'Hart of Dixie' Season 3 premiere: Zoe goes home for good ... but does home mean Bluebell or New York?

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The "Hart of Dixie" Season 3 premiere had many classic "Hart of Dixie" staples: a town parade, hilarious quotes, relationship drama, and Zoe Hart learning a valuable lesson. The lesson the pint-sized doc learned by the hour's end? In order to know the answer to the question, "Who says you can't go home?" you have to first know where "home" is. For Zoe, home wasn't New York, as she always thought. As Lavon so wisely pointed out to her, "What if Buebell is real and New York is just the rest stop?"

Before Zoe arrived at this life-changing realization, she first had to make many, many mistakes (surprise surprise). The biggest mistake: extending her summer in New York from three months to five, and then deciding to stay in the Big Apple permanently. Instead of saying goodbye to all her friends (and exes) in Bluebell, she sent emails letting everyone know she wasn't coming back. Life in New York made Bluebell seem like a blip on her radar, especially once she met novelist Joel ("Dexter's" Josh Cooke), and they decided to move in together. Zoe fell back into her city life easily and comfortably, and it took little Rose surprising her in NYC to remind her of all the people she so callously left behind.

Zoe realized the right thing to do was to say goodbye to everyone in person, and Joel told her to go and "tie up all the loose ends" in Bluebell (and get Brick to sign her letter of recommendation for the co-op board presiding over the New York apartment of her dreams). And of course the first person Zoe sees upon her return is the biggest loose end of them all: Wade.

Their reunion was so heartbreaking to watch. It's hard to tell which was worse: Wade's indifference to Zoe, or Zoe's total look of regret and guilt as she saw her ex. Clearly these two still have feelings for each other, but things are now so complicated. First of all, Joel came to meet Zoe in Bluebell -- totally surprising her in a cute way, but the fact that he's perfect in every way only makes it more annoying since he's standing in the way of Zoe/Wade's happy ending. And then, trying to help Wade "win the breakup," Lemon lied to Zoe and said she and Wade were in love (she was actually hooking up with Meatball and needed a cover). All these lies and shenanigans are just delaying the inevitable Zoe/Wade reunion, right? Right?!

As for Lemon's tryst with Meatball, hopefully this thing is for real. Sure, Lemon may be ashamed of it right now (and the look on Wade's face when she confessed her affair with Meatball? Priceless), but in the long run this could be really good for her. He's easygoing, fun, spontaneous, and seems to make her happy. She just needs to stop caring about what other people might think, but it's going to take a few more shenanigans and schemes to blow up in her face before she comes to that realization. Let's hope Meatball sticks with her through it all and these two crazy kids can make it work.

One Bluebell resident who hasn't been getting some sweet loving all summer? George Tucker. After Zoe ruined his relationship with Tansy, he went on the road and actually penned a hit song. The downside? The song was all about the pain Zoe caused him, and Tansy heard it on the radio. The lyrics confirmed her suspicions about Zoe and George, and she wouldn't take him back (she even slapped him across the face when he tried to hug her! Harsh). This sent George on a bender, and he went MIA when Bluebell needed him most against rival town Filmore. 

Lemon whips him back into shape (in a hilarious training montage, no less!), but there's a slight problem that might derail him once again: Tansy is dating the star lawyer in Filmore, a.k.a. George's nemesis. George heads back to the bar, gets drunk, and makes a very big mistake: hooking up with Lynly, Lavon's cousin -- who is totally rude and Annabeth is clearly fed up with her. To be fair, George and Lynly didn't exchange names, so it's not completely George's fault, but something tells us Lavon won't be too pleased with George.

Zoe was planning on heading back to New York when Wade's dad Earl needed her urgent help. He had blood poisoning, and needed to be monitored all night long. Earl also made Wade sit with him, so the two exes finally had time to talk. Zoe explained how Wade's declaration of love meant something to her, but she missed who she was in New York, and that living there was easier. Wade, clearly resigned, just said he hoped she was happy. 

Earl made it through the night and Lavon convinced Zoe the next day that Bluebell is where she belongs after she rode in the town parade like a champ. She convinced Joel to stay in town with her (since he's a writer, and can supposedly work anywhere). Were you surprised at how easily Zoe came to the realization that Bluebell is her home, or did you expect that the big city transplant knew deep down that she belonged in the south? And how long do you think Joel will stick around before realizing Zoe/Wade are endgame? 

We give it four more episodes.

"Hart of Dixie" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW