The midseason premiere of “Nashville” finally brought Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten) to the altar. However, nothing ever goes smoothly in their relationship on the ABC drama. There were some last-minute cold feet. Two people were suddenly very unsure of the marriage in Season 4, episode 11, but it wasn’t Rayna or Deacon.
The couple has managed to plan a beautiful outdoor ceremony in just a month. Unfortunately, Rayna’s daughters aren’t as excited as she is. Daphne (Maisy Stella) has had some issues with her own father being in prison for a while, so her feelings aren’t too surprising. During the rehearsal dinner, she can’t even bring herself to sing for Deacon and Rayna.
It’s Maddie (Lennon Stella) whose second-guessing shocks Rayna in the midseason premiere. The teenager sees Deacon assault a vicious photographer outside the Bluebird Café. “Maddie, which father is worse: the criminal or the drunk?” the paparazzo asks. Deacon pushes him away and breaks his camera. He was protecting Maddie, but she remembers Deacon’s breakdown where he destroyed his house after Beverly died. She worries about her father’s temper.
Deacon’s moment goes viral, and they learn that the photographers are planning to invade the wedding too. The location is outdoors, so they’ll have to deal with intruders all around, even in helicopters. They move the wedding at the last minute to a barn. Deacon wonders if the location getting ruined is a sign. Rayna tells him that he can’t worry about that. They’re becoming a family tomorrow no matter what.
Daphne says she is sick on the day of the wedding. Deacon is quickly kicked out of her room while Tandy (Judith Hoag) takes care of her. Meanwhile, Maddie goes to the wedding venue and confronts Rayna about Deacon’s behavior. Rayna tries to explain that Deacon has his demons, but he is a good man. Maddie storms off.
Deacon stops by Rayna’s room to talk about the family. He knows that Tandy doesn’t like him, but Maddie and Daphne’s issues are news to him. Once he hears that Maddie saw his breakdown after Beverly’s death, he gets even more upset. “She thinks I’m a monster,” Deacon says. Rayna asks him not to let this get to him, but Deacon drives away from the wedding.
Maddie confides in Cash (Jessy Schram), the daughter of Deacon’s sponsor Frankie (Mark Collie). Cash assures her that if Rayna has kept Deacon around for 20 years, Maddie’s mom probably knows him better than she does. You don’t stop loving someone just because they have issues.
While Maddie gets advice, Rayna gives Tandy an ultimatum. If she can’t be invested in her sister’s choice, she should leave. Luckily, Tandy is willing to stick around, even if she doesn’t really love Deacon.
With Tandy onboard, Rayna just has to convince her daughters. She has a chat with both of them about the family. She assures them that they have always been and always will be a family. They’re welcoming Deacon into their group; he is the outsider. The girls are finally happy and support their mother’s choice. Everything seems to be on track until the wedding planner says Deacon is AWOL.
Deacon visits Beverly’s grave. He tells Frankie that he loves Rayna, but he isn’t sure he deserves her. He isn’t a runaway groom though. He shows up at the last minute and tells Rayna to put her dress on.
The two exchange heartfelt vows and kiss at the altar. During their first dance, Deacon calls Rayna “Mrs. Claybourne.” “That’s got a nice ring to it,” Rayna says. “Of course, darling, you know I would never change my name.”
Later, Deacon dances with Maddie and talks about her fears. “I’m giving you permission right now. You ever feel afraid of me or about me or for me, you tell me. Whatever I’m doing I will stop it right there,” he says.
After the reception, the couple doesn’t jet off to some exotic honeymoon. Instead, Deacon brings Rayna to the lake house and serenades her.
While Rayna and Deacon finally get a happy ending, their wedding guests had a little more trouble finding joy. Emily (Kortney Hansen) brings Cadence back to Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and says Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) is doing well. That’s not enough for Avery to think there is hope for the relationship. Still, he has to maintain the façade of his marriage for the press. Juliette has a list of lies mapped out for him to explain her absence at Rayna’s wedding.
Avery attends the wedding with Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio), who are performing at the ceremony. While Gunnar unsuccessfully tries to set up Scarlett with a new guy, Avery had to talk endlessly about Juliette. Once Rayna comes over to chat with him, he quickly has to leave because of a panic attack. He isn’t sure he can keep lying anymore.
Layla (Aubrey Peeples) also attends the wedding, and Colt (Keean Johnson) decides he has to say something to her about Jeff (Oliver Hudson). He reveals that he saw everything and it wasn’t a suicide. Jeff was saving Juliette. Layla asks Avery about Juliette at the reception and believes Avery when he says they’re happy.
She goes to Glenn (Ed Amatrudo) and says that she is taking him up on his offer to manage her. Layla wants to record an entirely new album, and she needs Avery Barkley to be her new producer.
Elsewhere in the “Nashville” midseason premiere:
- Maddie has been writing songs with Cash.
- Will (Chris Carmack) doesn’t attend the wedding because Wade Cole (Josh Coxx) is spreading rumors that he is difficult to work with.
- Maddie and Colt have been spending a lot of time apart. She isn’t thrilled that he has to spend so much time at his grandfather’s house, but Colt seems happy.
“Nashville” Season 4 airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.