Most "Nashville" fans were in complete shock and denial when Rayna James, portrayed by actress Connie Britton, died on the show a couple weeks ago. Last week, on a tearjerker of an episode titled, "I'll Fly Away," the cast bid farewell to the star of the show and gave her an emotionally draining and incredibly sad send off with a funeral that will sting in the hearts and minds of Nashies for a long, long time. A new episode set to air this week, "Fire And Rain," promises an explosive maneuver by Zach Welles to grapple control over the master tapes of the demos that Rayna and Deacon were working on before her untimely demise.

Rayna may be gone but the memory of her character will live on

The ensuing battle that appears on the horizon for Rayna's new music just might take us all the way to the end of the season, a future 12 episodes according to show runners CMT. With Rayna's death occurring so early in the season there's plenty of time to keep her name in the script for the foreseeable future. It's a small token and consolation for the fans that have loyally tuned in every week to keep up with the continuing adventures of Rayna James. Perhaps the most devastating aspect of the loss is that Rayna's career seemed to be on an upward trajectory since her reconciliation and marriage to Deacon and the influx of cash and interest in Highway 65 by Zach.

Deacon will need to recreate who he is to the world

Sometimes being the one left behind is the hardest position any person can find themselves in, and Deacon Claybourne will now have to be more accountable not only to himself, but to his children. We have seen that Teddy and Tandy have their own motives, and for now it seems Teddy has stepped aside, but we also know that on a drama like "Nashville" situations can change, for the better or worse, on any given episode.

We can hope that Deacon gets custody of the kids and ends up as a majority owner of Highway 65, but at this point everything is up for gamble. Deacon will have to stay sober and push through the sadness if he wants to truly honor the legacy, love and memory of his widow.

Tying up the loose ends may be a messy procedure for 'Nashville'

The future of the show will certainly be filled with drama, but fans have noticed that since CMT picked up the show, and approached the story with fresh eyes and awareness, a streamlined, slimmer number of dangling plot lines has simplified the script. That's not to say there aren't issues to be dealt with going forward. Maddie and her sometimes boyfriend Clay are a powder keg ready to blow up.

Likewise, Will and Zach seem to be up to some relationship shenanigans, Scarlett O'Connor and Gunnar Scott have relationship issues to deal with and Juliette Barnes has a long road to recovery, and a Gospel album, in her future. This milestone is one that has permanently changed the face of the show but maybe change this time isn't a bad thing and, through the death of Rayna, new life will be injected into the story.