Lately, Zoey has gotten a lot of flak from me about her self-centered and self-serving nature, always seeming to prioritize herself over those she’s supposed to be trying to help.
So color me surprised that my feelings of annoyance didn’t surface on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 Episode 9, as Zoey struggled to identify the singer of the incredibly melancholy heart song.
Yes, it took Zoey most of the episode to solve the mystery, but it’s not like anyone else in Emily’s life picked up on the emotional distress the new mother was experiencing, so all things considered, Zoey was a step above the rest of her family and friends.
Emily wasn’t sending out the most obvious signals that she was depressed, but she was trying to reach out to the people in her life the best way she knew how.
From her offhand comment about wondering if she’d ever feel joy again to repeatedly wanting to hang out with Zoey, Emily was attempting to signal for help in the only way she could.
Zoey: I am sorry if I offended you before, but you told me the spirits gave you an ‘m’ name, and I have to know who’s hurting so badly. It’s not my mom. It’s not Max. It’s not Mo. It’s not McKenzie. It’s not Miles. Is it Miles? Why are there so many ‘m’ names? I need to know, and what if I don’t figure it out and the song switching never ends?
Nova: So let me get this straight, the only way you can identify a sad person is if they stand in front of you singing a sad song spelling out how sad they are?
Zoey: Kind of.
Nova: Despite my incredible abilities, I don’t get all of my info from the spirits. A lot of it is connecting with people, looking around, reading in between the lines.
Zoey: I thought I was doing that. You don’t think so? You think I’m relying on the songs too much, needing everybody to telegraph what they’re feeling with capital letters and jazz hands? What am I missing?
It’s not exactly easy for some to come out and admit they’re feeling despondent or isolated or hopeless, and Emily was doing the best she could to communicate those emotions.
So if her husband and mother-in-law couldn’t put the pieces together, then how are we supposed to expect Zoey to?
The best guess for what Emily is going through is postpartum depression, which has been depicted more frequently on television over the past few years.
Whatever the cause, though, Emily is going through a rough time right now and needs her family’s support.
Unfortunately, there’s never a quick fix to depression, but as they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem, and now that someone — namely, Zoey — knows that Emily’s suffering, the new mother can finally get the help she needs to get better, whether that be medication, therapy, or something else entirely.
This is an important storyline to tell, but I fear that the series won’t depict this plotline with the care and attention it deserves like many other television shows.
Shows have done a better job over the past decade of addressing mental health, but the problem still lingers that after a few episodes, the character magically gets better, and the subject of their mental health is never addressed again.
And with Emily being a supporting character, the potentiality for the show to drop this storyline after an episode or two increases tenfold.
Zoey: I’m actually thinking of telling Simon my biggest secret.
Max: You’re gonna tell him about the powers?
Zoey: Yes. No. Maybe. What do you think?
Max: I’m not sure. I know honesty is really important but knowing you could hear my songs made everything much more complicated between us. Things never felt equal, you know?
That’s not a realistic depiction of mental illness and only does a disservice to us viewers.
However, the series did an extraordinary job depicting inherent racism at SPRQPoint on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 Episode 6, so the show has proved it’s capable of telling difficult storylines with respect and honesty.
So there’s hope the show could knock Emily’s depression out of the park.
Stepping back a bit from Emily’s depression, Zoey’s search to discover the singer of heartbreaking heart song was an interesting process to watch because the medium was right in a way.
Zoey has become so reliant on her powers that she’s completely forgotten the verbal and nonverbal cues people send out in normal conversations.
It was somewhat eye-opening when Nova explicitly put those thoughts into words because, like Zoey, some of us have probably forgotten that you don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out people’s feelings.
Sometimes what they say or don’t say can be just as telling as having a window into everyone’s mind.
It’s pretty ironic when you think about it because, at first, Zoey didn’t want these powers, and now she can’t seem to function as a normal person without them.
That’s not a slam at Zoey per se because we would all probably forget about basic human interaction if we had this crutch to lean on all the time.
Zoey: He did seem fine.
Mo: Well, as Det. Olivia Benson would say, ‘He’s lying.’ That wasn’t worth it. I spilled my coffee everywhere and on me.
Zoey: What if he’s not lying, though? Is the universe messing with me? I mean the songs have never been wrong before.
Mo: Honestly, as Olivia would also say, ‘The easiest solution is always the right one.’ Sounds like to me that you need to interrogate the suspect and get him to sing again. Oh, I need my own cop show.
Zoey’s powers are a gift, but just because she has them doesn’t mean that she should stop listening to what those around her are telling or not telling her.
It was a good reminder for Zoey and us.
And speaking of Zoey’s powers, our protagonist decided not to share her secret with Simon, also known as her new boyfriend.
It’s a complicated situation all around and goes a little bit beyond just being honest with your significant other.
First, there’s the possibility that Simon doesn’t believe Zoey, which could create a whole host of problems from him thinking his new girlfriend is crazy to Simon saying he believes Zoey when he doesn’t.
Then, if Simon does believe her, it’s just as Max said: It creates this unequal power dynamics where Zoey has complete access to Simon’s innermost thoughts but not vice versa.
Finally, there’s also the issue of when Simon learns of Zoey’s powers because we all know he will learn of them at some point.
He could be angry that Zoey didn’t tell him sooner and upset that she didn’t trust him with such a monumental part of herself, along with the problem of Zoey having a free pass to everything he’s thinking and “using” that information to her advantage.
Zoey: I just wanted to say that I feel bad about bailing last night, and please know that canceling was not me leaving or quitting or pushing you away.
Simon: It’s fine. I just feel like you’ve been acting a little weird, and I don’t know, something’s going on.
Zoey: It’s just opening up isn’t easy for me, and in the past, sometimes I shared too much too soon, and I don’t want to do that, so here are some things you should know about me. One, I never returned a library book in the eighth grade, and I still feel really guilty about it. Two, I wear a mouthguard to sleep, but I don’t when you come over ‘cause I want to look cute. And the main secret I have been keeping from you, if you want to call it that, is, um, I had some trust issues with my college boyfriend. And I thought he was cheating on me, but he kept denying it, so I hacked into his email.
Simon: Oh OK, that’s good to know.
Zoey: I also knifed his tires. One tire, it was also a bike tire, and I kinda just really poked it, but it did lose a lot of air over time.
Simon: Thank you for letting me know.
There’s no clear-cut answer here, but Zoey delaying the inevitable can only hurt her and Simon in the long run, especially after they had a conversation about honesty and opening up.
If there were a right time to tell Simon, it would have been then, but since she didn’t, it’s not the greatest start to a new relationship, which I’ve been enjoying more than I thought.
Part of what helps is the love triangle being gone for the moment, as Zoey is officially with Simon, and Max is dating Rose.
Yes, Zoey has flip-flopped on her choice of romantic partner before, but she had no doubts that she wanted to be with anyone other than Simon this installment.
That’s not to say Zoey’s feelings won’t be subject to change, which they’re bound to be at a later time, but it was refreshing that we didn’t have to endure that endless romantic drama just as Zoey started dating Simon.
Making it better is the place she has gotten with Max.
The besties and former lovers were surprisingly mature about everything and seemed genuinely happy for the other, showing no signs of jealousy or anger.
Heck, Zoey even managed to get Rose to open up to Max about her sobriety, which went a little above the call of being a good friend.
Zoey: You seem kind of sad. Are you OK?
Rose: Yeah, I’m OK. I’m not sad. I’m just… Have you ever kept something from somebody when you probably shouldn’t?
Zoey: I’m familiar with the concept.
Rose: It’s just I haven’t told Max that I am sober for a little over a year now.
Zoey: Good for you.
Rose: Thanks. It is good for me. I guess I just feel that he sees me as this sweet innocent girl from camp, and I had some not so great years in there, and I’m afraid he will look at me differently. Is that stupid?
Zoey: No, I understand, and I relate. There’s something major I haven’t yet told the guy I just newly started dating, and I don’t know if I should.
Rose: Well, hiding things doesn’t really seem like a great way to start something new.
It’s an interesting and very adult paradigm Zoey and Max have found themselves in, but no matter how unexpected, you won’t find me complaining.
So long as the love triangle stays dead, then we’re all good here.
Some stray thoughts:
Mo and Perry are still dating, but another obstacle arose when Perry prioritized his children over his first sleepover with Mo. Mo’s anger was understandable, but he needs to realize that Perry has other priorities and can’t put him first as a parent. For them to work in the long-term, Mo needs to remember this.
The heart song swapping was a fun bit for this episode, but that wouldn’t be wise if it keeps happening. As a one-time thing, it works, but as a recurring plot point, it would be irritating.
Good on Maggie for continuing to do things that scare her. She just proved you’re never too old to try new things.
So what did you think, TV Fanatics?
Did you guess the singer of the heartwrenching heart song was Emily?
Does Zoey rely on her powers too much?
Are you ‘shipping Zoey and Simon?
Don’t forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.