The new season of Nashville started with a bang. The first episode opened to Juliette Barnes’ (Hayden Panettiere) crazy antics, as she flashed her smile on the red carpet and self destructed behind the scenes.
The opener of the new season is particularly focused on how the characters are dealing with the issues in their personal lives, in the aftermath of last season’s antics. The most important storylines in this episode belonged to the two struggling couples, Juliette and Avery (Jonathan Jackson), and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen), who all struggle to balance their careers and their relationships.
Juliette is hiding out from her responsibilities in Hollywood, while Avery has moved back to Ohio with their baby. While his parents make it very clear to Avery what they think of his new wife, he waits like a forlorn puppy for Juliette to come home. However, by the end of the episode, he seems to be tired of the status quo, and moves back to Nashville. How he will parent his baby daughter in a flat with two other guys is somewhat unclear – but will hopefully provide some brilliant humour, perhaps even some scenes reminiscent of Three Men and a Baby.
Fans of Scarlett and Gunnar will have mixed reactions to this episode, as the two characters seem to move forwards and backwards simultaneously, all in the space of 44 minutes. Gunnar admits his feelings for Scarlett, and despite her denial it is clear she feels the same way; however, for that very reason, she demands that he leave her alone. Scarlett even goes as far as requesting they record separately for their new album. This leads to one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the episode, where Gunnar records one of their songs on his own. The forlorn expression on Gunnar’s face as he sings is enough to make anyone want the two of them to be together. While this episode doesn’t give fans who support Gunnar and Scarlett everything they might’ve hoped for, it does suggest that we might see their romance return at some point this season.
Rayna’s (Connie Britton) life is also in tatters this season, as she struggles to hold everything together following Teddy’s (Eric Close) arrest. The hostility between Maddie (Lennon Stella) and Daphne (Maisy Stella) increases as they too struggle to deal with Teddy’s imprisonment. While in previous seasons we saw Maddie dealing with the issue of her paternity, it now seems that Daphne might be the most angry about the situation. With her own father locked away, the close relationship that Maddie and Deacon (Charles Esten) share will undoubtedly be difficult to handle; particularly since Maddie refuses to read his letters. From the behaviour both girls have already shown in this episode it is almost certain that there is going to be some serious tension between the two girls during this transition period.
Rayna has also been struggling with business, as her record label takes a hit following Juliette’s exit. After fighting in court, Rayna is finally too exhausted to take on Juliette anymore and gives in, though despite this she still flies to Hollywood after receiving a disturbing phone call from her emotional frenemy. Unsurprisingly the thanks she gets is hostility and denial, as Juliette once again slams the door in her face.
The first episode in what looks to be an eventful season, ‘Can’t Let Go’ entertains audiences and lays the groundwork for the drama which will be unleashed as the season continues. Filled with great music and even guest starring rock legend Steven Tyler, audiences will be enthralled from start to finish, in what is undoubtedly an excellent start to the fourth season of Nashville.
Nashville Season 4 airs Thursday nights on Sky Living, at 10pm. Watch the trailer below.