Hart of Dixie Season 1, Episode 21 (“Disaster Drills & Departures”)
If the last episode was Zoe’s most dislikable episode, this is probably her most frustrating. After growing so much throughout the season, she reverts back to who she was at the beginning, all because of something that really wasn’t her fault. Her entire storyline this episode revolved around doing something every viewer knows she isn’t going to do (leave Bluebell). This episode bothered me less because of Zoe’s flaws (all characters and flawed and that is what makes them interesting), but because the storyline just wasn’t compelling. Last episode she was unlikable because she treated her friends badly and acted selfishly when it came to George. In this episode she continues to treat her friends badly and regresses to who she was when she first came to Bluebell.
Zoe screwed up a lot of things in the previous episode, but Rose’s appendix rupturing wasn’t one of them. She blames herself for not seeing the symptoms because she was too wrapped up in Rose’s personal life to notice. If anything distracted her from Rose’s symptoms it was her insane quest to win George during the race, not her interest in Rose’s relationship with Frederick Dean. She returns back to her idea that getting close to patients only complicates being their doctor and therefore is determined to only treat her patients’ medical symptoms and not connect with them on a personal level. Her father actually comes through for her when she calls him and flies down to see her. He uses his influence to get her a surgical fellowship at a hospital in Boston and she agrees to take it. These types of plots are incredibly frustrating because there is no way that she is going to take it, at least not long term. So there is no real suspense, you are just waiting for her to inevitably change her mind. The entire premise of the show is her coming to Bluebell, there is no show if she is in Boston. She plans to just leave town without saying goodbye to anyone, even those who have come to rely on her has a friend (specifically Rose and Lavon).
This all seems like an extreme overreaction to what happened. Yes she screwed up and got into fights with multiple people but as Lavon points out that is part of any relationship. You are going to have fights, you are going to be disappointed in people, because you care. You can’t have all of the positives of a relationship (romantic or platonic) without the negatives as well. Yes letting people in gives both sides the potential to be hurt, but what is life without them? When she realizes that AnnaBeth is separating from her husband, but has been too embarrassed to tell anyone, she realizes that she does want to stay. This particular issue being what makes her decide to stay was a bit of a stretch. Sure she likes AnnaBeth but they haven’t been close since the Memory Matron episode. It would have made more sense if she realized that Rose (who was actually in the hospital) needed her or Lavon even. But at least we didn’t have to watch her leave and then come back next episode. She has officially decided to be in Bluebell for the long haul, knowing that it will ultimately make her a more well rounded and better person than becoming a top surgeon ever will.
This whole episode essentially functions for Zoe to figure out that she wants to stay in Bluebell long term. It is a very round about approach to get Zoe to the conclusion she was always going to get to from the first episode. The other plots of the episode are even less interesting. The thing with Magnolia and Rose was pointless, it didn’t result in them being friends or anything really changing. George and Lemon struggled but ultimately succeeded in getting the romance back in their relationship (they remembered the fire they had in high school and that is enough now apparently). Wade ruined his chances at getting a loan to start his bar so that plot can be put aside for now. This episode really fell flat for me and I remembered why I have typically skipped it a lot when rewatching the show. Thankfully, the finale will prove much more interesting, pushing characters to new places for Season 2.
Episode grade: C+
- Magnolia: “This whole thing has reminded me that all life is precious, even the ones that seem so insignificant”. Even if Magnolia’s plot made very little sense, I do enjoy her subtle digs at Rose.
- Tom is in charge of Bluebell’s disaster preparedness drill. Not sure why he is in charge but I am glad he is.
- Zoe’s dad has a mustache now. He acts like a fairly decent father in this episode. Sure he uses nepotism to get his daughter a surgical fellowship, but he is actually cool with her not taking it when she realizes she wants to be a better person, not a more prestigious doctor.
- I also think this is the last we ever see her dad.