Recap: ‘Hart of Dixie’ – Ignorance and immaturity
All season long it’s been hard for me to find fault in Zoe Hart. And I blame that partially on Rachel Bilson’s likability and partially on my own willful ignorance. But in tonight’s episode, “The Race and the Relationship,” the worst parts of Zoe’s character were not only on display, they were in a glass box with a spotlight shining on them.
Zoe Hart is a selfish person. You could probably argue that her profession makes her at least a little bit altruistic, but you can also argue that she didn’t go into medicine because she wanted to help people. She went into medicine because her father – who abandoned her the second he found out she wasn’t his biological daughter – was a first class surgeon and she wanted to be like him and impress him.
You don’t need a psychology degree to see that she went into medicine with the hopes that it would bring her father back and make him want to be a part of her life again. His abandonment led to her developing some severe daddy issues, as well as a need to always be the best at everything she did. And those issues haven’t disappeared with time. Zoe still has issues with her father – even with the progress they made a few weeks ago. And she still wants to be the best. That’s the dominant character trait of Zoe’s that everything else is built off.
She wanted to be the best doctor. She wanted to make the best gumbo to get people to like her. She wanted to prove that she was a better doctor than Brick. And tonight she entered the Bluebell Battle wanting to prove to George that she’s better than Lemon. The only problem is she did it at the expense of Wade’s feelings for her. Wade, one of the only people in town she could call a friend, is now running for Vice President of the I Hate Zoe Hart Fan Club.
Zoe made a good show of playing dumb pretty well when Lavon – the all knowing and wise Lavon Hayes – told her, “I really don’t get how you still don’t know this, but Wade likes you.” She may have acted as if she had no clue about Wade’s feelings for her, but Zoe’s known all season how Wade has felt about her. It isn’t as if there haven’t been hints and moments between the two.
There have been a couple of kisses, a near hookup during the heat wave, and a rain check for drinks given at Christmas. Hell, Zoe even called him out on his feelings a couple of months ago when he indirectly came between her and Judson. It doesn’t matter that he was caught off guard and freaked and lied to her about the way he felt. She knew it then and to think that she a) took him seriously when he said all he cared about was the money or b) simply forgot about that incident, is ridiculous.
I think Zoe pretended to not see all those moments for what they were because she had already set her mind on George Tucker the instant she hopped into his truck in the pilot. She decided she wanted George and just ignored the sparks that existed with Wade.
And it’s easy to see why everyone likes George. He’s a good stand up guy who would climb onto a roof to rescue anyone, not just his fiancee. But he’s taken. And I find it hard to believe that anyone with a brain – or a heart – would have believed for a second that George would throw away a 15-year relationship so quickly. The writers were asking a lot from the viewers to suspend reality that much. It was obvious that George’s kiss with Zoe in last week’s episode was his way of trying to process Lemon’s betrayal. Were there real feelings behind it? Sure, it’s possible – heck, I’ll even go as far as to say that it is probable – but to think that Zoe would take it as more, is just simply delusional on her part.
When the big moments happen you don’t exactly react normally. You have to take time to process things. You’re not yourself and that’s what last week’s entire episode was about. And somehow Zoe still thought that George was going to choose her. If she hadn’t been so flippant about his grieving period in this episode, I might have been OK with her misplaced feelings for George. But to enter a race to prove how you feel about someone who just tried to call off their wedding? Zoe’s clearly a bit delusional and a lot selfish.
I don’t think she’d ever intentionally hurt Wade, but she didn’t seem to care at all when she did. Sure, he called her selfish and shallow, but those things are true and she needed to hear them. Unfortunately they haven’t done a bit of good because she’s still acting the same.
Throughout the entire episode everything she did was part of her selfish attempt to gain George’s affection. And even after Lavon told her that her feelings for George were wrong and that she should not actively pursue him, she did it anyway. And even after Lavon told her about Wade’s feelings for her and that she needed to be careful not to hurt him, she didn’t care – she did what she wanted to do. She still tried to lay it all out for George out there in the town square, oblivious to the fact that it was the absolute worst time and place to do so. And she ruined Wade’s chances of winning the money to put towards opening up his own bar – the first real step he’s ever taken in an attempt to grow up and become a better man. She didn’t care that she’d ruined it for him. All she cared about was how she felt.
I actually cheered when Lavon told her she couldn’t be at his house. She needs to finally face the repercussions of her stupid and inconsiderate actions (and for the record, I don’t include Rose’s burst appendix as one of those – that’s not at all Zoe’s fault – no matter how much her distraught mother may have tried to blame Zoe).
There is a lot to dislike about Zoe – she’s done a lot of stupid shit over the course of this first season – but I never really hated her until this week. I hope the writers have a plan for her to redeem herself and that the CW will grant the show a second season in order for them to see that plan through. Because as much as I ship Zoe and Wade, right now, I’d never want poor Wade to have to put up with her. He deserves far better than her right now. I hope we get that second season to see her grow and mature and take responsibility for her actions. She hasn’t learned a thing about empathy – and that was the entire reason she went to Bluebell; to learn some bedside manner. Zoe and Wade are a good match, Zoe just needs to learn to stop being so selfish and that people have feelings that can be hurt, just like she does.