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Nashville: 7 hints about Juliette's return

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Will Juliette Barnes face a bumpy road on her way back to Nashville?

Nashville is finally back, y'all! Whew, it's been a minute, but the ABC drama didn't let us down with the midseason premiere. ICYMI, Rayna Jaymes and Deacon Claybourne finally managed to make it down the aisle — and Layla finally learned what really happened to her manager/boyfriend Jeff on that rooftop.

As for the wedding, it was just as magical as we all imagined it could be. I ugly cried no less than six times during the perfectly soundtracked, rustic-chic affair.

Will Juliette Barnes face a bumpy road on her way back to Nashville?
Image: ABC

But, admittedly, my focus wasn't entirely on Rayna and Deacon. For shame, I know. The problem was rooted in the fact that Jonathan Jackson is so damn good at his job. He was gutting tonight in the brutal honesty and heartbreak he channeled through Avery Barkley, a man very much torn between his love for his wife and his need to extract himself from her toxicity.

And his wife, of course, is none other than Juliette Barnes — the sassy country-singer-slash-movie-star currently in rehab to deal with the demons caused by postpartum depression, drugs, alcohol and guilt over Jeff's death.

More: Hayden Panettiere's new diagnosis mirrors her Nashville character

So in anticipation of Juliette's return, let's take a look at a few clues about what might actually go down once this little firecracker explodes back onto the scene.

1. The tables may turn

Thus far in Juliette and Avery's history, Avery has by far been the stable one. He's the one who encouraged Juliette in her career and supported her choices. He's the one who has been faithful and dependable, staying behind to raise their daughter while Juliette struggled with postpartum on the road. But if the panic attack Avery had tonight at Rayna and Deacon's wedding is any indication, Juliette's return may be enough to push Avery into unstable territory. He may wind up being the volatile one while she tries to be the Band-Aid that holds him together.

More: Here are 8 more videos of Nashville's Lennon and Maisy Stella singing — you're welcome

2. Layla makes a move

Layla hasn't always been the most likable character, but she really grew on me when she joined Highway 65 and as her relationship with Jeff progressed. It's no secret she and Juliette have hit some snags along the way but, let's be real, who hasn't Juliette bumped heads with at some point or another? It was heartbreaking tonight to see Colt finally tell her the truth about Oliver's death. Based on next week's teaser though, it would appear she decides to repay Juliet by hitting her where it hurts most: the heart — not only does Layla ask for Avery to be her producer, but it appears she may be moving in on Juliette's man.

3. Avery doesn't know how to let Juliette be a mother

If there's one thing that defines Avery as of late, it's the fact that he is a great dad. The best, even. He adores Cadence and is fiercely protective of her. Tonight, after Cadence's first visit at the treatment center with Juliette, Avery looks visibly shaken. And although he promised he would be fine with Juliette being a part of Cadence's life upon her return, that seemed less certain when he told Emily after Rayna and Deacon's wedding "I don't know if I can do this." As much as Juliette wants to mend things with Avery, she likely won't take kindly to him constantly trying to swoop in whenever Juliette spends time with their daughter. It's understandable on his part after everything they've been through, but still... that'll surely cause some friction.

4. If only for a minute, Avery and Juliette will reunite

Am I convinced Avery and Juliette are going to fall back into each other's arms and live happily ever after? Meh. Not as much as I'm convinced they'll fall back into bed at least once before the season is over. If you've ever been struggling to get over someone, this is a scenario that probably resonates with you. Chemistry is a hard thing to deny, especially if you're still harboring feelings for the other person. But it doesn't mean they're good for you, and it sure doesn't mean you can make it work if you don't fix the stuff that broke you in the first place.

More: 10 Nashville premiere moments so good we wanted to move to Music City

5. Juliette will return to the stage

Granted, it hasn't been that long since she stepped off of one. She was in a pretty bad mental state at the time, though, and she definitely wasn't striking anything close to balance between her personal and professional lives. With a slew of huge music cameos announced in the season promo — Kelsea Ballerini, Derek Hough, Kesha, Thomas Rhett — it's highly unlikely Juliette won't score a duo with someone special. This may be a critical moment in her marriage (or divorce) to Avery. Also a remote possibility? That Layla will use the newfound knowledge of Juliette's involvement in Jeff's death to try to ruin Juliette's career.

6. We could lose another favorite character

OK, so, I love Nashville. I'm a Southern girl and it speaks to many of my Southern sensibilities. One of those just so happens to be drama, 'cause we know this show deals that out in droves. It's not unheard of for something jarring and drastic to happen just when everyone seems to be happy — you know, like the death of a character. Obviously, everyone's on a high right now in the wake of Rayna and Deacon's wedding. However, the teaser trailer for the rest of the season includes some distraught characters, so we know there's going to be some serious drama in the near future.

7. That character could be Avery

Here's where I start asking myself, "Is Layla's plan just to steal Avery away from Juliette? Or does she want to take him away from Juliette the same way she feels Juliette took Jeff away from her?" The latter would mean Layla makes an actual attempt on Avery's life, which is crazy. Right? Right?! Fingers crossed that's just me being paranoid. Then again, this is Nashville, so anything could happen. And given that Jackson's real life alt rock group — Jonathan Jackson and Enation — have a new EP in the works with Grammy-nominated producer Greg Archilla, his focus could certainly shift.

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