A rocky first season of Hart of Dixie ends on a strong note

Hart of Dixie Season 1, Episode 22 (“The big Day”)
Jaime King, Hart of Dixie

Hart of Dixie is not a show where a lot of things happen within a single episode. One of the reasons I decided to start reviewing it was because I needed a break from the crazy plot heavy episodes of The Vampire Diaries. However considering it is a season finale, it is appropriate that this was probably the most plot-heavy episode of the season that really set the stage for much of the changes we will see in season 2. Though none of the events are particularly shocking, it was still great to see everyone’s lives sort of blown-up. A couple that is engaged in the pilot episode of the show is never going to get married. As much as Zoe has denied having any feelings for Wade, she finally explores the chemistry they have been having all season. We have been waiting all season for these developments and they finally happen, complicating everyone’s lives a whole lot more.

George and Lemon finally break up for good. George realizes that he is in love with Zoe and therefore cannot marry Lemon. Personally, I don’t see much chemistry between Zoe and George and find the idea of a relationship between them incredibly boring. However, I know there are people who wanted to see it so maybe there is something? At this point it doesn’t feel realistic that George would be in love enough with Zoe to call off his wedding. I think he is in love with the idea of Zoe and what she represents, the possibility for more. Regardless of Zoe’s presence in Bluebell, George was not going to be fulfilled by marrying Lemon. He wants more than he can get from that relationship and therefore it was best for him to end it. His timing however could have been better. All of the disasters of the wedding day are like a large neon sign saying that George and Lemon should not get married. George obsesses over going through with the wedding no matter how ridiculously impractical it becomes. He wants to honor his commitment to Lemon but he realizes that she deserves more than that, and so does he. Lemon too is obsessed with having the perfect wedding in order to make up for her affair. Both of them realize that their efforts were futile however as the entire wedding literally comes crashing down around them.

Wilson Bethel and Rachel Bilson, Hart of Dixie

While George is going to absurd lengths to make his wedding happen, Zoe is doing everything she can to stay away from it so that she doesn’t interfere. This ultimately leads her to getting stuck in a barn with Wade, who she is still on the outs with, during a storm. Two characters who have a lot of unresolved feelings for each other getting stuck in a confined space so that they have to work it out is well used trope in TV, but I don’t mind it here. It works for this show which is often unapologetic in its over-the-top camp and overly convenient circumstances. She and Wade finally talk about their feelings for each other. Wade probably underplays his feelings but essentially tells her that just because there is no future for them, doesn’t mean they can’t explore what exists between them. I would argue this demonstrates the greatest thing that Zoe gets from Wade. He is able to get her to go for things that don’t necessarily fit into some long-term plan. Him saying “it’s not like I want to marry you” makes her feel like she can go there with him without it being some big commitment. In general Zoe is not a risk taker which means that she misses out on a lot of the fun parts of life, Wade loosens her up and allows her to just enjoy things.

This episode sets up a lot of status quo changes that will force George, Lemon, Zoe, Wade, and even AnnaBeth to re-evaluate their lives and what they want from it next season. Now that George is single and Zoe slept with Wade, a true love triangle between these three characters can begin next season and will replace the George-Lemon-Lavon triangle of this first season. AnnaBeth is getting divorced and looking at it as an opportunity to start over. She will also have a much more substantial role in the show going forward. Lemon will need some of this energy now that George has left her.

“The Big Day” is a great ending to this rocky first season. Overall, season 1 is a good introduction to the series, but it doesn’t quite feel like the Hart of Dixie that I keep coming back for. By the end of the season it figured out some of what was working and what wasn’t. It is at its best when it lets itself be unapologetically what it is – indulging in town quirk, relationship drama, and the characters’ figuring out what they want from life. This season started to show some of that but also suffered from the struggling to find that out early on. But at least they essentially abandoned the “case of the week” medical subplots in each episode by the end of the season. No one is watching this show for the medical drama, or expecting it to be deep. Its greatest strength is that it is an escape from reality to a warm, fictional, quirky, unrealistic, small town. Season 2 demonstrates the show’s strengths the best and I look forward to getting there!

Episode Grade: A-

Season Grade: B

Other Thoughts:

  • Zoe has creme brûlée flavored coffee which sounds terrible. “Coffee shouldn’t taste like a pastry”.
  • I’m very glad that Zoe has Lavon to talk her out of insane plans like showing up at George and Lemon’s wedding to object. That is not romantic, it is just embarrassing and tacky for you.
  • Lavon: “It’s going to be painful and a humiliation from which you will not recover”.
  • The woman at the shoe store in Mobile was way too interested in George and Lemon’s wedding. “It’s like a Southern royal wedding. I made a commemorative plate.”
  • George’s mom is in the bridal party and continues to be the worst. Lemon should be thankful she doesn’t have to have that woman as a mother-in-law.
  • Magnolia: “I’d like to butter his biscuit… what? He looks like a man who enjoys a nice dairy spread on his bread products”.
  • AnnaBeth is still thirsty for Lavon and is hoping he is single now that she is divorced.
  • How did they not have a backup plan for their wedding? If you are getting married in the south at anytime of year you should have a backup plan for rain. It rains on the Gulf Coast year round.
  • The fuse box runner throughout the season finally comes in handy. Zoe and Wade constantly fighting about it has been a source of “electric” tension between them. Zoe overpowers the fuse box on purpose to get Wade to come over for sex. Earlier in the season Zoe comments that Wade thinks her blowing the electricity out is “some kind of mating call” which it is in this case.
  • Was Wade just going to skip out on the wedding to have sex with Zoe? He is getting dressed for it but doesn’t even go.
  • Brick: “Your mother would be so proud. And screw her for missing this”. I was so happy to hear Brick say this.

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