With new of Nashville’s cancellation, and then revival at CMT and Hulu, the fate as the series and stars has been heavily up in the air over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the revival cut the budget, which means Will Chase (Luke Wheeler) and Aubrey Peeples (Layla Grant) will not be returning to the star-studded town.
Is losing Luke Wheeler a big loss? Not really. After his break up with Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) in Nashville Season 3, he’s become an unnecessary drag, especially throughout Season 4.
His fighting with his son, Colt, and going bankrupt and trying to stay grounded was dull and not thought out well enough to be compelling.
Layla, however, ended Season 4 on a bittersweet end. Her relationship with Avery crumbled, which ultimately started out of her despise for Juliette being partially responsible for Jeff Fordham’s death, who she was seeing romantically at the time. Yet, in the wake of that, her newest single hit #1, and her career was finally beginning to take off how she’d always imagined it.
I was not Layla’s biggest fan during her Nashville stint, and if you’d asked me when the show ended, I could’ve done without her. The revenge plot between Juliette and Layla was obnoxious and too soapy; Juliette should’ve ended up in the same place and finally confessed, but under different circumstances.
But as re-watching the series, Aubrey Peeples brought it in her performance every week, and she was truly the underdog of the show.
Layla was a prop for most of Seasons 2 and 3: used to promote Juliette’s story, and then to be Will’s wife as he struggled with his sexuality. She was never meant to be a person amidst the drama, but Peeples brought another layer to Layla that helped viewers connect with her.
Peeples was promoted to a series regular in Season 4, but her feature film, Jem & The Holograms, was released, taking up most of the actress’ time and she departed for a short period, as did Hayden Panettiere for her first PPD treatment.
Could Layla have been written better? Yes. But Peeples made the best of what she was given and stood out in her short time on screen, even in Layla’s most unbearable moments.
Not much was known about Layla’s past; it’s a shame that we’ll never get to see where she came from, or how it shaped her.
All our best to Aubrey Peeples as she steps away from the city of country music and to the rest of our stars heading to CMT for a 22-episode Nashville Season 5.