Jane Levy carries the weight of the whole show in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch”, and the result is probably the best individual episode of the season thus far.
This recap of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 1, Episode 8, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Jane Levy has no musical theatre experience, but you’d never know it from Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Episode 8. Here, for the first time, she doesn’t just witness the show’s trademark song-and-dance numbers but performs them all herself — and everyone else can hear her.
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch” isn’t the first time we’ve seen a little subversion of Zoey’s (Levy) powers, but it’s easily the most significant switcheroo. Now, instead of meddling in the lives of others, Zoey has to confront her own feelings about her father’s illness, and her relationships with both Max (Skylar Astin) and Simon (John Clarence Stewart), neither of which she’s ready to deal with. And just as things were looking up! She and Max aren’t ready for movie night yet, but they’re cool. Tobin (Kapil Talwalkar) is operating on a new and improved 2.0 level after his heart-to-heart with Leif (Michael Thomas Grant), and the CEO of SPRQ Point, Danny Michael Davis (Noah Weisberg), is coming in for a meeting about Chirp.
There are problems, obviously — the SPRQ Point watches are experiencing a glitch that has organized all their saved appointments for Christmas Day, and the timeline for Chirp is much longer than Zoey or Joan (Lauren Graham) would like. But this is nothing compared to the news that Zoey receives about her father, Mitch (Peter Gallagher) — his medication is no longer stopping the progress of his disease, and they’re entering the final stages. This is the news that sends Zoey spiraling and causes her powers to drastically malfunction.
Thus begins a cascade of terribly embarrassing moments as Zoey continues to belt out her feelings in various lonely solos; she sings to Joan and Leif in a meeting, and then to Danny Michael Davis during the Chirp presentation. Luckily Max sees this and is able to intervene, making the whole thing look like an unconventional pitch. As a show of thanks, Zoey sings to him privately about how much she cares for him, then goes and sings to Simon about how much she wants him to want her, which Max happens to stumble in on.
The whole thing’s a disaster, clearly, and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Episode 8 leans into the awkwardness of the whole endeavor. Levy does a great job of putting across her discomfort and reluctance but also her sincerity when she sings to Max and Simon. In various conversations with Max, who you’ll recall is aware of her abilities now, she attempts to figure out both what’s causing the glitch and what might be done to stop it, but as an audience we know it’s because she’s keeping the truth of the matter to herself. She pretends to Max that she’s nervous about the CEO dropping in unannounced and says nothing about Mitch, and when she explains how she usually solves other people’s problems by helping them fix whatever issue they’re singing about, we know that she should practice what she preaches.
But this is why Zoey is compelling as a character — she doesn’t know how she feels, at least not about the men in her life, and her songs in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch” are as surprising to her as they are to the people she’s singing to. Max is over the moon when she confesses her feelings for him and then crushed when he interrupts her lustily serenading Simon. Zoey herself is more concerned about Max’s feelings at that moment, in some way proving his point that her song to him was about love, whereas her song to Simon was about attraction. But that attraction can’t be ignored, so she confesses to Simon that she still has residual feelings for him despite them both agreeing that they’d just be friends.
And he kisses her.
Well, things just got a whole lot more complicated in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Episode 8. But at least Danny liked the pitch.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.