Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Recap: A not so great turn

Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist
Alvina August as Tatiana, John Clarence Stewart as Simon, Skylar Astin as Max, Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Pic credit: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate

Last night’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist only confirmed what we had been feeling since last week: the show took a turn somewhere in season 2 and ended up getting lost in the process. In Zoey’s Extraordinary Birthday, we watched Zoey struggle with the fact that she was turning 30 and her father wasn’t there to celebrate it with her.

And if we stayed in that path, maybe things wouldn’t have gone as far downhill as they did. But they decided to make Zoey’s 30th birthday all about her love life — or lack thereof — and it just did not work. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.

The only storyline that worked in last night’s episode was Mo and his tentative new relationship with Perry, the fire marshall that did the inspection at MaxiMo’s last week. I really like Perry and I am excited to see where this new, more complex character will take Mo’s story.

Other than that, everything felt like a complete mess.

Zoey’s big 3.0

The episode started with Maggie and David encouraging Zoey to celebrate her birthday weekend. After all, Mitch had always been a party guy, and he wouldn’t want her to stop celebrating anything — especially not her thirtieth birthday — because he wasn’t there anymore. They end up convincing her to throw a big birthday bash, and now she has the task of inviting people to her party.

The problem is that Zoey doesn’t have a whole lot of friends, so she ends up inviting everyone from the fourth floor at SPRQ Point. Over the course of the episode, she decides that maybe throwing a big birthday party when she’s not really in the mood to party wasn’t her greatest idea ever. That and she also had a huge fight with Max when she asked him about their relationship status — we’ll talk more about that in a minute.

But then Simon organizes a birthday surprise for her at work, and she’s touched, but she still tells everyone that the party is cancelled. And right here was one of the parts that had me scratching my head in confusion.

A heart song starts — “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by The Communards — and it wasn’t obvious if it was Simon’s song or everyone’s. It looked like Zoey took it as everyone’s because she decides to have a big birthday bash after all after the performance.

Meanwhile, David is now in the neighbor guy’s band and doesn’t realize that the guy is crushing hard on Zoey. He even helps him write a song about his own sister and only realizes his mistake when the Australian makes a big gesture at Zoey’s party and dedicates the song to Zoey. It’s awkward and cringy and just ugh all around.

In the end, her party is a success, and everyone has a great time, but Zoey is suddenly very aware that there’s a romantic vibe in the air and that she has no one.

Zoey’s sudden epiphany

Now here’s where everything went downhill for me. Up until Season 2, episode 3, Zoey was all about Max. She had made her choice, the love triangle from hell was over, and they were going to give this a shot. She then asked for some time because she was still grieving and couldn’t dedicate herself to a relationship so soon after her father’s death. And that was completely understandable.

So she spent the next four episodes working through her grief, and it was great to watch — a special shoutout to Season 2, Episode 5, Zoey’s Extraordinary Trip. And then last week, it felt like something started to change between her and Simon all of a sudden, at the same time that a new love interest was suddenly introduced for Max.

Then in last night’s episode, Zoey met Rose — Max’s new love interest — and watched as they performed a heart song about how much they wanted each other. She was obviously shaken by it, but instead of processing it as jealousy, she asked him to come over so they could talk about where they stood in their relationship. She reveals to Max that she saw his heart song with Rose and that it’s totally okay with her. Because she kinda sorta has feelings for Simon again, which what. the. hell?

Where did that even come from? Wasn’t she all in with Max and then asked for some time because she couldn’t give all of herself to a relationship because she needed to grieve first? This is not even about ship wars or ship preferences. I am not super passionate either way. But do they not realize what this is doing to Zoey as a character? As a woman?

Having her start the season super into Max and then, all of a sudden, do a complete one-eighty and decide that she wants Simon is a disservice to her character. It portrays her as fickle, especially if she decides that she wants Max after all by the end of the season. Not only that, if she suddenly decided that Simon is who she wants now, then was Max ever really her choice in the first place?

And if the entire point was to have Simon and Zoey get together, why introduce Tatiana at all? This plot twist made zero sense and it ruined Zoey’s character development.

So now Max is probably going to hook up with Rose, and Zoey and Simon are going to be together out of nowhere. Cool, cool, cool.

Other highlights of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

  • Mo is always fabulous and I can’t wait to see where his romance with the hot fire marshall goes.
  • How cringey was that love declaration from the neighbor kid?
  • Am I the only one who’s glad that David’s stint in that band was very short-lived?
  • The musical numbers were fabulous as usual.

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

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