By the Way

Wait — did y’all really just kill Rayna Jaymes?

In a shocking turn of events, a fan favorite died on Thursday’s episode of ‘Nashville.’
In a shocking turn of events, a fan favorite died on Thursday’s episode of ‘Nashville.’

I guess the lesson to be learned is do not watch your favorite country music soap opera at bedtime, especially if you have to get up at 4:30 a.m.”

At least that’s my takeaway after watching Thursday’s episode of “Nashville.”

Rayna’s gone, y’all. Seriously. Rayna Jaymes has left the building. For those of us who have followed the TV series from its original home at ABC to its current residency on CMT, this is a big ol’ bitter “Nashville” hot chicken pill to swallow.

Since the showed debuted in 2012, actress Connie Britton has been playing flawed country music star Rayna James. And now five years later, Rayna has died. It happened in this season’s ninth — named “If Tomorrow Never Comes” after the great song by Garth Brooks.

Last week, Rayna had a string of bad luck — she came face to face with her stalker and then she was badly injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, she went downhill after a surgery. With her beloved husband Deacon and children Maddie and Daphne by her side — even Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) managed to be there near the end — Rayna passed on to TV heaven.

It’s hard to think about a TV world without Connie Britton in it. She warmed our hearts as Tammy Taylor (Mrs. Coach) on the great NBC series “Friday Night Lights.” I followed her from “FNL” to Season One of “American Horror Story,” where her character also died. In fact, it was Britton’s ability to light up the small screen that drew me to “Nashville” in the first place — well, Britton, and the fact that the great J.D. Souther (he co-wrote “Best Of My Love” and “Heartache Tonight”) had a role on the show.

And just like the “Walking Dead’s” Glenn and Abraham Ford, Rayna is gone.

After a bit of ugly crying, I had trouble going to sleep. I thought about the show and Britton’s character and why I was sad. I came to the realization that sometimes writers have a way creating fictional characters that are so endearing that we become attached to them. When they die, we can’t help but be sad. Empathy and compassion are good traits to have. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any differently.

In the moments before Rayna died, Deacon pleaded with her, saying “Don’t leave me.” But it was Rayna’s final spoken words that really haunted me. All she said was, “I’m sorry.”

And crushed my spirit was. It actually made me tear up again as I typed the words.

Rest in TV peace, Rayna Jaymes. As Juliette said while you were on your deathbed, “All I ever wanted was for you to be proud of me.”

I hope she meets Han Solo and Yoda and Obi Wan and Henry Blake on her journey.