'Hart of Dixie' mid-season finale post mortem: Showrunners Leila Gerstein, Les Butler on Wade and Vivian's new relationship, what it means for Zoe

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The "Hart of Dixie" mid-season finale, "Miracles," aired on Monday (Nov. 25), and it gave Zoe/Wade fans something to cheer about (that kiss!) and something to fear (Vivian and Wade?). After getting advice from his ex-wife Tansy, Wade decided to move on from Zoe and date an available woman ... and promptly ran into Zoe's cousin Vivian. Should Zoe/Wade fans be worried that this new relationship is going to grow?

According to showrunners Leila Gerstein and Les Butler, the answer is a resounding yes. "We're in [episode] 16 land right now and [Vivian's] still around," Gerstein tells Zap2it. "That is what the next episode, episode 9, is about as Zoe's in the middle as they're beginning. It's her new cousin and her ex-boyfriend. It's hard for Zoe."

Confusing Zoe/Wade fans even more is the fact that the mid-season finale also played host to a big Zoe/Wade kiss ... although Wade was on a ton of anti-anxiety meds at the time. "The kiss is supposed to show us that whatever drugs Wade took before the dentist helped him to see the truth. So we are supposed to see the kiss as the truth of Wade's feelings at this particular moment," Gerstein says. "But then Tansy talks to him about, 'Time to give that up and move along, have a real relationship with a real grown up.' So that's setting him up for when he sees Vivian who is a real grown up, a mom, and mature. He's ready. He sees that as time to move on to that."

Vivian's kid is going to present Wade with another chance to grow up even more. "It's a good step up for Wade. It will give the audience the chance to see another side of him as Vivian has a kid," Butler tells Zap2it. "And merging Wade into the whole Wilkes family, there will be some fun to that."

According to Bulter and Gerstein, Wade won't have the easiest time getting to know Vivian's kid. "The kid hates him. That's kind of funny," Gerstein teases. "Wade is kind of a father figure but there's this 8-year-old kid that's really getting under his skin, making his life miserable. And he has to get past the kid to get to the mom. I think it's a really fun way to do a foil in a love story, with little Harley."

Besides Harley, Wade will get the chance to bond with Vivian's family, who also happens to be Zoe's family now that she's gotten to know them. "After this episode, Zoe's in with the Wilkes. We're going to start telling more stories about her and her family," Gerstein says. "And now Wade is also kind of tangentially in with the family and it gets more complicated."

We've seen Wade maturing throughout Season 3, and his relationship with Vivian and her family (and moving on from Zoe) will only add to that, according to Butler. "We wanted to throw Wade in a lot of situations this year where he has to come of age," Butler says. "It happened early on in owning a business and now finding himself in a family is another way that he's growing. We looked at that as that would be a good story for him to show in a lot of ways how he's growing up."

So should Zoe/Wade fans lose all hope that their shipper pairing of choice has no future? "Zoe and Wade will always be at the forefront [of the series], whatever relationship they have. As the season goes, they continue to evolve as a friendship and in a relationship in general," Butler reveals. "They're important to us, obviously. But you never know where life takes you. It's the Bluebell motto. Miracles can happen, and they sometimes do. We're setting the table now for the second run."

Gerstein understands that the love triangle that roped the fans in at the beginning can't drive the show for the entire series. "There's only so long you can play this one love triangle," Gerstein says.

Butler does have some encouraging words for fans who still don't like Joel since he got in the middle of Zoe and Wade and for fans of Joel's newfound friendship with Wade. "We actually love the growing friendship with Joel and Wade. It has some great payoffs, and that love story continues," Butler says. "In the second half, there are payoffs to everything that we're seeing right now and that triangle is going to be one of them for sure."

But Gerstein is excited to see how Zoe's relationship with Joel helps her grown and mature. "This is Zoe's first real adult relationship. I don't know that we can count Wade as such, really," Gerstein says. "She's with someone and they're building a life together. She's fully chosen Bluebell as her home and meeting her family is probably the biggest area of growth for her. Her mom's going to come back and deal with the fact that Zoe now has the Wilkes."

"Hart of Dixie" returns Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW