“Nashville” is no stranger to dark story lines – the country music drama has tackled everything from gun violence to a murder-suicide. And in the closing minutes of the two-hour Season 5 premiere on Thursday night, the show’s new executive producers are setting the audience up for another chilling plot.
This season – the first since it was picked up by CMT after ABC canceled the show last spring – it looks like country music star Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) will have a stalker. Earlier in the episode, Rayna received a huge bouquet of flowers at her home with a note: “To the only woman I have ever loved.” She assumed they were from her husband, Deacon (Charles Esten), since they were fighting. When they made up later, Rayna thanked him for the beautiful gift.
Deacon looked puzzled. “I didn’t send you any flowers,” he said, before mumbling to himself, “I should’ve, though.”
If alarm bells in your head didn’t go off, well, you’ve never watched a prime-time soap. Seconds later, Rayna was shown cheerfully walking down the street; suddenly, viewers were seeing things from the perspective of someone watching Rayna from a car, with Rayna’s most famous hit (“Already Gone”) playing through the speakers. As Rayna walked into her record label office, the background music got scary as the camera zoomed out, and the view revealed the car’s cracked windshield.
The Season 5 preview trailer hinted at a stalker plot; it showed a brief snippet of Rayna receiving a handwritten note, dropped off at her house, with sentences such as “After so many years of waiting, I am here” and “I love you and I have loved you since the day I was born.” But just how creepy is this story line going to get?
It depends on who the stalker is – after the show, viewers were already guessing on social media. Is it Zach (Cameron Scoggins), the Silicon Valley tech billionaire and self-proclaimed “fanboy” who flew Rayna on a private jet to San Francisco so she could perform at a charity event and who is already making plans to show up in Nashville? Or is it Randall, the overly intense new social media manager at Highway 65, who calls himself Rayna’s biggest fan and wouldn’t let go of her hand after they were introduced?
Seeing as how Scoggins’s role as Zach was announced as a recurring character, and he’s really obsessed with Rayna, there’s a good chance his (currently innocent) story line will take a dark turn somewhere down the line.
Something else to consider: Rumors that Britton is only signed for 10 episodes of the fifth season, even though the actress recently told Ellen DeGeneres that she’s “in for the duration.” As the Hollywood Reporter asked, “Would the show possibly kill her off at the hands of a dangerous and unhinged stalker?”
In response to that line of questioning, executive producer Marshall Herskovitz refused to tell THR anything about the premiere’s spooky final scene: “I can’t talk about it, sorry,” he said.