Rising star Scarlett (Clare Bowen) may be inching toward her breaking point on ABC's country music drama Nashville.
After a her jealous boyfriend Avery (Jonathan Jackson) stole the spotlight during Scarlett and Gunnar's (Sam Palladio) golden moment -- ruining their chance with Lady Antebellum producers -- the aspiring songwriter won't take her wannabe crooner standing her way much longer on the freshman series.
"Scarlett is very hard to squash and there's a strength that's going to come out of her," Bowen tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Considering Scarlett sacrificed her entire life for Avery -- moving to a new town specifically to be with him as he fought his way amid the bustling country music dynamic of Nashville -- it won't be an easy decision for the young singer who has already eclipsed her partner to cut the cord.
"When you're in love with someone, it's really difficult to cut them loose; Scarlett has a few things ahead of her before she can do that," she says. "But people grow apart and if someone isn't going to grow with you, they need to go their own way and Scarlett is going to make that decision."
But while the duo's relationship may need to hit rock bottom first -- perhaps Avery cheating on her will do the trick? -- the idea of breaking it off with the sleazy wannabe is a scary thought.
"Jealousy and insecurity are basic human emotions and Avery isn't proud of what he's done; he's not a bad person, he's just an opportunist and he can't help it. He just wants it so bad he's to the point of losing his manners and he's feeling a bit wounded," Bowen explains. "But you can only push Scarlett so far -- she does have her limits."
Part of that fear, Bowen says, is that Scarlett has always had someone to look after as a way to distract herself from putting her needs and desires first and foremost. And while the chemistry is evident between Scar and her writing partner, Gunnar, it's not likely that she'll make the jump from one relationship to another -- if she kicks Avery to the curb.
"It's a complicated situation since Gunnar's already in a relationship with their publicist's assistant," she says. "Scarlett isn't really a 'replacer'; she's going to have to find herself before she starts looking for that but then people you love often turn up in the most inopportune moments."
Which is where her uncle Deacon (Charles Esten) will continue to support her as her career continues to take off amid her personal woes. Deacon, as was seen in the pilot, isn't an Avery fan.
"Deacon and Scarlett have a very special relationship where they're pretty much the same and they have a lovely friendship and are very honest with each other. They're so similar that they get under each other's feet sometimes and he can see a little bit ahead for her because he's been there," she says. "He's going to bring good insight to Scarlett, but whether or not she listens to him is up to her."
In the meantime, Rayna (Connie Britton) and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) continue to face their own struggles both personally and professionally, with Bowen previewing the story lines on drama -- fresh off a full-season order from ABC -- are starting to come together.
So might Scarlett and Gunnar -- via Deacon -- be the bridge that unites all the story lines? "That's something down the track; we're starting to shoot the scenes where all the worlds collide, where everybody is in the same room," she says, noting it shows just how small of a town Nashville is. "There's wariness, attraction, grudges and all sorts of things and it's laying the foundation for some interesting drama."
Here's hoping there are duets between Rayna and Scarlett in the not-too-distant future.
What do you think Scarlett should do about Avery? Who would you like to see Bowen sing with next? Hit the comments with your thoughts and watch a preview from this week's episode, below. Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.