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This week, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist gave us a ton in the vein of surprises — some of which we've been clamoring for, and other things that we weren't expecting in the slightest but didn't fail to blow us away on every level. This show continues to do SO MUCH every week and these are the kinds of emotionally-driven song-and-dance shenanigans that feed our very souls.
We're Courtney Enlow and Carly Lane, and we're still not over finally getting a ZAK! ORTH! SONG!
Warning: This recap contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 9 of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Courtney: Zoey's family is having a pretty chill week, save for poor, poor, horny and pregnant Emily. But this time Howie is the one struggling. Which means our wish came true — ZAK ORTH SONG! But of course, it's the saddest song in the history of existence, made so much more so by Mitch on harmony. Howie and his daughter are estranged, but luckily he has a Zoey to leverage. His daughter is deaf and this leads to one of the most beautiful heart songs yet, fully in ASL. I still have some residual "Fight Song" feels from 2016 and this gave me a million chills.
Carly: Emily just wants some love and attention and by God, Courtney, it's what she deserves! I couldn't repress a laugh over Alice Lee doing that entire shake and shimmy to the Pussycat Dolls' "Buttons" with that baby bump in tow, but really, must David continue to be so oblivious? They did finally get that train rolling out of the station, figuratively speaking. But not all problems going on beneath the Clarke family roof are so easily fixed, as Zoey finds out when she overhears Howie's sad heartsong.
By the time she gets around to deciphering that he's struggling to reconnect with his estranged daughter, it's clear that both sides of the equation are hurting and it's up to Zoey to give them some much-needed perspective about each other. Sometimes, if you've been in a situation for so long (as in your entire life), it's easier to dig in your heels rather than consider where the other person is coming from. But it was nice to see more of Howie's life outside of being Mitch's caregiver this week and I hope it's not the last we see of his daughter, either. That ASL arrangement made me tear up big, big time.
Courtney: This whole storyline got me hard. My son is autistic and non-verbal and it's a hard line to walk, trying to give him all the avenues to thrive without trying to "fix" him. There's nothing wrong, nothing missing. He's perfect. And I never want him to feel — like Abigail (Deaf West Spring Awakening alum Sandra Mae Frank) — that I think of him as incomplete. Being a parent is hard. Being someone's child is hard. We're all doing our best and trying to figure this out together.
ANGELICA SCHUYLER? I DO DECLARE!
Courtney: Renee Elise Goldsberry! She's here! She's gonna sing! EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK!... *watches more* JK she is not gonna sing. Not today. WE CAN'T HAVE ANYTHING, CAN WE. But next week we get "The Boy Is Mine" and inject that sh*t straight into my veins, please.
Carly: Oh, you know, like the Orth, it's only a matter of time before we're blessed with the dulcet voice of Renee Elise Goldsberry, because I'm pretty sure it's a rule that everyone on this show HAS to sing at least once. Maybe not, but that's the rule that exists in my head. I'm interested in finding out how Max's relocation to another gig at SPRQ Point is going to impact his dynamic with the rest of his co-workers — and Zoey, obvs — but I can't imagine Joan is going to be too happy about someone else essentially poaching Max right out from under her. Then again, I find myself sympathizing with Max too, because it's a tough situation to be in employment-wise, especially if you feel like there's no chance of growth or promotion from within. So in that sense, maybe our baby bird needs to finally fly free and figure out his true potential. (I'm still ready to inject the inevitable Goldsberry/Graham face-off into my VEINS, though.)
Zoey and Simon... Fin?
Courtney: YES ZOEY, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. She stood strong and said to Simon, I won't do this anymore. But then. Simon and Jessica break up. Probably the right move. Honestly, Zoey was a symptom. They weren't right together.
Carly: Of course, of course I can't let this moment pass without shouting out the extraordinary (get it) efforts of the show's choreographer Mandy Moore, who folks might know from her work on shows like Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance?, the movie La La Land... I mean, I could go on, but the point is I never fail to recognize some quality MM choreo and this entire routine set to "Happier" managed to incorporate just the right blend of heartbreak and beauty — there were moments when these two moved together where I could feel the angst that comes from having to finally end things with someone. Ultimately, it's a good thing these two broke it off, PLUS I'm proud of Zoey for realizing that her dynamic with Simon was not a healthy one either. Lots of growth this week, even if it was a hard realization on all fronts! This is the kind of emotionally-driven plot that yours truly lives for.