Get the tissues, Nashville is back. We're finally going to see how things shook out after last season's devastating finale. If you're a little fuzzy on the details but can't commit your time or your heart to watching the whole thing over again, here's a recap of Nashville Season 3 to get you all fresh and ready for more.
Season 3 had all of the regular music industry drama and epic romance, but also introduced some medical complications into the mix that were thankfully able to draw some characters together and, ironically perhaps, mend their wounded emotional bonds. We met Sadie Stone, played by the incomparable Laura Benanti. Her storyline may be over, but she definitely added to the season. The show's revolving door of guest artists also included a pop star named Jude St. John played by Christina Aguilera herself, as well as a blues singer, Terry, who was played by Forrest Gump's Mykelti Williamson. Layla tried to grow as a star and consistently got the fussy end of the lollypop. The gang went to the CMAs.
Meanwhile, the blackmail was flying all over town, art imitated life, love interests shuffled, and musicians changed labels faster than y'all can say "y'all." What else happened this season? Here are some of the highlights.
Rayna's Choice (RIP "Ruke")
The season opened with Rayna announcing her engagement to Luke, which seemed like the healthy choice. However, as scheduling their marriage, decisions about how their kids were going to be raised, and some hard truths about her feelings for Deacon, Rayna broke off the engagement on her wedding day. For a minute, I was on Luke's side — at least go through with the expensive wedding and then quietly dissolve the relationship. Then he got a little reckless and vindictive. Fortunately, both of them are on their feet now. Rayna has family to deal with, and Will is running a successful new label.
Not to mention the fact that their children are falling in love. Consider me skeeved out.
It looked like Deacon was going to relapse out of heartbreak over Rayna, but what happened turned out to be much worse. Deacon was diagnosed with liver cancer and needed a transplant. After some horrifying stubbornness, his sister and Scarlett's mother agreed to be a donor. At the end of the season, someone flatlined and the doctor had bad news for Rayna. What was it?????
The Triple Exes
Season 3 saw a new group rise from the Nashville ashes. When Zoey left for good and Scarlett conquered her stage fright to accompany Gunnar and Avery, they became my favorite Nashville supergroup The Exes. On the romantic front, while Avery was focused on his relationship with Juliette, Scarlett started seeing one of Deacon's doctors. He's a stable grownup and their relationship couldn't be better — if only she wasn't still drawn towards Gunnar. Speaking of...
Gunnar Has A Kid (Sort Of)
I knew something was up when Gunnar's teenage ex-sweetheart Kiley, played by Alexa Peña-Vega, came to town with her Juni Cortez-lookalike son. After bonding with Micah, Gunnar learned that the kid's father was not him, but his late brother's and a product of rape.
Juliette Had A Kid
Hayden Panettierre's real life pregnancy became a plot point for her character and a major obstacle between her and Avery. He moved in and they started working on their relationship. However, Juliette had postpartum depression in the latter half of the season, and separated herself from both Avery and their daughter Cadence by diving recklessly into work. She even fired Highway 65 and signed with Jeff Fordham and Luke Wheeler's label. Scandal! At the end of the season, Avery drove away with the baby for their own safety.
Will's Out, Officially
Will got a bonafide love interest this season in his writing partner Kevin. However, they kept their relationship quiet — especially when Will's father came to town. When the tabloids caught Will and Kevin together and ran an exposé, Will arranged a press conference to call them off. However, he gave up at the last second and officially came out as gay.
Meanwhile, Rayna's politician ex-husband got himself into a whole lot of trouble. Needing "someone to talk to" and with the help of the always nefarious Jeff Fordham, he began a relationship with a sex worker, and ended the season in handcuffs after he refused to turn her in to the police. However, after all of the drama surrounding the season came to a head, this is unfortunately the least of anyone's problems! Rayna Jaymes, Jeff Fordham, and Juliette Barnes have way bigger fish to fry as we go into Season 4.