Well, now I am delighted that this show has been renewed, because this finale episode was great: funny, dramatic, emotional, surprising, very well-paced, well-costumed (we get Erdem AND Lanvin), full of Don Todd, and bringing with it the return of My Beloved Joel, who looks very handsome and is apparently dating a “comedy writer” in Los Angeles who I have decided IS TOTALLY ME. And we are very happy together, you guys. He’s amused by my obsession with the Royal Family and often brings me bagels. Additionally, news broke on Wednesday that Rachel Bilson is pregnant — maybe THAT is why she looked so bedraggled in the last two episodes — and watching them try to shoot around that is going to be amazing. (Although if the show is coming back at mid-season, they might be able to pull off some scheduling magic to accommodate her; if not, I look forward to the three episodes where Zoe has been abducted by aliens and is unaccountably absent from the show that bears her name. It worked for Agent Scully! Well. “Worked” is probably a bad choice of words.)
The episode opens with a (well-shot) recap of sorts from Carl Winslow, looking dapper in seersucker, during which we are reminded that Meatball is marrying Lily Anne:
That Barry Watson has proposed to AB, and she has asked him for some time to think about it, which is almost never a good sign:
And that Lemon kinda accidentally burned down Fancie’s, to the great dismay of George — although his dismay is not THAT great, because while Lemon is apologizing to him for lighting the place on fire, he’s looking at her through what I can only call SEX-O-VISION:
He remains warm for her form. In other news, Wade is moving to Atlanta (spoiler: Wade doesn’t move to Atlanta, in part because they want him to work “at corporate” and wear a tie; Joel hears this and is basically like HA THAT’S AMAZING YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO DO THAT. My feeling is, why doesn’t Wade just license the Rammer Jammer name and not actually run the operation? Get the money, Wade, and stay at home next to your little swamp and work on your car. It’s not like he INVENTED the Rammer Jammer and loves it with all his heart; he just likes running the town bar), and Zoe has realized that she’s in love with him anew. She and Lavon are all depressed because Their Love Lives Are In Arrears. See?
That’s some sad-ass posture.
ANYWAY, so with Fancie’s burned and water-damaged, there are a variety of weddings/vow renewals to be saved, which obviously calls for a town meeting:
The town is kind of lukewarm on saving a wedding for two old people who don’t live there, and also for LilyAnne — it appears that they WOULD come together for Crickett and Stanley’s Vow Renewal, however, and eventually Lavon sort of jollies them into getting into the spirit of things. (FYI, it has just come to my attention that she spells it “Crickett,” which….is not how Crickett is spelled. Between “Crickett,” “BlueBell,” and “Fancie’s,” I kind of wonder who is teaching the people of this town how to read.) There is, by the way, an additional announcement from Tom Long at the town meeting: “Wanda has finally agreed to the alpacas! They arrive today!! Whoo! Also, Wanda is pregnant.” Tom Long is actually really funny in this episode, and I am pretty sure that’s because Wanda has no lines. Wanda sucks the funny out of ToWanda. But they can’t get rid of her now. The real point of this scene is that Lemon is wearing jeans and SNEAKERS, which I don’t think has happened before. She is charming in them.
Anyway, after the town meeting, Lavon is all, “AnnaBeth, I hope you find happiness,” and she’s like, “thanks and also my dress is cute:”
And after she trots off, he has such a sad sack convo with Lemon where he is all MAYBE ALL MY OTHER RELATIONSHIPS WERE JUST IN MY HEAD, and she was like, “they were not” — and she should know — and then he is all, “Maybe I’m one of those people who just doesn’t get to be happy.” WHICH IS INSANE. Lavon is wonderful for reasons I have often addressed here, including but not limited to how nice he is and also how handsome and rich and successful and possessed of snacks. Lemon tells him that AB would not accept Barry Watson if Lavon told her not to, and Lavon gets this look on his face that is all, “uh, I don’t really want to do that either.”
These two are back in the old Will-They-Won’t-They again, but at least Zoe’s shirt is really REALLY cute:
Lavon and George are obviously handling their romantical issues the old fashioned way: eating their feelings and watching Don Todd. WHO IS COMING TO TOWN (well, to Tallahassee):
It IS a once in a lifetime opportunity! And they decide to drive down there and camp out overnight to meet him at his book signing, a plan that warms the hearts of anyone who has ever had a book signing.
