Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Did Season 2 suffer from too many episodes?

ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST -- "Zoey’s Extraordinary Session" Episode 212 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke, Skylar Astin as Ma, Michael Thomas Grant as Leif -- (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate)Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST -- "Zoey’s Extraordinary Session" Episode 212 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke, Skylar Astin as Ma, Michael Thomas Grant as Leif -- (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate)Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist /

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2, Episode 12 finally continued what we thought was going to be the main arc for the whole season. And it raised the question: Would Zoey’s sophomore year have benefited from fewer installments?

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Session” took viewers on a trip down Zoey’s version of Memory Lane. Her new therapist wanted to explore her first real experience with confronting loss—or potential loss, as it were—to help her figure out a way to move forward after losing Mitch.

It was seeing her mom have a medical emergency that made Zoey realize “how fragile it all is. Like, all that love could be taken away in the blink of an eye.” This was what made our main character become so “emotionally guarded,” as the doctor put it, that she became the romantically-stunted person that has frustrated viewers and reviewers alike all season long.

The problem, of course, was never the wall that Zoey has clearly put up around her heart. We knew it was there all along and still loved and related to her.

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Season 2, Episode 12
ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — “Zoey’s Extraordinary Session” Episode 212 — Pictured: (l-r) Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate) /

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 could stand to cut out the waste

The breakup with Max always made sense in the context of everything we knew about mourning and grieving. It was everything else, stuck in to mindlessly fill the time, that never really did.

So, where does that leave us? After watching Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2, Episode 12, the biggest takeaway is that most of our main character’s storyline could have been removed to make the season stronger.

If this is really the beautiful story about grief that the series has always promised, then certainly everything up to and including episode 3 has to stay. We needed to see Zoey try to bravely move forward, only to have her own pain refuse to let her go without addressing it. Even Max’s storyline, one of finding someone new instead of putting his life on hold for someone who clearly wasn’t as ready for him as she claimed to be, could stay in its entirety.

But wasting time on senseless detours, with Zoey doing nothing more than proving herself to be a liar—she has still not told Simon about her special ability to hear heart songs—was definitely a choice. And it was a wrong choice, which did a disservice to every character involved, at that.

Simon did not need to be used as a plot device to show Zoey had some emotional issues. We’d already seen that in Season 1, as well as through her nightmares in the third episode of this season.

John Clarence Stewart deserved much better material than playing the main character’s stand-in, temporary boyfriend. The promise set up for him in episode 6 was all but abandoned in favor of  having Zoey waffle back to him in the previously-ended “love triangle.”

There was meaning and importance in Simon’s decision to stand by his words about the lack of diversity in the workplace. That should have been his arc for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2, not “guy kept in the dark, despite doing everything in his power to be the good boyfriend.”

In fact, Simon is (apparently) such an unremarkable and unnecessary part of Zoey’s journey that he wasn’t even included in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Session.” Max, on the other hand…Well. Our leading lady’s story about almost losing her mom sure spent a lot of time on the day she met, initially disliked, and then clearly fell for him.

There’s also that moment at the end of Episode 12, where Max is supposed to be planning to go to New York with Rose but is clearly distracted because Zoey brought up the coffee-delivery robot they built together on their first not-day at SPRQ Point. It’s obvious he’s second-guessing his choice to move on, and while predictable, it’s still touching.

Cut out an episode or two—or at least bits and pieces of Zoey’s role in those episodes—and you suddenly have a very strong season, with a beautiful message on loss, love, and how they can both hurt so much, you don’t want to let yourself risk feeling that way ever again. It’s weird for us to ever want less work for the people behind this wonderful series, or to actually say, “I wish I’d had less of this thing I love.”

But with just a little bit of extra thought about what was and wasn’t really needed in telling this story? Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 would have been as good as, if not actually better than, Season 1.

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Maybe that’s too high of a standard to even hold a television series to, especially after the year we’ve all had. But the pieces of the puzzle were all there. All that was needed was to put them together, without wanting to toss clutter in between their connecting parts.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Sundays at 9/8c on NBC.