‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ 2×01: Zoey reminds us that it’s okay to grieve

Zoey is back (ish)!

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×01, Season 2, Episode 1, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Return” aired on NBC Jan. 5, 2021

There have been many shows on television that have tackled death, and the immediate aftermath of death, but no show has captured the guilt-ridden ache and long lingering struggle of grief quite like Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×01 did. Grief isn’t always screaming and crying, sometimes it’s the smaller, quiet battles you fight within yourself that hurt the most. 

Another thing that made this episode so impactful was that it came at a time when so many in this country have lost loved ones. That and the fact that we have all lost our versions of normal over this past year. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist gave us all the opportunity to shed some much needed tears and grieve right along with Zoey for our own losses. 

ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — “Zoey’s Extraordinary Return” Episode 201 — Pictured: Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)


We start season 2 with a Zoey who is still feeling the loss of her father, and in many ways, the loss of herself. She is living with her mother and hasn’t returned to her former life since the tragic death of Mitch. She is surrounded by her supporting friends (who have all started hanging out) and is welcomed back to work with open arms and a promotion offer – but our girl is still feeling like a shell of herself. 

Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that strange feeling where it feels like you are doing something wrong by being happy and that’s exactly the stasis Zoey seems to be stuck in. Zoey’s world may have stopped, but everything else has kept moving. Joan has a new job (and we will miss her so much), Leif has swapped sitting desks with standing ones (ugh), there is a new employee named George (we love him) and there’s a dog for some reason (okay, that’s a fun one). When Zoey steps back into her life, she is overwhelmed AF.

ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — “Zoey’s Extraordinary Return” Episode 201 — Pictured: Harvey Guillen as George — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate)

Pick a team!

Another thing that has been stalled during Zoey’s grief is her relationships with Simon and Max. Aside from a wonderful duet between the two dudes, there wasn’t much focus on the love story (until the end of the episode), which was nice. We got to spend this time with Zoey and her family to really feel what they are feeling. 

Speaking of the fam, Maggie was keeping herself busy with passwords and financials, but it was clear that she was hurting as well. It wasn’t until David played the testimonial video of Mitch that the family seemed to take a step in the direction of healing. Mitch (in his own way) gave his family permission to be happy and to move on and that’s exactly what Zoey did! 

ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST — “Zoey’s Extraordinary Return” Episode 201 — Pictured:(l-r) Skylar Astin as Max, John Clarence Stewart as Simon — (Photo by: Eric Milner/NBC/Lionsgate)

Okay, listen – we love Simon. We love him SO. MUCH. But the love story between Max and Zoey has felt just a touch more epic and we are so happy to see her let herself have that moment of joy and to “pick” Max. We are so pumped to see where this goes! 

What did you think of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×01? Tweet us your thoughts!  

Watch Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Sundays on NBC. 


Meg Bonney

Meg is a TV obsessed writer based in the Midwest. She is also the author of the award winning YA-Fantasy novel, EVERLY and tends to be overly caffeinated. Find her on Twitter to chat about TV, books and Bellamy Blake's freckles.

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