These “Hart of Dixie” recaps seem to say the same thing every week without fail: Joel is not the right guy for Zoe. And once again, he proved his inadequacies in “Family Tradition,” and even though Wade never even shared a scene with Zoe, he once again proved he’s the right guy for her now that he’s grown and matured and found himself. How long is it going to take for these two to get back together? How long must we suffer from the era of Joel? Make it stop, we beg of you!
Alright, so that got a little dramatic. But hey, we just call it like it is. So how exactly did Joel fail once again at being the right guy for Zoe? In this week’s episode of “Joel Sucks” … erm, we mean “Hart of Dixie,” Zoe decided it was time to finally get to know the Wilkes side of her family tree … and that was only because Harley’s (Zoe’s biological father) cousin Winifred owned the house that Zoe and Joel wanted to rent. You see, they had just been presented with the award for the longest staying residents in Dash’s bed and breakfast. After all the unannounced walk-ins from Dash, Joel decided it was time for them to find their own place.
So if Winifred owned the house, you’d think that would be a good thing for Zoe — you know, nepotism and all that, right? But since Zoe is Zoe, it turns out that she never actually reached out to the Wilkes family. And when the Wilkes’ sent her invitations to all their family barbecues and parties, Zoe ignored them. Her excuse was that she was busy forming her practice, but it was clear she just didn’t prioritize family, never having a good one before.
But after watching the movie “Dolphin Tale” over and over again, Zoe finally (thought she) understood the concept that “family is forever,” and decided to crash an 8-year-old Wilkes’ birthday party the next day, knowing full well the entire family would be there. She figures that showing up unannounced to a kid’s party to meet everyone all at once after ignoring all their efforts to get to know her is a good idea … because this is Zoe Hart, after all. She always gets these crazy optimistic ideas and hopes for the best. The thing is, she needs someone to bring her back down to earth and make her see reason: obviously this is a terrible idea. But Joel just went along with her plan, and because he didn’t bring her back to reality and suggest sitting down with Winifred one on one and slowly meeting the family, everything went horribly, horribly wrong.
Zoe freaks out upon arrival and lies to her cousin Vivian, saying Joel is the party entertainment (a magician) and her name is Chloe. Oof. She slowly starts to meet everyone, but they just think she’s the magician’s agent or something. Vivian’s son is the birthday boy, named Harley, and that got to Zoe. She falls in love with the fun, outgoing, loving family, and decides to tell them who she is. But what she didn’t understand — and what she needed someone to tell her — was that lying to them to begin with poisoned any good feelings they might have had towards her.
Vivian rightly didn’t see any goodness in Zoe’s confession, and tells her that with family, you get what you put in, and she hasn’t put in anything. Which is true: Zoe only showed up to finally meet the Wilkes when she needed something (to get on Winifred’s good side to rent the house) and she expects the Wilkes clan to accept her with open arms after she ignored them for years? Joel just stood by and agreed to Zoe’s plan, pretended to be a magician, and didn’t speak up to tell her she was handling the entire situation wrong. You know what Zoe needed? Wade.
But how do we know that Wade would have handled the situation in the right way, especially since the two of them didn’t even share a scene in Monday’s episode? Well, by the way Wade handled his own issue in the episode. You see, the Rammer Jammer had been doing so well lately, it grew 20% in profits. The owner of Fancy’s, Edward, came to the Rammer Jammer looking for Lemon in the wake of all her success. It turns out that he’s retiring and wants to sell Fancy’s to Lemon — and Fancy’s has always been her dream since she was a child. Her decision of what to do — stay at the Rammer Jammer or buy Fancy’s — was made easy after her tough day, since Wade keeps sleeping with the female employees, the cook lost an earring in the slaw, and the health inspector sprung a surprise inspection. Lemon was sick of dealing with the less-than-classy standards of the Rammer Jammer.
When Lemon told Wade that she wanted to buy Fancy’s, instead of freaking out or being angry with Lemon, Wade once again proved his maturity and handled the situation like an adult. He told her he’ll buy her out of her half of the Rammer Jammer so she can buy Fancy’s and run it on her own … he knew that Fancy’s was not his style and he was happy with the Rammer Jammer, but he knew that Lemon deserved and wanted better, so he would do all he could to help her achieve her dream. All together now, “Awwww!”
But after Lemon’s offer for Fancy’s was too low, Edward went with another buyer. When Lemon came back to ask Wade if she could still be his partner, he acted like a true friend. He told her she would always have a place by his side, but the Rammer Jammer wasn’t her dream. It won’t make her happy, so he can’t let her squander her life doing something that she doesn’t want to do. So while Lemon is once again aimless and without purpose, she has her friendship with Wade and her freedom to find her true passion.
And that is why Wade is better for Zoe than Joel. Wade knows what’s right for someone even if they don’t want to admit it or even see it themselves. Wade wouldn’t have gone along with Zoe’s epic failure of a plan. He would have told her that she needed to be up front with the Wilkes from the get go, and maturely get to know each and every one of them on their own before jumping in to the whole group. Maybe Winifred would have ended up renting out the house to Zoe and Joel, and maybe she wouldn’t have, but at least they’d finally have a familial relationship. But now, Zoe doesn’t have a bond with her family, and she doesn’t have the house … she and Joel just put up a Do Not Disturb sign on their door. One step forward, a bajillion steps back.
Another heartbreaking story line in “Family Tradition” had to do with the possible beginning of the end of Lavon and Annabeth. After AB’s parents came to visit — and they’re hardcore Auburn fans, while Lavon used to play for ‘Bama — they put their football differences aside to try and get Lavon to propose to AB. They don’t care about football rivalries if it means their daughter would get to marry the mayor … but Lavon isn’t at the proposal stage yet.
After AB freaks out at her parents — to be fair, there was no subtlety in their “hints” — Lavon and AB finally talk about the real issue at hand. Lavon thinks their relationship is fine just how it is, but AB needs to look into the future and plan. She needs to know if they’re on the right path … namely, marriage and children. She already was married and divorced once before, and knows she can’t waste any time in a relationship if it’s not going anywhere. Lavon doesn’t know how to answer her question, so she decides to sleep at her own place that night, and things aren’t looking good for these two.
And even though we saw it coming from a mile away, it didn’t hurt any less: George finally gave in to Lynly’s manipulations. Ugh. This has been a terrible pairing from the start and we really hoped George wouldn’t fall prey to Lynly. She is just insufferable, and can’t take a hint that George
isn’t interested in her. But after she got a job as a bartender at the Rammer Jammer and made George jealous, he stops pushing her away and kisses her. Noooo, George, you’re better than this! Abort! Abort!
All in all, “Family Tradition” only made us happy about one thing: Wade is doing everything right this season … except for making Zoe see that she belongs with him. We get that he’s confident they’ll end up together, but we’re not as patient as him. Joel needs to go, now, before he screws up any more aspects of Zoe’s life.
“Hart of Dixie” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.