I’ll Fly Away
Original Air Date: Mar 2, 2017
Jules– Managing Editor
If you haven’t cried enough in the last week, brace yourself. I barely made it through the first seconds without crying my eyes out and it as only the “previously on.” If you’ve been living under a rock or been in denial, Rayna Jaymes has indeed died. After last week‘s emotional roller coaster of an episode that saw it’s star and matriarch die due to complications after a car crash, this week deals with the aftermath and all the unimaginable grief related to it.
The episode begins in the middle of the graveside service. It’s raining as Deacon reads W.H. Auden’s poem “Funeral Blues.” He’s surrounded by a small group that consists of Maddie, Daphne, Tandy, Teddy (remember him!), Gunnar, Scarlett, Will, Bucky, Avery, Juliette, and Clay.
From the funeral is now the reception at Rayna’s house. Did we know Rayna had that huge staircase in the foyer? There’s a lot of crying and a lot of Scarlett keeping busy and helping out, offering her hugs, supporting hand, guidance and looking for Deacon, who has escaped upstairs and hidden away from the large crowd.
During the reception we see Zach be totally awkward showing a behind the scenes video he put together from his video guy and Bucky can’t watch more than two seconds of and then shuts it down. Zach tries to give a toast but he doesn’t do a good job as evidence with his line about feeling a deep connection with Rayna, which sounds so much like her stalker! Leave it to Gunnar for the rescue saying “You always think you have all the time in the world.”
Also during the reception, Glen tells Juliette that the CMT Awards is looking for someone to replace Rayna at the show. They are looking at Faith Hill, but Juliette insists that it be her. When CMT obliges, Juliette’s excited until she later sees herself hobbling a bit down a hallway in a floor length mirror.
Scarlett finally finds Deacon upstairs alone in the dark, clutching a Rayna guitar pick and she gives Deacon the video Zach made. Don’t watch it!
At the reception we learn Teddy was allowed three days out on bereavement leave. Tandy approaches Teddy and they start to talk saying them should be watching the girls and handling Highway 65 affairs. Maddie asks Clay to leave after she finds him outside alone and not really present with her.
Scarlett, having done enough helping for the day, walks around in a daze in the house until she finally loses it as she walks down the hallway. If you’ve been the extended preview, this is the scene that got me. Gunnar finds her and Scarlett asks him to hold her as she sob uncontrollably.
With the song “I’ll Fly Away” playing, we see everyone around the house – Maddie finds Deacon and encourages him to sleep, Scarlett passes out asleep alongside a Daphne, Gunnar and Teddy passed out on different couches, and Bucky crying on the couch of the music room. That last one hit me so hard.
The next day at the lawyer’s, Teddy, Tandy, Deacon and Scarlett are there and learn that Rayna didn’t establish next ownership for Highway 65 or appoint guardianship of the girls – but wait, isn’t Maddie emancipated? A technically has Teddy as guardian because he is Daphne’s father and legally adopted Maddie. The lawyer says it can be contested, but that could take awhile and would mean the girls would have to testify in court.
Teddy and Tandy talk again about guardianship and Deacon, but this time Maddie hears them and says her whole court thing with Deacon and Rayna wasn’t all truth and then rushes to tell Deacon about what she heard. Tandy, who is really starting to irk me in this episode, continues to harp on Deacon saying she put millions into Highway 65 and wants it to succeed and if they have to go to court they will.
Later Maddie tells Daphne what’s going on about the guardianship issue and they quickly switch to how both just want their mom and how they were each dreaming mom was alive singing. Daphne is worried they will be split up, but Maddie promises not to let that happen.
Tandy finally has a moment alone with Deacon and tells him bluntly that he can’t run the company and even though he loves the girls, she thinks he’s not ready to fully provide for them does he want to put the girls through the thing of a trial?
Juliette rehearses for the CMT Awards when she stops because she can’t breathe. She’s feeling off – not rusty off, but emotionally. Avery believes she will feel better later, but Juliette’s not so sure.
Now it’s time for Deacon to overhear Teddy telling Maddie that he can be their guardian. Deacon’s mad, but he does nothing. He’s finally learned or he’s just emotionally drained or possibly both. Later Deacon overhears Daphne talking to Scarlett about how no matter which father she chooses she loses because the other would be upset about it.
The next day, Clay comes over and Maddie wishes he was by her side, but he’s still dealing with his issues about losing his own mom, but it seems he will be sticking around for now.
Meanwhile, Zach and Will set up a “business meeting” at a museum, but Zach lets it known that it’s not about business. They talk some more and walk around when Zach goes in for a full kiss on Will’s lips and I don’t seem to mind this pairing. Anyone else feel the same?
CMT Awards evening. The whole family is there including Deacon, Maddie, Daphne, Teddy, Tandy and Scarlett. After Tandy walks the girls to their seats, Deacon tells Teddy that he doesn’t want to put the girls through more than what they are going through already and tells Teddy that he can go ahead and be their guardian. Teddy looks semi-relieved.
Will is first to perform a tribute to Rayna by singing “By Your Side.” During his performance, Maddie is asked to speak to Juliette backstage. Can’t be good as Avery leaves telling her “good luck.” Juliette tells Maddie that who else would sing a tribute to Rayna better than her own daughter? Maddie says her mom would be so happy about Juliette singing, but Juliette bluntly replies “not really.” While Juliette tries to convince Maddie, the stage manager incessantly asks for Juliette to get ready next to the stage.
When it’s Juliette’s turn to hit the stage, she tells her story of living in a trailer park and listening to Rayna on the radio and how she felt like Rayna was singing to her. During her teary-eyed speech, she looks into the wings and sees Maddie, who nods, indicating she can sing. Juliette’s intros Maddie saying “Don’t be scared baby girl. The world loved your mom and now the world just wants to hear what’s in your heart.”
No rehearsal teary-eyed Maddie walks on stage to sing Rayna’s hit ballad, “Sanctuary.”” It starts well, but Maddie’s voice begins to break after she glimpses a photo of her and mom playing behind her and stops and sobs on stage. Deacon and Daphne rush to the stage and group hug her. Then Daphne steps up to the mic to continue the song and soon Deacon and Maddie join in, all harmonizing together and making the audience get to its feet.
When the trio are done, the girls rush into Scarlett’s arms backstage, while Deacon walks to the side solo, but is met by Teddy, who seems to have a change of heart. Teddy tells Deacon “you’re a good father…The truth is, I’m going to be gone for a while. I’d be obliged if you watched over them. Be their guardian for now. And maybe when I get back, we can work something out together.” Deacon accepts and I could be crying happy tears that Teddy is finally doing the right thing.
The episode ends with Deacon, Maddie and Daphne going back to the stage in a big group hug to a standing ovation from the crowd.
I have no more tears as this episode wrecked me. Charles Esten slayed this week, as did Clare Bowen and Lennon and Maisy. So much unimaginable grief they displayed throughout. Share your thoughts about the episode and the powerful performances below.
Next Episode: Fire and Rain (midseason finale)