May 22, 2014

Finale Reviews: Hart of Dixie Season 3 - "Second Chance"

Hart of Dixie, how you surprise me in the ways I least expect! Seriously, of all the twists and turns the Season 3 finale brought us, the resurrection of Season 1's secret love affair was the one that nearly knocked me out of my chair. I literally gasped. Audibly. Ok,  I guess if I had seen this post on Facebook, I'd have had more of a clue: 

Lavon and Lemon - Will they get a "Second Chance"?

But I was unusually absent from social media in the days leading up to "Second Chance," and I'm sort of glad. It was a fun surprise to hear the choruses of "no, no, no!" in that Southern drawl and that beautifully staged and filmed moment. Two men, united by the woman they love, separated from her by what's about to be miles of open ocean, face each other against a backdrop as blue as their spirits. I am so thrilled with this show, which continues to improve as the seasons go by. I'd say it deserves a better network, but hey, I love the CW, and what I'd actually mean is that it deserves more viewers. Now that we know Hart of Dixie will be back this fall, I have all the more reason to be excited by the finale - its romance, its surprises, and its quirky, hiccuppy charm.

Rachel Bilson's characters sure do have bad luck with coffee cart moments. She opens her heart up with confessions of love and what does she get? Squat. But Zoe isn't Summer. Even better, Season 3 Zoe isn't Season 1 Zoe. This time, she's not giving up. And thank goodness. Sometimes a show has to just go for it with the characters played by the actors who have the most chemistry. Even though I think it was clear from the pilot that it was Wade, and not George, that Zoe was destined for, any hope for George went out the window once Bilson and Bethel began their banter. (Fun fact - Wilson Bethel features in the original coffee cart moment.)

But on to the cliffhanger - let's address the love triangle from Season 1. The beauty in that final missed opportunity, as the "S.S. Desperation" pulled away from from the dock with the love of these two men's lives, was that it set up next season to tie up a loose end that's been buggin' me for awhile now. Earlier in the episode, when George and Lavon sat sippin' beers and then galavanted off on a guy adventure to meet Don Todd, I had a fleeting thought of, "how the heck are these two men friends?" They weren't really friends before Lavon cuckolded George by his affair with Lemon, and that certainly didn't bring them closer. It took awhile, but the Wade/Zoe/George love triangle worked itself out into the beautiful Zoe/Wade relationship that clearly had to happen (and will again, I'm sure.) The George/Lemon/Lavon triangle, on the other hand, was never worked out at all. George left Lemon at the altar, only to be rejected by Zoe and spiral into despair and also the arms of Tansy. Lemon was upset, at first, with Annabeth for dating Lavon, but rebounded remarkably quickly to a host of Southern gentlemen, as well as gardeners, in the second and third seasons.

So do these characters move on from romantic relationships remarkably and perhaps unbelievably quickly? Sure. Here's why I think that's ok. This show isn't about bitterness. This show is about happiness. And I love that it shows that forgiveness is a step on the road to happiness. Still, leaving the George/Lemon/Lavon triangle unsettled would have been too unbelievable, and bringing it back now is a fantastic story choice.

You know what else this show isn't about? Villains. Yes, I've said it before and I'll say it again. What I love about Hart of Dixie is that it proves when you write honest, flawed characters, you get a honest feeling from a show. And it won't matter what situations are contrived for them, they'll seem real. That's why Lemon couldn't remain a villain for more than the first few episodes of the first season, and it's why the audience will care about the next choice she'll have to make. This show is just about people trying to make it work despite the fact that they get in their own way. Ok, I'll say it. On the whole, Hart of Dixie is about second chances. What happens when you get them, and what happens when you miss them. Am I getting a little sentimental? Eh, ok. I don't care. That's what finales are there for. Hart of Dixie gave us a great one. A finale that was complete in and of itself, as well as a reflection of the show in its entirety. I watched it twice in two days. I don't know how I'll make it through the summer without Bluebell.

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