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Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Zoey's Extraordinary Outburst - Review: Don't Do Sadness

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Remember about a month ago, when I was frustrated that “Zoey” seemed to be ignoring the emotional ramifications that come with suddenly being able to know everyone’s thoughts and fix everyone’s problems? Well, the writers weren’t ignoring it at all, and while we’ve been building up to it for a while, this week they finally decided to pull the trigger on all those ramifications all at once, in an explosive, often painfully real way.

The episode starts with Zoey and Mo discussing Simon - who has, as last episode’s “Happier” bit indicated, broken up with Jessica. Zoey isn’t sure how or when to make her move, but Mo reassures her that, given time, she won’t need to: Simon will come to her when he’s ready.

Meanwhile, it’s Max’s first day on the SPRQ Point 6th floor, and he and Zoey share an awkward goodbye as he brings a box of his things up from the 4th floor to his new office. As he leaves, Zoey hears him singing Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.” As Max enters the elevator and the doors close on him singing the chorus (“Here I go again on my own…”), the opposite doors open on Simon, singing the same song (“...going down the only road I’ve ever known”). As Mo predicted, Simon wasn’t shy about asking Zoey out, because within mere minutes of him telling her about his breakup, the two had arranged dinner plans for later that night at Simon’s apartment.

Zoey and Simon’s date starts out well, with a toast to looking forward, and some cute banter about pasta strainers (sidenote: how much does an apartment have to cost to not only be fully furnished but to come with an assortment of magazines on the coffee table?). However, it’s not as happy an occasion for Simon as it might seem. When he goes off into the kitchen for a moment, Zoey hears him singing and dancing to Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”; the exact same song he was singing when Zoey first reached out to him in episode 1. Uncomfortable knowing the fact that nothing has really changed in his heart since their will-they/won't-they began, Zoey leaves the date abruptly.

This, in turn, leads to Zoey and Mo getting into a fight, as Mo insists Zoey move on from Simon, while Zoey is convinced that she just needs to apply herself harder and help Simon even more. Mo has already had his fair share of great moments, but his speech this week was quite possibly the most applause-worthy of all: “It is emotionally exhausting watching you bend over backwards and forwards again and again for a man-child who’s clearly unavailable for anything, so no, I am not about to help you unravel this mess!”

Even though I was thoroughly impressed by Mo “going off,” Zoey wasn’t, and she goes back to Simon the next day to talk about why he might’ve been feeling like it was a “Mad World” the night before. He explains that his mom is getting remarried, and it has brought up old wounds related to his dad’s death. Zoey actually seems about to possibly tell him off for being upset about his mom, but neither get to really hash out their real feelings before Zoey is pulled away by Joan.

As it turns out, Max’s departure has caused some pretty big problems with the Chirp project, as Max brought some important coding files with him in the move. This sends Leif and Tobin on a mission to the 6th floor to retrieve them from him, but Ava Price steps in, saying that Danny Michael Davis has allowed their floor to work on Chirp too, effectively turning the project into a “bake-off” between the two floors.

Joan and the whole 4th floor crew pay a visit to the 6th floor to try and force Max to give back the files. This leads to a very entertaining song/dance battle between Price and Joan, singing “The Boy is Mine” by Monica and Brandy. After that, Zoey and Max both insist that Max make the choice himself. Max says he initially thought the code should go back to the 4th floor, but after realizing that no one on the 4th floor cared whether he stayed or left until they realized he had something they needed, he decided that the code should stay on 6. Looks like Max is pretty "Satisfied" with Price, am I right? (I'm sorry; I know that was bad, but I couldn't let RenĂ©e Elise Goldsbury guest star without at least referencing Angelica Schuyler once!)

This leads to Zoey’s second falling out of the episode, as she tells Max she believes that his ire at the 4th floor is really directed at her. Max says that all he wanted to do was look after himself for a change, instead of caring about everyone else’s happiness - and especially Zoey’s. Zoey responds by shooting out some hurtful barbs, telling him no one on the fourth floor understood why Price wanted Max in the first place. Yikes, Zoey - you’re definitely not helping your case here.

