When Nashville wants to, it will hit the audience with a multitude of shockers to keep viewers wanting to come back - and keep them talking about the show during any hiatus.
With no new installments until 2014, Nashville Season 2 Episode 10 came with shock after shock in the final few moments. And it was certainly satisfying.
That's not to say that Nashville's slower burns of character and plot development aren't just as entertaining, but rather that those episodes make this mid-season finale stand out as thrilling - if a bit off-the-wall - because it's not the norm.
There were five moments that either took me by surprise or were monumental for the characters involved that I'd like to revisit. The first three below certainly came from the "awe playbook," so let's discuss them in order of least to most surprising.
3. The Lexington Railroad
Ever since the audience found out that Will Lexington was gay the character, he's genuinely struggled with how to deal with his sexuality. Whether it's that he doesn't know how to handle the fact that he feels this way, or that he hates what it will mean to his career if the news comes out, Will has been on a path to doing something seriously destructive to himself for a while.
The fact that his move was to step in front of a high speed train was certainly not something I would have predicted, but his heinous act has been played up for a while.
It raises the question, is he gone? Was there anyone around to shove him out of the way at the last second? Did he have time to jump off the tracks in the final moments? Would Nashville choose this direction to get rid of one of its newest series regulars? It would be a bold move.
2. Pistol-ed Peggy
It was surprising that someone came out of nowhere in an attempt to assassinate Teddy Conrad, and it was a bit of a shock that the struggle ended with a gunshot being fired and hitting the innocent Peggy... but if this leads to the end of Peggy I can't say I don't see exactly what the writers were thinking.
Does anyone out there like Peggy? Or like what her character has brought to Teddy, the girls or Nashville in general? I didn't think so. Having said that, yes, it was a moment that I may have taken a quicker breath than normal, and that's likely exactly what they were looking for.
Without Peggy, would that leave room for the writers to come up with an interesting story for Teddy? Through a season and a half, they have yet to do so.
1. Juliette's Regret
Anyone who has watched Nashville each and every week for the last season and a half knows that Juliette Barnes hasn't been had many deep, emotional feelings. And she certainly never talks about them.
When she showed up at Avery's door, ready to express her love for him, I was blown away.
They kept returning to this relationship as something that worked so well, both for viewers and for the two characters involved, but I always thought that they'd leave it as a really good friendship. Avery has been there for her so many times, and she has always reacted well towards him - something we can't say for many other men in her life - but Juliette throwing her heart on the line like that was absolutely surprising.
I'm torn because, on the one hand, I would hate to see anything this bad happen to Scarlett after what she just went through with her best friend and her ex shacking up behind her back... but, on the other hand, Avery and Juliette are SO good together.
Sure, you're right, Avery is good with anyone at this point, because they've turned him into an absolute stud, but that's not the point. The Avery/Juliette chemistry is off the charts, so I wouldn't complain about that happening for anything.
Juliet: I realized that all I want is to be a person that gets to say I love you and really mean it, so...
How do you compete with that?
The other two developments during Nashville Season 2 Episode 10 that were monumental were Rayna investing everything she has into her new venture; and Deacon finally getting a shot at a solo career.
I love that Rayna is taking this huge risk and I'm not surprised that she and Luke may part ways because of it.
Who couldn't love seeing the smile on Deacon's face as that exec told him that he was interested in the former band leader's shot at success?
What more could you have asked for in the 2013 finale of Nashville? Now is your turn to weigh in! What was your favorite moment? What didn't you like about the hour? Which was the biggest surprise? And who will die: Will, Peggy, both or neither?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.