When rummaging through Zoey’s playlists, a dusty library built inside her mind chronicling music starting from decade’s past, we never would’ve believed there would be one noted: “her and Max are making out on a bed!” Yet this is where the current episode, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Distraction,” picks up. A soft toy giraffe is the only other listener, diving onto the bedroom floor as Max throws a cautionary eye. It must be minutes after Zoey’s made the final declaration of him having her heart, as they’re in the same clothing, just a tad disheveled now. However, the kicker is a constant flow of family members, one of which is mama Clarke. It’s very in alignment to sneaking a boy into your room during those pesky teen years only to be caught out when one suggests it’s movie night. Maggie passes the bowl of popcorn towards Max, then jests, “in case you work up an appetite.” She leaves the room, letting the two devise a plan for tomorrow night involving Zoey’s apartment and zero interruptions.
While the night moves into the day, Maggie is stuck in the habit of looking at her late husband’s disease. Zoey notices the unhealthiness, thereby asking to switch the conversation, except it’s still stuck in replay as the topic brought up is her failed rendezvous. “Who was it?” Emily asks upon shuffling into the house alongside Andrew. “Max or Simon? Please say Simon.” Luckily, Emily’s sister Jenna, who sounds more in tune to the eccentric animal lover version of Greta Thunberg, is stopping by. Pleasantries occur before launching into Bell Biv DeVoe’s late 1980s new jack swing “Poison,” seeing a vexed Emily use the Clarke’s home as a catty boxing ring. Zoey warns her mother before slipping out of the house for work.
Meanwhile, whoever said to never mix friendships with a career has certainly seen Mo’s face upon Max outlining their business proposal. He’s downloaded a 50-50 partnership agreement from trusty Google that’s more looking like a four-sentence clause punctured with a typo. With the feathers she deems she has by being a bird who can’t be stuck in a cage, she bounces, departing a confused Max. Perhaps turning into an elated Max as Zoey has late-night extracurriculars on her mind, leaving a buzzword centric voicemail on his phone. The second third of our dunzo triangle, however, Simon is knocking on Zoey’s door after she passes the IT crowd on her floor who are behaving as frat guys. He’s there to a) remind her she’s also his boss now and b) their new watch has er … manufactured? There’s a video doing laps in the cybersphere of a customer’s watch catching on fire. In an emergency meeting, Zoey declares there’s something in the watch’s battery, causing them to overheat. Stretched across the overhead television is Danny Michael Davis, a flashback to the season prior and taking his position as the watchdog over the company. He claims things are currently rough for him; if the requirement for such word is sipping from a wine glass stained with crimson. Simon is the star player and newly appointed PR spokesperson as he suggests blaming the predicament on an overreach.
Ever had the situation occur of texting your sibling from the other side of the room? The relationship between them may not be of that nature, but Emily has sent out a desperate SOS instant message to Maggie. She’s in the living room with her talkative sister desiring to take a nap. As a diversion, Maggie implores there are some flowers (remember the show-stopping waltz between Maggie and Mitch where flowers acted as the central decor?) fresh off the pot in her glasshouse. Zoey is rushing out of the office for her sexcapade when a game of fire wrist played by the IT crowd marks its conclusion. The rules are simple: prolong its repair by watching it blow up. So far, newcomer George – 1. Wristwatch – 0.
The fourth floor may be littered with males, but the elevator Zoey has popped into has taken the opposite turn. This won’t be the last of them. For now, we’re swept into opera music as Mo is deep into his feelings. A switch to the vinyl player pours out the bitter aftertaste of love gone wrong through a Sam Smith ballad. Their velvet tones aren’t what we hear but rather Mo’s, a building melancholy rhythm anchored to his body. Barefoot, he dances around his tiny kitchen, whispering he’s just too good at goodbyes. To what, though? Max? The business deal? It’s a field of questions being fired at Zoey; the way she shuts Max up is by leading him back into their makeout session. Something about it doesn’t equate to the romantic image he has in his head. So, after Airbnb scrolling for the perfect remote cabin, Zoey will snoop through the Mo case.
There’s a musical number starting to rumble in the office space using office chairs as musical instruments. It’s perhaps my favorite of the episode, Lief’s Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” rendition. Of course, as always, there’s a much deeper meaning behind it all. Apparently, he’s done a really bad thing?
Back in suburban America, Maggie is taking a walk with Jenna. It’s where we see the other side to the sister feud; one that’s gasoline is comparison. For being the oldest between them, it’s almost as if it doesn’t quite matter. Emily’s always leading the race. Feeling remorseful, Maggie asks how Jenna thinks she can help better Emily’s situation. “A Swedish massage by Swedish men?”
Being stuck within the confines of an office with Zoey, Leif explains why he’s led to believe the watch incident is his fault. He rushed through the process to stay on schedule. Zoey reminds him of the mistakes she’s made along the way; in fact, no one is perfect, and it’s through making your way through them that you end up learning. We follow Zoey back to Mo’s place. He has an 80s disco wig on that stops just near his ear-line. Zoey, on the other hand, is caked in makeup. She shadows the problem at hand with the question of if Max would prefer this look on her? If he didn’t, they could strike up an agreement. Mo’s having none of it and orders Zoey to get out.
She sneaks back in, this time coming with a present wrapped in a binder with large font reading “SPRQPOINT” on it. Team building, anyone? She doesn’t budge until there’s an RSVP event scheduled: the burning of Zoey’s sweaters. Zoey finds Leif on a canopy, dusting with sleep from the overnighter spent fixing the watch. It was a giant slumber party with many games involved; one’s cranberry Leif where they throw them at him. A fond memory’s shared of the same happening to her; It may not be of the identical fruit bracketing but did fall into peanuts. With a cheeky grin, he replies, “Yeah, that was a fun one.”
For the day Max has accompanied Mo, they’ve had a coffee break, a lunch break, and a 45-minute break where the latter ignored the prior. In a feat to let go of silence, they play a game of truth or dare. The confession slips that Max has never once heard his father tell him he’s proud of him (cue an interesting backstory for a later episode). There’s a pause in the conversation as Mo gets up, explaining the reasoning why he’s not taking the business deal is because he crossed his friend way back by changing designs for a company they were supposed to run together. To make matters worse, he cut the other out of the deal due to his persistence to control their future, thinking he could do it all by himself. The guilt harbored from putting someone through such an act is the reason as to why there’s a wedge between them—not wanting to do the same to Max, too. He reminds him every relationship is a risk and that together they’ll work out anything.
Once one emergency is sorted, another plays out, the battlegrounds of it being Zoey’s house. Only it’s not so laced with the energy of backstabbing rather what they’ve had laid out for the entirety of the episode. On the bed are scatterings of rose petals, and lights litter the desk. It’s magical and pure, similar to them; however, it’s not quite them yet if there wasn’t just something that decidedly went wrong. They may not have curated each other a mixtape, but through the use of her powers, the sounds in his heart are similar to telepathic messages. He believes by thinking about baseball, the wind-up carousel reminiscent number will be filtered through, and it does for a short while until it just doesn’t work anymore.
They turn into a confused performance sparked by Boyz II Men’s earworm “I’ll Make Love To You,” by which point Max’s shorts are down, yet he’s growing exasperated. He eventually finds himself walking out the door; this leaves Zoey with a particular idea as they both belt out Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This.” People truly wait for a moment like this for a scene filled with such hilarity and even more so those waiting at the kitchen table, quickly realizing what’s ensued. The playful camaraderie between them is the sort that would fill out the cinema with echoed laughter, making us nostalgic for large watch parties. There’s even a half-attempt for a high five between Max and David, purely for him to shake himself out of it as this is his sister.
Those girls in the elevators we said were going to make their comeback in the latter of the episode? Well, the time’s called for it. To shake up the floor’s dynamic to shy away from male shenanigans, those three named McKenzie, Yasmine, and Jazz will be joining the IT crowd. We’re left with the knowledge of Mo signing the contract, leaving a regretful experience in the past. “Today, I got into bed with both of my friends,” Max jokes.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Tuesdays on NBC at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. C.