Nashville withdrawal ends tonight, as the ABC show returns with all-new episodes. While just exactly what pandemonium the second half of Season Three will bring remains uncertain, here's a quick refresher course on where we left off, with everything you need to know before the musical drama resumes, including news of a groundbreaking new cast member on the horizon.
1. Although we were expecting Rayna and Luke to tie the knot (as if!), it was actually Juliette and Avery who were married at the close of the winter finale. Next up for the reconciled couple is the impending birth of their baby girl, which will surely go off without a hitch. OK, maybe not. Let's just hope they don't name the baby Patsy in a bid to drum up box-office for the Patsy Cline biopic Juliette has been filming. Speaking of the biopic, if Juliette's co-star, Noah, remains on the scene, it's likely his presence will generate some friction for the newly married couple.
2. Now that Rayna has called off her wedding to Luke, who was last seen not taking the news very well, will Deacon swoop in and sweep Rayna off her feet? Since Rayna's goal seems to be regaining control of her life at home with her daughters, it's not very likely she'll rebound with her old love too quickly. Deacon has other things on his mind, anyway, now that he's facing liver cancer. Given a little time, the two of them will probably find their way back to each other — and Luke is sure to take that news just as well. It's potentially good news for lovestruck teens Maddie and Colt, however, since they won't actually be sort-of-related.
3. Speaking of old loves reunited, when Gunnar discovered he was not young Micah's father, after weeks of bonding with him, he headed to the only person he could think of to seek some much-needed comfort. Scarlett's makeover project with homeless blues musician Terry appears to have been a disaster (he bolted from the stage at a Nashville festival when memories of his traumatic past life resurfaced), but it did bring Scarlett, Gunnar and Avery back together on stage, so, there's that. If the frequently funny scenes from earlier this season featuring this threesome are any indication, more comic hijinks could ensue. Or things could just get weird… and not in a good way.
4. Sadie Stone, whose country-music career was on an upswing after winning a CMA award, had another swing to watch out for – that of her despicable ex-husband, Pete, who, instead of consulting a lawyer like any sane person would, hauled off and gave her a shiner after accusing her of stealing all the credit for a song they wrote together. Since Sadie and Avery are working together in the recording studio, we're expecting him to come to her rescue at some point, although a chivalrous act will probably not come without some serious (and quite possibly painful) consequences. Cue the slightly reworded remake of an old Aerosmith hit: "Sadie's Got a Gun."
5. When last we spotted Layla, she was floating face down in a swimming pool after one too many cocktails and a whole lot of pills. Brutally rebuffed by Jeff after their one-night stand (not to mention that whole being married to a gay guy thing), Layla grows even more confused and despondent after spotting Will and the freelance reporter (a woman?!) having sex. Having seen just how well Layla has handled rejection in the past, we wouldn't want to be Jeff when she finds out that instead of calling 911 first, he called Mayor Teddy. Unless she's finally getting the key to the city that she's always wanted.
6. And here's something to look forward to as the season heats up throughout winter and spring. Although he won't be introduced for several more episodes, there's a new character waiting in the wings. Kevin Bicks, played by actor Kyle Dean Massey, has something in common with a couple of real-life country stars — namely Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman, both of whom came out publicly last November. Kevin is an openly gay country singer (in a format that still struggles with the notion). Will the increasingly tormented Will Lexington feel less isolated? Are the two gay cowboys destined for a "Brokeback" love connection? Massey, who is an openly gay actor, is a stage veteran — like his castmates Laura Benanti (Sadie Stone) and Will Chase (Luke Wheeler) — and was most recently seen on Broadway in Pippin.
Nashville returns Wednesday, February 4th at 10:00 p.m. ET on ABC.