After what seemed like an exceptionally long hiatus, Hart of Dixie returned Monday night with “Hell’s Belle’s”, the first new episode of 2012 and one of the show’s best to date.
The theme of the night was family legacies and several characters dealt with painful moments in their pasts and present. Of course, Zoe was the only one to do it in a bright red, old-fashioned Southern ball gown, but that just made it all the more special for her and comical for the audience.
Zoe discovered a box of stuff her late father had left her and she had some questions about the people she saw in the photos inside. Brick and Lemon were both quick to point out that Zoe should have been asking questions from the moment she set foot in Bluebell so she could learn about the people she’d come from and the proud history behind them. Zoe took their advice and went to visit her aunt, who was hilariously unimpressed with Bluebell and their strange customs. Zoe obviously felt a bonding moment coming on, but it was nearly squashed when she spotted the ring on her aunt’s finger indicating that she was a Belle.
The Belles are supposed to be all about being proper Southern women and embracing their heritage. But they’re actually just the mean girl clique led by Lemon and she was not amused that Zoe showed up at their meeting and declared herself a Belle. Since she was a legacy, Lemon had no choice but to let her into the group except she wanted Zoe to pass a hazing ritual first that forced her to be each belle’s servant for a day and she had to wear the ridiculous red gown and stand on chairs and spout the anthem every time anyone said the secret word (honey). Of course Wade and Brick delightfully took advantage of this. Zoe was determined not to be shamed though because she really wanted to live up to her family name. Her stubborn streak is awesome.
One of my favorite things about this show is the quirky townspeople and this episode brought the return of crazy Earl, Wade’s father and Didi, George’s secretary and Lavon’s onetime potential love interest until he drunkenly scared her off by talking about marriage and soul mates on their first date. Lavon was attempting to get back into the dating game despite his lingering feelings for Lemon, but it was proving to be a difficult task since Didi had told pretty much every woman in town that Lavon had issues. It was fun watching Lavon try to convince Didi that he wasn’t desperate to marry her and he’d just been in a bad place and wanted to go on a regular date, not head for the nearest wedding chapel. Didi finally agreed to give him another chance. Now if only someone could convince Lavon Hayes that talking in the third person is never cute.
Meanwhile, George, who continues to be a pointless character in my book, wanted to convince Earl not to sell his land to his father so the giant superstore his law firm was representing wouldn’t be able to take away business from Bluebell. Wade asked George not to say anything to Earl because he feared his father would go after the money. But George deduced that Wade was lying and went to Earl anyway. Wade caught him and admitted that he did want his father to sell the land because then he’d finally have some money of his own and he could leave him alone. George then pointed out to Wade that Earl was just trying to hold onto his sons and not push them away. I hate to side with George, but he had a point.
Wade went to see Earl and told him that he would never forgive him if he sold the land and then he gave him some money and told him to get himself some real food which was obviously just what Earl wanted to hear (aw). I’m really enjoying this story arc and I love that they’re giving Wade so many layers. He has so much more potential to be the show’s (and Zoe’s) leading man than George who always seems flat to me. Once Wade left, Earl was shown happily burying three jars of money in the yard, presumably one for each of his sons. Did I mention Wade has brothers (Justin Hartley, anyone)?
As Zoe played servant girl in her red dress and ran errands, washed cars and milked cows (Brick’s “We have a cow?” to Lemon was priceless), she learned that several of the belles had baby fever and were convinced they couldn’t get pregnant because Lemon had put a curse on them. Cue a flashback sequence to the belles in a graveyard chanting to a gypsy spirit as Lemon proclaimed no one could have a baby until she did. Zoe, like the audience, made the perfect bitch, please face and told the belles that Lemon could not control their uteruses. But then she went to Lemon and pointed out that her fear tactics were stressing them out and that was the real reason no one was pregnant.
Lemon proved that she is also layered (and quickly becoming one of my favorite characters) and admitted that she was afraid to have a baby because her mother was terrible and she didn’t want to be like her. Zoe pointed out that she wasn’t her mother and she was strong and wouldn’t run away and it was a really nice moment for the two of them. The fact that they didn’t join hands and become besties when it was over made it even better. Zoe admitted that being a belle wasn’t for her and the episode ended with another surprising, but touching moment as Brick started filling Zoe in on her family history.