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Credit: NBC

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist recap: Let your light shine

Contributed by
Mar 2, 2020

The universe knows what you need sometimes, and in the case of, well, us, it knew we needed a brand-new musical series to make us both laugh and cry in equal measure. This week's episode of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist gave us all of the above with a side of "girl wyd" and continuing conflicty feelings about this ongoing love triangle sitch.

We're Courtney Enlow and Carly Lane, and we're official followers of the Church of Mo.

Warning: Spoilers within for Season 1, Episode 4 of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

Carly: Just when you think this show will stop giving us MORE, it turns around and gives us SO MUCH MORE. Lauren Graham dancing with bread. Emotional Clarke family time. Skylar Astin singing opera? I wasn't exactly prepared for it, but I didn't hate it. There's also the fact that we're really getting the chance to see some of Zoey's supporting cast really shine (no pun intended), as Mo (Alex Newell) wound up being the primary storyline this week and his arc so far has been really emotional to witness. [Ed. note: Newell and Mo both use he/him pronouns.]

Courtney: Just when you think this show will stop giving us MO, it turns around and gives us SO MUCH MO.

Carly: If I thought I was a Mo fan before, it's safe to say I am officially a Mo stan.

Courtney: Mo is precious and glorious, and I realize this is a low bar, but I love that the show is letting Newell's own personal identity and gender fluidity inform the character, and that the characters within the show accept Mo as he is while also dealing with the very real ignorance that exists outside of the sunny world of scripted television.

So let's stop ucking around and get into it.

Credit: NBC

Mo's Journey

Carly: One of the things it feels like the show is really doing well is addressing the struggles of its characters in ways that feel relatable. Take Mo's internal — and external, really — dilemma over how he wants to present in public depending on the setting, and the reluctance to be his most fabulous self as part of the choir he sings in at his local church. To make a long story short, it's been a long road of rejection and scorn for our fave Mo, but he's at a crossroads. Does he embrace himself to the fullest of his ability and risk the members of the congregation refusing to accept him for who he is, or does he continue to pass in a certain way while feeling like he's denying himself in the process?

Courtney: Growing up religious brings with it some weirdness, and a lot of guilt and shame. Add the regular standard guilt and shame of just being a kid figuring out who you are and learning that other people don't like that, even hate it, Mo's struggle in this episode is relatable and heartbreaking. Sometimes it's easier to not be yourself. And that's a devastating thing to have to think. But the longer you pretend, the harder it becomes, and the more crushing it feels.

Carly: I will say it was very refreshing to see that Mo had the support of his pastor — and ultimately, his fellow church-goers — behind him in the end, but apparently there will never not be an episode that makes me cry each week, and this time it happened during Mo's tearful confession to Zoey about growing up a very confused, very conflicted child. While Zoey sometimes blunders her way through trying to help people, it seems to work out for everyone in the end, so maybe we can forgive her a few missteps, especially because she is well-intentioned.

Courtney: Zoey is doing her best and hey, it gave Mo the miracle he needed.

Credit: NBC

Making Memories

Carly: While this show has definitely handled the issue of Mitch's (Peter Gallagher) disease in a very thoughtful way, there are moments when I can't help but wonder if his role on the show may ultimately be a limited one. There seems to be a ticking clock hanging over the Clarke family in terms of how much time they might actually have left with their patriarch, and David and Emily's decision to have a surprise gender reveal party for Mitch's sake kind of served to hammer that home. I don't appreciate these heartrending reminders about mortality and how life truly is short! Can we go back to the happy singing? Maybe? … Please?

Courtney: Mitch's medicine is working really really well, in a way I hope is realistic. PSP is a very difficult condition and while it certainly doesn't give Gallagher a ton to do (and probably gives him a sore back, frankly) it's important to ensure it's accurately depicted.

Credit: NBC

Power Glitches?

Carly: Maybe I'm off in my deductions here, but it feels like Zoey's musical ability thingy is starting to go on the fritz a little? It seems like there are moments when she's trying to force it, and whether it's because the other person isn't currently in some kind of emotional distress where their internal song is the loudest or she's intervened enough that she isn't as attuned to them anymore is unclear. It's as if she's more likely to hear someone when she isn't actively listening for it, which is interesting — although Joan (Lauren Graham) singing a little Miley while demolishing a bread bar was definitely worth the wait.

Courtney: I really hope Joan doesn't get back with Charlie because he sooooooooks but I like that she is struggling with the loss of even a toxic relationship. That was her life for so long, it's OK to mourn that, even if he was terrible. Also, A BREAD BAR? MY DREAM. My bloated, crampy dream.

What's Next

Carly: Look, I'm not saying you can't text your engaged friends, but late-night exchanges are typically indicative of something else going on, and I can't help but think that Zoey's whole conversation with her mom will only be a brief deterrent. Lest we believe that this whole thing is unrequited, he's blowing up her phone a LOT.

Courtney: I love Simon. His heart is good. But telling her that her eyes are cute and doe-like is... veering into an inappropriate area. Also DUDE CHILL. Give a girl a minute and let her respond to your borderline inappropriate text telling her about her pretty eyes.

Credit: NBC

Carly: Oh, and Max and Autumn officially did the deed, which… great? I still firmly remain Zoey/herself this week, and chances are that isn't going to change any time soon.

Courtney: I will say Skylar Astin bursting in singing "Con Te Partiro" is the hardest I've laughed at this show yet. THAT SAID. The English translation of the song is a little less hopeful for one of the two women yearning for that Maxlife.

When I'm alone
I dream on the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not with me, with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.

So. You know. He might not be super over Zoey.

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