After the crash, Rayna is in a coma and Deacon is left to wait on his pending jail sentence. Teddy is still shell-shocked about Peggy's pregnancy and struggles to understand where he belongs... Is it by Rayna's side with his daughters? Meanwhile, Maddie grapples with the revelation that Deacon is her father and, feeling alone, turns to Juliette, unwittingly revealing the details of what happened before the traumatic crash. And Gunnar and Scarlett's relationship becomes even more complicated after the proposal, so they turn to their friends, Will and Zoey, for support.
Edgehill has appointed a new chief, Jeff Fordham. He's powerful, sexy and on a mission to place the label back on top. That means it's time to reveal his vision for the future. The question is - who will be part of it? Rayna has returned from her hiatus and the plan includes her own label, with Will and Scarlett attached. Though Jeff seems supportive, he has a different agenda. Juliette meets with the chief to discuss her new mature sound and look. She details her passion to grow and her natural desire to be taken more seriously as an artist. Jeff could care less. In the meantime, a reality show vixen is the talk of the town and posing a new threat to Juliette's career.
Rayna's divorce from Teddy is final as each embarks on a new path that brings them back to some familiar territory. Liam returns to help Rayna complete her album, and Peggy engages in a plan to win Teddy back. Juliette takes a high-paying private gig at a billionaire couple's anniversary party, but she soon discovers her host is interested in more than just her musical abilities. Deacon's troubled past with his own father casts a shadow over his impending relationship with Maddie, and Will and Scarlett undergo makeovers for the Stockholders Showcase.
Rayna leaves Juliette in a lurch when she decides she needs to cancel the remainder of the tour. Teddy proposes to Peggy and asks her to be discreet around the girls, but when Maddie sees her grandmother's ring hanging from Peggy's neck, the charade is up. She is confused and hurt and finds herself turning to an unlikely friend. Tandy uncovers more troubling information about Rayna and her mother's death, but her attempt to share the discovery with Rayna is hijacked by Maddie's reaction to Teddy and Peggy's engagement. Deacon discovers that he has more in common with Megan than just his case.
In advance of a benefit concert starring all of Edgehill's best acts, label head Jeff Fordham demands that his new artists sell themselves as hot, sexy personas - which is a major struggle for Scarlett, and Layla knows it. Since Rayna is unsure about her future as a singer, she plots to buy out Edgehill's rights to her music, and Gunnar and Avery decide to record new songs with Zoey, Scarlett's best friend. However, by the end of the concert night, nothing will be the same.
Rayna sets the record straight on all things personal and professional in a candid interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts. Determined to be her own boss, Rayna attends the Belle Meade Polo Match to seek out investors for her own label, Highway 65, but is surprised by the reaction from Nashville's elite. Meanwhile, Juliette, who is also at the event, runs into Charlie Wentworth, and Luke Wheeler and Deacon have an awkward encounter. With her life about to change dramatically, Scarlett leans on Avery for advice, and Teddy announces to the press that he and Peggy are getting married.
As Teddy's wedding day nears, Maddie feels lost and tells Rayna she wants to get to know Deacon better, forcing Rayna to confront Deacon about stepping up to co-parent. Luke Wheeler commiserates with Rayna about the challenges of exes and parenting. While on tour in Texas, Juliette angers a lecherous but very influential radio DJ who starts promoting Layla at Juliette's expense. Deacon tries to find his way back to music and discovers an unexpected ally in Avery. While on a date with Layla, Will runs into Brent on a date with a new man, and Gunnar finds himself in a power position in his singing and songwriting.
Rayna joins Scarlett on the road for her first tour date with Luke Wheeler and is blindsided when Deacon confronts her about putting too much pressure on Scarlett too soon. Jeff goes to war against Rayna on control of the album she produced with Liam, and Juliette makes a decision about Charlie Wentworth. Gunnar struggles to write a song for a major artist, and gets help from Scarlett-sparking an idea for Rayna that could potentially be liberating for her and life-changing for Gunnar.
Maddie wants to spend more time with Deacon and Teddy begins to feel like he's being replaced. Rayna is struggling to strike the right balance with the two dads and their fatherhood responsibilities. Meanwhile, Lamar makes a plea to Rayna to secure Tandy's support as a character witness. Charlie has declared his love for Juliette but she couldn't be more distracted by the fact that Layla's career is stealing some of her spotlight. Zoey and Avery make plans to visit Scarlett on the road in an effort to boost her spirits, though that feeling may be short-lived.
Juliette is the main act at Teddy's first annual Music City Festival, but the blowback by the fans and press over the Wentworths throws her for a loop and drags down the event. She demands that Glenn find out who leaked career-killing gossip to the tabloids so she can get ahead of the bad press by calling them out. Rayna is determined to buy herself out of her Edgehill contract once and for all, even though Tandy and Luke counsel otherwise. Should she risk all her assets on Highway 65? Deacon and Gunnar find themselves marginalized at the Festival and team up to to put on an unauthorized show, and Scarlett is freezing out Zoey and Gunnar but drawing closer to Avery. However, by evening's end, someone from the world of "Nashville" will be gone forever.
