It’s been a rough couple of years for Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) on ABC’s Nashville: The once-closeted country singer came out publicly at the end of Season 3 and, this season, he’s watched his career fizzle and his boyfriend leave.
Things seemed to be looking up on last night’s episode, as Will’s friends Gunnar and Scarlett invited him to perform on their show—something which could help him rebuild his career.
But Will was almost immediately interrupted by a drunken heckler, who shouted anti-gay slurs and screamed “Get off the stage, queer!”
Will tried to ignore it and carry on, but the bigot threw a beer bottle, hitting Will in the face and stunning the crowd.
The heckler was arrested, and the cop tells Will that hate crime charges can be issued. But, at the station, he has a change of heart and decides not to cooperate.
This infuriates Gunnar, who asks why he’s not pressing charges. “Queen? Queer? I heard every word he said and it’s not the last time I’m going to hear them,” responds Will. “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend every night post-show filing hate-crime reports when it’s not going to make a difference.”
Gunner insists he can’t let the basher get away with it, to which Will ominously responds “Trust me, I won’t.”
Sure enough, Will goes back to the bar the next night, sitting in his car until his attacker returns to the scene of the crime.
Gunnar and Scarlett worry Will will do something drastic and race to the club. When they get there, though, they see Will on stage, guitar in hand.
He’s bought his attacker a beer, and tells him (and the crowd), “You didn’t get to finish your beer last night. Of course, I didn’t get to finish my song.” The attacker spits out “I told you last night, get off the stage, you homo!”
Will calmly responds “Not gonna happen, buddy. Cause ain’t nothing or nobody is ever gonna keep me from singing again.”
And with that, Will launches into “Ain’t It Beautiful,” as the crowd cheers and the attacker and his friends are escorted out.
This season has seen Will bruised and beaten (figuratively and now literally), but Wednesday’s episode was a big step forward in his evolution.
Hopefully, it’s not too late—Nashville is currently on the bubble, and the chances of being renewed are iffy. If it does return, it’ll be in the hands of new showrunners Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, who gave us Thirtysomething and My So-Called Life. So they know their way around gay storylines.