Drag your cursor over to the glorious karaoke-inspired party anthems playlist as we tune into Zoey’s cocktail hour for this week’s episode, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Employee.” So, if we were to dig into specifics, then each drink is designed at the hands of barman-turned restaurant co-owner Mo. They’re half-sour, half-sweet, and not exactly up to Zoey’s taste as she politely declines at the fault of finally being able to sleep again. Remember the dppelgänger night terrors? Yikes. The rest of the Clarke clan, they’re acting as the three bears as one claims it’s full of alcohol, the other that it could possibly clean wounds, and the third being that the sugar’s … nice? As for Emily’s sister, she’s chugging that Mo-jito down.
While tipsiness swirls in the air, the conversation turns towards the possibly 100th jury win at the hands of David. It’s a pretty big achievement. Upon football games reaching a milestone of that grandness, cheerleaders high kick on the field. However, when the Clarke’s are involved, they desire to fill up a court’s box with a glitter approved sign. A droopy Zoey follows a preppy Mo into the dimly lit kitchen where she’s wondering just how he’s able to be so upbeat amidst the censual one out of 10 criticism. “Unlike some people, I don’t want to wallow,” he claims. The instructional guide is as follows: step one, roll out of bed with the choice of being happy. Step two, repeat the previous each day. Is it that easy? Zoey believes so, parading through work to give out a compliment fest until she’s stuck in the elevator with a celebratory George who’s proclaiming it’s his Abuela’s birthday. That’s if she wasn’t dead, much like Zoey’s father. He brings up, by the way.
Simon catches Zoey on her way out, and at least he’s providing somewhat of a happier tone? Playing around with a football, it’s time for his first hotshot company spokesperson interview with WIRED magazine. In the awkwardly bubbly spurt Zoey always typically does when it comes to him, she tries to state that he’ll work his charm. It comes out more like, “You can charm the pants off …”, winning her a smile. Is that him back in the messy love triangle game now that Max has taken a stage exit? There’s a Leif in her boss manager chair. He doesn’t come with a snarky anecdote. Rather the fatal news that she needs to fire 10% of the fourth floor today. Who, though? Is it Yasmine who comes with an attitude problem and a side of doesn’t pull her weight, or should it be him? It definitely can’t—neither Tobin, who waltzes on over to sugar up Zoey. Using their nerdy tech brains, they come up with the easy solution of designing a program that tracks employer proactivity. Who’s better to do it than our target-savvy Yasmine? In what appears to be a washed-out modernized version of a Bridgerton castle, Maggie is being chatted up by her customer. With a slim stature and short spiky white hair, he looks rather dashing, but it’s a thought rummaging in the back of her mind as she presumably hasn’t noticed. Wearing a yellow puffy snow jumper, Jenna noticeably has.
Our two M’s, Mo and Max, look relatively spacious as they bicker about their restaurant’s finer details. Mo believes this has something to do with the Zoey dunzo stitch, but Max strikes back that as much as it’s disappointing, it simply wasn’t the right time for them. What does that call for? A cleanse. It was not only break-up wise but also twinged with the reality of some sort of bankrupt juju shadowing over with various restaurants leaving the property within a short amount of time. Over at San Francisco’s County Courthouse, there might not be any cheerleaders with showy pom-poms, but there is a dance break. David’s feeling a tad strained as he wants to break ties with the legal system. It’s very broadway stylized, this Queen number to “I Want to Break Free”; bold jumpy dance movements cutaway babyfaces and the voice belonging to the judge. Playing a spectator to his performance, Zoey sits with him on the outside steps stating, “did kinda seem like you wanted to get out of there.” He wonders just how she picked up on it. Ah, musical player thoughts teller.
After grief, one realizes life is rather short, and he doesn’t want to spend his tied to a job that no longer makes him happy. Zoey nudges him to speak to Emily. Speaking Italian on the phone, Maggie walks through a flowery vineyard with the handsome customer following closely behind. He asks her out, she declines. See, she just lost her husband, and he’s going through a divorce. Meanwhile, at SPRQPOINT, Simon is readying himself for his first interview as a company spokesperson. The interviewer seems cute at first, making banter about the company’s level of diversity before turning into the shark she was just trying to hunt on her app while waiting. Her first question leaves him stammering. David has similar shark-infested news to tell Emily, which he does, upon walking into their bedroom. He wants to play a swapsy in roles where she takes over the breadwinner of the house, and he becomes a stay at home dad. She rattles off a grocery list of reasons as to why it could never work out. Starting from the uneven ground they’re currently on shouldn’t be more cracked due to another monumental change to the bank, never allowing them to take out a loan for their dream board house on only one pay salary. She begs him to ponder on it.
