[Spoilers for the season premiere from here on out]
After months of waiting, we finally receive some sort of conclusion — or rather a beginning — to Zoe’s southern love triangle. So who does she choose? Let’s rewind to Zoe waking up beside Wade, right where we left off in the first season finale. After receiving a call from George Tucker, Zoe sneaks off and leaves Wade all handsome-like in bed. Wilson Bethel spent most of his time shirtless throughout the episode. I’m not complaining. In fact, the one time he does wear a garment to cover his chiseled abs, it’s at the Rammer Jammer. You’d think management would overturn the “no shirt, no service” rule to attract more customers.
While Zoe’s re-thinking her choices, the Belles gather around a furious and heartbroken Lemon, who was publicly dumped by George Tucker on her wedding day. Now that Lemon’s fifteen year relationship is down the drains, what’s a girl left to do? Fifteen years is an insane amount of time to be dating someone — no wonder she wanted him to put a ring on it. The Belles offer suggestions now that she’s George-less. She could cash in her honeymoon tickets to take a singles cruise, and AnnaBeth quickly invites herself. Another offers the brilliant advice of leaving town and changing her name. Seriously though, that is brilliant considering the name “Lemon” is all kinds of strange. Lemon has her own idea: she’ll find her own place, on her own.
Back to the Mayor’s house, Zoe just needs a girlfriend. You know, someone to share a glass of wine with and ramble on about boys and being the cause of a trampled engagement. Unfortunately, Lavon is not the girlfriend she needs. His advice: Be honest with them. Wha…not good advice for someone tangled with two lovers, especially when that entanglement, with one, was pretty hot and heavy. Zoe admits that she connected with Wade on more than just a physical level. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of all the Zoe-Wade shippers rejoicing.
But wait, George and Wade find out about each other. Oops. George is still relentless. Even though he broke off his wedding for Zoe, she slept with Wade that same night and she admitted that she might have feelings for Wade, George continues to put the ball in her court. Wow, he’s either seriously in love or on a massive rebound. Of which, the answer is still to be determined.
Best scene of the entire night was Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Cassanova” playing as a half-naked Wade fiddles with tools underneath his red vintage car. Ladies, we’ve entered the South! Even though George is all gung-ho on being with Zoe, Wade backs off and plays coy, not really saying how he feels, but commenting that the sex was just “b minus.” Zoe acts all tough, huffing and tongue-tied before storming off.
Gossip flies around Bluebell, and the latest label happens to be “Home-wrecker” slapped right on Dr. Zoe Hart’s forehead. She treats an old man with an overabundance of earwax (for the sleepy town of Bluebell, that’s an exciting malady), and his surliness comes with a perk. His granddaughter, Ruby, brushes off Zoe’s “home-wrecker” status, and Zoe immediately enlists her as her new girlfriend.
Ruby’s a good new addition. Anyone who can verbally spar with Lemon is a keeper in my book. The difference between Ruby and Lemon? Ruby left Bluebell for a career and grew a lucrative cosmetics business while Lemon admittedly wasted her life with no real job and no real future except to be Mrs. George Tucker. We also learn that Ruby and Lavon dated in high school. Hmm, so I like the pair and the little tease at a maybe-probably future relationship — anything, anything other than Lemon and Lavon, who have absolutely no chemistry. Since their previous fling was barely brought up in the episode, I can only hope that storyline has been squashed for good.
Now where’s George in all of this? He’s over Lemon. Totally. “Lemon and I are over,” he says, “for good. Forever.” That’s definitive. Do we believe him? He was all smiles this episode, which was a little creepy. Out of all the characters, George has the least “oomph” to his backstory, so it’s not surprising that he does little more than pine over Zoe.
Maybe Lemon’s father believes she needs a new man, but we’ll never know. He’s too busy defending himself as Lemon scolds him for not ever encouraging her to be something other than a wife. Before she leaves, she grabs a wedding present — a cake knife — to return to the owner. What shall be called the Cake Knife Debacle creates mayhem in Bluebell.
While Lemon’s on her way to deliver the cake knife, she undergoes a serious panic attack, and since she’s written off her father for the moment, she goes to her sworn enemy’s house — who also happens to be a doctor. George is at Wade’s, telling him that their competition to Zoe’s heart is a little futile since he’s “all in” so he’ll probably win anyway. Although this is said with his southern drawl and laid-back swag — no real arrogance in sight. Wade sees Lemon, cake knife in hand, go into Zoe’s house next door.
What turns into a harmless event, now becomes a public spectacle. Lemon is going to kill Zoe for ruining the wedding! Or at least, that’s what the entire town thinks in their screwy game of telephone. Cops show up, Tom Long and his new girlfriend peer over the yellow caution tape, and George and Wade begin to brawl over who’ll go inside to save the day — starting with a line so snappy that it deserved a punch to the face (and a replay). George comments about how Wade doesn’t know what Lemon and Zoe need. To which Wade replies, “Trust me brother, I know exactly what they need, or at least that’s what one of them told me the other night, right after round three.” Thwack! Wade got a few good jabs back.
Of course, the women settle the matter themselves. Lemon and Zoe emerge from the house, horrified by the scene. With her quick thinking, Lemon smooths over the Cake Knife Debacle by admitting that Zoe is now her friend (not entirely true) and that Zoe is not a home-wrecker. They’re frienemy status is still intact, and Lemon finally stands up for herself — and acts as strong as she claims she is. By the end, Lemon actually chooses a job. She decides to work under Wade’s authority and become a waitress at the Rammer Jammer.
Now that Lemon’s career choice has been decided, Zoe must make a decision in her love life. Not surprisingly, she snips the ties that bind her to George. She tells the clingy (and slightly obsessive) lawyer that he needs to go pursue other fish in the sea before he has a chance at her. Zoe Hart will be no one’s rebound girl. As she makes her way to Wade’s house, we expect a similar discussion. She’ll tell Wade off about how she needs to work on “her.” But Wade begins with a snarky comment about George and sunsets. To which she replies that she’s broken things off. And another Wade-ism, “I get it, why settle for the 4-cylinder when you can settle for the V-8.” Zoe says repeatedly that she’s chosen no one. But he inches closer. And closer. And no woman could possibly resist that grin. She winds up in bed with him. Again.
There was a small close to the Zoe and George relationship, but the door was left slightly ajar for the future. However, Zoe and Wade are actually progressing forward. The premiere was incredibly strong and everything I could want. As a Zoe and Wade shipper, I am delighted by her choice. What about you? Do you like Zoe’s decision? Is Ruby going to be a troublemaker, and will she actually split up Levon and Lemon for good? Did the premiere address all of your dying questions? And what exactly will Lemon wear as a waitress uniform? Lastly, I propose the “no shirt, no service” rule be lifted from the Rammer Jammer. At least while Wade’s an employee.
A chance for your tweets to appear on the recap: From now on, I’ll be adding fan tweets to the TV recaps. How does it work? Easy. Tweet your reaction using #CW69, and your tweet could end up on the recap the next day. Tune in next Tuesday for the live-tweets! See you then.
— Becca Ritchie