Hart of Dixie Season 2, Episode 2 (“Always on My Mind”)
McKaley Miller, Hart of Dixie

When I was in high school I could not wait to get out and go to college where I felt like my life would really begin. That is where I would find myself, discover my passion, and I would find where I fit in socially. 10 years later, I am still figuring all of that out. This is a cliche that a lot of people buy in to. College, or your early 20s if you don’t go to college, is the time where you change a lot for the better, eventually becoming your true self. But the truth is we change and grow throughout life so much, especially our 20s and 30s. At 18 we leave home and choose a path but by the time you are in your late twenties/early thirties, you are not the same person you were when you made those choices. Your priorities shift as you get older and you have to re-evaluate who you are and want you want.

This is a huge theme in this show, and especially this season, and it is part of what I love about it. Even if it is over the top and ridiculous at times, those ideas are very authentic and resonate with me, especially at this time in my life. This idea is maybe a little too heavy handed in this episode, as Rose literally tells Zoe that she can’t wait to grow up and know who she is and what she wants while Zoe looks on at both Wade and George. But Rose’s dilemma over what her “thing” is in high school felt genuine. It is one of those problems that feels like a big issue in high school, everyone wants to be unique, but as an adult you realize that it doesn’t really matter. It is to Zoe’s credit that she takes Rose’s problem seriously and actually tries to help her. A lot of adults would have told her that she was being dramatic and that in a couple of years she won’t care about any of this, but Zoe knows that this is very important to her now and most teens won’t hear anything else.

Currently, Rose is going for the “indie rock girl” persona, but that distinction is being challenged by another girl at school who is going to a Black Keys concert and thus she will be considered the indie rock girl, not Rose. First, the Black Keys are not an indie rock band. This episode aired well after the release of Brothers which took the Black Keys from being a throw-back blues band to rock stars. However, I wouldn’t expect Rose to be all that familiar with actual underground indie rock, she is in high school. Desperate to hold onto her identity, she decides to throw a music festival in BlueBell. It is surprisingly successful, considering she planned it in like two days, but she says it should keep her going for at least a week. After which she will probably be onto her next thing.

The adults in the show have no clearer idea of who they are or what they want than Rose does. Zoe is still struggling with her feelings for both George and Wade. Last episode she told George he needed time to find himself post-Lemon and that was a good idea. However, Zoe is seeing that in execution, this idea is going to lead to her having to actually watch George date other people, with the very possible result of them never dating. At the same time, she can’t stop hooking up with Wade, partially because it has been a long time since she has been with anyone, but also because she has feelings for him as well. Her feelings for Wade are much stronger than she is willing to admit and she is surprised to find herself jealous of the idea of Wade sleeping with someone else, even if it is his crazy ex-girlfriend.

George and Lemon both take their first steps toward moving on. George attempts to have a one night stand with someone, at Wade’s suggestion. Of course that really isn’t George, but he also has no idea who he is now that he is single. When George says he is not the one-night stand kind of a guy, Wade makes a good point that he wouldn’t really know because he has never had the opportunity to try it. Clearly George is not, he gives up a chance to hook up with someone to comfort Lemon, but he needs to try out different things to figure out what kind of person he is. Similarly, Lemon tries being a waitress and fails. The important thing though is that she tried something and found out that it wasn’t for her. Both of them are going to have to go through a lot of trial and error to find who they are without each other.

Since I started this reviews I have struggled to figure out Lavon’s role in this general narrative. That is partially because he is underwritten, but also because he doesn’t quite line up with where everyone else is in their self-discovery journeys. But in this episode his role started to become clearer to me. He is different from the others in that he seems to mostly be content with his life and doesn’t have as much needed growth. He is often the voice of reason (even if Zoe ignores his reasoning), and he is probably the most evolved of all of them. In this episode he tells Ruby that becoming mayor of Bluebell was part of his rediscovering himself after his football career. He didn’t really plan it, but it is where life took him and he embraced that. In this sense he has already achieved what the other characters are still struggling to figure out. A lot of this season is about taking what life throws at you and finding happiness with what you have and Lavon has clearly already done that. That isn’t to say that Lavon won’t experience his own trials throughout the series, but it won’t be quite the arc that the others have.

Episode Grade: 9/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Does Bluebell Get it Right? Rose says that the other girl is going to the Black Keys concert in Austin. Austin is like 10 hours away from where they are which is pretty far to go for a concert. If this was part of a big tour they probably would have played closer to them in New Orleans or Birmingham.
  • Addy has left the practice as their nurse/receptionist so they need a new one, though they don’t replace her yet in this episode.
  • Zoe/Lavon: “I have gone way longer without sex. I have gone years!” “Yeah… that may be part of the problem”
  • Lemon: “Excuse me I have to go marry the ketchups. Maybe they’ll go through with it”
  • It definitely dates the show that one of Rose’s top choices for Bluebellapalooza is Mumford and Sons. Remember when they were suddenly like the biggest band in the world? And then just as quickly everyone forgot about them.
  • Lavon: “Surely you can ask the man a question without falling into bed”
  • This is the first episode we meet Lily Anne Lonergan. She is a terrible singer/song writer and definitely insane, but fun to watch.
  • Wade: “Hey man I can’t help you put it on, you should have practiced on a banana”
  • Magnolia plays at the festival, wouldn’t this make her the cool music chick?
  • George and Wade sing “Ramblin’ Man” at the festival and do a pretty decent job.
  • Episode Title Trivia: “Always On My Mind” is a Willie Nelson song.

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