This season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist has been an emotional rollercoaster, and the finale left everything on the table for us to share. From Zoey’s relationship drama between Max and Simon, to watching her family grow closer while her father, Mitch, was fading last week. So get comfortable, make sure you have some tissues handy, and read on for all that happened in the season 1 finale this week.
Our finale opens with Zoey getting ready for the day, but when she looks at her reflection throughout her apartment, she is singing “Bad Moon Rising.” It freaks her out so much as she thinks she is singing out loud again, or having a mental breakdown. She runs across the hall to Mo’s, who is also creatively stuck due to his own “issues” with Eddie and their breakup from last week. Zoey decides to make sure everything is okay with her family and dad, if there is a bad moon on the rise, and to see if she can stop it. Checking in with her family, her father is more chipper and alert, but mom dropped her wedding ring down the garbage disposal and she’s fishing for it … a situation that could always end in disaster, but does not.
Forward to SPRQ Point and Leif is back on the fourth floor and Zoey’s team, because who wants to be on the sixth floor anyway? Leif asks about Max, however Zoey did not know that he had been fired. Joan assumes she is getting fired now since she has a voicemail from Danny Michael Davis, but Zoey tells her to not call him back yet. Later that morning, Zoey takes Max out for cheesequakes where they run into Simon who has cheesequakes in hand. While Max tells the story of how and why Ava fired him, Zoey is distracted by Simon and his being “jealous.” When she comes back to reality, a light comes crashing down and shatters next to their table.
Zoey stops at Simon’s office when she comes back to check in, asking about Vegas, and lets him know he has nothing to be jealous of when it comes to Max. He admits he was super jealous, and he doesn’t want the kind of relationship he had with his ex, but one that is more open and communicative. Mo shows up to give Zoey a piece of his mind for setting him and Eddie back together, and though Mo is mad, inside he is screaming that “I will follow him.” Mo is annoyed at Zoey’s power and storms out of her office just as she gets a text from David, her brother, that Emily is in labor. Zoey rushes to the hospital to see Emily being sent home as it was Braxton Hicks instead, but David is disappointed since he wants his kid to meet his father. Right before Zoey leaves, she finds herself in front of the MRI machine that gave her this ability to hear music in people; our girl is clearly terrified of that thing and we don’t blame her one bit. In the end, Mo does listen to Zoey’s advice, getting over his issues and back together with Eddie.
Joan followed Zoey’s advice and did not call Danny Michael Davis back, so he stopped in the office instead, in the middle of one of her other meetings. As it turns out, he wants Joan to take over the entirety of SPRQ Point for the next 6 to 18 months, and she has to go to Singapore on Friday for approval. Zoey does get approval from Danny Michael Davis to hire Max back after his unfair termination though, however he declines. He liked being in charge and he was good at it, and he is excited to try something new and go into the unknown.
The will they or won’t they of Max and Zoey is almost answered, because Max being excited about his uncertain future is a turn-on for Zoey and she kisses Max out of the blue. He begins singing “All Of Me,” Zoey asks him to please think of something else, and he goes into “I Know You Want Me,” which Zoey cannot stop or even watch. She asks Max to please make his mind go blank and just as things are heating up, her phone rings. She just has to check it and will only answer if its … Home. The bad moon rose after all.
Zoey walks into her parents home with Max only to be immediately called into the kitchen where Howie, Mitch’s caretaker, breaks the news to the entire family. Mitch, over the last two weeks, has been declining. The time has come to say goodbye, and no matter how much one can prepare for that moment you can never really prepare. He will stay as long as he is needed, to offer support, and morphine to keep Zoey’s dad comfortable. David has an emotional break, the thought of his son not being able to meet his father is too much. Max however decides to call Simon and let him know to update him, figuring Zoey would want him to know. As Max is leaving, he does tell Maggie that he had a chance to tell Mitch goodbye and to let him know exactly how he feels about Zoey. Maggie is sure that Mitch already knew.
While Emily is doing her best to comfort David, Zoey checks on her brother, but he doesn’t want his dad to see him in that state, except Zoey points out that their dad never held back his emotions and she became the spiritual guru when “a magical MRI machine changed her forever.” David and Emily saying goodbye to Mitch is a beautiful rendition of “Goodnight My Angel”, from Billy Joel, between David, Emily, and Mitch himself. No matter where they go in life, their dad will never be far away. And someday, when their child cries and they sing this lullaby, there will always be a part of him there. Hey now… we told you at the beginning to bring tissues!
Just as Max is leaving, Simon pulls up to deliver a lasagna, because a lot of people did the same for him and his mom after his dad died. Simon offers his strength and support, letting Zoey know that she is not alone in this. She was there for him and he wants to return the favor, even getting Zoey her own Grief Basket, like what she did for him. When Zoey comes back in, she finds her dad had been moved back to his hospital bed and Maggie singing “Dream A Little Dream Of Me,” snuggling up to Mitch the best she can one more time.
What is death like? According to Simon, “Death is hideous, ugly, and grotesque, and wildly, wildly unfair. Or maybe, death is beautiful, and spiritual, and transcendent, and sometimes a very necessary, and a very freeing escape from our physical bodies when they are no longer habitable.” Zoey is seeking clarity on how to look at it, except Maggie interrupts to let her know that now is a good time to go talk to her dad.
Zoey doesn’t want to have a final conversation with her dad, she wants to keep things normal and have a regular conversation, or a confession of sorts. She fills him in on romantic updates, and that the musical numbers she is hearing in her head, she no longer minds them and they help her too. She wants him to know that his daughter is okay. Mitch takes a raspy breath, Simon and the rest of the family rush in to be there for him in this moment.
Now if you didn’t need the tissues before, you may just need them now because watching what happens next play out was the most poetic and painfully beautiful scene yet.
Zoey hears her father behind her, “I want to talk to you for a moment,” seeing him standing in a suit and tie, inviting her to dance, except she doesn’t hear music. Her father asks what she calls the songs other people sing, “heart songs,” a great name for them too. While dancing with her dad, she begins crying at the thought of not hearing him sing anymore. Mitch tries to assure her that she will always hear him sing and to focus on him, not what is happening in the other room. “I know we can do better than this,” while an instrumental version of “True Colors” begins playing. Dad and daughter dance in the empty living room, laughing, one last time, while Mitch himself passes away when the music ends.
After the funeral, David, Emily, Maggie, and Zoey all would rather stay in the car than go into a house filled with people, except at some point you have to face the music. The four of them stand in the rain for a moment, and Maggie begins singing “American Pie,” A long, long time ago … as the first verse goes, through Maggie, David, and Emily, “the day the music died.” When the family comes in though, they have everyone there, Simon, Max, Mo, Mitch’s Doctor, Howie, Joan, anyone who has played a special part in their lives over the last several months. Pieces of verses are sung by almost everyone, toasting wine to celebrate life, and a photo video montage playing in the background. Zoey leans on Max for a moment as well, to be pulled a way by Mo, drawn back over to Simon. As the music slows down and voices fade, Zoey sings out loud against the quiet, the final chorus, “And they were singing, bye, bye Miss American pie. Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry. Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye, the day the music died.”
The ending of this season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist was beautiful and painful, and perhaps just what we as viewers needed. Every single person on this show has done an outstanding job all season long, and if nothing else, we are a little better for it. For more information on what Mitch’s diagnosis was, and PSP, along with how to help, click here, and don’t forget to follow Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on Twitter for updates.