What’s Worth Watching: A Vigil for Deacon in Nashville

Mark Levine/ABC

Nashville, “Before You Go Make Sure You Know” (Wednesday, May 13, 10/9c, ABC)

Surely Nashville knows better than to kill off its “McTwangy,” better known as Deacon Claybourne, the country guitarist played by Charles Esten with a soulful charisma that’s at least the equal of Patrick Dempsey’s late and lamented Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd. For much of the season, Deacon has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis from a dying liver, the result of his many misbegotten years of hard drinking and pining for Rayna (Connie Britton). Now reunited, with their daughter Maddie (Lennon Stella) an up-and-coming musical protégée, they must sweat out a third-season finale—thankfully, the show has been renewed for a fourth—as Deacon finally undergoes his liver transplant, with the help of initially reluctant/resentful sister-donor Beverly (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson).

This enjoyable musical soap also presents obstacles for its monster diva Juliette Barnes (the hilarious Hayden Panettiere) and long-suffering spouse Avery (Jonathan Jackson), as Juliettte’s post-partum tantrums reach the breaking point. And while ABC hasn’t been teasing another of the show’s juicy subplots with so much else going on, surely there will be some fallout now that a tabloid is outing closeted headliner Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) and his relationship with musical/sexual collaborator Kevin (Kyle Dean Massey). Imagine the songs that could be inspired from all of this high-powered melodrama.