So Deacon proposed (again) to Rayna on Nashville Season 4 Winter Finale and she said yes, and since he wasn’t drunk or dying and she wasn’t engaged to someone else, come March 16, when Nashville will return from its (endless) winter hiatus, we’ll all have a country royal wedding. After the hell they put each other through and let’s face it, us as well, it’s defiantly a cause for a celebration.
It’s also a cause for a little reflection on their journeys together and apart especially since that last proposal on the bridge was also the ending for the chapter in these characters’ lives, which begun for them a lifetime ago and for us, almost four years ago, on that same bridge.
To me, it was interesting to watch not just how Deacon proposed and Rayna replied but what version of them we meet on that bridge this time as opposed to the first bridge scene on the pilot episode. After all, the love, friendship and music between them were always there, present but it was also a very impossible love. What changed? What made it possible now?
A little while ago I wrote an Instagram post about it and recently got the best compliment I could ever receive when one of the best video editors on YouTube, Suvi made a video inspired by it.
So I decided to edit it a little and publish my little Instagram post again here with Suvi’s video and new versions of the two follow up posts I wrote about the same scene from Deacon and Rayna’s “perspective.
Read: Suvi Shares Her Artistic Process in Creating A Nashville Video
Follow: Nashville Forever on Instagram
1. His Side
What a difference a year makes. Last year, around this time of year Deacon Claybourne had one of the worst Christmases a guy can have. Just when he put up the Christmas lights, Rayna came over and told him to move on (and turned the lights off metaphorically) and then when he finally got his Christmas cheer back after the wedding was canceled and he got to punch Luke and hear Rayna tell him she loves him – there was the cancer thing.
But the most constant thing in life is change and some things, like Deacon’s love for Rayna, the more they change – the more they stay the same. But others truly do change and this year the hardest thing for Deacon was to keep up with all the changes and realize although he may sometimes still sees himself as the man who comes out last and miss out on life – he’s actually living his dream.
Read: Not So Merry Christmas On Nashville for Rayna and Deacon
This year Deacon got his life that’s good and there were more happy tears than sad ones.
Unlike before when a thing like grief, destroyed his life, this time he managed to push through. It wasn’t pretty all the time and there’s still the Maddie issue to resolve but it didn’t make him lose everything and that’s a lot.
There’s no need for miracles this time, just confidence the joy and happiness are not something temporary that he’s not worthy of.
Problem is, of course, it’s easier said than done. After Deacon bought the ring and planned the perfect proposal life got in the way (or Markus in this case) and destroyed his plans. His reaction was a classic Deacon – he lashed out and took it out on Rayna.
It’s not the first (or million) time it happened and Rayna walked out. What changed was his reaction to it – he didn’t disappear; he didn’t run away to his men cave to lick his wounds alone, calm down and enter the self-hatred-guilt cycle that when he reaches its end it’s already too late to apologize and make things better.
Read: More About Deacon Claybourne
This time he was brave enough to stay and do the right thing not when it’s the perfect moment and he’s ready but when the reality around him calls for it. They had a fight now and it was time to make amends now. He had a ring in his pocket and he knew it was the right time in their relationship to do it, so why waste another moment?
Being flexible and adapt to changes is a privilege of the strong because if you’re weak, you fear so much to lose everything that every change can shake your entire foundations. Deacon never handled changes very well and we saw it’s what triggered him to drink in the past. But one can’t have a healthy relationship without flexibility because things happen and you also can’t walk on eggshells all the time around the people you share your life with in fear they’ll explode. I mean, you can; it’s just called abusive relationship.
This time, Deacon started as the old Deacon. After all, old habits die hard and he’ll forever be an alcoholic with anger management issues. But he didn’t let it go far and immediately changed his behavior. He opened up instead of close off.
He was finally truly acting like someone sober.
That was the time to propose.
And so he did.
2. Her Side
The truth is Rayna already said ‘I do’ long time ago-when she decided she’s in just before she asked Deacon to sing with her at the Opry.
After that it was a matter of formality.
If there’s one word that fits Rayna Jaymes and her decision to get together with Deacon it’s ‘Surrender’, even more than Deacon. She tried to fight that love in every way possible because she knew it was bad for her for so many reasons. She stopped when she looked around and saw that despite her efforts, without noticing, she kept making the same decision over and over and that’s involving Deacon in her life – their lives were completely connected.
