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It has been almost five months since Connie Britton's surprising exit from Nashville and Rayna Jaymes' devastating death on the episode “If Tomorrow Never Comes” which aired on February 23. While the show's ratings soared on the premiere of season five, the ratings have since peaked and declined. It is quite obvious to everyone many fans are still mourning the tragic loss of their favorite character.
On Thursday, July 11, even fellow Nashville co-star Ed Amatrudo, who plays Juliette Barnes' manager Glenn, took to Twitter to address the "dissension" among the Nashville fandom.
In a series of tweets, he posted, "You can please some of the fans all of the time, all of the fans some of the time but you can't please all of the fans all of the time.”
He also encouraged Nashies to tell CMT what they would like to see on the show by tweeting, "#NASHIES, instead of saying what you don't like about it, say what it is that you WANT. @CMT IS on your side. They are listening! Just ASK!"
His tweets come after a failed attempt on March 16, what would have marked Deacon and Rayna's one year wedding anniversary, where Nashville fans around the world tweeted show creator Callie Khouri as well as CMT with the hashtags #DeynaAnniversary and #AlternateEnding as they practically begged for a Deacon and Rayna alternate ending anniversary scene to be added to the season five DVD. It seems CMT is not on the side of the fans as the only response this movement warranted was silence from the network. However, it is not too late for Nashville to give everyone what they want.
Connie Britton wanted out of the show and has left. Rayna and Deacon fans want Rayna back. Other fans of the Nashville want to see the show continue on indefinitely for years to come without Rayna. So how does CMT “please all of the fans all of the time” as Amatrudo would say?
Simple. CMT listens to their fans as well as the cast.
The cast and many fans want to see the show continue without Rayna for seasons to come and that is perfectly fine. The show can and should continue indefinitely. After all, one character does not make the whole show and Connie Britton herself has said in many interviews that she waited to leave until the show was “in a good place to continue on.” So that is not the problem. The show should not die alongside Rayna. The show must go on and is the writers’ story to tell.
That being said, fans are leaving their once favorite show behind. A show they campaigned and fought for after ABC canceled it in 2016. When asked on Twitter what Nashies are feeling about the new switch to CMT, they collectively summarize their emotions as betrayal. After watching the tragic love story that is Deacon and Rayna for over five years and sticking by them through a coma, alcoholism, liver transplant, court case, a TV network move and much more, the fans feel as if Deacon and Rayna never truly received the happy ending they thought the renewed season 5 at CMT would bring. Who could blame them? Deacon and Rayna never even got to celebrate their one year wedding anniversary on the show.
Now any true fan should respect Connie Britton’s decision to leave the show. Without her, Rayna would have never existed in the first place and of course, we would never want to trap any of the characters into remaining on the show when they want to pursue other creative endeavors.
Although, during an interview with TVLine, Britton seemed to agree with the heartbroken Nashies and revealed she would have liked to “delve into Rayna and Deacon’s [life as a married couple]” and feels “after we had the great satisfaction of watching them get married last year, we never got to experience the rewards of that.” She also admitted she did not get to have a say in how Rayna left the show and “was not excited for Rayna to die” but later realized, “she would never leave her family. She would never leave her kids. She would never leave Deacon. So there really wasn’t any alternative.”
Except there is one alternative. There is one way all of the fans can be happy but CMT and Britton have to be in agreement to resurrect Rayna Jaymes for the course of one more episode, an episode that will remain in CMT's vault until the story is ready, just as the fans resurrected the show after its cancellation.
That is right. The only way to please “all of the fans all of the time” is for CMT to pull off the biggest plot twist of all time.
Still not following?
The Nashville writers would have free rein to write whatever makes their hearts content for however many seasons Nashville has left but when the show does finally come to an end they would need to listen to the fans.
The final episode could be enough to heal the hearts of all of the Nashies if every show, years of shows, since Rayna’s death turned out to be a figment of Rayna’s imagination while she was in the hospital. Her death, the goodbyes, everything we witnessed since she was rushed in for surgery, in reality, never occurred. Rayna awoke to a same-aged Daphne and Maddie, kissed Deacon and survived.
Wait, but what about the storylines we watched for seasons? What about the futures of all of the characters? Will we ever know what really happened if everything after Rayna’s death never truly came to fruition?
The answer is, yes. The final episode could show Rayna waking up in the hospital to her girls and Deacon and then a flash-forward of how everyone’s lives really turned out. For example, snippets of Scarlett and Gunnar’s relationship, Maddie’s career, Daphne getting advice from her mom through milestones in her life, Deacon and Rayna’s life together, Juliette and Avery and Cadence’s lives, Will’s future, Highway 65, Bucky, Glenn, Emily, Zach, Hallie, Clay — a little bit of everyone in a montage of where all of the characters we love so much ended up.
This plot twist would not only heal the hearts of Deacon and Rayna fans but also the hearts of any other fans who are unhappy with other storylines that occur during any seasons between now and Nashville’s final episode.
So what would CMT need to do in order to make this happen? Ask Connie Britton to film one last time and soon. In order to successfully pull off Rayna surviving the crash, she would have to wake up to Daphne and Maddie at their current age. If the show continued on for many years it would be awkward for them to try to film this scene with twenty-something-year-old versions of Daphne and Maddie and pretend Rayna was just waking up. They would need to film this part now and save it for whenever Nashville’s story does come to an end and they could film the flash-forward whenever they pleased.
Britton would also have to agree to return for this final episode but that could possibly be easier than one would think. During her TVLine interview, Britton stated “Nashville’s always going to be important to me, so I’m totally open to whatever as time goes on.” Furthermore, she said before Rayna’s final episode she had told Marshall Herskovitz, Nashville’s showrunner, “Hey, I could stay on and do a few more [episodes] if we’ve got more story to tell” which would lead one to think she would come back one last time for the sake of the story. This idea would hardly interfere with her continued absence and would only require one last goodbye.
As for now only time will tell which direction CMT decides to take with Nashville.
Do you like this plan? Would this ending satisfy your craving for the show you once loved? If so, please share this article on social media and tell CMT this is what we want! Maybe, just maybe, they will listen.