Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) may have taken their relationship to the next level when they slept together on Nashville, but Scunnar fans might want to hold off on celebrating. The new couple's honeymoon period may be short-lived, according to Palladio.
That's not entirely surprising, given the fact that the event that immediately preceded their hookup was Gunnar learning that his brother had been murdered. But when Nashville returns from a month-long hiatus Wednesday (10/9c, ABC), there's another source of complications for Scarlett and Gunnar: trying to balance their new romantic relationship with their professional songwriting partnership. It's a classic story of co-ed songwriting duos, and the pair may be headed for a "Fleetwood Mac sort of thing," Palladio admits.
"It's a bit of a mess," Palladio tells TVGuide.com. "It's kind of difficult for them both. With the loss of Gunnar's brother, he's in a really dark head space. He's trying to deal with the grief and the loss and all that, so that instantly brings a real pressure to the relationship. They've been working in such a harmonious way, with the singing/songwriting. Now Gunnar finds himself into a place where he's not that into music, he's sort of losing his writing passions. He doesn't want to be playing, he doesn't want to be writing. ... So that takes a real strain on the musical friendship and working relationship."
And it couldn't come at a worse time, with the duo finally getting some exposure and landing on the radar of Rayna James (Connie Britton), who wants to sign them to her recording label. Scarlett finds herself struggling to balance her professional ambitions with her desire to be a supportive girlfriend to Gunnar.
"She's stuck between a rock and a hard place," Palladio says. "She's got this opportunity knocking at the door and phone calls coming in left and right trying to seal this deal. And she really wants Gunnar to be part of that [but] doesn't know whether she can make that happen or whether he's going to be in the right place for it."
Gunnar, meanwhile, is focused on trying to find out who's responsible for his brother's murder — and when the police aren't much help, he decides to play detective himself. Along the way, he makes some "stupid decisions" and "foolish mistakes" that Scarlett calls him out on, Palladio says. "Gunnar basically feels so responsible that the music is just kind of put aside for a minute and he takes it upon himself really to try and discover what happened," he says. "The next couple episodes, you find Gunnar in much more of a kind of serious place. There's no more of the doe-eyed harmonizing singer/songwriter. He's almost in revenge mode."
Also factoring into Scarlett and Gunnar's relationship is a new character on the show: Will Livingston, played by The O.C.'s Chris Carmack. Will moves in above Scarlett and Gunnar, and befriends Gunnar, eventually shaking him out of his depression and back into music. But that won't necessarily be a positive thing for Gunnar and Scarlett, Palladio warns — personally or professionally.
"Will becomes Gunnar's kind of best mate and gets him writing again," Palladio says. "That progression actually makes Gunnar realize where his music is going, and it's slightly away from the duo and that type of music. ... That's going to leave Scarlett in an awkward position of her desperately wanting him to be part of the success that the two of them have had, but Gunnar's not too sure anymore."
Are you rooting for Scarlett and Gunnar? Do you think they'll be able to overcome these obstacles?
Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.