Repeat after me:
Just because YOU see specific subtext in a show it doesn’t mean it’s there.
Just because YOU think two characters are more than friends it doesn’t mean the writers see it that way too.
Just because YOU want something to happen in a show does not give you the right to be an asshole to the crew when you don’t get what you wished for.
YES times infinity.
Does no one else see the connection between the title of The Originals title episode “House of the Rising Son” and the song for AHS Coven having the lyrics “they call The Rising S[o?]un”
And both are set in New Orleans. [Due to someone taking this as a literal question I’ve edited it]
Since I’ve seen you post this twice, I feel it’s unfair to keep you in the dark. The only connection is the song “House of the Rising Sun,” most famously performed by The Animals, which laments a life of “sin and misery” down in New Orleans. According to folklore, there are different possibilities to the origin of the song; these origins can be read more on the Wikipedia page below.
Hope this helps!
Or, alternatively: Why Deacon and Juliette are the Better Option
First, I must acknowledge that this is an uncomfortable and unpopular opinion. I understand that people have rightfully ascertained that Deacon and Rayna are the endgame couple of the series, as clearly set forth by the writers and creator of the series, Callie Khouri. I do not negate the direction of the show but must aggressively insist that this endgame couple (or OTP, in shippers’ terms) is one that reeks of abuse, and that I personally cannot abide.
When Nashville first premiered, the chemistry between Deacon and Rayna didn’t jive well with me. But they had history and longing glances, so even though she was married, I gave her a pass. I figured Teddy would do something terrible, Rayna and Deacon’s history would come to light while Rayna and Teddy divorce, and Deacon/Rayna would be free and clear to renew their relationship.
Unfortunately, I was right. Little did I know how horrendous their past relationship and history would be.
When we first meet Rayna, she is supposed to be portrayed as a loving mother and friend who has worked hard for her success and earned it. From the very first episode, a majority of viewers cast Rayna in a golden light, the fictional Faith Hill who can do no wrong. While Rayna certainly worked hard for her success, it’s revealed that her father’s money was the catalyst for her career. Since Rayna doesn’t learn of this until later, though, she’s the paragon of entitlement in the first episodes. She hates Juliette, because she feels Juliette’s music sucks. Sure. But as we learned early, Juliette’s first album wasn’t paid for under the radar by a wealthy daddy. This selfish entitlement from the very first episode is foreshadowing for the entire relational arc between Rayna and Deacon.
As we come to learn over the course of the first season, Deacon is an alcoholic. Alcoholism, as everyone should know, is a disease; a legitimate, 100% official disease that affects over 14 million individuals in the United States. He has been sober, as of the first season, 13 years. 13 years without a drink. 13 years, which, coincidentally, is the (almost?) age of Rayna’s eldest daughter.
Oh. Wait. That’s not coincidental at all.
You see, over the course of the season, the viewer is let on that Rayna’s eldest daughter is actually Deacon’s daughter, not Teddy’s daughter. Moreover, Teddy is aware that he is not the biological father, and Deacon is not; also, Teddy knows that Deacon doesn’t know about Maddie. The only reason we’re given for Rayna not telling Deacon that he has a daughter is his alcoholism; she didn’t know, when she was pregnant, that Deacon’s rehab would stick, so she married Teddy.
If there were one single shred of evidence that Deacon were also abusive (emotionally and/or physically) in addition to his alcoholism, this would be OK with me. If you have any concern that you or your future child would be in danger, do not tell the biological father. That is 100% understandable and right for your situation. But that is not Rayna’s situation.
I’d also be fine if Rayna had married Teddy and not told Deacon about Maddie if she had ended all contact with Deacon forever. If the relationship were so unhealthy (alcoholism notwithstanding) to necessitate not disclosing the true fatherhood, by all means end contact. But Rayna doesn’t do that.
For 13 years, while Deacon is sober the entire time, she keeps him emotionally invested in her. While we are not privy to whether Deacon has any long-term relationships during this time, we know he is in love with Rayna for all 13 years. Instead of telling Deacon that she’s married and not going to be with him, Rayna decides it’s OK for her to let him keep playing and singing songs written when they were together and happy. Essentially, she knowingly keeps him in the wings to make herself happy that she has him in love with her while keeping from him that Maddie is his child.
She lets Deacon be a part of his child’s life but does not disclose at any point in time that Maddie is, in fact, his child.
I’m sorry, but that’s disgusting.
If Deacon’s alcoholism were such an issue to Maddie’s parentage, why let him be a part of her life at all? It’s simply Rayna’s selfish entitlement. She is entitled to his love, but his mistakes do not entitle him in providing a life for his own child.
