Hart of Dixie’s “The Gambler” remains one of the most buzzed-about episodes of Leila Gerstein’s comedy-drama series. The show aired 76 episodes across four seasons on The CW Television Network from September 2011 to March 2015. Hart of Dixie premiered on September 26, 2011, to a cold reception. It drew comparisons to another dramedy, Joshua Brand and John Falsey’s Northern Exposure. Subsequent seasons proved the show had much going for it, so it ran for over three years.
While Hart of Dixie Season 1 only managed a 44% approval rating on Rotton Tomatoes, the following seasons received positive ratings that propelled the entire series to an approval rating of 81% with an average audience score of 88%. Hart of Dixie Season 2 championed the transformation of the series and “The Gambler” episode was at the heart of it all. It created opportunities for new storylines alongside the potential for solid character growth and development which rubbed off on subsequent episodes.
“The Gambler” Was Part of Hart of Dixie’s Exciting Season 2
Hart of Dixie Season 2 premiered on October 2, 2012, to 1.53 million viewers; and aired until May 7, 2013, with a total of 22 episodes. The season marked the beginning of the mostly-warm feedback the comedy-drama received for the rest of its run. It saw the return of all the major cast and characters and also introduced new characters to fire up the unfolding dramas.
Kaitlyn Black’s Annabeth Nass was involved more in the tale as George Tucker (Scott Porter) pursues a romance with Tansy Truitt (Mircea Monroe), Wade Kinsella’s (Wilson Bethel) ex-wife. The season unpacks a lot with Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) and her emotional uncertainties regarding Wade. Meanwhile, Lemon Breeland (Jaime King) endures a harsh betrayal while her father Brick (Tim Matheson) tries romance again with a much younger Shelby Sinclair (Laura Bell Bundy).
“The Gambler” Captured What Made the Series a Fan-Favorite
Arguably the show’s first unpredictable episode, Hart of Dixie’s “The Gambler” (Season 2, Episode 15), generated fresh interest in the series. The episode aired on February 19, 2013, absorbing the audience into a varied range of possibilities and expectations. It snaps Zoe, who had all along alienated herself from Wade’s affection, into a thoughtful and supportive girlfriend. While at that, Wade transforms from a responsible and ambitious into a depressed, cheating, drunk eager to embrace being a failure.
Rather than dwelling on the regulars, the episode went bold with the show’s recurring characters. Tom (Ross Philips) and Wanda (Mallory Moye), for instance, unveiled a love story that inspires Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams). Wanda’s Zombie-themed proposal to Tom becomes a poetic moment as it resurrects Lavon’s faith in love. In all, “The Gambler” shifted Hart of Dixie from its somewhat linear narrative, expanding the plot with meaningful chains of events tied to the central story. Check out the sneak peek below: