It's no secret that my favorite new show of 2020 was Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. The show has everything I could possibly ask for; likable characters, musical numbers, love stories. It also doesn't shy away from the tricky topic of grief, which is what this episode is all about (and somehow it is still delightful).
Honestly, I'm so pumped that this show got renewed and that we get to have more of Zoey's in our lives. If you haven't already watched Season 1, you can check it out on Hulu or on Peacock (NBC's new streaming service).
Spoiler Alert: If you haven't watched the Season 2 premiere of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, "Zoey's Extraordinary Return"...get out!
Last time we saw Zoey, her father Mitch (Peter Gallagher, I miss you already!) passed away. Their relationship was a special one, so it was no surprise that months later she is still grieving this loss. Even the angelic voice of her BFF Mo singing "Rise Up" by Andra Day didn't comfort her.
Zoey is in a rut. She has to return to work, but she doesn't feel ready. To make matters worse, since the death of her father she hasn't heard any 'Heart Songs', which means her musical superpowers are potentially nonexistent. As she emerges from her childhood bedroom in a magenta collared sweater, Mo declares, "You look like a sad Emma Stone Halloween costume." I can't say that he's wrong.
Zoey's brother David and his wife Emily have welcomed their son into the world, a precious baby named Miles. As Zoey leaves for work Emily cries, "Say hi to a job for me!". Last season it was already clear that Emily was feeling apprehensive to motherhood, and now David feels lost without his father, so it kind of seems like the most stressful time to be welcoming a little one into the world. Also, David and Zoey's mom, Maggie, won't hold the baby. So there's that.
Zoey gets coffee with her hot best friend Max, who she may or may not have made out with in the season finale. She's been avoiding everybody these days and apologizes. He gives her a ring that he made for her (not for engagement purposes!). It's a shield with a music note turned backward to look like a Z. It's probably the sweetest gift somebody has never gotten for me. If you're not #TeamMax at this point, what are you even doing?
As soon as Zoey arrives at work, all of her coworkers begin serenading her with "Hello Dolly", to which she is both terrified and surprised (because she thought her powers were gone!). With her absence and Lauren Graham's Joan getting a promotion, Leif has been put in charge and now everyone has standing desks and is playing with dogs? There's even a new replacement for Max, who famously quit last season to pursue other avenues.
Joan offers Zoey her job, essentially, as she is being promoted yet again and is on the move. This is sad because we LOVE Joan! Zoey has to think about it because she is hella overwhelmed at the moment. She goes to see Mo who is just causally hanging out with Max and Simon (Zoey's other love interest). Turns out with Zoey off the grid, they've all gotten pretty close.
Zoey tries to hang, but can't when the boys assure her that they aren't going to be fighting over her and then break out into "Are You Gonna Be my Girl?". Zoey's head is spinning and she mostly just misses her dad, so she leaves. When she tells Mo she can hear singing again, he says, "So the powers are back! You're interesting again!" Have I mentioned how much I adore Mo?
Zoey's mom is having trouble finalizing a lot of things that you finalize when someone dies, and can't seem to get into Mitch's computer. Zoey reminds her that she is literally a professional coder and does it within seconds. On his computer they find videos addressed to each of them (and David of course), recorded before Mitch's voice completely gave out. It is absolutely heartbreaking and cut short because of how difficult it is to watch and listen to, but I love seeing Peter Gallagher again.
Next time Zoey goes to work, she fully loses her shit. George (the new Max) is annoying her and his heart song makes her yell at Tobin (I love Tobin) for teasing him. Joan is still pressuring her to take her job ("I like your sweater. It's so cute that you shop at Etsy.") She completely lashes out and leaves work early, going home to her bed and to be with her mother.
Joan comes to visit her and explains that she is leaving, and completely understands that Zoey needs some space and time. David and Emily come over for dinner and Maggie explains that holding Miles is difficult for her because she wanted to be a grandparent with Mitch, and feels it's unfair to him that she gets to do it and he doesn't.
Then, I kid you not, the opening notes of "Carry On" began to play and I said out loud to absolutely no one, "Oh no." Because, if you know this song, you know it's already super sad, but having a bunch of grieving people sing and dance to it? TEN TIMES SADDER. I then burst into tears, which was only interrupted by the fact that they let Mary Steenburgen sing a little too much and her voice is not the strongest, in my opinion. I was personally hoping Jane Levy would hop in for a verse, even if she's the only one hearing it.
Lastly, Max stops by to tell Zoey about his new business venture idea him and Mo want to start, and asks her permission because Mo was Zoey's friend first. Zoey is supportive, of course.
She then tells Max that she is sorry for being so absent lately, and that his scruff is super hot (she doesn't say this, but I do). She holds his hand on her bed and tells him she's had a lot of time to think about what happened the night her dad passed away and then she leans in for a kiss and I'm like WHAT. WHAT. WHAAAAAT.
I only say 'what' that many times in all caps because most TV shows love to drag out their love triangles for as long as humanly possible. I honestly did not think we'd get any resolution whatsoever this early into the season, and that the boys' musical number was all the attention that would be paid to it for now. I think this decision is for the best and makes the most sense, even from my biased #TeamMax perspective.
Simon is gorgeous and sweet, but I think Max is in it for Zoey in the long haul and it's so much better to just establish that now rather than go back and forth and let Zoey hurt both of them. Introduce a new character for Simon! Let's watch Zoey and Max fall in love and have a great storyline!
All in all, I loved this episode and I adore this show so much. I hope it continues thriving in ratings and just being the best all around. If you haven't checked out Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, I cannot explain how badly I need you to.