If the point of this week’s Hart of Dixie episode, “The Race and the Relationship” was to make the viewers hate Zoe and actively root against her, the episode was a huge success. If the writers were going for some other outcome, the episode was a massive failure.
The episode began with George coming to apologize to Zoe for what happened in New Orleans and ask her if they could go back to being just friends while he figured things out. He’d been with Lemon for 15 years and he wasn’t really sure what he was supposed to do next. It was a reasonable request and for once, I have nothing bad to say about George. Zoe, on the other hand, agreed to George’s face, but then gleefully told Lavon that she still had a chance because really, how long would it take to get over someone he’d dated for 15 years? Zoe suggested around 2 months and Lavon was not amused as he once again warned her to be careful.
Bluebell residents were preparing for this week’s big town event, the Bluebell Battle. It was some sort of race, obstacle course and scavenger hunt all built into one event and everyone was pairing off to vie for the $5,000 prize. Wade really wanted it because he knew the money would come in handy for his dream of opening his own bar, but Lavon fell out of a tree and sprained his ankle so Wade was suddenly without a partner. Tanzy wasn’t an option because the person had to live in Bluebell. Wade tried to ask Tom, but Wanda beat him to it (how cute are Tom and Wanda?) and then Tanzy suggested that Wade ask Zoe. Since they’re still not speaking after he ranted about how horrible she was to Jesse, Wade didn’t think that was going to work.
Meanwhile, George and Lemon (her eyebrows were back to normal!) went to see the reverend to start the process of canceling the wedding. Lemon made it clear that was not what she wanted to do and the reverend managed to convince George to give counseling a try, going as far as to throw the G-word at him (God). George was really not interested, but he agreed and Lemon was ecstatic until George lost it during one of their therapy exercises. Again, I’m going to break tradition and give props to Scott Porter on this scene. The man does physical comedy well and I actually laughed out loud when he said he was really mad at the prop after he’d torn it to pieces. Anyway, George and Lemon were partners for the Bluebell Battle and George begrudgingly agreed to go through with it.
Zoe was not happy at all when she heard the news and barely listened as Rose asked her to talk to her mom about bending her no dating rules so she could go out with the boy she really likes. Zoe convinced Rose’s mom to let Rose and Frederick be partners for the battle. Rose was nervous, but Zoe was already thinking of how she could use the battle to get George to pick her over Lemon. She went to Wade and agreed to be his partner and this time, he was hesitant, but readily agreed when Zoe said he could keep all the prize money for himself. Once again, Zoe told Lavon that her plan was coming together and he bit his tongue as he warned her to be careful.
As the battle began, despite George constantly rolling his eyes, he and Lemon were doing really well in the competition as were Wanda and Tom. Zoe and Wade were holding their own, but Rose and Frederick were eliminated in the first round, something neither teen seemed too broken up about as they decided to go for milkshakes instead. Zoe and Wade shared a nice moment when he told her about his bar and she encouraged him and said it was a good idea. Wade was touched and Zoe started asking if it was hard to make a guy take a hint. This was the part of the episode where I basically started putting my hands over my eyes because I saw what was coming and I knew Wade was going to get hurt.
Sure enough, once Zoe started talking about how joining the competition wasn’t her thing, but she’d done it anyway to prove something to someone, poor Wade got the wrong idea and thought she actually meant him. He canceled his dinner with Tanzy, who was crushed since she’d spent the day preparing for it with Lavon’s help, and after seeing the path his friend was heading down, Lavon stepped up. He went to Zoe and pointed out that Wade liked her and that she was the only one who couldn’t see it. Lavon reminded Zoe that Wade was a good guy (the BEST) and that she was going to hurt him if she didn’t knock it off. Zoe felt bad for about 2.3 seconds before she abandoned her task and went running to George.
George had told Lemon about kissing Zoe and Lemon had been hurt, but she’d accepted it and still wanted to get married. George pointed out that she should have been more upset considering how much she’d been worried about Zoe since she came to town but all Lemon wanted was another chance with George, which he finally told her wasn’t an option. Zoe took this opportunity to tell George that she wanted him, she’d joined the battle just to fight for him and she was willing to wait as long as she had to for them to be together. Of course Wade heard the whole thing and was crushed. George started to tell Zoe again that he really wasn’t in the right mindset to even talk about this, but before he had a chance, Lemon had climbed up a building, trying to get the fish to win the battle and she was stuck. George rushed off to help her and Zoe was dejected and returned to Wade.
He told her that it was too late. They were going to lose the competition and he finally told her how he felt but that it didn’t matter because she was never going to see past George. I cannot stress enough how good Wilson Bethel is every single week. This was no exception. He made it very clear to Zoe that George and Lemon were getting married and she was the only person who couldn’t see it. He stormed off and Zoe was left alone to watch George rescue Lemon and win the battle by grabbing the fish. The two of them hugged and it was very obvious to everyone, even Zoe (finally!) that this was not the end for George and Lemon.
Just to make sure she was clear on that fact, George went to Zoe and he apologized again. He told her that he loves Lemon and he owes it to their relationship to try and make things work. Zoe looked sad as she told him that she understood, but I didn’t have an ounce of sympathy for her at this point. Wade had joined Tanzy and Lavon at Lavon’s place where each of them were writing in notebooks, listing the bad qualities of the person they wanted to get over. Zoe showed up to talk to Lavon about George and he promptly showed her the door. He reminded her that he’d warned her not to hurt Wade and she’d done it anyway so she couldn’t be there. Once again, Lavon proves that he’s one of the most awesome people in Bluebell.
As Zoe was leaving, she got a call from Brick. Rose, who had complained to Zoe about stomach pains, was being rushed to the hospital. It turned out that it wasn’t butterflies from being in love like Zoe had told her, but Rose’s appendix had burst. Zoe wanted to go to the hospital with her, but Rose’s mom forbid it since she blamed Zoe for convincing her to let Rose go on the date in the first place. Logically, I don’t think this is Zoe’s fault. There was no reason to think Rose’s pain was anything but nerves, but I still had zero sympathy for Zoe by the time the credits rolled.
In the previews for next week, it looks like Zoe is going to leave Bluebell behind. Since it’s not the season finale, I have my doubts that she’ll go through with it, but truthfully, I don’t care. Zoe behaved terribly in this episode and it was impossible to root for her as a person, let alone a love interest for someone. I love Rachel Bilson. She’s the reason I wanted to watch this show in the first place. But I’m not sure with only two episodes left in the first, and possibly only season, if there’s anything the writers can do at this point to make me want to root for Zoe and that’s just sad.