On the winter finale of Nashville, “We’ve Got Nothing but Love to Prove,” Markus and Rayna’s working relationship comes to an abrupt end, Scarlett chooses between Caleb and her career. The Beverly opens for business and Juliette re-enters Avery’s life.

It’s a bustling morning in Nashville as Markus prepares to perform for a segment on Good Morning America. But with showtime looming, the rocker turned country wannabe goes missing.

Rayna and Markus’ Big Night

Rayna finds Markus on a rooftop freaking out. He is suffering from some serious stage fright. Rayna reassures him that his country album is some of the best music he’s ever done. Rayna has put a lot of time and money into Markus because she believes in him, and he needs to put on his big boy pants and believe in himself.

Markus kills it during the interview right up until the reporter points out that many people in the industry and Markus’ fans aren’t buying his detour into country music. Rayna fields the question and promises people are going to be blown away when they hear Markus’ new sound. His album will be available to download that night, and Markus will also be performing live to promote it.

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Markus may have been worried that nobody would turn out for his show, but the place is packed. The crowd is really digging Markus with one exception, Deacon. He’s obviously still feeling threatened by the singer’s relationship with Rayna.

The night is a huge success for Markus and Highway 65. Markus’ album looks to go platinum. He takes Rayna back up to that rooftop and pops the cork on a bottle of champagne. These two have a lot to celebrate. Markus is grateful that Rayna took a chance on him and tells her so, then he kisses her.

Rayna reminds him that if they are going to work together, he’s got to respect her and her boundaries. Markus is all about the chemistry, but Rayna has made it clear, Deacon is her guy.

Deacon Shares a Secret with Scarlett

Gunnar and Scarlett return to Nashville after completing their tour. Caleb is too busy doctoring to pick up his girlfriend, so Deacon does the honors. He’s happy to see that his niece is back in town just in time for the grand opening of The Beverly. Technically, it’s the reopening of a former dive bar with a new name and some questionable interior decorating choices. (This has to be the lamest name for a bar, ever. Why not just call it Beverly’s?)

Deacon offers Scarlett a sneak peek at the bar, but he’s got another big surprise. He’s purchased a big old diamond engagement ring for Rayna. He plans to pop the question at the big opening. Color my face red, but I thought these two were already engaged.

Avery Questions Juliette’s Intentions

Emily arrives to babysit Cadence and tells Avery she’s been to see Juliette. She’s finished her stint in rehab and has checked herself into a treatment center for postpartum depression. Emily tries to convince Avery that Juliette finally realizes she’s sick, but he believes Juliette is just manipulating Emily in an attempt to get to him. Emily admits Juliette is terrified to face Avery after all the horrible things she’s done but believes Juliette’s intentions are good. Avery gets so aggravated, he fires Emily.

Luke has Money Trouble

Luke receives some shocking news. Two IRS agents pay him a visit and inform Luke that his business manager has been embezzling from several of his clients, Luke included. The guy has disappeared with a whole lot of money, and Luke is left with a whopping tax bill of 40 million dollars.

Bankruptcy is not an option, especially when you’re in bed with a bunch of investors in attempt to launch a brand. Luke may be rich, but he hasn’t got 40 million just laying around, so it’s time to start liquidating assets. But the key word is quietly. Luke doesn’t want to draw attention to his financial problems.

Scarlett and Caleb’s Relationship Reaches a Crossroads

Scarlett and Caleb enjoy some sexy time, and just when it looks like these two might make it after all, Caleb drops a bomb. He’s been offered a job in Seattle. Caleb points out plenty of country stars live in other states, but Scarlett reminds him that she’s part of a duo, it’s not just about her. (Caleb is a doctor, he should realize this relationship is on life support.)

Scarlett doesn’t want to leave Nashville, so Caleb says he’ll turn down the job. He understands that her family, her friends and her career are in Music City. Scarlett should be thrilled, but you know she’s feeling guilty about holding Caleb back.

Rayna’s Label is In Jeopardy

The next morning, Deacon serves Rayna breakfast in bed. She’s officially the hottest label head/producer in Nashville. Rayna is basking in the glow of her success, and Deacon comments that Markus isn’t so bad after all.

Sometimes honesty isn’t the best policy, but Rayna tells Deacon about the kiss. Deacon’s first instinct is to go find Markus and kick his ass, but Rayna assures him she’s got it under control. In the middle of their spat, Rayna gets a text from Markus telling her that he’s canceling the tour and moving to LA.

Rayna is not about to let all her hard work go down the tubes, so she’s off to see the man who is quickly becoming the bane of her existence. Deacon can’t believe Rayna is going to take off in the middle of a fight about Markus to see Markus, but Rayna says there’s nothing for them to be fighting about. Markus kissed her, not vice versa.

Rayna finds Markus at his hotel packing. His former bandmates called to congratulate him, and they decided to get back together. Rayna knows the real reason why Markus is taking off. He’s embarrassed and wants to flee the scene of the crime.