Example #404200403144 of why Lavon is the best:
His gleeful dance of joy at the idea of finally meeting Don Todd.
Meanwhile, Wade is packing all his belongings into garbage bags, because that’s how he rolls:
And Zoe is lurking around his shack trying to figure out how to confess her love, a truth that has been so painful for her to conceal that it has literally given her hiccups. My truth is that I love her leather jacket:
AB gets the Truth Telling Hiccups when Barry Watson confesses to her that he has an entire closet full of the exact same pair of shoes, and he has a weird and somewhat off-putting love of them and she realizes that she cannot marry this man:
She does eventually turn him down, ending the season single again. Which, I sort of like my AB as a sidedish and not the main course, so I am fine with this.
Don Todd’s book reading — of Don Todd on Don Todd, a title which always makes me laugh. I hope it’s shelved next to Brick Berlin’s autobiography, Brick by Brick at the Barnes and Noble — is not hugely attended, but don’t worry, Don Todd. Lavon and George are going to bring you to BlueBell, where you are the most famous man alive, and that one other dude who came to see you is clearly Christian Bale circa The Machinist, so congrats. That’s a get:
Let us leave aside the question of how a man with a presumably successful (and very expensive) TV show would NOT have great success with his book and just bask in the glory that is Scott Porter and Cress Williams’s entire body of work in terms of Don Todd Reaction Shots throughout this episode. I think this season was uneven — although parts of it were excellent! — but the Don Todd throughline was unfailingly delightful, and bringing him to BlueBell, where everyone flips their respective shit for him, and then having him teach Lavon and George that it’s better to declare your love and be rebuffed than to hold it inside was a great way of taking a throw-away joke and make it actually the impetus for the entire cliffhanger of the whole season. It’s just been so well done. HOORAY.
Also great: Lemon’s skirt, this dress on Zoe, and this scene wherein Lemon is all, “DUDE, YOU LOVE WADE, DEAL WITH IT.” The burgeoning and uneasy friendship between these two is actually really great. And Zoe is all, “FINE I LOVE WADE,” and of course Joel is there to hear this, but he’s cool with it because he and I are so happy, and I’m totally going to go with him to London because I can research my book there! We are perfect for each other except for the part where he is fictional!
Anyway, this is the world’s most convivial mutual break-up, and normally I would be all whiny about that, but, look: I get that this is a TV show and that Joel was never the endgame and none of us have time nor inclination for them to be anything other than friends, even if it is kind of unrealistic at this point (this point where I have no idea how much time has really passed since the break-up):
And in Romantic Roadblocks Popping Up To Tie Up Loose Ends, we have Vivian:
Who also has lost her unflattering bangs, and who we presumably never need to see again now that Things Are Cool with her and Wade. MOVING ON:
Joel is VERY EXCITED to be Zoe’s date for the Meatball/LilyAnne nuptials, and Tom Long is VERY excited that his favorite author Joel has returned.
“Oh my God, Joel Stevens, I missed you so much I’m having a baby and three alpacas and THAT IS MY NEWS,” he says.
And then the wedding starts and, Meatball lovers, don’t worry. He and LAL do NOT unite in the bonds of holy matrimony.
They’re singing their vows, as one does. His are the melodic and touching, “My LilyAnne’s so HOT/ My LilyAnne’s so FINE/I’m merely a TWO/But she’s surely a NINE,” whereas LAL’s song uses the word “Meatball” a lot and is all about all the dudes she’s dated who have made her crazy, including G Tuck, and Meatball is all, “YOU MEAN GEORGE?” and she is all, “duh” — Meatball is not very observant; he also only just found out that “Run From Wade” was about OUR Wade — and then Meatball says, “Don’t you think that was something you maybe should have told me? George is my lawyer! Wade is my best man! SAL THE SHRIMP GUY IS MY SHRIMP GUY. And the town ladies’ man.” And Sal pipes up, “That’s true. But I prefer the term ‘man whore.'” And I laughed.
LilyAnne sniffs that Meatball doesn’t get it because he’s not a musician and Meatball is all, EXCUSE ME???!?!? “HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ABOUT A LITTLE THING CALLED MIND FACE?” And then they break up. Oh, Meatball. It’s for the best. I could never forget Mind Face. Then, conveniently, the officiant asks if anyone else has something to say. And Zoe gets up so we can get a full-body shot of her dress:
And then she tells Wade, in front of the entire town, that she loves him and thinks they deserve a second chance and he is all, “interesting, gotta go.” Carl Winslow’s blog is gonna be SO GOOD AFTER THIS!
