‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ Delivers an Extraordinarily Emotional Finale (RECAP)
Zoey's Extraordinary Dad
Season 1 • Episode 12
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the very emotional Season 1 finale of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Dad.”]
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist ends its season with a finale that’s exactly what the rest of the season was: musical, full of heart — and very, very emotional.
Even if you suspected that the end of this episode was coming, it likely didn’t prepare you for the final seven minutes. Chances are, you cried. (It’s OK. Everyone probably did.) And with that, let’s get into the musical numbers and moments that made you smile, tear up, and maybe even sing along.
“Bad Moon Rising”
After seeing herself singing in all her reflective surfaces, Zoey (Jane Levy) is convinced that it’s a “bad omen, some kind of warning.” And so she goes around checking in on everyone, starting with Mo (Alex Newell), who’s “in the middle of a creative breakdown.”
She then goes home to make sure everything’s okay with her father (Peter Gallagher). “It’s one of the good days,” Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) says. But when she reaches to get her wedding ring out of the drain, Zoey panics that her mother’s going to accidentally turn on the garbage disposal instead of the light. (She doesn’t).
Zoey takes Max for a cheesequake to cheer him up, and while they haven’t spoken lately, she promises to help him figure out the next steps. She assumes him getting fired is why she had the bad feeling.
Simon (John Clarence Stewart) interrupts — he’d gotten some cheesequakes to share with Zoey — and, after a very awkward exchange, leaves Zoey and Max to talk. But just as Max begins filling her in on his termination, Zoey sees Simon singing.
Back at work, she tracks him down and tells him he doesn’t have to be jealous of Max. Simon admits he was, and while there was a lot unsaid with Jessica, he’s looking to change that.
“I Will Follow Him”
Zoey also aims to help Mo with his creative block, though he insists it has nothing to do with the breakup with Eddie. But his song choice says otherwise. “You’re not listening to what your heart’s telling you to do, and that seems like the opposite of the Mo I know,” Zoey advises.
Danny then stops by to see Joan — and approves Max getting his job back — and reveals he needs her to take over the company while he spends 6-18 months in prison, depending on what is found on him.
Mo goes to Eddie and admits he’s afraid of opening up and telling him how he really feels. Because he hasn’t always been on the receiving side of love, Mo pushes people away. So before it’s too late, he tells Eddie he cares about him and wants to make it work. Eddie kisses him.
“All of Me”
Before movie night, Zoey tells Max she got his job back, but he admits he doesn’t want it. “I liked the way it felt being in charge on the sixth floor,” he says. “It made me feel good, and I was good at it. I just don’t want to go backwards.” He’s excited about diving into the unknown. She likes this side of him so much that she kisses him because she “felt like it,” she says.
And so he kisses her, only to interrupt by serenading her with another love song. Zoey finally slaps her hand over his mouth to stop him and suggests he think of something “sexier.” That only leads to him singing “I Know You Want Me.” So, in an attempt to actually get back to kissing, she tells him not to think of anything. Only then her phone rings; it’s Howie, and the “bad moon … rose.”
“Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)”
Max goes with her to see her family. Mitch’s organs are going to shut down in hours, and Howie’s keeping him comfortable with morphine. He knows that there’s only so much they can do to prepare, and he’s there to help “ease the transition.”
David (Andrew Leeds) and Emily (Alice Lee) are the first to take time to say goodbye to Mitch, and Zoey watches the three sing Billy Joel.
Max calls Simon to let him know because he knows Zoey would want him to. He suggests Simon text her or “whatever you guys do.” After Max has some time with Mitch — during which he told him “exactly how I feel about his daughter,” he tells Maggie — he heads out. They’ll talk about and analyze what happened later, he tells Zoey. She needs to “focus on yourself right now.”
As he drives off, Simon pulls up, having planned to drop a lasagna off. Zoey helped him, and now he’s ready to return the favor, he tells her, with a “grief trunk.”
“Dream a Little Dream of Me”
After watching her mother sing farewell to her husband, Zoey sits down with Howie. “Is this when we have the talk about what death is like?” she asks him. “Death is hideous and ugly and grotesque and wildly, wildly unfair,” he says. “Or maybe death is beautiful and spiritual and transcendent and sometimes a very necessary and very freeing escape from our physical bodies when they are no longer habitable.”
Then it’s Zoey’s time to talk to her father while she still can, and she fills him in on her life. Work’s good. Simon likes her, but hooking up with Max complicates things. “I’m not sure I’m minding” the songs anymore, she admits. “I think they might actually be helping me.”
And when his final moments come, Zoey sees Mitch beckon her to join him in the living room for one last dance. “What do I do when I can’t hear you sing anymore?” she asks tearfully. “You’re always going to hear me, whether it’s a song or not. All you have to do is listen,” he promises.
There’s no other way to describe the final scene and song of the season than extraordinary. Beginning with the family walking up to the house for the wake and ending with them sitting in the living room, without Mitch, the final seven minutes are bittersweet, heartbreaking, and pretty perfect.
Zoey shares moments with everyone — family, love interests, and coworkers — and them with each other before she concludes the season’s last number (from the entire cast) by singing the final lyrics of the number. How fitting of an ending was that? But now there needs to be a Season 2, right?