for Country music stardom.
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