Later — on her way to Crickett and Mr Crickett’s vow renewal, where she has been drafted into service because Stanley has asked his Pilates instructor to stand up for him (“He’s IMPORTANT TO ME,” yelps Stanley) — she pops by to see Wade and get made fun of for this outfit, which is hilarious:
And also for him to reiterate that it’s too late for them and make sad angsty faces. (I joke because I love; Wilson Bethel was actually really great this season, he was just unfortunately saddled with a lot of weird Vivian stuff where he didn’t get to play off anyone other than, like, a lizard.)
Meanwhile, Zoe’s declaration of love has inspired Don Todd to go try to win back his ex-wife:
She is not into it, but as he teaches his posse here, now he knows, and he can move on. This, of course, (eventually) spurs them all to go confess their OWN love to the One Who Got Away — well, other than Tom, whom I assume will just go home and pat the alpaca (not a euphemism).
First: I forgot to mention that Grandma Bettie — yes, apparently SHE also spells her name weird; is it possible that this entire time I was supposed to be spelling it “Lemone”? — gives Lemon $100,000 to fix Fancie’s, but only if Lemon goes on the Belles and Bachelors Desperate Singles cruise. “True love is a fiction invented by the diamond industry,” Bettie sniffs, before telling Lemon to to BE PRACTICAL AND CATCH A MAN, because her looks could go at any minute. Lemon agrees; and not to be a total downer, and I certainly don’t advocate for settling, and nor do I think Lemon Needs A Man to Be Happy, there IS some truth to the idea that one should strike when one’s iron is hot, and by “iron” I mean ass. Here, Lemon tells Zoe that she was in two great relationships, but she’s letting them go and she’s going onto the cruise and taking a chance. “I’m going to find a new beginning. Or an iceberg. Whichever comes first.” I hope this cruise is taken over by pirates and Lemon becomes their queen.
Speaking of queens:
How dare you! I just meant that Crickett was wearing a tiara. And here, in fact, she tells HER truth, which is not that she’s married to a gay man — as has been strongly implied — but that SHE herself is gay. I cannot tell you how much I love this development. I actually, literally, gasped. I was always a little side-eye-y to how stereotypically gay they made Stanley (he’s funny — that whole plotline where he’s obsessed with track lighting? Hilarious — but you feel me; it felt a little On The Nose) so to have THIS be the turnaround is so smart and surprising and totally worth it, and I LOVE it. You do you, Crickett, and I can’t wait to meet your girlfriend when you get one next season.
Next wedding? Brando and Sylvie, for which Zoe busts out the Erdem:
And Wade, having been convinced by Joel not to take an office job where he has to wear a tie — I love the Joel/Wade bromance — shows up doing his best Hot No Tie look, which is nearly as good as Wade shirtless:
The wedding — of two people whose spouses died, plunging them into despair until they found love anew, despite the state of their respective asses — taught Zoe that second chances ARE possible, and so she calls Lemon and tells her not to get on that humiliating cruise! But it’s too late. Lemon is drinking insane cocktails with men who might be funny but are probably smarmy, and the good news is that she is wearing AN AMAZING DRESS of which I could not get a great shot, but trust. It’s SO SO GOOD:
And while she looks amazing and drinks her fruity drink, it turns out that another wonderful bromance is about to hit the rocks:
BOTH GEORGE AND LAVON WANT LEMON BACK. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? THESE CAPS ARE NOT SARCASTIC. I ACTUALLY AM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT WHERE THIS IS GOING TO GO.
And speaking about going places:
They’re dancing — she had been dancing with Brando, and he with Sylvie, but Brando swapped to get down with his bride — and Zoe gives Wade this whole speech about how she isn’t giving up on them and just wait, they’re going to get their second chance, etc, namely the speech that is very romantic indeed if you’re in love with the person delivering it and totally creepy if you’re not, and then she walks away, presumably because one ought to exit stage left after dropping some romantic science. But as Heather said to me at the time: NEVER LEAVE IN THE MIDDLE OF A DANCE WITH YOUR HOT DUDE. STAY WITH YOUR HOT DUDE.
Please take that wisdom into your summer vacation, and see you whenever this show comes back next season. Until then, I leave you with this. Let your heart go pop.