After that revelation it was a matter of a little bit of healing to clear some of the pain and stop lying to herself.
Read: More About Rayna Jaymes
Rayna is not perfect, she’s human and she loves this imperfect man that brings her joy in many ways but also occasionally disappoints her as a partner. So she chose him and never looked back (or outside) after that.
It was Deacon who did. He’s the one who had to get used to the fact they’re together and make the necessary adjustments. He was also the one who had the “crisis before the jump” syndrome of relationship where you fight a lot before taking the next step.
It wasn’t Rayna. She was already married in her heart. On that bridge she only needed a minute before jumping back in because, yes, she was angry and frustrated but she didn’t quit the relationship.
She said yes because on that bridge Deacon finally made the leap too and acted like a real partner.
He opened up and did what she did long ago – made a commitment by staying.
Rayna isn’t perfect, Deacon isn’t perfect and together they’re not the perfect couple but a very loving and committed one.
The decision to marry Deacon was actually a decision to remarry him because they have been together in one way or another most of their lives.
Rayna’s bravery to choose what’s best for HER even if it’s not perfect comes from knowing herself very well. She surrendered to love but not as a compromise of someone who doesn’t think she’ll find better or afraid of being alone.
Rayna already found “better” men.
Teddy gave her security and stability and Luke matched her career ambitions and gave her a version of “what if” that’s been haunting her. In her case it was what if Deacon would have stayed sober and not destroys their relationship and his career.
Read: Why Luke and Rayna’s First Dance Was Also Their Last
Today Rayna is mature and confident enough to create stability and security for herself; she doesn’t need someone else to do it for her.
What she needs is a full partner. She needs someone she can be herself with, someone who together with him she’ll feel at home and be able to build a home she doesn’t want to run away from.
That’s Deacon; it’s always been him and it’s finally possible.
Her ability to see things as they are and make that leap of faith one takes in these types of situation from a place of truth and so much love, to me, is her most beautiful and inspirational traits. It’s true for getting married and for everything else.
So, congratulations Rayna! Guess my invitation got lost in the mail, ha?
3. The Bridge
Back on the Nashville pilot episode, when Deacon asked Rayna what she would change, her first reaction was “Nothing!” and then “Everything”
When Rayna asked Deacon the same question his first reaction was “Everything!” and then, “Nothing”
This one word switch sums up the difference between Rayna and Deacon and their journeys. Rayna is like a force of nature; she’s a self-made woman who keeps pushing forward and takes risks, so her first instinct is not to erase everything she did and start over.
It takes her couple of seconds and the right person beside her to tap into the deep hidden place inside her heart where her regrets lay and acknowledge the fact everything could’ve been different.
Deacon is the opposite. He comes from a place of endless regrets, guilt and self-hatred and so much of his life was spent on trying to hold on to the past and fix it.
For him, saying “Everything” without even thinking is natural. But he came a long way since and learned how to be present and grab in two hands the opportunities life has to offer and life, eventually, gave him everything he ever wanted so he wouldn’t change a thing.
Except one thing and that’s proposing properly. All his previous proposals were about him and his journey: He was drunk and didn’t want to lose Rayna; He made progress and wanted her back; He was dying and wanted her by his side.
Not this time.
The one regret Deacon has he couldn’t let go of is the pain and chaos he brought into the life of the one person he loves the most and this proposal was his great gesture.
I’m sure the road won’t be easy for them but at least now it’s a new and open road. The past was laid to rest and now it’s time to take a step forward together into the future.
Nothing, Everything….it doesn’t matter anymore because it all led them to the same place in the same city on the same bridge at the right time.
Ah you! This is a great compliment, that the inspiration wheel keeps turning:D I like how you see the big picture. I mean yeah, I knew in season 1 that Rayna and Deacon wouldn’t be together in a while but I never understood why they chose to do it through these different partners, which got frustrating too often for me, Rayna being with Luke for ages even though things were always off between them, and Deacon being in these short-term relationships that happened too fast for me to understand them. But like you said, Luke was there to give her “a version of “what if” that’s been haunting her” which is again better worded than I could have done. And the show did really well showing us how Rayna towards the end of Ruke “surrendered” to her true love.
I recently rewatched some of Deacon’s S1, 2 & 3 scenes and noticed how the women he was with always gave some insight to his character, even that reporter on the plane in season 1, and Megan was already analyzing him on their first date. And now it’s all coming full circle, and it’s especially clear to me when you explained his side of the proposal here. That’s all something I’m gonna dig into later.
