Hart of Dixie Season 2, Episodes 15 & 16 (“The Gambler” and “Where I Lead Me”)
These episodes were tough to watch to say the least. They are probably the toughest episodes of the series and definitely the most angering. Thankfully Tom and Wanda were big parts of these two episodes as well and brought a lot of light to make them less terrible to sit through. Instead of splitting the episodes up like usual, I am going to talk about them concurrently since almost all of the major storylines carried through each episode.
Zoe and Wade’s relationship has been imperfect from the start. Neither of them have really been in a committed relationship before and so had a lot of learning to do as far as what that means. But so far most of the issues that have come up they have been able to work through. Clearly the show wasn’t going to just have them get together this early and then be together for the rest of the series. But there are so many things they could have done to break them up, involving the many established issues that already existed between them, that would have been better than this. Wade cheats on Zoe because she was being too supportive? Zoe was not necessarily in the right for much of the episode, she definitely could have handled things better, but having Wade respond in that way makes anything she did a moot point. Nothing she did warranted that. She was trying and figuring out along the way that she wasn’t being supportive in the right way. But she was really just trying to be there for him and help him achieve his dreams. Which is what you are supposed to do. Should she have butted in in the first place? Probably not. It would probably have been better to just let him do his thing and fail on his own. And certainly she shouldn’t have pushed George on him, but that didn’t even seem to be the issue.
Wade is frustrated with Zoe for most of the episode because he feels that she isn’t supportive of his terrible band. Zoe was right, their band was terrible and if he had any hopes at winning the Battle of the Bands, Meatball had to go. But the thing that ends up being the tipping point is when she is too supportive. She tells him that she believes he will win, she believes in his dreams, in him, etc. Now it is consistent with Wade’s character that he would intentionally ruin the relationship because he was afraid that he won’t be good enough for her in the long run. He is afraid she will be disappointed if he doesn’t improve himself and she will likely break his heart. But he could have ruined the relationship in many ways that are more forgivable. This is the most frustrating part – it is lazy writing. And it puts all of the blame on him, which isn’t interesting. The narrative of the end of their relationship ends up being, Zoe was being a good girlfriend and Wade cheated on her. She is great, he is terrible. The audience is certainly not supposed to hate Wade. We are supposed to be rooting for him. So why make his actions so terrible? Not only does he cheat on her because of his own insecurities but then he attempts to hide it using terrible excuses which is just even grosser. He never even really tells her, she figures it out on her own. It’s the easy way to break up a couple but when we are supposed to be invested in both people, each side should be given merit and they certainly failed to do that here.
Now that I have gotten all of that out of the way, let’s talk about Tom and Wanda. They provide much needed relief from the tough parts of these episodes. They were a delight and did a lot to help keep the mood light. Standing in as proxies for a wedding overseas, they realize that they too want to get married. They both plan proposals for each other, not realizing the other one is planning to propose. It is adorable and we only see Tom planning his, so we have no idea what Wanda has in store. Tom’s seems over the top until we see what Wanda cooked up. It was a zombie serenade which half of the town participated in, singing “Islands in the Stream”. It was a somewhat weird musical moment in the show, though it isn’t the first. They decide they can’t wait to get married so they plan their wedding in two days. It ends up being a Star Wars/Lord of the Rings theme. It is incredibly bizarre but perfect for them. It made one of the most somber scenes of the series a bit silly with Wade and Zoe having their breakup while wearing Jedi and elf costumes.
Needless to say these are some of my least favorite episodes of the series. I wouldn’t say they are necessarily bad though. They are well executed, it is just frustrating that they went down this path. It is painful to watch everything leading up to Wade cheating once you know that is going to happen and then having to watch Zoe slowly figure it out. But I did love all of the stuff with Tom and Wanda. There were some other fun side stories as well which I will mention in “Other Thoughts”. It does get better from here though. Obviously this is going to set both Zoe and Wade on some new paths which will be interesting to explore. It is certainly Wade’s lowest point and he will grow a lot from it. Zoe too will obviously be greatly affected by it, changing her in interesting ways as well.
Episode Grades: “The Gambler” 7/10, “Where I Lead Me” 6/10
- Lemon tries to replace AnnaBeth with Walt and Magnolia which backfires. Walt breaks up with her because she is being too intense and Magnolia really needs an authority figure, not a best friend. Lemon goes as far as to dissolve her partnership with AB, though they reconcile by the end of “Where I Lead Me”.
- Wade’s band is called Mind Face… and their style is self-described as “growl country”.
- Tom: “I was thinking we could do something with Ewoks and Avatars”
- Am I crazy or were Tom and Wanda already engaged and the show forgot it? In “Blue Christmas” when Lavon is planning to propose to Ruby, Wanda says to Tom something about there being two engagements that night, I thought implying that they had also gotten engaged.
- Meatball refers to his dad as “Meatball Sr.”
- Wade Kin-sellout
- Tom asks Wade to be his best man because he is “cooler” than his actual best friend, Cody. Though Wade does not look cool in that Jedi costume.
- A hamster was dragged down the aisle at the wedding.
- Episode Title Trivia: “The Gambler” is a song that has been sung by many but most famously by Kenny Rogers. If you haven’t seen the music video I would suggest checking it out. “Where I Lead Me” is by Townes Van Zandt.