Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Season 1

‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ 1×09 Review: “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence”

When I first saw the promo materials for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 1×09 “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence,” I thought to myself, well, here it is. Here’s the typical filler episode. And I wasn’t even really upset about it, because we’ve had a lot of emotions the past few weeks, and hey, a break sounded like a good thing.

There was no break to be had in this episode, though. Instead, decisions were made, people were helped and Mo was about as awesome as always.

I want to take a moment before I go into the characters we see every week, to talk about how well this show did at showing not just disability, but what it means, as well as confronting the ideas abled people have about what someone with a disability can and cannot do.

This isn’t a topic that comes up often on network TV, and I’m super glad this show took the moment to shine a light on it, as well as give us one of the most moving performances of the season.

Of course, that wasn’t the only emotional bomb this episode threw our way. Sadly, this episode did set up a ton of angst, especially considering what’s almost certain to be a breakup between Simon and Jesicca, plus Max taking that job at the sixth floor. Either way, things are changing all around Zoey, and as someone who’s watched a lot of TV in her lifetime, I’m just saying …it’s time to brace for even more pain.

Because Zoey still doesn’t know what she wants, and before, the “decision” or lack thereof, was easy. Simon was taken and Max wasn’t going to push. But now, with the possibility of Simon not being taken, and Max moving farther away than she probably feels comfortable with, it seems like if Zoey doesn’t make a choice …well, she might lose it all.

Too bad she can’t just sing her feelings anymore.

So, let’s go deep into what’s going on with the three main players in this strange love triangle, as we discuss “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence”:


ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence” Episode 109 — Pictured: Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke — (Photo by: Sergei Backlakov/NBC)

Zoey has grown so much since we met her. So, so much. She’s become aware of the world around her, and the people that inhabit that world. She’s come to be able to recognize those people have feelings, and even to divine what those feelings might be – most times through song, but even without songs, in some instances. She’s become a kinder, more empathetic person.

And yet, this opening up brings with it a different set of issues that Zoey hadn’t had to face before. When you care about more people you’re more open to being hurt. And Zoey, in spite of her newfound openness, isn’t really good at dealing with emotions, especially her own.

It’s way easier to fix other people’s problems.

Take Simon and Max, for example. Zoey took the reins of her feelings and relationship (or lack thereof) with Simon this week, making a choice about what she wanted, what she deserved. She didn’t want to be a home wrecker, and she didn’t want to be the other woman, so she was simply out. She couldn’t do it anymore.

In many ways, I think dealing with the Simon part of her feelings was easier for Zoey. Sure, there are feelings there, but those feelings are shallow compared to what she feels for Max, because she’s known Simon for much less time. He means something to her, yes, but she can afford to lose him. She can’t even consider that with Max.

And she doesn’t have to. Despite her promise to be honest with him of a few episodes ago, the truth is that Zoey knows that she can avoid giving Max an answer because Max truly loves her and Max won’t leave her, even if she doesn’t have an answer. Except, by the end of this episode we get the sense that everything Zoey knows is about to be turned on its head.

Simon might soon be single, and Max might soon be gone.

Which leads us to the final stretch of the season, and what I anticipated before might need to be a real decision on the part of Zoey. It’s time for her to figure out what she actually wants, not what might be easiest, or more convenient. What she wants. And isn’t that the scariest, most satisfying decision of all?


ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence” Episode 109 — Pictured: (l-r) India de Beaufort as Jessica, John Clarence Stewart as Simon — (Photo by: James Dittiger/NBC)

This episode takes great care to call out Simon for all the things he’s doing wrong, and yet still present him as a good who isn’t trying to do things wrong. That’s sadly right, often, in life. We can look at it from a black and white perspective and understand that everything Mo is calling him out for, he is indeed responsible. But we can also look at his face and see he didn’t meant to hurt anyone.

And by not meaning to hurt anyone, he’s hurt them twice as much.

Indecision is a bad look, especially in a situation like this one. But that doesn’t automatically make Simon an awful person, and despite my clear preference for Max, I don’t think indecision alone automatically disqualifies him as a contender for Zoey’s affection, either. There are many, many other issues that do.The main problem right now, though, is that he doesn’t know what he wants, and he can’t “have” Zoey or Jessica or anyone if he doesn’t make a decision.

