Hart of Dixie Season 3, Episode 5 (“How Do You Like Me Now”)
This was by far my favorite episode of the season up to this point. I was afraid at the beginning when it seems like it is going to be an episode about Zoe trying to make Joel more popular in Bluebell, and that certainly was a large chunk of it, but it did something that the previous episodes had not. It put Joel in the context of Zoe’s various love interests, i.e. George and Wade. It brings back the drama from last season and catches us up on where Zoe stands with George. It also hints that Wade maybe isn’t so certain that he and Zoe are over for good. The set up of the episode is about Joel’s lack of popularity in Bluebell but it ends up being about more than that.
In the previous episodes this season, the show had mostly been ignoring all of the stuff with George and Wade at the end of last season, likely because Zoe has been avoiding dealing with it. Wade was jealous when Joel first showed up but after the first couple of episodes he has been pretty chill about Joel and even befriending him. In this episode he is mostly just watching on in amusement as Joel gets sucked into the history of George and Zoe’s drama and the fact that so many people in town still think that Zoe and George should be together. Interestingly, no one is talking about Wade’s role in the love triangle even though he is still at this point the stronger contender. Of course no one other than Wade, Zoe, and Lemon know about what happened between Zoe and Wade in the Season 2 finale. Wade is amused by Joel’s insecurity about George because he knows that if Zoe is in love with anyone other than Joel, it is him not George.
I also enjoyed revisiting where George and Zoe stand. George has not forgiven her for ruining his relationship with Tansy and then running to Wade again. He has kind of been spiraling ever since then, writing that hate song, going on tour with Lily Anne, and then vegging out in a hotel room for weeks. Zoe wants to be friends again, but George is not ready. Eventually he realizes that even if it was all her fault, which it pretty much was, it doesn’t serve him to hold onto that anger and resentment. To move on he has to let go and they end the episode in a better place.
Episode Grade: 8/10
Season 3, Episode 6 (“Family Tradition”)
Though not as good as the previous episode, this one was still much better than earlier episodes. Joel was mostly just Zoe’s enabling sidekick and the story was focused on her relationship, or lack-there-of, with the Wilkes portion of her family. Historically Zoe has not had great familial relationships so she has always assumed that Harley’s family would be the same way. However, she is convinced to finally reach out to them after years of ignoring their invitations. She goes about it completely wrong and pretends to work for the entertainment of her cousins’s kid’s birthday party so that she can feel them out before making a commitment. Of course they end up being an amazing, close-knit, friendly family. After deciding to reveal who she really is, her cousin, Vivian, tells her that the family doesn’t like her and that she doesn’t belong there. Even if Zoe was frustrating in this, I like the idea of exploring her Alabama family. It is a good way to bring in new characters in an organic way, instead of just shoving them in there like they did with Joel and Lynly.
Another family focused plot was AnnaBeth’s parents coming to visit and meeting Lavon as her boyfriend for the first time. At first she tries to hide her relationship from them, but when Lavon walks into her house unexpectedly they are exposed. At first the show tries to make you think she hid Lavon because he is Black, but then it is revealed that it is because of the Alabama-Auburn football rivalry of which they are on opposite sides. However her family is willing to become Bama fans if it means that AB is marrying Lavon because they absolutely love him, and his potential for a political career. AB is horrified by her parents very obvious nudging at Lavon proposing to her but not just because it is embarrassing. She does want to marry him someday but she is afraid he doesn’t want the same thing. And by his lack of response, I think we can assume he doesn’t.
Lemon is feeling unsatisfied at the Rammer Jammer and when the owner of Fancie’s offers to sell it to her, she considers leaving. Unfortunately she waits too long and another buyer outcompetes her after she already sold her portion of the Rammer Jammer to Wade. Lemon doesn’t necessarily want to break off her partnership with Wade but they realize that they want different things. The Rammer Jammer is Wade’s dream and he isn’t going to give it up. Fancie’s was Lemon’s but now she has to find something else. I loved watching these two run the Rammer Jammer together but it definitely doesn’t fit Lemon to stay there forever. Now that she has proven she can run her own business, it is time for her to find something she really wants.
Episode Grade: 7/10
As I said, I liked both of these episodes a lot more than the previous ones this season, particularly “How Do You Like Me Now?”. Zoe had some more interesting storylines with her family and the craziness of the love triangles. However she is still pretty isolated from the rest of the cast. Other than going to the wilderness camp with George, and Wade crashing, she has barely interacted with Lavon, AB, or Lemon in this season. Hopefully that will be changed going forward.
- It became clear in “Family Tradition” how much Joel enables Zoe’s crazy schemes. He just goes along even if he knows they are ridiculous. So far the show has used Joel as more of her companion than a real character. Anyone else on the show would have told Zoe how ridiculous her plan was to lie to her family about who she was.
- I’ve always found it amusing how much people in town really pay attention and interact with Dash’s blog. It seems everyone in town votes in the polls on there, even Wade.
- Bluebell is in the Gazebo’s of Alabama calendar which is apparently a big deal. As if anyone would want a calendar of nothing but gazebos…
- George makes the very poor decision to actually date Lynly. I just don’t like her character. Maybe it is the actress and her terrible accent or the fact that girl is definitely crazy and manipulative.
- I really respected Reverend Mayfair’s dedication to getting laid. He even let Zoe be in charge of a group of children to make it happen.
- Don Todd Monster Golf Safari – in the first episode we see him playing golf near a nice waterfall, doesn’t appear dangerous but maybe there are dangerous creatures somewhere.
- Meatball chains himself to the gazebo to declare his love for Lemon.
- AB purposefully starts a football fight by saying that Bama buys off the refs – WHICH THEY ABSOLUTELY DO.
- Episode Title Trivia: “How Do You Like Me Now” is by Toby Keith and “Family Tradition” is Hank Williams Jr.