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Showrunner Callie Khouri talks season 2 finale of ‘Nashville’ and what’s next

Chip Esten, Callie Khouri and Connie Britton of 'Nashville'
Chip Esten, Callie Khouri and Connie Britton of 'Nashville'
Photo by Rick Diamond

On Wednesday, the season 2 finale of ‘”Nashville” aired, leaving fans longing for the fall premiere already. Many unanswered questions and lots of emotional drama are just what showrunner Callie Khouri was aiming for said The Hollywood Reporter on May 14. After the season 1 finale was met with negative criticism, she wanted something different for this season and she got it.

What fans saw was Luke Wheeler propose to Rayna James while they were on stage at a concert to launch her new album. Teddy, Deacon, Maddie and Daphne watched from the crowd and none of them looked too thrilled when Rayna accepted. Later that night, Deacon also proposed in a much quieter setting and with more feeling than Luke but Rayna gave him no answer.

Will, struggling to find balance in his life while launching his debut album against country music superstar Rayna James, also has to come to terms with his fake marriage to Layla. He decides he needs more than just one person he can be himself with (Gunnar) and decides to come out to Layla. She is, needless to say, completely shocked. His revelation is caught on camera by the reality show he and Layla re doing though he doesn’t know it yet.

Avery learns of Juliette’s cheating with Jeff Fordham and they break up. By the end of the show, there are signs they may be able to reconcile but it is currently unresolved. Scarlett is rethinking her plans to leave town after a heart to heart with Gunnar via a song he wrote for her. Maddie is miffed when both he mom and dad refuse to let her pursue a music career just yet.

When asked about the big car accident scene in the season 1 finale of “Nashville,” Khouri said, “I knew we were taking a big risk with that season-one finale and I chose not to go out looking for what the big reaction was, to be honest. It was a moment to throw all the cards in the air and we just decided, what the hell, let's do it. We knew what we had to do, which was show why Rayna and Deacon together never worked and why it might never work. We thought: Why not do a physical manifestation of what a mess they were together. That was last season of really getting to see them in their old dynamic. I know there were plenty of people who hated it, but we had reasons beyond what might have been apparent to a casual viewer.”

With this season’s finale, Rayna is facing a choice between Like and Deacon. Would the Deacon and Rayna pairing be different this time around if she chooses him?

Khouri says things would be different because now they have a kid that Deacon is aware of. Maddie changes the equation. It adds a deeper level of pull for Rayna now. However, Luke, she cautions, is a real possibility. Khouri says they hav4e nicknamed Luke “Deacon Gone Good” because he represents all the things Deacon could have become had he straightened out long ago. Now Rayna has 2 very real options and each comes with his own baggage. Either choice also comes at a price.

Deacon and Teddy have a fragile truce. Could Deacon’s desire to be more of a father to Maddie and his proposal to Rayna upset that balance? Yes of course it can and probably will.

News on the upcoming season 3 is scare. Khouri says they haven’t even started to break it down yet. They plan on a short break before jumping into storylines. So whether the premiere will pick up right where it left off or if there will be a time jump hasn’t been determined. Some of the storylines are being developed though.

Maddie’s desire to have a record deal and pursue a musical career will definitely be one of the story arcs Khouri pursues. She feels it will be interesting to see how someone of Maddie’s age and talent level develops in the industry.

Scarlett will be back. Her character has had quite an evolution already from someone who only came to Nashville to support her then boyfriend, Avery, to opening for a major talent. Seeing how that kind of fast-paced change can affect someone was very real. Now she will be back to square one.

The decision behind having Will come out was so they could explore a big country store being out, something Khouri says she isn’t aware of in the industry. Will is really only halfway out. Only a few people know at this point. He fears that his being gay will hurt his ability to achieve success as a country music star. That success is what drives him. With the potential for him to be completely outted by the reality show folks Will is in a real tough spot, not to mention how Layla reacts to his news.

Jeff Fordham has developed into quite a nasty character. He mostly foils Rayna’s plans but after sleeping with Juliette, she, too, is now having major issues with him. The thinking behind it came more from the perspective of ‘what’s the worst thing Juliette could do to sabotage herself?’ She has a history of doing that to herself and felt like time for her to do it again, to not trust that her life could really be in a good place. Hurting Avery was the most “soul-destroying” thing they could come up with.

Will they get past her fling with Jeff? Khouri sayts its something that would definitely be difficult for Avery to move past, if he even can. Juliette is so damaged already. Khouri says, “Funnily enough, they've become one of favorite couples on the show. I don't know how easy it will be for him to just go, "Alright, I get it." That's something that could take him a long time to get over. She's a very damaged person; she was essentially raised by wolves and everything she's ever gotten from life she's gotten under her own scheme, but she's had to do it. She's got a bad case of arrested development. I don't think she's a person who suddenly is enlightened. I think watching a person who has to deal with the consequences of her own actions is interesting to see. We're trying to keep it real and we try not to keep characters one way or another. We want to show the good and bad side to everyone. I don't want characters to be all bad. You want to go back and forth, rooting for them even when they're doing something wrong.”

Khouri says all the characters on the show are in place. She doesn’t anticipate getting rid of anyone. That’s good news for the cast and fans alike. ABC has renewed “Nashville” for a third season. It will be back with new episodes in the fall.

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