Sometimes a song is worth a hundred pages of dialogue.
On Wednesday's season premiere of Nashville, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler guest-stars as himself to perform a duet with Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), who finds herself in the throes of postpartum depression this season. The song? A cover of Patsy Cline's "Crazy."
That got us thinking: What if all the plotlines on Nashville could be summed up by actual country lyrics? Spoiler alert: They can. Here's a summary of what to expect on Season 4, complete with a theme song for each character.
Rayna (Connie Britton)
We'll find out in Wednesday's premiere whether it was Deacon (Charles Esten) or his sister Beverly (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) who flatlined in the Season 3 finale. (We're betting a million dollars it was his sister.) "Nothing is going to be the same, obviously, after we come back," executive producer Dee Johnson tells TVGuide.com. "Certainly from a personal point of view, but also from a business point of view, because in addition to the cliff-hanger that we had, a lot of stuff changed in Rayna's business world too. ... She comes into this new world order having to kind of start from scratch again on a lot of levels."
Song: "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette
After leaving Rayna's label for Luke's, Juliette's career is on an upward trajectory. Her personal life, on the other hand, is in a downward spiral. "One of the things that we're exploring is the idea that, there's a public perception of how these people are living, and the private reality of it," Johnson says. "And I think that those are going to be flip-flopped a little bit as we begin the season. ... I think she's still very much struggling with what she's sort of not dealing with. She has in the past and continues to throw herself into work, and probably more successfully than she ever has before."
Song: "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" by Hank Williams
Scarlett and Gunnar (Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio)
Scarlett's way of dealing with her feelings for Gunnar is to avoid them, and fast-track her relationship with the safer option, Handsome Doctor. The only problem is, she and Gunnar are still in a band, making beautiful music together. We're guessing her strategy will be wildly successful as the season progresses.
Song: "Like We Never Loved at All" by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
Avery (Jonathan Jackson)
With Juliette MIA, Avery heads back to Ohio so his parents can help with raising Cadence - but is the move a temporary or permanent one? "He's still very much in love with her, and I think he takes his vows very seriously," Johnson says. "And obviously he wants what's best for his daughter. I don't think he's in a hopeless place, but I think it's safe to assume that she's going to tax him."
Song: "Who Says You Can't Go Home" by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles
Luke (Will Chase)
Taking the advice of a newly hired "image consultant," Luke kicks Will off of his tour temporarily and throws all his resources behind his new star, Juliette. "Luke is at the core a good guy, and he wants to do what's best," Johnson says. "He makes a decision regarding Will, but also embarks on taking his own brand, as it were, to the next level." But his career-focused tunnel vision blinds him to Juliette's off-stage issues, and only widens the rift between him and Rayna.
Song: "Good Time" by Alan Jackson
Will (Chris Carmack)
Will's relationship with Kevin (Kyle Dean Massey) is finally moving forward, but his career is stalled after his very public coming-out a month earlier. After getting the boot from Luke's tour, Will sinks into a depression and begins to regret his announcement. "He has been sequestered in a self-imposed exile, as it were," Johnson says. "Although I think that in the moment, he made that decision and it felt really good and right and true to himself, of course after you do something like that, you second-guess your choices. I think his journey for this season is figuring out where he fits in, because he's now kind of in a little bit of a no-man's land in terms of where he is most comfortable. ... He's not used to being in a couple. He's not used to being out in public. So, there's a whole journey that he undertakes to find out not only who he is as just a person in a relationship, but is he a performer?"
Song: "All American Boy" by Steve Grand
Layla (Aubrey Peeples)
When she's not hogging the spotlight from Juliette on red carpets, Layla is still devoting a significant amount of time to being one-half of Nashville's Worst Couple, along with Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson). "After our little golf club incident at the end of last season, I think that [Layla and Jeff] are strangely on ... not equal footing, but I think that they understand each other in a way they haven't before," Johnson notes. "They have feelings for each other. They may not be the most healthy feelings, but they have feelings for each other, and they are genuine."
Song: "Sparks Fly" by Taylor Swift
Teddy (Eric Close)
Maddie's (Lennon Stella) daddy issues aren't going to get any easier this season, with Teddy trying to maintain a relationship with her and Daphne (Maisy Stella) from prison. "Obviously he's the girls' father, so he's always going to be a presence," Johnson says. "But there's definitely going to be some blowback from all that happened."
Song: "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash
Nashville returns Wednesday at 10/9c on ABC.
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