It’s been hard going for Nashville characters this season. Cancer, death, suicide, drug abuse, post-partum depression … Ya’ll name it, someone on this soapy musical hybrid has dealt with it. That’s why it was so nice to see a rainbow of hope for Will Lexington in the half-season finale.
Will recently came out and has found his worst fears confirmed: country music isn’t ready for an openly gay performer. He’s walked the line of grief as he mourned his lost career and got dumped by the man he came clean for. Now he’s shifted to song writing and is slowly getting it together.
Enter Wade Cole, a country music star who is emphatically anti-gay and even refused to have a photo take with Will at an event earlier in the year. We all saw the “self-hating gay” twist coming (right?!?), what was interesting is what came afterwards.
Will heads to the bar to be with his friends. He doesn’t tell them what happened (that would out Wade) but for the first time in ages he’s … happy! He’s realised that he’s lost a lot but he can also live an authentic life without lying to everyone he loves.
He gives Gunner an adorable, affectionate, playful and confident kiss, a wonderful “show don’t tell” moment demonstrating how close these two characters are (Gunner was the first person to know Will was gay) AND that gay men can express themselves physically with their straight male friends and that’s ok! And when Avery just gets a handshake it’s also great: he and Will haven’t been on the same journey so they interact differently.
Well done Nashville. Country music might not be ready for a gay star, but you masterfully demanded to know “why not?”