To top things off, Zoey gets into a row with both Howie and Simon as well. The former occurs when she goes to her dad to try and get him to sing her another heart song - possibly looking for that “True Colors” reprise amid all the mess. When he doesn’t respond, Howie comes in the room and tells her that he gave Mitch a sedative to help him sleep. Zoey then blows up at him, crying that he was depriving him of his last moments with his family, and storms off…

...Right back to her apartment, where she calls Simon and invites him over - only to immediately begin making out with him as he arrives. After he expresses (warranted) confusion, Simon asks her to finish the thoughts she had had earlier that day at SPRQ Point before Joan came in. That was probably not the right move, as Zoey, already in a bad mood, just tells him that she feels like his seemingly endless grieving is “boring” and that it’s “dragging her down.”

The two proceed to yell at each other until Mo, thankfully, interrupts and brings the both of them into his apartment. It’s then that he instructs them, in possibly the best life hack ever, to angrily dance to “I Love It” by Icona Pop to purge themselves of all their negative emotions.

Another interesting development worth mentioning actually involved Joan and Leif’s relationship. Everyone, including Joan and Zoey, have been witnessing this strange, HR-unfriendly romance evolve assuming that it’s nothing more than a casual fling, but that might not be the case. After Zoey sees Leif singing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” (a.k.a. possibly the most romantic song on the planet) to Joan, she tells Joan that her office fling might just be in it for the long haul. This spooks Joan, and after trying to push Leif away much of the episode, finally asks him about it. He confesses that he does have real feelings for her, and she ends the relationship entirely.

In the aftermath of an emotionally turbulent episode, Zoey and Simon make up, both explaining that their anger was really fueled by grief and a sense of loss of control. Leif asks Max for a job on the 6th floor to distance himself from Joan, and Zoey apologizes to Howie. I get the feeling, however, that it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows after this, as Zoey and Max still haven’t repaired their friendship in the slightest. Based on the promo for next week, with Max aggressively singing “Bye, Bye, Bye,” seemingly to Zoey, that reconciliation is yet to come.

Not everything this week was calamity and Icona Pop songs, however. With Mitch’s condition getting worse, Maggie was worried about how they would spend their anniversary. They used to always go to the same restaurant every year, and she laments about how the previous year, she was in a bad mood and had ruined the night, thinking that “next year would be better.” Zoey and David respond by setting up a romantic candlelit dinner for them in their house, and the episode ends as Zoey watches her parents singing Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” to each other.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I’ve been waiting for this episode for a long time. I really, really love the way that this show addresses conflict, with no particular character generally being painted as “right” or “wrong.” There are moments when I think Zoey stepped way over the line with her behavior, and yet still had something reasonable to be upset about. Very often, TV (and especially Network TV) sensationalizes emotion to amp up the drama factor. Most of the time, there’s a “good guy” and a “bad guy” in a fight, and the fight is resolved when the “bad guy” learns to see things in the other person’s way. “Zoey” isn’t like that, and it’s actually been somewhat jarring to see. The fights and emotions in this episode seemed so much more real than I’m used to seeing on TV, and that was honestly super exciting for me.

What did you think about “Zoey’s Extraordinary Outburst?” Only two episodes left in the season - are you ready? And was anyone as excited as I was to see that Bernadette freakin’ Peters is guest starring in next week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!

Zoey’s Extraordinary Quotes-List

Zoey: I was getting worried. I haven’t heard a word from Simon since he got on that elevator with Jessica. I thought maybe she shanked him.
Mo: As Eddie describes, it was very amicable. I mean, the Brits don’t scream and yell like we do.
Zoey: It seems like Simon’s finally coming up for air, it says here: “A new day begins, looking forward to looking forward.”
Mo: See, that just makes me wanna shank him.

Zoey: Aloha, Joan. How was your long weekend?
Joan: Oh, you know, typical. I was at a conference with a bunch of billionaires getting tipsy and prank-calling that Theranos woman.

Tobin (to Leif, talking about the 6th floor): Dude! Thanks so much for letting me come with! I’ve always wanted to come up here ever since they told me I wasn’t allowed to come up here.

Mo: You just hear your first full reprise, that’s amazing!
Zoey: If it was “True Colors,” maybe, but why did it have to be “Mad World?”

Joan: We agreed this was light and fun.
Leif: All right? Things change, people change. I wouldn’t be dead wearing a cardigan I wore two years ago.
Joan: But you kept that one?

Zoey: How did you hear us fighting?
Mo: Child, they heard you in Oakland.

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