It’s funny how Rayna and Deacon ended up having such a healthy relationship lol!! I’m glad it is this way since they are older than the other couples on the show, so it’s nice that they actually get to be the adults. Thank you for yet another insightful post and all the compliments. You sure make my day:D
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Thank you so much for commenting my dear and of course for that video and for the others. Your sensitivity to details and the way you put things to together is a gift.
It is kinda funny Deacon and Rayna ended up the healthiest on the show but also make sense because the road they’ve been could have led them either to final separation or this. When there are kids involved and addiction and you’re not a masochist don’t think there’s really other choice but to take the long road and do the work until it works.
Their romantic choices to me weren’t always pleasant to watch but understandable. When I watched Rayna trying so hard to push the relationship with Luke and stay away from Deacon it made sense to me because in life, if you’re serious on moving on that’s what you do – you REALLY stay away from your ex and do everything in your power to move on including jumping on the opportunity to enter a seemingly healthy relationship. It’s hell but you do it. On TV they usually make one character “move on” but they also create endless opportunities for the exes to interact so we, the viewers, won’t feel the pain that’s involved in doing it and do we’ll stay “in love” with the exes. Nashville wasn’t that merciful and that’s why I think it took a while when they did get back together till it felt organic. Now, here’s hoping that the writers will decide to explore healthy -sober relationship from now on cause as much as I understand and applaud the authenticity – good things also happen sometime in life and I’m ready for them now 😉
I really appreciate your sensitivity to detail too:D And you’re totally right! Here’s hoping they’ll continue to be more “merciful” in the future as well 😉
this is a great light to be shed on Deacon and Rayna. I find myself identifying with them both in my relationship. I love Nashville. Even though its about Country Superstars- it is still so real and so truth telling about everyday life and love.
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Thank you so much for your comment and for reading. Glad you enjoyed it and completely agree with what you said- it’s a make believe world but also a very real world in its emotional truth.
I just rewatched the 1×18 scene where Rayna goes to Deacon’s house and confesses her love and now I just felt that scene to be weird and a bit awkward. It felt so out of character of Rayna, the way we know her now. It probably was a relapse of character, and then she decided not to relapse again. Ever. It was just wrong, but at the Opry, inviting him to the stage, was so right.
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‘Relapse’ is the perfect way to describe it! They were two (hopeless) addicts. I guess that car crash in retrospect was the best thing that could have happened to them -they just HAD to crash somehow in order to break the cycle.
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Yes, they had. But I guess my realization was that it was not only Deacon that relapsed, and Rayna learnt her lesson from that. She herself had also relapsed by going back to him like that, without sorting things out first, the Maddie thing.
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Thank you for this beautiful post. I wrote something as a TVline comment a while ago and would like to share some of that here… What I love about this season is that as a couple, Rayna and Deacon are finally working through some deep stuff (loss and guilt, co-parenting and jealousy) with Deacon freaking out as usual and with Rayna standing by him, staying strong and collected. Rayna gives Deacon the space to freak out and that in itself is healing: it allows him to really face his demons, to be vulnerable and to talk about the underlying core feelings and to communicate & connect with the love of his life through the emotional chaos he’s feeling: deep grief and guilt (the Bar/Beverly), fear of messing it up as a new (co-)parent (Maddie) or feelings of insecurity and jealousy as her lover (after all, he was on the other side waiting for her for years). This is healing for Deacon and for their relationship, and Deacon is learning to face these issues head-on and to step up and connect with others, instead of getting trapped in the fight-or-flight impulse.
So, I share your hope that Rayna and Deacon will finally be granted some happiness together. I hope Nashville will let its stellar cast shine and give these characters the space to further develop and grow, like they have been doing this season. But let’s face it, this is drama and Deyna is an adorable mess made in heaven so their relationship inevitably will get rocky at times, but underneath they are very solid and I hope their love for each other will save them, over and over again. Drama doesn’t mean there can’t be a solid, happy couple in the midst of the chaos that life can be! It would be refreshing to see such a strong couple find ways to deal with the challenges ahead of them.
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Thank you for that beautiful insightful comment. Think I even replied to it when you first posted it. And here’s hoping we’ll get to see more brave, honest, raw relationship stories from them.