Nashville has done thus far what it's supposed to: lead us up to the finale with a LOT of storyline strings dangling.
Will a liver transplant from his sister save Deacon? Will Scarlett and Gunnar finally realize they should be together? Can Jeff and Layla live happily ever after (and do we even want them to)? Can Will avoid a gay scandal with his anti-gay Daddy around? And will Juliette remember she has a baby?
So much is hanging in the balance as we head into Nashville Season 3 Episode 22 ... so who better than to tease what we'll see than showrunner/executive producer Dee Johnson?
She jumped on the phone with me yesterday to talk about what's on tap...
TV Fanatic: As far as the fourth season renewal, did you kind of find out when the rest of us did that you were getting another season? Was it kind of nail biting time or did you have a good feeling about it?
Dee Johnson: I had a pretty good feeling about it but you know in this business you cannot just float about in a bubble of everything’s going to work out as we want. You always have a little bit of nail biting somewhere.
TVF: Let’s first talk about Deacon and Rayna. It’s been really nice to see them together through his health crisis.
DJ: That is a difficult one to tease. I mean it could go a bunch of different ways. Let’s just put it this way, no way is easy. Nothing about that situation is going to be easy…a lot could happen.
TVF: Juliette is in a really interesting place. I would chalk it up as postpartum. Is that kind of what you guys are going for with everything she’s going through or is it even bigger than that?
DJ: I think she’s such a complicated person. Definitely I think there’s an element that we’re looking to. I think she has driven herself into her career as kind of an inability to deal with the reality of her situation.
TVF: Do you think maybe even moving into the next season that a lot of this is going to come back to her own fractured relationship to her own mother?
DJ: I think that it’s definitely related. You can’t have that happen and not have issues about rearing a child and a sense of failure or what have you. I think it’s all connected.
TVF: I feel like Scarlet and Gunnar are the only two that don’t realize they should be together. Are we going to see some resolution with that relationship?
DJ: I think it’s a complicated one, too, because sometimes the people that you have the most chemistry and impetuous, wild emotions with don’t necessarily make for the best people to be in a relationship with. While there’s a lot of feelings there, is it a good thing that they get together? Are there ways that they can kind of be together and not be together? I think there’s a lot that we will be exploring there, too. I think they both know that those feelings exist. It’s a question of how practical is this? Once the genie’s out of the bottle you can’t put it back in.
TVF: And they both have people in their lives that actually could be good for them, whether it’s Caleb or Kiley.
DJ: One of the key moments in the finale is this tiny little shot where Rayna says something to the effect of they have this support system meaning each other but then in the frame there’s the four of them. I think that’s very telling.
TVF: We know that this tabloid story is probably coming out about Will. How is he going to deal with that especially with his father very much in his life at the moment?
DJ: I think the thing about Will’s father coming into the picture, I think he suffers such a huge sense of abandonment from him and I think there’s a part of every child that ultimately wants the love of a parent. So when that is proffered it makes it very difficult for Will to be who he is in that world because he runs the risk of a second rejection.
TVF: Talk about Layla and Jeff a little bit. Jeff is kind of like the male version of Juliette where he’s so complex and you don’t always know what you’re going to get from him. Do you kind of agree with that?
DJ: I do. It took a while because he was sort of not showing his cards. He played them very close to the vest for a long time. He was being kind of a jerk basically. Then we have kind of peeled the onion a little bit this year and gotten little glimpses into him and why he is the way he is. I think he has a very kind of weird way of loving somebody. He’s a very damaged person and that’s why he acts the way he acts. So to that degree he and Juliette have a lot in common.
TVF: Which makes sense with their history that we've seen on the show. Layla’s always so fragile. Is Jeff inevitably good for her?
DJ: I think he’s kind of good for her career. Even we as writers always have to remind ourselves of how young that character really is. I think Aubrey just turned 21. When you pair somebody and you throw them into…whether it’s the music business or the entertainment business it’s very easy to have whether it’s managers or agents or whatever really take hold of you and shake you. You are in a little bit of a bubble in that way. I think that’s where she finds herself.
Nashville Season 3 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.