Maybe she even only let Deacon back into her life after he’d been sober for a year (or 2 or 3). To me, she had a responsibility, after seeing him manage his alcoholism admirably for years (over a decade, even!), to tell him the truth, despite the ramifications to her personal life.
Withholding that information while knowing he is still in love with her (and letting him think that part of her is in love with him, too) is not only manipulative, it’s emotionally abusive. Rayna isn’t fickle. Well, she is. But she also consciously, intentionally minimizes her flirtation (and, eventually, physical encounters) with Deacon all the while knowing his feelings for her (and using them to her advantage professionally and personally). That isn’t just bad decision-making with the additional baggage of Maddie’s real paternity; that is trivialization of Deacon’s feelings with a side of manipulation to keep him attached to her.
What does that spell out? A-B-U-S-E.
Obviously, a viewer’s interpretation, based on fictional scenes with fictional people, is subjective. I am not a psychologist nor am I alleging that all relationships resembling the one seen here are abusive. Through my lens, however, their relationship appears to be one built upon one that is abusive in nature and tone. If it were not the apparent endgame, I could overlook this terrifying relationship, since the characters would realize the pitfalls of a relationship such as this one are too deep to navigate. But this couple is exceedingly popular.
That frightens me.
I know that people (namely, women, as women make up a majority of Nashville's audience) enjoy Rayna and Deacon because the history between the characters lends to a palpable chemistry. I understand the draw. I understand that women enjoy a dramatic love story. But epitomizing a relationship (as to make it an OTP) that subverts one party's feelings, desires, and well-being, as Rayna's relationship with Deacon does, is dangerous.
Even though the secret is now out, Rayna doesn’t feel remorse about keeping him in the dark for 13 years nor does she accept any responsibility for Deacon’s falling off the wagon. True, she did not force him to partake in alcohol. But continuing to trivialize Deacon’s feelings (of betrayal, confusion, and worthlessness of her keeping Maddie’s parentage from him) is continuing to abuse him. I don’t think this cycle will ever end, because she will always trivialize Deacon’s feelings, condition, and well-being. That is not a healthy relationship, for Deacon or for Rayna.
Fortunately, there is another possibility for an OTP on Nashville. Unfortunately, it does not boast nearly the numbers of the Deacon/Rayna pairing. That couple is Deacon/Juliette.
Yes, he is older than Juliette. Yes, she is knowingly selfish and rude. But she is broken in some of the same ways that Deacon is. They intimately understand the shortcomings of the other. However, I don’t feel these are necessarily bad things. Here’s why:
Though Juliette resents her mother’s addiction, she’s also been shown to have tried time after time to get her mother clean. In the coming arc, I feel Juliette will be able to work through the resentment of her mother and her mother’s addiction. As she does this, she will even better understand Deacon’s addiction but, also, his amazing achievements in sobriety. She can celebrate his accomplishments and lend support when he’s weakest. She’s done this with her mother, and once she works out her grief and resentment (she blames herself for her mother never becoming truly sober), she will be able to do this for a lover. In fact, she’s already been highly supportive of Deacon’s struggles. Even though after the accident she lashes out toward Scarlett, she comes to recognize the misplaced anger and attempts to bail him out of jail.
While Deacon’s alcoholism has been a large focus of his arc, I do not think that should be a main reason for Juliette and Deacon to be together. The main reason to be together is that they both have growing to do, but I think they can and should grow together. Maybe not right now, but endgames don’t have to be together right now. I see their characters growing and arching toward the other. They both need to stop blaming themselves for problems out of their control. They both need to build confidence in themselves. Juliette needs to learn to trust and be vulnerable again. Deacon needs to learn to rely on someone who actually supports him.
Maybe that signals to some why they should never be together. Like I said, they’re both broken. But Deacon and Juliette are both incredibly strong-willed. They both want love. They’ve both battled the effects of loneliness and abandonment. They’re both as strong as they are weak. Better yet, they both believe in one another, even if we haven’t seen them together in a scene in a long while.
Deacon and Juliette are two imperfect people with huge flaws who could grow together beautifully, as equals. That is the relationship for which I choose to root. That is the relationship I feel deserves to be written and built and celebrated: one of equals attempting to make themselves better and then celebrating one another together.
So even though I know and acknowledge the show’s chosen endgame is not my chosen endgame, I hope my concerns (shared by several people I know in my own life and, I’m sure, by a couple in the fandom) have been noticed and regarded. Whether this changes anyone’s opinion of the Rayna/Deacon couple, I don’t know, but I do truly hope that this helps people understand that nature of the endgame should be established in equality not a young, unhealthy, desperate “love”.