Rayna swears they can get past it and begs him to stay. They started this journey together, and they need to finish it. She needs him, and whether he wants to admit it or not, he needs her too. Some might call Rayna’s behavior groveling, others could say she was enthusiastically requesting that Markus reconsider his decision.

Juliette Wants to See Cadence

Avery’s worst fears seem to be coming to fruition. Juliette’s therapist, Dr. Kitley, shows up on Avery’s doorstep. Avery points out that Juliette signed away her parental rights, but the doctor says that in order for Juliette to recover, she needs to bond with the child she gave birth to. Avery is determined to keep Cadence from Juliette, and Dr. Kitley hopes he’s prepared to explain to Cadence that when her mother tried to repair their relationship, it was her father who said no.

Luke’s Life is in Shambles

Despite Gabriella and Luke’s best efforts to keep his financial problems on the down low, word gets out. After Luke’s fight with Colt during the Forbes’ photo shoot, the photographer did some digging and found out about the taxes. The article is now going to be a hatchet job. Investors are pulling out faster than a guy who forgot a condom.

It doesn’t matter that Luke was able to scramble and pay the money back. The perception is Luke was too dumb or too rich that 40 million dollars had gone missing.

Luke unleashes on Gabriella. Everything Luke has done has been to protect this brand. He even lost his own son because she insisted the brand should come first. Gabriella is the one who didn’t think they should go to the police, and the one who thought Colt should lie, and now it was all for nothing.

Not so fast, cowboy. Gabriella makes it clear it’s her job to protect the brand, but it’s Luke’s job to protect his son. And Luke’s tax problems started long before they met, so the way she sees it, she bet on the wrong horse.

Emily Tries to Change Avery’s Mind

Emily drops in on Avery, and he’s just as pissy as when she saw him last. The doctor failed to change his mind, and Avery is certain Juliette is using her skills as an actress to fool everyone into thinking she’s changed. Emily says that Avery wanted Juliette to admit she has a problem and she did. Avery wanted Juliette to get help and she is. The only thing holding Juliette back from getting better is Avery, and no piece of paper is going to change the fact that Juliette was, is and always will be Cadence’s mother.

Deacon’s Jealousy Clouds His Judgment

Deacon’s big night arrives, and everybody’s on hand to celebrate except Rayna. Deacon is understandably disappointed, but the show must go on, so he and Scarlett get things started.

Rayna finally shows up, and Deacon is heated. Rayna keeps choosing Markus. Every time Markus pitches a fit she goes running, and Deacon had hoped that this one time, things would be different.

Rayna’s not feeling very contrite. She couldn’t convince Markus to stay, so it looks like this is the end for Highway 65. Rayna can’t believe that Deacon, knowing how much her label means to her, would make her choose. Disgusted by his jealousy and lack of support, Rayna takes off.

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Will Receives a Surprising Offer

Will’s working relationship with Wade is going swimmingly. The singer even invites Will to his house to collaborate. Will is hesitant since Wade’s wife is a big old homophobe, but Wade seems to be coming around. The only reason Wade is okay with Will hanging out his pad is because the old ball and chain is out of town. It also turns out that Wade wants to get into Will’s Wranglers.

Will is shocked and questions how Wade has managed to stay in the closet all these years. Wade’s more than okay with his choices. He’s rich, successful and has a great family, and if Will hadn’t been so hell bent on coming out, he could have had it all too. That may be so, but Will lets Wade know he’d rather be true to himself than a fraud like Wade.

Scarlett Makes a Choice

Scarlett talks to Gunnar about Caleb’s job offer and questions whether they could make the band work living on opposite sides of the country. Gunnar isn’t sure of the logistics, but if moving with Caleb is what would make her happy, Gunnar believes they could figure it out.

But Scarlett doesn’t want to go, and she feels like crap because she isn’t willing to make the same sacrifices for Caleb that he’s willing to make for her. So she dumps Dr. Hottie.

A Change of Heart

Avery has some time to cool down and come to his senses, so he invites Emily over. He knows he’s taking all the anger he has towards Juliette and dumped it on her long-suffering assistant.

Emily knows Avery doesn’t trust Juliette, and she doesn’t blame him. Trust is earned, but Juliette can’t do that without Cadence. Avery agrees to supervised visits, but the termination of parental rights stays in place.

Luke goes to see Colt and tries to convince his son to come home. He admits he effed up and promises things will be better. Luke tells Colt the brand is dead, and Gabriella is gone. Big mistake. Now it looks like the only reason he showed up is because he’s got nothing else, which is exactly why Colt shuts the door in Luke’s face.

Deacon admits to Rayna he’s been acting like an asshole, and they declare their undying love for one another for the umpteenth time. Great! These two call each other “babe” so much, I question if they remember each other’s real names.

Deacon gets down on one knee and proposes and Rayna says….”yes.” What did you think she’d say?

Nashville returns with new episodes in March on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.