Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist creator and star tease Zoey's latest glitch and new romance
Zoey's got a new romance blossoming on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, so now would be a really bad time for her powers to start glitching again.
And yet, that's exactly what happens in this Sunday's episode, "Zoey's Extraordinary Mystery." Zoey (Jane Levy) finally acted on her attraction to Simon (John Clarence Stewart) after clarifying what her "relationship pause" with Max (Skylar Astin) meant on her birthday, and things are going great for them so far! But their honeymoon period ends when Zoey starts seeing people singing the wrong heart songs and can't figure out how to fix her powers.
Below, EW got Levy and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist creator Austin Winsberg to tease what this new glitch means for Zoey, why she's pivoted from Max to Simon, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: A lot happened in Zoey's love life on her 30th birthday, from her fight with Max to finally hooking up with Simon. Where does this leave Zoey heading into this episode?
AUSTIN WINSBERG: This was a big one. There was a lot of movement in this episode with both men. For Zoey and Max, in the beginning of the season, they had tried to make a go at making the relationship work, and ultimately, it was just too soon in terms of Zoey's grieving. They put the relationship on pause and I think there was perhaps not a lot of clarity or definition of what that means for both of them. The only thing that Zoey knows is that if she were to get back together with Max, it would be the kind of thing that would probably be forever or it could end in some blaze of glory and they would never be friends again. So there's a lot at stake for Zoey when it comes to her and Max and she's still ultimately fundamentally not ready to commit to him. And in this time where they're sort of on pause, Rose [Katie Findlay] was sort of the girl that got away in some ways, and she's back in the picture. He wonders, "How long can I sit around waiting for Zoey, and how fair is that to me?" Max feels like he needs to make a move for himself.
At the same time, Zoey's coming off of all of her allyship with Simon in episode 6 and the way that they've been flirting again in 7, there's still an undeniable attraction between them and an undeniable chemistry and also this deep grief bond. Zoey feels like, if these feelings are still percolating between her and Simon, it's certainly not right for her to commit to Max. There are feelings there for somebody else. So this is very much the episode where Max decides that I need to not stick around at this moment and wait for Zoey to figure out what she's doing and see where it goes with Rose. And for Zoey, needing to play out what it means with her and Simon and to see where that goes. We're going to definitely be exploring those two relationships and those dynamics through the rest of the season.
JANE LEVY: I love John Stewart so much. We worked on a show together before Zoey's, so we've now been working together for three years, and it's a working relationship that is ever-evolving. I respect him even more and more as time goes on. Zoey and Simon have a special connection. He's the only one outside of her family that can understand what she's going through because he also lost his father, and through their connection, there's also a lot of attraction. Zoey would be unsatisfied if she never saw that connection through, and so here we see them exploring what it could be like for them to be together. And through Zoey dating Simon, we get to learn more about him which I think is so great because he's such a rich character who has really shined this season.
How does her relationship with Simon compare to her relationship with Max?
LEVY: Things were made much more complicated when she got the power because your intimate relationships are going to be stunted if you have such a big secret in that you can hear someone's thoughts and they can't hear yours. And her experience with Max has been so unpleasant in terms of the powers that she has decided she's never going to tell anyone again in a romantic relationship and if she tells Simon, it's just going to complicate things. But what she doesn't realize is that if you keep a secret, the other person is going to know consciously or unconsciously that something is being kept from them, and you can't fully be together that way. And also, they're different men and she's attracted to them for different reasons.
How does this new glitch in Zoey's powers compare to last season's glitch?
WINSBERG: It's one of my favorite episodes of the year. I love it anytime we can do anything that forces us to look at the powers or examine it or play with it in a different way. It comes at an inopportune time for Zoey because things are starting to progress with her and Simon. The glitch happens at a time when she is debating whether or not she should be telling him about her powers. The two things go hand-in-hand. This issue definitely is a part of Zoey and Simon's relationship moving forward.
LEVY: Last year, Zoey's glitch was that she sang her heart songs out loud instead of everyone singing songs to her. And this year, season 2, our glitch is, we think at first, caused by meeting with a medium where Zoey's supernatural power wires got crossed. She starts hearing people sing other people's heart songs. She quickly realizes that something is not quite right, and then she realizes all the heart songs are switched, and she goes into sleuth mode with Mo [Alex Newell], and they have to figure out whose heart song actually belongs to who. What I loved about this episode is that it was rife with comedy, and also there were some really meaningful, heavier, more dramatic moments as well.
What are you excited for fans to see past this episode?
LEVY: There's a number in [episode] 10 that Alice [Lee] performs [as Emily] and she's so good in it. And anytime we hear a song from Alex Newell, you know, full-body chills, and there's a beautiful number from Alex in 10. I may or may not get to partake in a number coming up and those are always my favorites. And then there's also some really, really satisfying surprises coming out that I don't know how to hint at them without totally giving it away but I will say, there's some great stuff to look forward to as we come towards the finale.
WINSBERG: Bernadette Peters comes back into the picture, starting in episode 10, and we were really excited to have her back. [Choreographer] Mandy Moore directed episode 11, and she did an incredible job with it. Zoey starts going to therapy, and it's interesting to explore what that does for her. And episode 12 is a complete change from what you would be expecting in the show, so I love that we're able to do this anomaly of an episode. And then episode 13 has some of the biggest numbers we've ever done and also a couple of really big artists that I've been trying to get from the very beginning that we finally got for the season finale.
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.