'Hart of Dixie' recap: Did Zoe come to a realization about Joel in 'Act Naturally?'

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It may not have seemed like a finale, but Monday (Feb. 10) night's "Hart of Dixie" was a finale of sorts since there won't be a new episode until March 21st -- when the show starts airing on a new night, too (Fridays). So while most fans were expecting a big cliffhanger -- a kiss between two characters, a breakup, a make up, anything show-altering -- all we got at the end was Zoe's mom declaring she was moving to Bluebell to be in Zoe's life more.

Not that exciting, huh?

But one moment stood out from the episode which found Zoe (Rachel Bilson) pulling some crazy scheme to attend two different birthday celebrations at the same time (Lavon's party and her mom's dinner), and it had nothing to do with her mother or her birthday. At the party, AnnaBeth gets a little drunk and finally confronts Lavon (after being civil and mature about their breakup) and yells at him about how he wasn't fair to her, stringing her along when he didn't see their relationship going anywhere. Later that night, Lavon confides in Zoe, asking her why he did that. He knows he loved AB, but something is holding him back. "You're a doctor, diagnose me," he asks her.

And that's when Zoe comforts him, dropping some knowledge that might be more about her than it is about him. Zoe tells Lavon that he was right to end things with AB when he did because getting engaged or marrying someone that you are not 100 percent sure of would be a massive mistake. 

Was Zoe talking her and Joel?

All throughout the episode, Zoe was lamenting about how she had to live in Lavon's carriage house again -- it felt like a step backward for her -- because the house that she and Joel bought was undergoing major renovations that would take forever to finish. Her mother kept noting how Zoe was putting down roots and making a permanent life for herself in Bluebell ... with Joel. Was Zoe starting to see that she's making all these big life decisions with the wrong guy? That maybe her life isn't going anywhere right now, and she's stuck in a rut? 

And here's where the MVP of the episode comes in: Crazy Earl. Wade's dad became the voice of the audience when Zoe and Wade tried to tell him they weren't together anymore, but the drunk guy didn't believe them at first. Zoe even tries to tell him about Joel, but he's shocked to find out that Joel is romantically involved with Zoe. "The guy with the glasses who carries a man purse? I thought he was your brother!" We would too, Earl. 

Joel's character has been criticized all season long for lacking real chemistry with Zoe. They seem more like roommates than they do as people in love. He merely tolerates her crazy schemes while also forcing her to do things she doesn't want to do -- like have a birthday party when she hates celebrating her birthday. 

Earl gets even drunker at Zoe's party and yells at Zoe and Wade, telling them they made a mistake letting each other go. He says that he already doesn't like Vivian despite never meeting her since she'll never measure up to Zoe. Of course, when he sobers up he meets Vivian and acts like a welcoming father, but hey, a drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts, right? We all know Earl loves Zoe best. 

So where does this leave us? We won't find out if Zoe truly had an epiphany about Joel for another month and a half, unfortunately. But until then, we can keep dreaming.

One other notable event from "Act Naturally" is that Tansy's an idiot. She ditched George to get back together with Scooter McGreavy who's acting like he's a changed man and wants to save the environment but we're not buying it. George, you can do better. We promise.

"Hart of Dixie" returns Friday, March 21 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW