I thought this episode was actually REALLY strong, although George is still quite orange (and has blue lips at one point. I am worried that this series is going to end with George being diagnosed with a bizarre disease of some sort). First of all: FINALLY, the casting of Meredith Monroe (AKA Dawson’s Creek’s Andie McPhee) as Lemon’s mother pays off, like FOUR SEASONS LATER. Second: Happy Wade and Zoe are very cute together. Third: I can get on board with this George and AB thing. I was worried it was going to feel sort of “Sorry, But These Are The Only Two Single People Left,” but I actually think it might be working. LET’S DISCUSS.
First off: Zoe and Wade are having a boy!
There is a moment that is both predictable but also funny where Wade thinks his fetus child’s arm is actually his penis. This kicks off a storyline wherein Zoe freaks out about how to raise “an Alabama boy” — she knows nothing about, say, where to find the best fishin’ hole — and Wade freaks out because he realizes that if his son is just like him, he is screwed. It will not surprise you to find out that they eventually realize that they’re in this together, and they’re going to be okay. It’s actually quite sweet.
Second off: George and AB are both realizing that they’re secretly hot for each other:
Whereas I am mostly just hot for AB’s dress, which is CUTE. George is about to ask AB out when they are interrupted by Lavon, and somehow no one wonders why George’s entire body is orange and his lips are blue. Maybe his new gig managing The Truitt Brothers, and now also Meatball, involves eating a lot of Popsicles.
Up next, we learn that Lemon is feeling VERY Valentino lately, and also that BlueBell needs to talk the Dreaded Fillmore into agreeing to host the State Football Championships with them, because together they will surely get the nod and then make LOADS of cashola:
Everyone is swayed from their hatred of Fillmore and the dastardly Mayor Gainey to agree that Loads of Cash is worth it. George does NOT start waxing poetic about the time HE was on a storied high school football team, which is sad because I wanted to know how he miraculously gained the ability to walk again and also I need Tim Riggins’s phone number. I also think Tami Taylor could give Zoe some really comforting advice WRT being a good mom, and obviously I long to see Coach and his hideous sunglasses that he bought at the AM/PM immediately. What I am saying is: I know it’s too late because the end of this series is already in the can and also everyone else has new jobs but CROSSOVER EPISODE COME ON YOU GUYS.
To make up for it, though, the show gives us the gift of Lavon and Wade, in tank tops, painting the nursery:
WHY ISN’T THE ENTIRE SHOW JUST THIS?
TAKE IT OFF.
Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, that was a nice treat for everyone.
You should know that Crickett and Tansy respectively have both figured out that AB and George have nascent crushes on one another:
You should also know that Tansy’s lips are ALSO blue and that she is pretty sure that Scooter McGreevy is going to propose. (“Tansy, you CANNOT marry that toolshed,” is George’s response.) Spoiler: He does not. Instead, he breaks up with her. At a fancy dinner! With REAL NAPKINS! (Scooter McGreevy is THE WORST, but also that actor is very funny. I’m glad we’re getting all our old favorites back as the series wraps up. Tertiary character cameos for everyone!)
Lemon and her very best headband, as the Small Business Owners of BlueBell’s “most persuasive member,” has been dispatched to go convince Lavon that he has to team up with Mayor Gainey to get the State Championships for BlueBell:
He agrees when he realizes how much cash is in it for both towns, but you can imagine that he is NOT pleased about this. There was a great deal of, “No no no no naw naw naw naw NOOOOO,” as is Lavon’s charming wont. And there are a lot of shenanigans involved in getting to this point, but essentially it is agreed that Lavon will go with AB to Mrs Gainey’s 60s Themed Birthday Party as her date and use the face time to get Gainey to agree. (Mrs Gainey invited AB because they got to know each other when AB was dating Barry Watson, AKA Davis Who We All Already Forgot Existed.) You’ll be happy to hear that this gambit works, mostly because Mayor Gainey LOVES Don Todd — as do we all — and Lavon claims that he knows him? (Since when? I think Lavon is just using the fact that he has read Don Todd’s autobiography over and over again to PRETEND to know him.) You might be sad to hear that in this scene, Lavon also tells Lemon that if she won’t have him, he’ll find someone else who will, but don’t be sad, because I am sure this is all temporary. She pretends this is okay with her and COME ON YOU GUYS WE ALL KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING. (In fact, where it’s going is AB realizing that she’s over Lavon and wants to get under George, and therefore giving Lemon the greenlight to go shag her man.)
Meanwhile, George asks AB out on a date and she says NO.
And she has no idea why. Neither does he. (She later realizes that this is because she’s scared of getting hurt again. Oh, AB, you won’t. The show is almost over! Leila Gerstein and Writers would never be so unkind as to leave AB crying and heartbroken and alone FOREVER.)
While those two are winding their way toward one another, Zoe is trying to learn about the essence of the Alabama man, via camo shorts and the unholy triumvirate of Meatball, a Truitt, and Tom Long.
“I resent the implication,” Meatball says, when Zoe announces that this trio “epitomizes” the essence of Alabama manhood. “I only epitomize with ladies,” the Truitt announces. Tom, of course, knows what she means, because Tom has read a book in his lifetime. He also is the one with a goat:
There’s a whole Twangy Montage o’ Stereotypes (beer! Fishin’! Trucks! Taxidermy!), but obviously eventually Zoe gets set straight by a little girl softball player that she needs to not make so many assumptions about what people in Alabama are like — boys or girls.