It’s a lot like one of those terrible montages back over with Zoey, watching one nameless face after the other lose their jobs due to the shortage — until it’s time to check back in with the employer proactivity list, and the next person on the firing chock block is none other than our Georgey boy. No silent prayer in his office chair is going to be able to help him now. Here come the echoing rumblings of another musical number as Simon shimmies down the corridor to Lizzo’s independently proclaimed track, “Juice.” Nevermind the quick interval to apologize to one of those faceless now sacked employees; he’s in a rather great mood. Of course, Zoey picks up on it, coming to the other conclusion that the interview went swimmingly well. In this week’s bleak theme, it’s nice to have some sprinkles of happiness, right?
There’s a certain roleplay happening in Zoey’s office as she falls easily into being the sister who must now sack her brother. She tries to reason with George by insinuating it wouldn’t exactly be fair to let someone else go who was performing better than him. He meekly agrees, knowing he wouldn’t get the gold star sticker on his work for coding. Rather this day was inevitable. Meanwhile, grab those tarot card decks and burnt sage as Mo calls upon the power of the Beyhive to provide as much success as its Queen Bey onto the newly established restaurant. How does one call upon her highness? The songbook. Perhaps its pages are littered with tunes telling of a melancholy love as Zoey walks in to greet Max awkwardly.
It’s the first time they’ve talked since leaving their relationship on the living room floor of her apartment and doesn’t last exactly long either as she races to the bar. If how to achieve happiness was the question and actively choosing it was for the first multiple-choice, then b and c would read as alcohol with dragging your grumpy co-owner up for a round of karaoke just underneath. Matching the array of poppy colors swirling the walls, Paula Abdul’s smash 2012 hit drifts out of the jukebox except when every in-between pause of Mo passing the microphone in Max’s direction is met with an empty silence. Begrudgingly, he walks up to the stage and even comically makes a point of moving his microphone stand away from the other. Insert Simon and his friend, the interviewer lady from WIRED magazine, into the picture, and Zoey’s up to four drinks now? Max takes his leave from the stage. Mo follows him out. There’s a certain taste of regret in the air since he feels that the latter is only ever taking two steps back.
It’s the same sensation lingering back at the Clarke’s house where noises are coming from a drumset, filtering through the walls until they’re met with an unpleasant groan from Maggie. You know, there’s a strange thing that happens after a relationship has been lost to grief where while they are no longer with us, we feel that we still owe ourselves to show up for them as if we would if they were alive. Never truly realizing that what they would most want for us now is to instead be happy no matter what form that comes in. Over at the bar, tipsy Zoey is being rather touchy-feely with Max. Her hands can be spotted on his arms, and Mo’s can be seen dragging the redhead away into the taxi back to her apartment. A geekily punny poster hangs over Zoey’s head as she does the opposite of what it’s telling her, putting hazards on the smoke, so her current fire viciously spreads. Who’s on the other side of that drunk phone call? None other than George, who she has to fire for a second time. His exit from the building calls for a Britney moment™.
Mo has news for Max. It turns out the latter’s going to be the leading piece for WIRED magazine as within some intermingling at last night’s party, the interviewer lady deems an IT turned fancy restaurant business owner as a great subject. Not so bad for someone who was supposedly slacking? Max comes with an apology. Simon’s walking into the meditation room where its candlelit lighting works bravely with Zoey’s hangover. It’s serene in there, him telling her this fishbowl life may come with so many curveballs, but you’re selflessly entitled to feel more than one emotion as you freestyle through. Maybe that’s how she’ll settle into a state of happiness. David will find his through Emily granting him permission to quit his job as the shedding of responsibilities merely leaves behind a heartfelt rendition of “I’ll Stand by You.” As the inky grey skies with its fully lit moon shine down on them, Zoey creeps up the drummer boy’s driveway to welcome in nostalgia. Aiden has raggedy dark brown hair falling past his ears to cut upon his shoulder blades, a thick Australian accent and the invitation for her to come inside the boy she used to know’s house. What does that say for the love triangle? Boy, are we about to find out.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. C on NBC.