“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.14.16 PMHart of Dixie’s third season picks up five months after the sophomore season’s finale. Zoe is still in New York, working in an inner city ER and about to move in with her writer boyfriend, Joel (Josh Cooke, Dexter, Better With You). And then her dream life hits a snag – she can’t stop thinking about BlueBell. When Rose turns up in the waiting room during Zoe’s shift, it’s a fait accompli… time to head back to BlueBell (the town she broke up with by email), tie up loose ends and get one all important letter from Brick. Of course, none of that is going to be smooth sailing. The town hates her, en masse. Her meddling with George and Tansy drove the couple out of town, in opposite directions. Since then, BlueBell has been a hellhole, and relations with Filmore are worse than ever. So it takes some time for the townsfolk to come around to the return of the erstwhile doctor, but come around they do. Zoe saves Founders Day, everyone is happy.

Not a bad return for the show, but not exactly groundbreaking either. It did little to surprise, but still had enough of its innate spirit to keep us interested. That’s one great thing about Hart of Dixie. Even when the story is nothing special, there’s something about it that keeps drawing us in. Maybe it’s the southern charm, or the wit, or the bright colors. Maybe it’s the interpersonal relationships, or the well-drawn characters. Maybe it’s just the promise of seeing Wade Kinsella. Whatever it is, even the bad episodes never make us want to stop watching.

Not that this was a bad episode. It did well at catching us up on what we’ve missed while we’ve been away. Instead of eloping, Shelby and Brick have gone their separate ways. Annabeth and Lavon are still going strong, but Lavon’s cousin, Lynly (newcomer Antoinette Robertson), is a constant thorn in AB’s side (and, we’re willing to bet, in ours). Magnolia’s gone to boarding school. Lemon has been sleeping with Meatball on the DL. Yes, you read that right. And Wade… well, Wade’s different. He’s mellowed. Love has changed him. Or something has. His zen attitude to Zoe’s return surely masks a deep-seated torment (hinted at by Lemon’s comment about how she knows what Zoe’s “little email” did to his heart). That latter, of course, will be a huge focus of the season, as will Lemon’s deeply troubling ‘relationship’ with Meatball.

And then there’s kind of a funny story. Thinking that Zoe was heading back to New York, Lemon (now Wade’s close friend) wanted to help him ‘win’ at new relationships, so she told Zoe that Wade had made quite the catch – her. Surprising absolutely no one, Zoe is sticking around (with boyfriend Joel) so that little lie is going to drive much of the narrative, at least for early episodes. Not wanting to lose face, both Lemon and Wade are going to have to play the parts of the loving couple. This will likely be the major comedy supplier of the season, too (especially if Meatball takes offence), but it could spell trouble. We have to say, we’re a little concerned that the faux relationship might stick. We’re not sure we could take Lemon and Wade as a legitimate couple. We’re betting that Zoe and Joel won’t last long, though. He’s even more through-and-through city than she is, and we don’t see him sticking out sticky Alabama for long. Here’s hoping Wade will still be around by then, though if Earl has anything to say about it, he definitely will.

The other romance on the show – providing slightly fewer comic moments, we’re sure – will be Lynly and George. This is a relationship we see just starting out (and it’s something one really shouldn’t be calling a relationship). It’s unlikely to end with just a roll in the hay (figuratively speaking [one has to specify after previous barn activities]), so we’ll be watching closely to see how it progresses.

And that’s kind of all that’s been cued up for the coming season. Not that Hart of Dixie needs any hugely challenging plotlines. It has a habit of unfolding in its own time (and rarely predictably), and we’re fine with that. – K

Quoteworthy: “Welcome back, but no one likes you anymore.” – Cricket

PS Special mention to whoever’s doing the blocking for Jamie King. Has to be the most inventive way to disguise a pregnancy we’ve ever seen. Near flawless!

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