Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist recap: Zoey’s Extraordinary Session

Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke and Skylar Astin as Max in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.
Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke and Skylar Astin as Max in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Pic credit: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate

Last night’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist finally started to feel like the show we know and love again. Even though Zoey’s Extraordinary Session was a departure from the usual musical episodes, getting to witness Zoey’s first day at SPRQ Point and seeing Mitch again was an absolute delight.

Following last week’s episode, Zoey is going to therapy, so this time we were privy to one of her sessions as they explored where Zoey’s fear of loss stems from. It was heartfelt, it was funny, it made me cry, and it was everything that made me fall in love with this show in the first place.

Welcome back, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. We’ve missed you.

A trip to the past

I was completely unspoiled when I started this episode. I hadn’t seen any promos or photos, so imagine my surprise when Mitch suddenly showed up on my screen.

Having Peter Gallagher back on the show was such a breath of fresh air, and I had no idea how much I missed him until I saw him again. And what a treat it was to see Mitch alive and well and healthy and living his normal life.

It was Zoey’s first day at SPRQ Point and she was nervous and excited about starting her dream job. We will dive deeper into Danny Michael Davis’ weird recruitment dynamic soon, but needless to say that — as everything the man does — it was inappropriate, hilarious, and stressed Zoey out.

But what we really need to talk about is how different Zoey’s family dynamics were when Mitch was okay. While she’s clearly a daddy’s girl, there was so much love in that household. The four of them formed a beautiful family with a tight bond, and it felt like a privilege to be able to get a glimpse of what their lives were like before Mitch got sick.

And to our neverending surprise, this time Maggie was the one with a health scare. A little while after Zoey arrived at SPRQ Point, Mitch tells her that they’re on their way to the hospital because Maggie is having chest pains.

As someone who has been in the exact same situation, Zoey was in this episode, I can tell you that the realization that a parent is not the indestructible superhero you always thought they were when something like this happens is very, very real.

While Mitch and Maggie reassure her that everything is fine and that it’s probably nothing, Zoey’s concentration is completely shot after this. Even though it was painful to watch, I love how raw and real it all was.

The fact that Zoey’s fear of loss stems from a very real situation with a parent felt very organic. After going through a scare like this, I can only imagine what she felt like when they heard the news that Mitch was going to die and there was nothing they could do about it.

The feeling of utter devastation and powerlessness must have been so overwhelming. And no matter how long she had to prepare herself for the moment, she would have to say goodbye to her father and move on with her life. Facing her biggest fear is still a daunting task that she still hasn’t been able to complete and get over.

When she says, “But in that moment, seeing the look on their faces, and the love and the fear in both their eyes, I realized that they were just people. Two people that I could lose at any moment,” it felt so, so real and relatable, and it immediately transported me to what I felt when my mom was in the same situation as Maggie.

At that moment I had the same wake-up call Zoey had, and it was at that moment that both Zoey and I became adults. When you experience something like this, it makes you grow and mature faster than usual, but it also makes you want to protect yourself because you don’t want to feel that horrible hopelessness anymore. And that’s exactly what happened to Zoey.

Now we can understand why she struggles so much with her emotions and her feelings. Ultimately, she’s terrified of losing the people she loves; so why open herself up to someone and allow herself to love them when you’re only going to lose them eventually? Now I’m starting to understand what happened between her and Max. I still don’t agree with how it was portrayed, but this episode finally made me understand where her feelings are coming from.

And in the end, what she feared the most happened, anyway. Max is now leaving and despite all that she did to protect herself, she’s still going to lose him and it’s still going to hurt.

Zoey and Max

Who would have thought that Zoey and Max weren’t best buds since the first moment they laid eyes on each other? Having them bicker and actively dislike each other for the first half of the episode was such a breath of fresh air and so unexpected.

When Zoey got to SPRQ Point that morning, she thought it would be her first day at her dream job. But to her surprise, it was just the final round in the recruitment process, and she still needed to beat all the other applicants to take one of the two spots available.

So she ends up being partnered with Max, and they do not get along. It’s hilarious and heartwarming, and it was such a treat to see how they slowly went from complete animosity to helping each other out to actively caring about each other.

And if you had any doubts about Clarkeman being endgame, you can squash them all now. Max has loved Zoey from the day they met and nothing has changed. He gave up his spot at a dream job for her. Do you guys understand how huge this is? Even though he’s going to New York with Rose, it is now very clear that he’s just protecting himself, just like Zoey has been doing.

I’m pretty sure he’ll be back in San Francisco sooner rather than later and things will work themselves out between them. The feelings are very much still there on both their parts, so it’s only a matter of time.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs on Sundays at 9/8C on NBC.

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