And if that song we witnessed at the end of the episode is a decision – then it doesn’t seem like the right type of decision. Sure, all those things are probably true, he and Jessica had to be having some communication issues before Zoey came in, otherwise things would have gone differently, but if he breaks up with Jessica without coming clean about what happened with Zoey, is that a clean break?

Not to mention dumping your fiancée for someone else and then expecting a relationship with that other person to work out isn’t really OTP material.

Of course, this is all speculation. Maybe Simon will do the right thing. Maybe he’ll come clean to Jessica, and maybe he’ll take some time, and maybe he’ll tell Zoey he needs to be alone for now, but maybe in the future, if she’s available (which she won’t be), they could try again.

Maybe. I don’t think so, but I truly like Simon, so for his sake, I really hope so.


ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence” Episode 109 — Pictured: (l-r) Skylar Astin as Max — (Photo by: Sergei Backlakov/NBC)

This was a big episode for Max, even though there was very little of Max in this episode, and what we saw was him making a decision for himself, one that didn’t revolve around Zoey, for a change. Or presumably making a decision, because I think we’re all pretty much expecting him to take that job.

Either way, I think part of Max wanted Zoey to tell him not to go, and yet, even if Zoey knew how she felt, that would have been the wrong thing to say. That would have been proving that her feelings for Max were superficial. That would have meant saying I’m the kind of person who can only care for you if you’re in front of me.

And no matter what’s going on in Zoey’s head right now, that’s not her. She cares for Max, and I think, despite everything, the conversation they had in this episode, with Max asking for advice and Zoey giving it to him honestly, was what Max needed.

“If you love something, let it go. If it does not return, it was never yours in the first place” they say. And though Max might not be consciously doing this, there has to be a big part of him that feels, that understands, that whatever happens with him and Zoey from now on, it’s not on him. He put all his cards on the table. In fact, he pulled out some cards from another deck and threw those in, as well. She knows how he feels.

What she doesn’t know if how SHE feels. And hey, maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder. Or maybe not. Maybe it’ll drive her right into Simon’s arms. But is that really something he can control?

At some point, if they’re gonna have a relationship; any kind of relationship, Max will have to trust Zoey. Trust her to figure out what she wants, and more importantly, trust her to effectively communicate not just that, but her needs. He can be there for her, yes. He can be her friend, and her rock. But she needs to give a little too.

Relationships are a two-way street. It’s now Zoey’s turn to see what she has in Max, and to shout (or sing) her feelings from a rooftop or two. Max deserves that, after all. He really, really does.

Things I think I think:

  • How is Zoey even alive? It seems like all she does is order takeout.
  • “The universe keeps pointing me to Max.”
  • Word to the wise, the universe is ALWAYS right.
  • Awww the finger kiss. I’m melting.
  • I understand why Max can’t look at her, but how does SHE look so calm?
  • “Thank you for encouraging me.”
  • But, did you tell Jessica, Simon?
  • Zoey rolling around the floor is kinda fun.
  • Mo with the TEA about Simon. THE TEA.
  • And with that I mean the show with the TEA about Simon.
  • Oh, is Max leaving?
  • He’s leaving, right?
  • Is this “if you love it let it go”? Because I hate that saying.
  • Zoey has changed so much thanks to her powers. She actually wants, and knows how to help people now.
  • Eddie being shady too gives me life.
  • “We’re joined at the hip now.”
  • You are, Mo. You are.
  • She called him out for the emotional affair.
  • GO MO.
  • “Hurt people hurt people.”
  • Wow.
  • This is beautiful. So much maturity.
  • Imagine that, Zoey, your song helped Max get the job that’s taking him away from you.
  • A sign language song.
  • This is gorgeous.
  • And poignant. All she wants is her dad to love her for who she is.
  • “I will not be a home wrecker, or the other woman.”
  • Thaaaaaaaaaank you.
  • “I can’t and I won’t do this anymore.”
  • Double thank you.
  • HAHAHA white privilege indeed. Tell her, Mo.
  • Max don’t leave meeeeee. Or Zoey.
  • Is this like, a breakup song?
  • Because I don’t want a breakup song.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think about “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence”? Share with us in the comments below!

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

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