This week’s episode, “Tributes and Triangles,” was the last episode before a lengthy hiatus (April 9?!) and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it knowing it would be another episode praising the wonder that is George Tucker. But the show managed to surprise me and even though it was still heavy handed with the George love, it was much better than last week’s less than stellar episode and it opened a lot of doors for the remainder of the season.
A new episode means a new Bluebell tradition for the audience to discover and this time everyone was gathering in the town square to learn the identity of the MOTY. What’s the MOTY, you ask? Zoe was wondering too and Lavon explained it stood for Man of the Year; an honor her late father had won ten years in a row. Brick was the favorite to win since the award favors humanitarians and doctors are at the forefront of that. But let’s be real. The writers have repeatedly told us that there’s no better man than George Tucker so even if it hadn’t been in the episode synopsis, I think anyone who watches this show would have been able to guess who was going to be the MOTY.
Poor Lavon was in charge of hosting a party and giving a speech for the MOTY which instantly became super awkward when he found out it was George because of that whole thing where he had an affair with George’s fiancée and is still completely in love with her. Luckily, Zoe was there and willing to lend a hand because she felt she owed him one since she’d ruined his last party and really, she wanted to do something nice for George because he’s the best guy ever and she’s in love with him. (Do not get me started).
Anyway, George was still estranged from his parents after they’d used Lemon to try and manipulate him so he wasn’t really interested in telling them about being the MOTY. Zoe was having her own daddy issues and was at the courthouse to find out how to change her name since she was no longer Ethan Hart’s daughter. They had what I assumed was supposed to be bonding time where Zoe convinced him to give his dad another chance and he might have been supportive to her? I don’t know. I was too busy glaring at my TV to hear but I did see Lemon in the background looking hurt when she saw them together.
George ended up taking Zoe’s advice but when his father came to congratulate him, he had a reporter with him and George assumed the whole thing was just an opportunity for his father to use the publicity to support George’s brother’s political campaign. George was mad and walked out and Lemon pointed out that he shouldn’t have listened to Zoe and she didn’t trust his father at all.
The town gathered for the first big MOTY event and Lavon awkwardly started his speech with, “George Tucker is a man.” He repeated that a few times before Zoe took pity on him and told him there was an emergency phone call. She didn’t count on being forced to give the speech herself and she quickly got carried away with how amazing George was and how he knew her better than anyone and she went on and on about the connection they shared. (Zoe, what show are you watching? From where I’m sitting, the only thing you and George have in common is that you’ve both been to New York City. I’ve been there too. Are we soul mates)? Zoe tried to pretend like the speech had been written by Lavon, but Lemon snatched the paper and from her and everyone saw that it was blank aside from the man thing and suddenly everyone knew that Zoe was in love with George and I wanted to throw things at my TV.
Lavon confronted Zoe the next day and the two agreed they were never going to tell anyone about Lavon and Lemon despite the fact that they both didn’t want the wedding to happen. But then Lavon told Lemon that Zoe knew the truth and Lemon freaked out and decided she had to tell George and she was mad at Lavon for telling Zoe. Then Lavon told Zoe that he’d told Lemon that she knew (got that?) and Zoe asked if he’d done it on purpose to force Lemon to tell the truth. Lavon admitted that he might have and then he felt bad about himself.
While all of this was going on, Wade had been hanging out with Magnolia (Lemon’s little sister) who had asked him if she could perform at George’s tribute with his band. The teenager clearly had a crush on Wade (can’t blame her) and Brick was not thrilled to see his littlest girl hanging out with someone he deemed bad news. Wade had plenty of snarky comments about the “golden boy” once he found out what Zoe had done and the best was when he said he’d thought of something that rhymed with Tucker.
The second big MOTY event didn’t go much better than the first. Magnolia was grounded and Wade was too drunk to perform on his own but he did manage to say some nice things about George. Then Lemon and the other Belles were doing this strange song-and-dance number while George fought with his dad. Harold keeled over, clutching his heart and George shouted for Lemon to call her father and an ambulance.
Here’s where we get into the part of the episode that clearly sets up the rest of the season. It turns out that George’s dad really was proud of him and the story had nothing to do with his brother. George let Lemon have it, blaming her for the fight he’d had with his father. Brick explained to George that his father’s heart attack was really bad and he’d need major surgery. He pointed out that Zoe’s father was the best heart surgeon and all he had to do was ask her to call him. George didn’t want to even though he knew Zoe would do it for him, but he didn’t want to put her in that position.
Wade overheard the entire conversation and he went to Zoe and explained that George needed her to make a call. (Wade is the best). Then he brought Zoe to the hospital and she told George her father was going to be there in the morning while Wade and Lemon stood outside the hospital room watching the two of them and looking like their hearts were breaking when George reached for Zoe’s hand.
As I said earlier, this was a great setup for the rest of the season because there are so many things for the viewer to ponder. What’s Zoe’s dad going to be like? Will George find out about Lavon and Lemon? Will we fall into a boredom coma every time Zoe and George are onscreen together? When is Justin Hartley coming? (April 16!!) When will Zoe wake up and see how awesome Wade is? More importantly, when will the writers?