And I’m sure that such Real Alabama Men as Hank Aaron, Lionel Richie, Truman Capote, Apple’s Tim Cook, Olympian Jesse Owens, George Washington Carver, and the botanist who discovered tetracycline, Benjamin Minge Duggar, would all agree with this advice.
Meanwhile, AB is wearing this super cute dress and freaking out about her Confusing Feelings For George:
It’s too tight on the boobs, but it’s otherwise adorable, and the good news is that Crickett (amusingly reading a book by Ellen) is also wearing a WONDERFUL dress covered in popsicles. Are popsicles a secret running theme in this episode? I can live with that.
I WANT IT.
While Crickett agrees that George is too wishy-washy to make a good boyfriend, Zoe is over in Brick’s office, pouring out her heart.”I am going to be the worst Alabama Boy Mom EVER,” Zoe worries. Her dress, which she wears for the remainder of the episode, is VERY CUTE:
Brick says he raised two girls all alone, and he managed just fine. And right on cue, Magnolia pops in:
That outfit is not that flattering on her — she always looks like she’s wearing the remnant bin at Forever21 — and also she’s “home for the weekend!” I literally thought they had shipped her off to boarding school in Switzerland, but then I realized that I think that was a piece of fanfic I came up with myself and then decided was true. Whoops. (Or maybe it was an idle threat from Grandma Bette. I don’t care enough about Magnolia to fact-check this.)
But in addition to proving to Zoe that raising a girl is as hard as raising a boy, Magnolia is up to her old tricks. When Lemon comes home — in this dress that’s great on her, but would probably be terrible on anyone NOT Jaime King — she meets Magnolia’s new boyfriend, a shirtless jackweed bullrider named Chet.
He is, I assure you, the worst:
He even calls Lemon “Cherry,” which made me laugh out loud. And Lemon scampers over to the Rammer Jammer to make Wade promise to put the fear of God into him. (Chet’s cocky and obnoxious refusal to be cowed is what makes Wade freak out that he too will be unable to raise “an Alabama boy.”) And while that’s going down, GUESS WHO’S BACK:
Andie McPhee’s Other Daughter, from her New Family — neither of which know about each other (well, Lemon knows, because way back in season one, she tracked her mother down and saw said New Family) — has broken her arm in an away softball game, just in time to lay some sweet child-raising science on Zoe AND really f’ up Andie McPhee’s plan to remain estranged from everyone. Many thoughts. (A) As I mentioned originally, Andie McPhee is SUCH WEIRD CASTING for this role. Meredith Monroe is only 10 years older than Jaime King. Beyond the fact that she’s part of the CW family, I can’t get why they gave her this part. It’s not like she’s a big name you can promote for your show (I mean, if you’re casting someone from Dawson’s and aging them up, at least try for Katie Holmes. [I also just went down a fantastical rabbit hole wherein someone somehow talked Michelle Williams into it. Can you imagine?]). Maybe she and someone on staff are good friends and she needed a gig, but they’ve had her in reserve for this very moment for FOUR YEARS. I don’t even know. Maybe the actor they had slated for this part got norovirus the day of shooting, way back in the day, and someone ran into Andie McPhee on her way to the commissary on the WB lot. ANYWAY. Note the second: if you abandon your family and make a new life for yourself, you should probably leave the state if you want to really get away with it. At the very least, DON’T LET YOUR OTHER CHILD GO TO AN AWAY SOFTBALL GAME IN THE VERY SMALL TOWN FROM WHICH YOU FLED. Because then you won’t run into your TOTALLY GOBSMACKED EX on the way out of his doctor’s office.
Over at the Gainey party, George is jealous watching AB with Lavon and AB is jealous watching George with Tansy:
George and Tansy have crashed the party to make Scooter McGreevy jealous (George pays a dude leaving the party $20 for his costume, which is hilarious because Scott Porter is like 10 times burlier than the extra they had in that role). Which works, by the way. Scooter only had to see Tansy in her mini-skirt before he totally wanted to get back together with her. But it seems that ship has sailed:
Nothing says, “we are never, ever getting back together” like a handful of ambrosia to the face. Anyway, the Realization That They’re Jealous of Each Other’s Fake Date prompts AB and George to admit that they Like Like Each Other, and they decide to go on a Real Date. And, perhaps more importantly, it also prompts AB to go over to Lemon’s to tell her that she’s completely over Lavon and that Lemon needs to go and get her love:
But while Lemon’s racing over to Lavon’s house to tell him that all the barriers are down and it’s LEVON ON, she sees her father and HER ESTRANGED MOTHER walking through town as brash as you please. (Andie McPhee had scampered back to the office to give Zoe her card to pass on to Brick, so that she can “explain herself” to everyone. Whatever. You’re the worst, Andie McPhee. Abandoning two little girls is shitty, full stop, especially when whatever prompted said abandonment [a brief mental break?] apparently resolved itself in time for her to have her own happy family, like, ONE TOWN OVER, and it never occurred to you to come “explain [yourself]” until you got caught.)
I AM NOT RESERVING JUDGEMENT ON YOU, ANDIE MCPHEE. But I do reserve the right to reverse all this judgement if her tale moves me sufficiently. Regardless: “Poor Lemon,” I said aloud to the TV at this moment. Go tell Lavon! LET HIM COMFORT YOU WITH PASTRIES.