The previous episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist showed off the series potential and clarified that Mo, Zoey’s neighbor, uses he/his pronouns, or is gender fluid to be specific. I didn’t mention that in the review proper because I couldn’t find space, but it’s cool all the same (and actually relevant to the episode). Now we are passing the 3 Episode Test line. Everything starting now will be harder to judge without giving away spoilers and making guesses at future events (something I don’t really enjoy doing). Either way it will be an interesting time.
Speaking of time (in no way that relates to this episode when I write it), this time Zoey gets a heart song from her neighbor, Mo, about being a pretender. This causes Zoey to dig deeper into his life and find out he dresses as male at church. Meanwhile the previous episodes pay off as Zoey’s brother puts on a Gender Reveal party for their dad, Max, Skylar Astin, and his date are progressing to weekend trips, Zoey’s mom gets out of the house and works for Zoey’s work crush who is engaged, and finally Zoey’s boss is torn up about her separation from her husband in the previous episode.
This episode has a lot going on, like some of the previous ones, but still manages to keep it all together better than the first or second one did. That comes down to Mo’s arc being ground. Predictable as heck, but grounded and coming from a real emotional place. It might be obvious, but the performance really drives home how he feels and what he’s going through. The second is Zoey’s arc. She has felt like she hasn’t helped since all her interventions seem to cause problems over helping, but comes around when talking to Mo’s pastor, Steve, sees what she can do to help. It also is good that it ends lots of plot lines as it picks up and carries on new ones. Each one feels more purposeful because they are driving to a goal even if they haven’t all reached it yet.
The songs this time are sparse. Mo sings “Great Pretender.” I assume that it is not the one from the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Pyramid of Light soundtrack (which, quick digression, still really holds up if you like that cheesy, obvious kind of upbeat music). It is on the nose, but that’s the point of the heart songs. Zoey’s other neighbor wants to go to the Bahamas and is singing lots of beach songs. Max has an opera ballad for comedy. The most surprising revelation is that Zoey’s boss actually has a musical preference. The previous episode used Roar by Katy Perry; this time they give her Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. It’s interesting how they landed on late 2000s/early 2010s music for her.
Again, it’s hard to say a whole lot now. I think it worked overall. The conversations about religion are very interesting and seem to come from a meaningful place. They play on Zoey’s dad’s illness for good emotional pulls, and we get more of Zoey’s brother and sister-in law. If you’re still watching it is good, but i don’t know if it will sell you on the show. That doesn’t mean an episode won’t, but this one is more of the same from the previous episode.