The only thing worse than spoilers of your favorite TV show are … bogus spoilers. As part of the media frenzy leading to Wednesday’s “Nashville” season finale, ABC released these admittedly juicy but nonetheless not “spoiler-worthy” tid bits:
“A shadow has been cast over country music's biggest night: Juliette discovers a letter from Jolene revealing her mother's true feelings; Rayna and Deacon's fairytale evening at the CMA Awards, even performing with Brad Paisley (who guest stars as himself) may not end in a happily-ever-after; and Gunnar will do whatever it takes to win Scarlett's heart back — but is it too late? Meanwhile the U.S. Attorney's office is closing in on Teddy, and Peggy returns with a secret of her own…”
Well, we can do better. (Sort of.)
We were there in Nashville, on set, for the filming of the finale episode, titled "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive." (See? high drama…) Show creator Callie Khouri — who directed it — called the scene we watched “pivotal.” It was a particularly emotional exchange between Rayna (Connie Britton) and her on-screen daughter, Maddie (Lennon Stella).
OK, so we can’t exactly reveal what happened per say, but we can speak to the fizzle of on-set drama we witnessed during filming. In a word? Tears. There were lots of them. Even from the production-affiliated van driver who dropped us off on set, a red brick home in East Nashville doubling as Teddy’s bachelor pad.
“Oh, it’s gonna be an emotional day!” she yelled out the open van window with a bit of a Southern twang as she peeled away. (Leaving us to wonder how she’d gotten her hands on a script.)
Inside, we got situated amid a small huddle of people who were gathered around a monitor watching the scene play out in the next room. Khouri and her director of photography were to our one side; Stella’s mom on the other.
On-screen, Stella welled up with tears. Britton choked up. And then, next to us on a director’s chair, Stella’s real life mom, Marylynne Stella, just let it rip.
“It’s so hard to watch her in so much pain, even if it is just acting” she said, dabbing her eyes with a tissue. She passed a fresh one to a crew member who was also moved by the scene.
One person we’re not the least worried about is Lennon herself. Though only 13 and brand new to acting — “Nashville” is her first-ever acting job — the Canadian-born actress is especially grounded. Marylynne — a country pop star in her own right as half the Stellas with husband Brad — is always on set with Lennon and her 9-year-old sister, Maisy, who plays Rayna’s other daughter, Daphne. The family seems particularly tight knit.
“I always feel guilty when I’m working with kids because you know how bad it can go,” Khouri told us on a break from shooting. “But I don’t worry about these kids. Their priorities are in order.”
Lennon said she considers Khouri and Britton role models. “I’m taking notes,” she said.
“I totally consider Connie a mentor,” Lennon said. “I just look up to her in so many ways — just everything, from the way she looks up and down things with her eyes and the way she says things and whispers them and has a clear intention behind things, just everything.”
“Those girls inspire me every day,” said Britton of Lennon and Maisy. “They’re the most magical singers, they’re extraordinary.”
All of which was so sweet, it nearly brought tears to our eyes.
So maybe all this adds up to a “bogus spoiler” itself — a bogus spoiler in disguise. But really, who wants to know ahead of time whether Rayna and Deacon stick.
Go old school and watch in real time, Wednesday, 10 p.m. We'll be doing the same, box of tissues on our lap, just in case.
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