Zoe tries to find her roots in Bluebell

Hart of Dixie season 1, episode 11 (“Helle’s Belles”)
Cress Williams, Rachel Bilson, Wilson Bethel, Hart of Dixie (Image: The CW)

Halfway through the first season, Hart of Dixie is really starting to become the show that I know and love it to be. One of the things I think this show is most underrated for is its character development and the arcs that each of them go through throughout the series. Of course we are only at the beginning right now, but this episode really got me thinking about how this season fits in with the series as a whole. To me it is really about establishing the characters and what the picture in their heads are for what they want their life to be. As we go through the season we will see where that picture comes from for each of them and some will begin to question it. The first half of the season focuses on Zoe, but this episode and the previous one have done a great job of developing Lemon and the picture in her head.

Ever since the second episode it has been established that Lemon involves herself in the Belles, the Memory Matrons, and a lot of other society things because her mom did and she always wanted to be like her. Even after she left, doing all of those things has helped Lemon to feel more connected to her mom. George is a lot like her father, smart and ambitious but is also always willing to help out his community. Much of the picture in Lemon’s head about what a good life is has been formed by her mother. However, as she has become disillusioned with her mom, this could cause her to question her own role in Bluebell. She is finally accepting that her mom is not coming back and she is moving on by getting rid of her things.

The pilot episode begins with Zoe outlining her life plan. She is going to become a surgeon just like her dad, live in New York City, and probably marry another NYC doctor or lawyer. Obviously that dream is already crashing when the show begins but finding out the truth about her biological father, has caused her to feel lost and like she doesn’t have a place in Bluebell or NYC. When she finds out that she is a Belle legacy she wants to join to feel more connected to her family. However, after a week of hazing, she declines to join realizing that it probably isn’t going to help her find herself. We are more than just who we came from. She has to make her own path in Bluebell, not just follow in her family’s footsteps. But at least she is trying and beginning to be open to changing the picture in her head.

Another establishing aspect of this episode is Wade and Earl. Both of their characters, and their relationship, are further examined in this episode. Earl doesn’t have much in life, no money, no job, and he is an alcoholic. But, he has Wade (and theoretically at least another son?). Earl is certainly not going to win any father of the year trophies. And Wade has probably not been the greatest son to him, but you can understand why he wouldn’t be. Earl just needs confirmation that Wade cares about him, even if he doesn’t visit. He asks for money, not to spend it, even on alcohol, but just to see if Wade will give it to him. He keeps all that money that Wade gives him buried in jars on the land so that when he dies he can give it all back. Wade cares a lot about the people who are important to him, even if he doesn’t like to show it. His relationship with his dad is complicated, but he isn’t going to leave him. He will continuously show up for Earl even if he complains about it or says he won’t do it again.

Most shows really take about half a season at least to find its groove, and Hart of Dixie is really starting to at its midpoint. It is finding that right balance of quirk, character development, and plot. All of the stuff with the Belles was fun and I was excited to see more of AnnaBeth. She is kind of presented as the nice Belle who by the end of the episode warms to Zoe. Her character will continue to be expanded throughout the first season before becoming a series regular starting in season 2. We also meet Cricket, another Belle who is friends with AnnaBeth and though is never a series regular will recur throughout the series.

Episode Grade: A-

Other Thoughts:

  • I was not excited for the return of Didi in this episode. But at least Lavon is moving on and they patch things over after their disastrous date in “The Havoc & the Heat”.
  • I was excited for the return of Earl however, every time he is on the show he makes my heart melt.
  • Wade: “I’ve known my share of Belles. They won’t admit it, but I do.”
  • Wade: “Making women feel like I don’t give a damn, is right in my wheelhouse”
  • Watching Wade give Lavon advice on picking up women is painful.

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