After getting cut from ABC's primetime lineup four seasons in, Nashville enjoyed a healthy fan campaign to try and get the show signed to a new network for a fifth season. Luckily, they succeeded, since Season 4's monster cliffhanger would likely have gone down in history as one of the worst show endings of all time. Following talks with a few different networks — which heavily mirrored Nashville's endless record label-jumping plot points — the show got picked up by CMT. Its move to cable promises a new feel for the show, but what happened on Nashville Season 4?
Well, you can say goodbye to the dramatic twists the show packed in for its run on network TV. The new season is prioritizing character development, emotional depth, and a generally slower paced vibe in an effort to maximize the show's quality for a cable viewership. Take this quick refresher on how Deacon and Rayna finally tied the knot, Juliette's hellish road to rock bottom and the rehab trip that saved her relationship, and how Maddie became an emancipated minor, and then say goodbye to ever having this much drama to catch up on again. Not mentioned: Teddy's incarceration, but really, what self-respecting Nashville fan ever cared about Teddy?
Deacon's Liver Transplant
Deacon had been diagnosed with cancer in Season 3 and it was revealed that he needed a liver transplant. His sister Beverly finally agreed to donate part of hers, and Season 4 opened with the fallout of someone flatlining in the Season 3 finale. That person turned out to be Beverly. Deacon survived his transplant, while his sister suffered an aneurysm. Scarlett and Deacon argued over whether to take her off life support, but Scarlett ended up making the final call, which resulted in Beverly's death. Scarlett and her uncle eventually reconciled. He went in on a bar with his sponsor, Frankie, and named it The Beverly.
Avery & Juliette Divorce
Avery ended up living with Cadence and his parents in Ohio while Juliette enjoyed success of her tour and movie, Shenandoah Girl. Juliette started partying heavily to dull the pain of missing her husband and daughter, after she distanced herself from them. Avery eventually filed for divorce and full custody of Cadence, but Juliette didn't fight it. Later, she saw paparazzi photos of Avery and Emily babysitting Cadence together and assumed they were sleeping together. (They weren't.) But it was only after Cadence was hospitalized with a high fever (Juliette was MIA for the scare) that Avery told her it was time to go public with the divorce.
This led Juliette to partake in massive amounts of partying (aka drinking), which even resulted in a suicide attempt. However, Jeff rescued her at the last minute, only to plunge to his own death accidentally. Colt saw the whole thing go down. Juliette forgot what happened because she was blacked out at the time, but when she did remember and confessed to Luke that what Colt saw was true, she decided to enter rehab.
Juliette Got Her Life Back Together
Rehab and therapy really did Juliette good. She got her postpartum depression under control and booked herself on a tour after turning down a movie deal to stay close to Cadence. Avery helped her get Glenn back as her manager. She even got nominated for an Oscar for her work on Shenandoah Girl. She didn't get back together with Avery, until the end of the season — a fact that felt especially heartbreaking after she wound up in a plane crash while flying back home to him.
Layla Tried To Destroy Juliette
Layla wound up teaming up with Glenn and Avery on an album in order to get back at Juliette for essentially killing her boyfriend, Jeff. She started to seduce Avery and they eventually hooked up. But, in the end, Avery decided to go back to Juliette.
Rayna & Deacon Got Married
Rayna's label struggled and she signed rock star Markus Keen to revive it. They hit it off and enjoyed an intimate work relationship, which led Deacon to believe that there might be something romantic going on between them. Markus did eventually kiss Rayna, but she shut him down quick. His ego was so bruised that he dropped the label, rejoined his band, and moved back to Los Angeles. Deacon proposed and Rayna said yes. The midseason premiere kicked off with their wedding, which was obviously beautiful.
Will Settled Into Being An Openly Gay Country Artist
After Will Lexington came out, Luke decided to drop him from his label rather than deal with the fall out. Will continued to struggle with what to do about being a gay country artist, pushing back against the pressure to become an activist or a community icon. His mom died and his dad disowned him, but eventually, Luke re-signed Will and went on a press tour, defending him publicly. Will finally stood up for his own sexuality, going head to head with a conservative pundit.
Colt Joined The Military
The rift between Colt and his dad over Luke not believing his account of the night Jeff died grows and Colt eventually goes to live on his grandparents' farm. He winds up enjoying the structure and enlists in the military, where he gets beat up for defending his dad's support of a gay artist.
Maddie Gets Legally Emancipated
Juliette gave Maddie a taste of fame, pulling her up on stage to perform with her at a concert. This led to her getting offered a solo deal with Sony (giving Daphne major feels), but Rayna put the kibosh on it, offering to sign the sisters to her own record label instead. Maddie resisted because she knew Rayna was only doing it to keep Maddie under her control. Maddie began sneaking out to perform and eventually ran away from home to live with Cash after she got busted. She filed for emancipation in order to pursue her music career on her own and won, thanks largely to the fact that Deacon can't seem to stop getting into physical altercations. Maddie signed with a record label in New York, but wound up nearly getting sexually assaulted by a producer who tried to sexually assault Rayna back when she was young and first starting out. Thankfully, Deacon rescued Maddie at the last minute and she moved back home.
Gunnar & Scarlett Got Back Together
Scarlett started dating Deacon's doctor, Caleb, but he eventually got an offer to head his own department in Seattle, and although he initially turned it down to stay with Scarlett in Nashville, she told him to take it, which led to them breaking up. The Exes went on tour with Autumn Chase, but she tried to make a move on Gunnar. He confessed that he still loves Scarlett, though, and it seems like they're ready to make another go of it.
We know from the sneak peek of the Season 5 premiere that Juliette has already survived her plane crash, but it'll be fun to see where the show can go with a slower plot and more emotional development. Nashville airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.