I was kind of wondering how "Nashville" could follow up on last week's murder-suicide. Maybe an act of domestic terrorism or a "Once Upon A Time" crossover in which an evil queen transforms the country capital into a magical land or a squirrel or something. Between revealing Maddie's real daddy and all the death, it felt as if last week was the real season finale. Unless, you know, the squirrel thing happened. 
 
Still, it turned out "Nashville" had plenty of swift kicks and sharp turns to deliver, even as half of the characters seemed to be grieving something or someone. Maddie finally lost her mind, screamed bloody murder at her mom and "dad," then blabbed the whole story to Deacon. Of course, Deacon started drinking, because you knew that had to happen. It's no fun having a dry drunk on a soap opera for a whole season, after all. 
 
I'm a little surprised this storyline came up as quickly as it did, simply because 1) Deacon and Rayna were back together for what, a whole minute? and 2) what dumbass leaves a paternity test in a box in her closet? Rayna, a rich, well-known country singer who probably has  security system on her house to keep out stalker-y fans and has bodyguards when she's on tour can't even be bothered to put something very VERY private someplace safe, like a safety deposit box or bus locker in Grand Central station or, I don't know, her OWN BRAIN. It's not like she's going to forget that little detail, after all. Hmm, I know I found out who fathered my firstborn child years ago, but I've forgotten. Oh well! Senior moment!
 
Deacon isn't going to forget this little revelation, and it's so thoroughly upsetting to him he feels he has to show exactly what a responsible parent he would be by getting piss drunk and falling asleep in a bar. That isn't the end of his bender, though. Then he has to go home, puke from his porch, slam the door in poor Gunnar's face (who wisely calls for reinforcements) and keep drinking. Coleman and Scarlett are soon on the case, and there's lots of screaming and drunken punching (funniest moment on the show: Deacon swinging at Coleman and Coleman dodging without even trying) and Scarlett screaming. Once again, Scarlett uses her cute blonde girl powers to make Deacon feel really, really badly about making her cry, and the fight falls apart like sticky cotton candy in a rainstorm. 
 
I was hoping (unrealistically, I know) that Deacon might straighten up and fly right after the horrible debacle, but no, he determines to continue drinking, just more privately. I suspect Deacon was just looking for a good reason to get blitzed, like a hangnail or the cancelation of "1600 Penn," because even when he confronts Rayna about his parental rights he isn't particularly interested in listening to her fairly reasonable decision. 
 
Rayna: "You were a drunk and you broke all of my furniture and your damn sponsor told me to cut you loose and it would have traumatized the kid if we told her and Teddy loved her like his own and hell, she's a teenager now and you really don't mess with teenagers if you don't have to."
 
Deacon: "You lied. Where's the nearest bar? And can I try to beat the crap out of Teddy in a public place? Let me come over at Christmas, get drunk, and give Maddie a gift I bought at the gas station, because I am SO ready to be a daddy now!"
 
Speaking of Teddy, apparently this week the writers decided he doesn't need to be an absolute bastard, which is a nice change. He promises Rayna he'll make sure Maddie doesn't give up on her (although Maddie clearly wants to do exactly that) and he seems resigned to the reality that the Cumberland deal is going to be his undoing no matter what Lamar did to try to fix things back in the good old days. I guess it helps to be nice to the guy who bought you an election. 
 
I was thinking that Peggy was the U.S. Attorney's snitch (and shout out to Kimberly Williams-Paisley's hubby singing on the show! I bet she got that job for him. So nice of her to help him out. I'm JOKING,  so please don't leave something rude in the comments, people), but no. She seems to greatly enjoy making Teddy squirm a bit, but she claims to be pregnant. For all of you who were not paying attention, we now have official confirmation that "Nashville" is so sudsy there should be coupons for the show in your Sunday paper. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the pregnancy twist was just one of the big, broad plot twists that came barreling down on us during this episode.
 
Where we actually had true poignancy, to which I give a lot of the credit to a strong performance from Hayden Panettiere, was in Juliette holding it together, then falling apart, then doing a two step on the Kubler-Ross model before singing a sad, sad song. While it could be argued that Juliette's conversation with her mom's dead body was a bit overwrought, it was earned so I'm giving the show a pass on that one, no problem. While I feel entirely superficial to point this out, Hayden Panettiere still looks good with red eyes and no make-up. Dammit. What might have been the best moment in the episode, though, was between Rayna and Juliette at Jolene's funeral. It's a sincere, quiet moment in which Rayna says that Juliette, despite her feelings of having failed her mom, really is good enough. Juliette doesn't react except to ask where Deacon is, but I suspect that in this one short exchange a bridge has finally, finally been built. 
 
I was happy to see that most of the Gunnar-Will-Avery-Scarlett and a pear tree love entanglement (if we add in all the people Will is sleeping with, both male and female, I think we have a love dodecahedron) was short, cut into a montage and definitely the C storyline of the week. Gunnar can't be an outlaw, admits to stealing his brother's lyrics, and proposed. Scarlett stared at him with that gosh-golly-whoopsee expression she seems to like so much and I guess we get to find out what happens next season. If we care. Can't say I do overly much, though I absolutely love to hear Gunnar and Scarlett sing. 
 
Still, I guess we should be happy there's some happiness awaiting us in season two, because the minute we see Rayna driving Deacon home and the two of them screaming at one another, it's pretty obvious they're going to get into a big, metal-smushing car crash. And of course they do, so we have no idea if either of them survive. I can't really imagine "Nashville" without them, but neither can I see them in side-by-side hospital beds, either. I guess we'll just have to wait until this fall to find out what happens.
 
Do you think Rayna and Deacon survive? What do you think Teddy will do about Peggy? What did you think of the finale?