In The Aftermath of the death of someone in their circle, lives are changed forever in the world of "Nashville", and a new mystery arises. Kelly Clarkson guest stars as herself and makes Gunnar and Scarlett a once-in-a-lifetime offer. Juliette's reputation takes another body blow as creative video editing seems to show her proclaiming there is no God, further fueling her detractors. Rayna's bought herself out of Edgehill, but the the pressure to succeed is greater than ever, and Deacon struggles to write during his sobriety and relative stability and finds help from Maddie and Daphne.
Scarlett's career is on fire as she sings "Free" in concert with Zac Brown, but the demands of fame are burning her out. Rayna asks Deacon to help write a much-needed hit for her new album, and it's like old times - perhaps too much. Concert venues are dropping from Juliette's tour and Jeff, her label head, is furious, and Zoey is bruised by Gunnar's inattention when he gets an invitation to co-write from Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts.
Jeff is expecting Juliette to formally apologize for her behavior during her Grand Ole Opry ceremony, but at the last minute she has a change of heart and decides to standby the choices she's made. Luke introduces Rayna to a power player that could help her get her distribution deal off the ground, and then surprises her with a NASCAR that is wrapped in Rayna Jayme's graphics. Deacon is discovering his record deal might not be what he expected and Scarlett's collaboration with Liam gets off to a rocky start. Will and Layla discover they aren't all that different and find comfort in one another's company and Teddy will stop at nothing to reveal Lamar's connection to Peggy's death.
Rayna welcomes an exonerated Lamar home from prison but Tandy is suspiciously aloof. When Rayna confronts her, Tandy unloads her suspicions about their father. Juliette hides out at Avery's house, avoiding the fan backlash and enjoying their new relationship. But when Deacon hires Avery to be his engineer for his upcoming recording of a live concert at the Bluebird, Juliette is home alone and not loving it. Meanwhile, Scarlett is fired up with creativity and pills.
Juliette's new song, "Don't Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet", catches the ear of a high-powered, hit-making producer, Howie V. He wants to make her a superstar and brings her to Los Angeles to record, but marginalizes Glenn in the process. Meanwhile, Rayna takes charge with stoicism in the aftermath of recent events, and Scarlett feels lost and alone but finds Liam to be a receptive confidante.
After performing her manifesto song at her Opry induction, major pop labels are vying to sign Juliette, overwhelming Avery, who can barely afford to take her to dinner. Rayna has major money troubles of her own, since Tandy's been bouncing checks around town for Highway 65, affecting Rayna's ability to sign new artists. Deacon finds that life on the road is filled with temptation when he runs into an old friend, Ruth Bennett at an AA meeting, and Scarlett becomes more enmeshed with Liam.
Juliette has a design on how she would like to announce her new deal with Highway 65, however, Rayna has a calculated roll out plan in mind. Juliette's emotions get the best of her at a label party when she starts to feel that she is being upstaged by Rayna's up-and-coming talent. Will offers Deacon and opportunity of a lifetime though he finds the excitement short-lived after noticing Megan's strange behavior. Teddy is at odds with Maddie when he finds out she is fixated with her music, and Will is concerned about his past catching up with him so he makes Layla an offer she can't refuse.
Rayna plays a mini-set on Luke's tour, and her girls meet his son, Colt, a moody teenager who has a big social media following. Juliette's growing jealous of Avery's connection to Scarlett and takes it out on her while they tour together to help raise awareness of Highway 65. Will and Layla make a plan that Gunnar refuses to support, and Teddy forbids Maddie from attending Deacon's latest concert.
Maddie's news goes viral and stirs a media frenzy including being a "Hot Topic" on "The View", and the real-life Ladies of "The View"- Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy and Barbara Walters guest-star as themselves. Rayna tries to manage the fallout by going on "Good Morning America" and real-life anchor Robin Roberts guest stars as herself. When Juliette faces more empty seats on her tour, she reaches out to Charlie Wentworth for a favor, and Scarlett's mother, Beverly, surprises her daughter in San Francisco, but things do not go well.
Scarlett's breakdown is driving everyone to point fingers at who might be responsible for her condition. Deacon is blaming Rayna for pushing her too fast, Rayna is blaming Juliette and for forcing her on stage and Beverly thinks Rayna is only interested in seeing her label succeed. It always feels like everyone has an axe to grind with Juliette so she turns to Avery, only to find him preoccupied with Scarlett. During her moment of weakness, she is driven right into the hands of her nemesis. Meanwhile, Layla tries to convince Will to join her in a reality show.
Rayna organizes a charity concert at Fort Campbell after finding out Luke has been injured in Afghanistan, forcing him to cut his tour short. Deacon and Maddie are brought closer together as they chart a new course for their future. Teddy is beginning to feel like his family is slipping further and further away from him. Juliette is racked with guilt knowing that her back is against the wall after Jeff threatens to go to Avery with the truth. Gunnar is feeling pressure to reveal a secret about Juliette to Avery until Zoey urges him that his professional and private life should be kept separate. And Will and Layla begin shooting their new reality series.
As Will Lexington's album climbs the chart with the help of Jeff Fordham's deep pockets, Rayna enlists Teddy's help to plan a huge, free concert at LP Field to draw attention to her Highway 65 debut. She will perform with Luke Wheeler and duet with Juliette before thousands of fans. Zoey, Avery and Gunnar rock out at a benefit for Deacon's favorite charity, Sober House, and Avery plans to serenade Juliette with a song he wrote for her. But when he attempts to sing it, he doesn't understand why she is not present. And Scarlett makes a decision about her future in Music City