Review of ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist episode 02×09: “Mystery”
This week, Zoey (Jane Levy) is on a special mission and she does not know it. There are definitely hints, but you all know this girl by now. She is not hearing a thing! So when Mo (Alex Newell) takes her for a birthday psychic reading, Zoey comes away with even more skepticism and something more. The heartsongs are mixed up and she must figure out whose song is being sung. This means working backwards and listening to all the people in her life–something that Zoey struggles with daily. This day, it more about hearing and seeing, in order to be able to truly help the most silent person amongst her people.
She is working through her friends, from Mo’s country ditty “The More I Drink” to Simon’s (John Clarence Stewart) “What Does the Fox Say?” Zoey has a day full of really figuring out her friend’s lives. She finds that Max (Skylar Astin) and his new boo Rose (Katie Findlay) are happily in love, but ole girl has a big secret. She is afraid to tell Max, fearing that he will see her differently. Her song ends up being “The More I Drink”. Max’s song is one that distresses us and Zoey. It’s “Anyone”.
The Demi Lovato ballad is a very sad depiction of the innermost thoughts of s person in pain. The chorus is a literal cry for help.
Anyone, please send me anyone
Lord, is there anyone?
I need someone, oh
Anyone, please send me anyone
Lord, is there anyone?
I need someone.
–Demi Lovato Dancing with the Devil: The Art of Starting Over (2020)
Lovato’s powerhouse alto forces you to take notice of the sadness. However, in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, we hear voices are more delicate. Alex doesn’t pound the idea home as hard as Lovato, but he has the emotion to raise all the alarms. Whoever this song belongs to is in distress, this is an emergency…maybe even a final cry.
The Silent One Isn’t Always the Saddest
Zoey makes her way through her friend group, helping Mo and his new “situation-ship” figure out the problem of kids. Simon’s fox song belongs to Mo’s beau Perry’s son. Perry (David St. Louis) is worried about balancing the kids a a new relationship. Simon’s song ends up being “Love on the Brain,” sang by Perry’s son (Rocco Morris). There’s even a friendly “IDGAF” sang by Rose, but we know that she was switched with Mo. By the end of the day, Zoey has run through all of her friends and family, but cannot figure out who is in need of her help.
The urgency of the song drives Zoey to pull away from Simon and his “love on the brain” and even Mo and Perry’s adorable coupling with the kids. She goes through everyone before figuring out that she missed one person. However, when she arrives, Emily is putting the baby down and singing “Rosana”. That’s not her song. Just as quickly, Emily delicate voice struggles between heaving cries to force out the chorus. That urgent call for help that is emergent and may even be her last call.
Broken but Silent
Alice Lee needs an Emmy nomination for the way she broke all the way down and turned herself inside out to go from happy new mom to the pile of broken glass that PPD (postpartum depression) turns us new moms into. Simply flawless.
I am a PPD survivor who can attest to the silent desperation that Emily is feeling in this episode. I say survivor because the condition is hard to get help for and so many women end up taking their own lives, sadly. According to Postpartum Support International, “many women experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of a child, 15 to 20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety.” The condition is treatable with a very high rate of success.
However, treatment can only begin if the mom speaks out. The problem is that silence is encouraged by societal norms about new moms and our country’s lack of support for mothers after the baby is born. Many people of color, like Emily, are also silenced by cultural norms and the fear of a racist medical institution. Her heart song was probably the only warning that anyone was going to get that something is amiss.
I Hear You
After spending a whole episode listening to the people she loves most, Zoey is prepared to come to Emily’s aide. Her words “I hear you” are the ones that a mom suffering from PPD needs to hear most. She also need to know that she is seen and then taken to a medical professional for treatment.
I hope next week they continue with Emily’s storyline, heaping on some useful information about PPD for the audience. New moms need people watching for this because we don’t even know we are in the PPD zone! We just feel broken, raw, and drowning in darkness. That’s why this episode is so important. It ends the frustrating call for new moms to reach out for help. Instead, it begins normalizing the need for family and friends to check in with the new mom. Hear her. See her. Get her some help,
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Sundays on NBC. You can also stream this episode and others on the Peacock app.
Rating 5 of 5
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