The ‘Nashville’ Characters Defense – Deacon Claybourne: A Perfect Mess

We all watch Nashville for many reasons and one of them is the very complex characters. We all have our favorites, the ones we feel the most and identify with the most. Sometime it’s a character that’s similar to us and sometimes there’s just qualities that we appreciate and admire or that touch a soft place in our hearts. All the characters on Nashville have made mistakes and we all found ourselves at least one point wanting to hug them, yell at them or roll our eyes at them like they were real people.

Beside giving us so much to talk and debate about, the beauty of immersing ourselves in the rich Nashville universe, is that none of them is perfect but every character really does have a point. So while we’re passing the time until Nashville comes back February 4 with new episodes, Nashville Forever will present to you a series of articles written mostly by fans (and partially by yours truly) about these fabulous yet slightly dysfunctional characters that will give each of them a fair chance to be heard and proper “defense”. I invite you all to sit back, read and listen to the reasons why each character is right and why we should all root for it. You’re welcome to scream ‘hell yeah’ when you agree, argue when you disagree and most of all have fun! 

Related: Refresh your memory with Nashville 3.10 – ‘First to Get a Second Chance’ Review: Are You Happy?

And we begin our series with Nashville’s own hot (perfect) mess, Mr. Deacon Calybourne. Read what Tyana (@baxxie24) has to say:

“Deacon Claybourne, the man with three chords and the truth, the recovering alcoholic, best guitar player in Nashville, ex-lover of the Queen of Country and proud father of her eldest daughter Maddie. The man who in season 1 told a reporter “me and happy, we don’t go well together”.

I wish I could say it’s not true, but he has gone through so much in the last 2.5 seasons of this show and years before that, that I am almost starting to agree with him.


I have been a TV junkie for many years and all my favorite TV shows always have one character that I just stick with and root for and wish them all the happiness. But secretly I also wish for them some angst, because somehow it makes the show even more interesting.  However, Deacon Claybourne reached a point where I wish him only happiness and no more angst because wow, he sure does deserve it.

Deacon has such a huge heart and no matter what happens, he is always there for others. There is barely a character left on this show who he has not given advice to. He entwines all of the characters in a way and is respected and loved by many, especially those closest to him.

I believe this will be also what will get him through the biggest blow he has received so far, having liver cancer.

Look, yes, like Scarlett, we all feared for a split second, that it wedding being thrown in his face everywhere in Memphis was too much for him and he had gotten drunk again but we it was really for just a second because we all know he has come too far to do that again.

From the moment we met him it’s He has been through so many things in his life and he used to fight off all his demons with alcohol and drugs. It was a long and hard battle that was still clearly visible in season 1. They kept telling him Rayna Jaymes was also an addiction and he did seem to get better when they broke ties and he tried to move on with someone else. But they found their way back to each other until he found out she had kept a huge secret from him for 13 years and he actually had a daughter, which sent him right back over the edge. Because alcohol was the only thing that he could truly trust and which would never disappoint him. But once again he was reminded of just how destructive it was. It ended up almost getting Rayna killed and almost ended both of their careers and in turn he lost her again.

I think it was the final wake up call he needed, as horrible as it was. He blamed himself for everything at first and punished himself in any way he could by saying goodbye to his career and being prepared to go to jail. The people around him wouldn’t let him tho

normal_nsh302_1009ugh and he started fighting again. This time though it felt like the fight was finally for himself. He was no longer staying sober for Rayna, he was sober for himself and for his daughter. It has been incredible to see their relationship grow and in turn see him grow along with it, becoming someone he never thought he could be. His face lights up whenever she’s around and you can see the emotion in his face as she calls him dad or tells him she loves him and he says it right back. My heart when she said she wished Rayna had chosen him and he was in tears as he agreed with her…

He has held a torch for Rayna for so long and they have danced around each other for two full seasons, breaking apart, kissing, getting together, breaking up again, fighting, writing songs, being jealous, professing their love and him gettingtumblr_ncgy3slCsM1qbvapjo7_r1_250 kicked down again and again because she is too scared to give them a chance. It has been such a struggle watching them this season after he proposed and showed her that he can do it. He does know how to love her now and he isn’t going to mess it up anymore and he doesn’t want to move on. It was crushing and I could almost feel the pain myself when she turned him down again.

Related: Rayna, Deacon and the Truth – Full Relationship Analysis

I was afraid he would give up as always, but he has changed a lot and while he was angry to be around her and Luke, who was doing everything in his power to kick him down even further, he stayed the better man. I believe he didn’t want to give up on her because he saw what we did. He knows her better than anyone and saw through the lies and the fake smiles. That is why he was so angry that night when she showed up on stage with Luke to make up to him for their stupid fight. Because that was not the Rayna he knew and then next to that it was rubbed into his face and she barely even noticed him or pretended she didn’t notice him.

Everywhere he went it was rubbed into his face what was happening and he couldn’t do a thing to stop it. Luke was entering his family and he could see the effect it was having on Maddie and he seemed to be the only one who truly understood and wanted to be there for her. But he couldn’t.

Gradually the whole situation spiraled out of control. Teddy has hooked up with an escort, Rayna has been too busy doing everything she can to make her relationship and label work that she ignored how miserable everyone else are, including her, and the girls decided they want to go to boarding school and have their own horse.

normal_nsh306_1787The ways he has grown as a person also showed as he did hook up with someone new, but didn’t pretend to himself or to her how he felt. He was honest and true to himself and honest with her. She helped him find his music again as he fought his way through being on Luke’s tour by force and not being able to see his daughter while she needed him. On tour itself he found out Will’s big secret and in a true Deacon fashion, he offered advice and an ear for whenever Will wanted to talk about it and he stood up for him, keeping his secret safe, no matter how awkward he felt and uncomfortable he was by striking that conversation.

The moment that Rayna finally left the cowboy country star (a moment we’ve been waiting for ever since Luke even said hi to her) was supposed to be, to some degree, Deacon’s moment since he was right all along.

Deacon still loves Rayna and there’s no doubt about it. True, got to a point where he tore her picture of his guitarcase but it was mostly a symbol to saying goodbye to the old Rayna, rather than anything else.normal_nsh309_2626

That old picture of her on his guitarcase was a reminder of their old life, of his old feelings. But their lives have changed, they have a daughter now and she decided to push him out again.

Thank god she finally saw that same truth after she heard her daughters sing a song Maddie wrote with Deacon, perhaps his final attempt at getting through to her and make her think of what she was giving up. She didn’t imagine Luke in that song, she imagined Deacon as he knew she would. She finally admitted that she couldn’t do the same thing to Luke as she did to Teddy, meaning she couldn’t marry him and pretend she loved him as much as she loves Deacon. And she finally saw how unraveled her life has become and how fake it is and so much that she doesn’t want.


So Deacon has come a long way in every aspect of his life and Rayna finally admitted her feelings for him and he really didn’t drink and…then comes the suspicion for liver cancer.

It was heartbreaking.

Instead of this moment being the moment of him getting his well-deserved chance for happiness it all seems too late as Deacon woke up in the hospital. That sigh of relief after revealing he really didn’t drink anything quickly changed with the suspicion for liver cancer. It’s still not for sure, but to Deacon it sounded like a death sentence.

When Deacon heard that while knowing it must have been caused by years of alcohol abuse and that in combination with the thought of Rayna tying the knot with another man and telling him to move on, has made him give up right away and accept his fate, despite needing tests to confirm it.

 For him, the fight is gone, his life is over and he has no one else to blame but himself and to make sure he doesn’t drag anyone down with him, he let Scarlett know he doesn’t want anyone to know, letting it all fall on her shoulders and it was evident the impact that is already having on her.

Deacon has been like a father to her anormal_nsh310_0126nd she has been living with him for a while now as they both go through their struggles. They have helped each other snap out of it, understand each other and she has been the one to tell him to get his ass back in gear and not give up. She has held a mirror up to him so many times and reminded him that he has a daughter now and he can’t mope around. And she will be there now again.

It all seems as if he went right back to square one with this news, giving up and reverting back into himself, punishing himself for everything he ever did wrong.

But I don’t think it will stay that way for long. He can’t keep this a secret. Not with Rayna finally admitting to herself how wrong she was. She will go to him and while the promo shows he will take out his anger on Luke and she shows up on his doorstep, it won’t be an easy road.

I hope that what will come out of his illness and the new dynamic between him and Rayna now is that he’ll reach a point where he knows in his heart for sure he deserves that life he has always wanted, because he is a good person with a big heart and he fights to keep that life.

I hope the people he gave advice to and who he supported will be there to support him now (and that he will let them be there for him). He is going to need it and Scarlett can’t do it alone. It will break both of them.

Once he is reminded of all he has and could have, I believe he will fight. I truly believe that. He will make it through and I hope the rest of season 3 and (hopefully) season 4 and so on show him and Rayna building their relationship and their struggles will be their daily lives and working together and raising a family as he fights this illness and recovers from that battle.

He has honestly become my favorite character ever and I hope to see this show around for years to come. Thank you to the writers and the incredible Chip Esten for portraying, creating and conveying such a raw and true to heart character on TV. This battle will be tough to witness, but I believe in them and Chip’s talent to take it to a level that will keep many talking for a long time. Here is to the return of the show on February 4th and may it continue to be better than ever.



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