Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×10 “Zoey’s Extraordinary Girls’ Night” is a very remarkable hour of television, proof that when this show has direction and a story to tell, it can be truly extraordinary, pun intended. The focus this week is on Emily, where it should be, and on PPD (post-partum depression), which affects 1 in 7 mothers, and is very much not something a show can – or should – attempt to “fix” in one episode.
Which is why, perhaps, the best part of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Girls’ Night” is that Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist never attempts to. That’s not what this hour is about. This hour is about helping Emily face the fact that it’s okay to not be okay, occasionally. And it’s okay to ask for help, okay to realize that, every now and then, you need more than you have, and from time to time, even more than the people around you can provide.
Sometimes you need a professional.
This revelation extends to Zoey as well, who at the end of the episode is seen talking to a therapist, a welcome plotline for a character that has done absolutely everything but handle her grief this season. But Zoey’s issues, or perceived issues aside, this episode is about trying to find an after, for everyone in the Clarke family. And that after doesn’t have to be simple, easy or straightforward. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
So let’s go into what works and what doesn’t on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×10 “Zoey’s Extraordinary Girls’ Night”
Emily and David have always worked in a very abstract way, but the more the show has given them screen time and attention the clearer it’s become that they just …work. Their relationship isn’t perfect, and they can’t – won’t be able to – fix every other issue the other person has. But that’s not what a relationship is about. Sometimes all you need is someone there to hold your hand, someone who sees the good and bad parts of you, the ugly and the strange, and loves you all the same.
But Emily and David aren’t the only thing that works in this episode, surprisingly, Emily and Zoey do too, and perhaps because they never truly have before, the moment where they lie down next to each other and just …talk honestly about their feelings, means so much. Emily needed it, but in so many ways, Zoey did too. She needed to say that it was okay to not have the answers to realize that this applied to her, as well.
This episode also provides Zoey some emotional depth and gives more nuance to her emotions – even as it continues to have her shut the people around her from those emotions. Zoey isn’t the perfect character, but we don’t want perfect characters. Perfect is boring. All we want is for Zoey to try, not just for others, no, but for herself. We signed up for this journey for her, after all, and after seeing our own emotions – and in my case, my own grief – reflected by Zoey’s, it feels very personal to me to believe that she can actually get through this, that she is finally ready to try.
The episode also absolutely nails the Clarke family dynamics, with Zoey and David one of the best realized sibling combos on TV, and the two of them + Maggie a perfect representation of a family trying to cope with grief. In the Maggie front, there’s also a lot of power to the way they’re telling her story, especially because as amazing as Bernadette Peters is, and as much as I would have her on every episode, singing whatever she wanted, the truth of the matter is …Maggie has lost her partner. And she needs to find her own way to cope with that.
Grief isn’t a straight line, and it doesn’t look the same to all of us. Sometimes, watching Zoey’s journey, that’s a difficult thing to remember. But this episode was a very important reminder than, even when people make decisions we don’t agree with, they’re often just …trying their best. We can’t ask much more than that, can we?
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Even in an episode that mostly works, some things stick out, and they’re all related to the decisions the main characters involved in the love triangle had to make to, you know, keep the love triangle alive and “working.” And I use those air quotes because, to me, as has been established, the love triangle doesn’t work at all.
Zoey’s decision to try a relationship with Simon and how badly set up that was aside, the fact of the matter is that Zoey chose a relationship with this man, one that doesn’t seem casual. So, she shouldn’t need therapy to understand that she needs to share her biggest secret with him if they have any hopes of making the relationship actually work. Especially considering that her big secret is basically that she has a window into his soul, has had one from the very beginning, and the fact that she can basically read his mind has been the basis of their entire friendship-now-turned-relationship.
Plus, there’s also the fact that Zoey’s subterfuge puts both Max and Mo, who are friends with Simon, in a position of also having to lie to Simon to cover for Zoey. It’s not their secret to tell, of course, but they also shouldn’t have to lie to Simon. Zoey shouldn’t be lying to Simon.
And then there’s the therapy part of the episode, where Zoey finally gets help, but frames the help she gets in the worst possible way possible. Her problem isn’t that she has a power, and that power isn’t ruining her life. If she feels her life is being ruined, it’s because of the decisions she’s making, the lies she’s choosing to tell and the way she has constantly avoided accountability, grief, and anything that doesn’t provide immediate satisfaction.
Yes, Zoey needs therapy, but she doesn’t need it for the reasons she thinks. She doesn’t need it to fix her relationships with other people, she needs it to try to cope with the hole inside her, to try to process her loss in a way that’s constructive. As someone who has been through the same loss she went through, I know that the road ahead isn’t easy for Zoey, and I hope she can find the peace she needs going forward. I just know it’s going to take a little more self-awareness to get there.
Things I think I think:
- Alice Lee deserves a nomination to SOMETHING for this episode.
- If Zoey likes “tough love,” then I think it’s time for someone to try that.
- “I love pre-scheduling my breakups”
- Bernadette Peters is national treasure.
- “These are my house jeans,” I’m never gonna stop laughing.
- The choreography during “Make You Feel My Love” slayed me. But then again, so did the song.
- I really like Perry.
- The way they ambushed Emily was NOT. GOOD.
- Simon has a key! But he can’t know Zoey’s secrets!
- The choreography during “Tearin’ Up My Heart” slayed me in a DIFFERENT way.
- How did Emily even get into those pants?
- I could watch an hour of just Mo singing.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×10 “Zoey’s Extraordinary Girls’ Night”? Share with us in the comments below!
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Sundays on NBC.