'Hart of Dixie' Season 3 finale recap: A 'Second Chance' at love ... but for which couples?

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hart-of-dixie-season-3-finale.jpg "Hart of Dixie" fans have really been put through the ringer all season long. The cliffhanger at the end of Season 2 was the fact that Zoe left town after Wade confessed his love for her, so many thought that Season 3 would deal with the aftermath of that. Unfortunately, it did not. Zoe came back from New York after a summer away with a new boyfriend, and Joel was pretty much the exact opposite of Wade.

For the first half of Season 3, fans endured watching Wade's heart break every time he saw Zoe and Joel together, and Wade even made it clear to everyone, including Zoe, that he wasn't done fighting for her. They belonged together, even if Zoe couldn't see it then. And Wade's confidence gave "Zade" fans hope. But then the impossible happened.

Wade and Joel became friends. He stopped telling Zoe that they belonged together and started bonding with her new beau. He started supporting Zoe and Joel's relationship and became a friend -- not a romantic interest -- of Zoe's. And it looked like the end of "Zade."

That notion was reinforced when Wade started seriously dating Zoe's cousin Vivian. Even when Joel and Zoe broke up, there still wasn't any sign that "Zade" had a chance for reconciliation. Even when Vivian broke up with Wade to get back together with her ex-husband, things were chilly between Zoe and Wade (seeing as how he blamed Zoe for their breakup). But all that thankfully changed on Friday (May 16) during the "Hart of Dixie" Season 3 finale, "Second Chance."

It took a full season to get us all back to where we needed to be, but it finally happened: Both Zoe and Wade realized they still loved each other. Zoe confessed her feelings (rather publicly, because of course) to Wade, while Wade implied his feelings while talking with Joel -- who was back in town for Brando and Sylvie's wedding, and as a friend for Zoe, nothing more. Side note: How relieved were you to find out when Joel and Zoe reunited that they had been keeping in touch via email as friends, and Zoe even knew about Joel's writer girlfriend? I was worried we'd have a Zoe and Joel backslide moment when he first returned, so thank goodness we weren't running the danger of that.

But once again, we were left on a "Zade" cliffhanger. Wade decided to turn the offer to turn the Rammer Jammer into a franchise down, since he didn't see himself working in a corporate office, wearing a suit and tie. That just wasn't him. When he told Zoe that he was staying in town, a smile lit up her face, and he told her not to read too much into it. But come on, how could she not? How could we not? "Zade" is not over, and Zoe made that much clear when she told Wade that even though he might not see a future together for them, she does, and she's going to prove it to him no matter how long it takes. That smile Wade had on his face as the pint-sized doc walked away? Priceless.

So we'll have to wait until 2015 to find out what happens next with Wade and Zoe, and that wait is going to be a tough one. You see, the "Zade" cliffhanger isn't the only one that's going to be torturing fans until "Hart of Dixie" returns. Lavon and George both realized -- with the help of their personal hero Don Todd -- that they both needed to express their feelings to the women they still are in love with. While we all assumed that George was running to tell Lemon how he felt before she got on her singles cruise and Lavon was running to tell AnnaBeth how he felt before she accepted Davis' proposal, fans were in a for a huge shock, as were both George and Lavon.

They were both running to Lemon. Yup, Lavon's still got feelings for Lemon. And so does George. And they both saw each other at the dock, trying to get Lemon's attention. While they failed to get her to notice before the ship left the dock, they definitely saw each other, and just started shouting, "No. No no no. No no no no no!" The Season 1 rivalry is back on!

This is heartbreaking for more than one reason. First of all, AB turned down Davis' proposal since she realized she was still in love with Lavon. While that was amazing to hear back when we thought Lavon was running to AB, now it's extra tragic since she's throwing away this amazing, loving, sweet guy for someone who's currently still in love with her best friend. Yikes. Plus, this is going to break up the bromance that Lavon and George have finally been able to perfect ever since they were at odds over Lemon the first time! Their friendship isn't going to survive this yet again. And it might all be for nothing, since Lemon's probably going to come back from the cruise with a new guy.

So while pretty much none of the main characters got a happy ending by the time "Second Chance" ended, there were some major happy moments sprinkled in with the minor characters. Wanda's pregnant! Brando and Sylvie are married! And Cricket's gay! 

Can we talk for a second about how perfect her coming out was? Everyone in Bluebell has assumed for the past 10 years that her husband is the secretly gay one in their relationship, and everyone's always given her such a hard time about it. But it turns out, she was the one who was secretly gay! And now she's out and proud, and seriously, bravo, show. This is why "Hart of Dixie" is so amazing, the small details like that that completely take you by surprise in a good way. Can we get more Cricket in Season 4 please?

"Hart of Dixie" returns in early 2015 on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW