Nashville Review: Bitter Memories

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It wouldn't be a true primetime drama season finale without some polarizing storylines, right? The end of Nashville season 1 was no exception.

"I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" dropped a few bombshells, some predictable and some unseen, all set to the tune of Juliette singing in her mother's memory. And once again, Hayden Panettiere was an absolute powerhouse.

Performing With Brad Paisley

In fact, this entire season has showcased talent I simply never knew that the actress possessed. She has gone above and beyond expectations and damn if she doesn’t end up with an Emmy nod. It wasn't even one standout scene so much as it was consistently excellent acting throughout every scene she had in the episode. She started off with the misery of dealing with the police's investigation of the murder/suicide and the unwanted publicity.

Juliette then moved to the anger stage and lashed out at everyone from Deacon to her old manager. Her meltdown in the dressing room at the CMAs was epic. She was mean as a snake until she finally said the words that took it too far. When she admitted part of her was "celebrating that it was all over" she knew it was time to get out of there. It was off to the funeral parlor where she had the heart to heart with Jolene that she probably always wanted to have.

I truly loved the scene between her and Rayna at the cemetery. Here you have two women who are professionally and often personally at each other's throats. But when tragedy in life intervened, they were able to connect on a real level. 

I've just been living my life knowing that this day was going to come. Dreading it. Wanting it. Hating myself for wanting it. I guess I just always thought that if I was good enough, that she would be all right. | permalink

Before I spend my entire review raving about Hayden's performance, let's move onto Rayna. Connie Britton was not too shabby herself! (Just kidding, as I only started watching this show because of her!) Major props to the writers for not dragging out Maddie's paternity secret for longer than it needed to be. She handled her scenes really well, as did Deacon. I just wish he didn't automatically relapse because it felt so predictable.

The whole Deacon relapse and car accident could be seen from a mile away. Obviously Deacon finding out he and Rayna had a daughter was a huge bombshell, but I wish there was another way to have taken the story. The second they got into the car together you just knew it was going to take a bad turn. 

Another kind of predictable cop-out was Peggy revealing she didn't testify against Teddy because she was pregnant. Of course she's pregnant! But I don't know if Teddy's the father. I don't trust that woman for a second. The one cliffhanger I totally didn't see was Gunnar proposing. What was that?!? I'm glad that Avery has been able to redeem himself and become a likable character again over the past few weeks, but Gunnar has some stuff to come back from.

I'm not even going to touch the political storyline, because I'm not sure anyone is even all that interested in it. All in all, the finale was well done and all the acting was phenomenal. I was still holding my breath at the very end, even if the car crash was a bit obvious. Now I turn it over to you guys. What did you think of the Nashville season 1 finale? What did you think of the first season overall?



Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (138 Votes)

from the very beginning, this show has had great writing and dramatic conflict.
the acting is excellent and the music is always good.
looking forward to season 2.


Also - to all the commenters who shared how the show reminded them of their past: thank you for sharing that with us. It takes courage to put that out there and to remind everyone of the reality that informs the fiction that we watch.


I think I would have been happier if Deacon had actually gone to get help after that one night off the wagon. We've seen constantly how he's the most grounded character, and I hoped that he would have realized that he slipped back into the very person that drove Rayna to lie in the first place. Quite frankly, Teddy was totally right when Deacon attacked him on the field. They're both gonna recover, Deacon's gonna feel like an ass, and Rayna's going to be convinced again that he's dangerous. Does anyone care about Teddy and the other chick's pregnancy? No? Didn't think so. I was pleasantly surprised by Gunnar's proposal, though I don't know if that will work. But I do think they're setting Avery up to be Juliette's knight in shining armor - a man who's battled his demons and is ready to be a better person. Juliette is right where Avery used to be.


Love the show. I have spent a fair amount of time in Nashville & have seen how close knit the country music scene really is. I find myself forgetting that they are supposed to be "country music stars" and more like a big family. Glad to see that the writers do not focus too much on the music industry itself, and more on the personal trials & tribulations of the characters. We often idolize these "superstars" and forget that they have ordinary lives like ourselves. I find the show does jump from one major event to another too quickly, but I guess that keeps us on our toes. I am so glad to hear that the show has been approved for another season, as I am sure it will only get better!! (besides.... I will miss them over the summer break). On a final note, I am sure, if nothing else, the show will help boost Nashvilles tourism is an awesome place to visit!!

Sarah silva

The spoilers of people that were going to die, did not mean the finale! They were talking about Dante and Jolene!
Deacon and Rayna will survive but they will both have severe injuries BUT I think it will make Deacon feel awful and will forgive Rayna and they will be a couple again.
I am sure that Peggy is either lying about the maybe or it is not Teddy's. I also bet that Teddy and Rayna's sister will do what they have to, to take down Lamar.
I can see Scarlett saying yes and Avery getting together with Juliette


I couldn't stop crying over Haydens last song she dedicated to her mom, the girl can sing and act. This coming from a rocker girl watching a show about country music, lol. I'm glad they didn't cancel this show. I hope Avery and Scarlet get back together, don't care about Peggy or the political stuff, let Deacon get sober and somehow forgive Rayna. Can't wait till second season.


Don't forget to give major credit to he make-up folks for the amazing job they did on Hayden Panetierre. Their FX really enhanced the credibility of Juliet's devastation (not to detract from Panetierre's performance). Watching SyFy's Face-Off has given me a new appreciation of really skilled work in this area.

Drea xoxo

the episode was emotional for me and reminded me of when my dad used to be a drunk... anywho moving on, i felt for a finale it was suiting because they didn't know if the show was going to be picked up again which i'm glad it is!!!!! i couldn't stop crying at everything. the daughter reminded me of TGW offsprings, could really care less!! she needs to move on and accept life aint black and white and to not go snooping if you can't hack it!!! deacon relapse predictable but not OOC so i'll let it pass. i feel they are either going to kill him or make him immobilised......hope rayna doesn't die but they could continue the show... hope scarlette doesn't accept, they both need to work on themselves before they can properly love each other..... now i can't wait til the fall!!!!


Wow, what a finale! Hayden was amazing, just like you said. I had no idea she was this talented, but I guess she hasn’t had much of a chance before now to really showcase it. I work at DISH, and watched Nashville on the light rail this morning, on my iPhone. I have the DISH Anywhere app, which lets me pull live or recorded shows straight off my home receiver. It’s perfect for the commute, and I’m definitely going to miss watching Nashville on my way to work Thursday mornings!


My mom was an alcoholic who was subject to black-out rage fits when she was drinking like Deacon. Thankfully she was able to get sober and was sober last year when she passed away suddenly. So to say that Rayna and Juliette's stories hit a nerve is an understatement. Hayden Panettiere absolutely nailed the ACOA behavior along with the stages of grief. And Charles Esten (Deacon) blew me away as well. I loved the episode and yet hated it for making me miss my mom so much.. Can't wait for next season.

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Nashville Season 1 Episode 21 Quotes

Grieve? What are you talking about? I should be celebrating that it's finally over!


My mother's the drug addict murderer, not me. She has taken enough of my life and she's not gonna take this. Not when I have fought this hard to get here!


Nashville Season 1 Episode 21 Music

  Song Artist
Nashville cast nothing in this world will ever break my heart ag Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again (feat. Hayden Panettiere) Nashville Cast iTunes
Florida georgia line get your shine on Get Your Shine On Florida Georgia Line iTunes
Nashville cast bitter memory feat connie britton Bitter Memory (feat. Connie Britton) Nashville Cast iTunes