Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Season 2 of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, called "Zoey's Extraordinary Dreams."
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist may have taken a break from the grief and mourning last week to let Zoey and Max hit the sheets in one of the show's most memorable musical sequences, but the heartbreak was back in "Zoey's Extraordinary Dreams." Poor Zoey's dreams weren't extraordinary in a good way (although Jane Levy crushed her song), and her turmoil resulted in a premature breakup with Max. Talk about going from a high to a low on the romance front!
All things considered, the slow breakdown of their relationship throughout the episode proved that the honeymoon period couldn't overpower Zoey's grief, and Max couldn't sacrifice everything to accommodate her when she couldn't (or wouldn't) open up to him. That said, it's hard to blame either of them. They both acknowledged that the breakup might be for the best, and Max at least thinks of it as more of a break while Zoey recovers rather than a permanent breakup. And Zoey was trying throughout the episode, and just couldn't do it.
Still, Skylar Astin's performance of "Say Something" definitely plucked at the heartstrings, and Zoey's despair at not knowing how to fix herself or open up to Max even though she wanted to was hard to watch. All things considered, it was about as far from their "A Moment Like This" duet from last week as possible. Still, the breakup might not be entirely bad news, and not just because they (more or less) mutually agreed that it was for the best for now. Skylar Astin spoke with ET ahead of this episode, and his comments shed some light on Zoey/Max as friends-turned-lovers:
I just think it has to be felt on both sides. Friends starting into something more can sometimes really complicate a relationship, it can ruin a friendship at times. So it's a delicate chain, but I've definitely seen successful situations and stories in my personal life where that makes for such an amazing partnership, especially if they were growing towards each other romantically at the same pace at the same time, and met in the middle. Then yeah, because you really should be best friends with your partner. You should be able to feel comfortable to tell them everything. With Zoey and Max on top of being best friends, we'll be seeing their physical attraction for each other.
Zoey and Max undeniably grew in their romantic feelings for each other, but I wouldn't say that they did so "at the same pace at the same time," and not simply because Zoey has been aware that Max had feelings for her since way back in the series premiere. Zoey was dealing with her grief during the time from the end of Season 1 to when Season 2 picked up, to the point that she wasn't seeing much of Max (or Simon), and she and Max hadn't gone too far with each other prior to her dad's death.
They have the best friendship down; they just weren't both at the same level of ready, but that doesn't have to be permanent. Maybe it's for the best that they spend some time apart and doing some individual growing and recovering. Skylar Astin continued on what makes Max and Zoey good fits for each other, saying:
They're also former coworkers, so they really understand what each other does. And I kind of like that they don't work together presently because maybe that would be a little bit too much and create more conflict in their relationship. Like, they can never not take their work home with them. Now, Max can come home to Zoey and vent about his new business venture and she could then vent about what she's got going on at work and that's something that he could relate to because he has worked there and knows how it operates. I think everything's working in their benefit.
Of course, Skylar Astin wasn't going to spoil the breakup when chatting about Max/Zoey before the episode aired, but all of what he said is arguably still true. Everything can work in their benefit... once they're at the same place of readiness for romance together. The pieces are in place; it might take some time to put them all together. I just hope that this amount of time won't involve Zoey reigniting her feelings for Simon! There's enough drama without the love triangle popping up again.