If you're not caught up on Nashville, boy, have you missed a whole lot. In Season 5, Juliette survived a plane crash, Will reconsidered his relationship, The Exes (Scarlett and Gunnar) became exes once again, and, oh yeah, the show lost its matriarch. In the Feb. 23 episode, Connie Britton's Rayna died on Nashville, succumbing to injuries she suffered in a car crash and shocking everyone on the show and watching at home. The ramifications of her death will surely be felt throughout the series, and Lennon and Maisy Stella, the real-life sisters who play Rayna's daughters Maddie and Daphne, give Bustle an idea of how Nashville will handle Rayna's death and where it will go from here.
The characters most affected by her loss will surely be Maddie, Daphne, and Deacon, and their relationships which each other will change as a result. "I feel like Daphne and Deacon are going to become more of a father-daughter thing because my mom passed and my real father’s in jail, so he’s kind of all I have parental-wise," Maisy says about her character. "I feel like it’s definitely becoming more, not like a stepfather, but more of a real dad and daughter."
Daphne will certainly need someone to lean on, as before Rayna's death, things were just becoming stable again for the girls. After having Daphne’s biological father, Teddy, went to jail and Maddie's attempt at emancipation, the Jaymes/Claybourne residence was finally on the up-and-up. And then this happened.
While Maddie agrees that Deacon will be strong for his daughters, they will have to hold him up, too. “I think Deacon and Maddie have always been super tight … and I feel like this, it’s only going to bring them closer," she says. But his own bond with Rayna can't be overlooked. "I can’t even imagine how hard that would be for somebody, to be so in love and have them pass away,” she says. “It’s completely devastating and people will definitely feel that in the episodes following. They really rely [on] each other.”
But Maddie may also find someone else to lean on. “Maddie is experimenting with being on her own and with what she wants to do, and Juliette’s a big help with that and has been guiding her in that,” says Lennon. All of this may have a positive effect, as she also says that Juliette will help as Maddie "finds herself musically" as starts "taking the pain from all that’s happened to her and really putting it into her music."
But don't worry, that doesn't mean Daphne will be left to cope on her own. “Daphne definitely makes a friendship in this season and that has definitely grown from both of the people in the friendship having been through something so awful,” Maisy says. “[Rayna's death is] something that is, obviously, still heartbreaking, but she’ll get past it and it will be very, really heartbreaking to see, but she’ll get through it."
Ultimately, Rayna’s passing will also change the relationship that Maddie and Daphne have with each other. There have been some ups and downs in their bond, partly because of growing up and partly because of Maddie seeking a life outside her family. Eventually, the girls will have to come together to heal from their mother’s death. “They become closer," Lennon says. "I think [Maddie] has to be a little bit more responsible and take the lead a little bit more when it comes to Daphne, which is going to be interesting to play."
Maisy also sees an opportunity for their characters to strengthen their relationship. "I feel like Maddie has to step up as kind of… not as a mom to me, but definitely help a lot more than she did before," she says of Daphne. "It’ll be really interesting to see Maddie kind of as like a bigger influence in my life."
As much as Lennon, Maisy, and viewers will miss Rayna, it seems like her loss has given Nashville an opportunity to really explore the relationships between other characters, and I can't wait to see how Maddie and Daphne grow as a result.
Additional reporting by Samantha Rullo