zoe Kiara Barnes of the CBS series THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Weekdays (1:30-2:00 PM, ET; 12:30-1:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS 2020 All Rights Reserved

CBS

We don’t get it. We just don’t get it.

For a while there, we thought that we understood what The Bold and the Beautiful was doing with the character of Zoe. The powers that be had moved her so far beyond her inauspicious beginning as a crazy cat lady with a potentially fatal attraction to Xander that she’d even lost her British accent. She was now someone in whom we could invest and for whom we could root.

It took a stretch of the imagination to get there, sure, but we did it. Our imagination is like semi-chewed bubblegum that way.

We even felt for Zoe when her and Thomas’ nuptials were revealed to be the sham of all shams. Granted, their relationship had had the depth of a sheet of loose-leaf paper; we still empathized with her embarrassment and were delighted when she rebounded with Carter, a character for far too long relegated to the role of talk-to and unusually-ripped wedding officiant.

More: Has Thomas gotten better… or just smarter?

But what are we supposed to think of Zoe today? 

bb zoe xander Adain Bradley and Kiara Barnes of the CBS series THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Weekdays (1:30-2:00 PM, ET; 12:30-1:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sean Smith/Bell-Phillip TV/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

In short order, Zoe lost Xander, her accent and her cat.

That Was Then, This Is Now

The Forrester model became engaged to Carter with the same amount of enthusiasm we express when we’re served a virgin cocktail, and her “commitment” to her fiancé did nothing to stop, or even diminish, her flirting with Zende. So what is the show telling us with her behavior? Is she just a callous jerk, really no better than Thomas in this scenario?

More: Inside a B&B star’s real-life marriage

As naturally appealing as she is, Kiara Barnes day in and day out makes us want to like Zoe. At the same time, the show seems to be working overtime to make us dislike the character. Think about it…

Zoe’s no dummy; she knows that she’s playing Carter, stringing him along with an engagement that she’s as willing to break as a lunch date. So how are viewers supposed to respond? That’s cold and uncaring behavior — and toward a character that’s widely regarded as the epitome of Mr. Nice Guy.

bb carter Lawrence Saint-Victor on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, airing October 8, 2020. (1:30-2:00 PM, ET; 12:30-1:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS 2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“Who could even think of cheating on this face?”

Is This a Love Story?

Maybe The Bold and the Beautiful thinks that it’s telling an epic love story. Maybe it sees Zoe and Zende as star-crossed, Carter but a genial obstacle to be overcome. Certainly, the Zs have chemistry. But that doesn’t make what they are doing behind Carter’s back — and sometimes right under his nose — any more palatable.

If Zoe is and, since Zende’s arrival on the scene, has been so into him, why hasn’t she woman’d up, come out and said so before now? “You didn’t want me to commit to Carter because you have the same feelings for me that I have for you,” she finally told him on the 27th. “And you can’t deny it anymore.” To that, we say, what took ya so long, kid?  Zoe’s no shrinking violet afraid to make her wants known.

Plus, even if she only figured out that she felt love as well as lust for Zende after she let Carter slip his ring on her finger — and that would be cutting her a lot of slack — why wouldn’t she do the honorable thing and tell her newly-minted fiancé, “On second thought… ” instead of tell Zende, “It’s not too late for us; I’m not married yet”? Is she afraid that dumping the COO would be bad for her career, and why torpedo herself if she isn’t sure she’s gonna get the guy she wants? And if that is her reason, doesn’t that make her every bit the conniver that, say, Shauna and Quinn are?

More: B&B’s all-time best characters, ranked [PHOTOS]

Or is The Bold and the Beautiful doing that thing that it tends to, the one where it applies 1950s social norms to characters in 2021? Are we to believe that thoroughly-modern Zoe feels that she has to get married, and if not to Zende, Carter will do as a substitute? If that’s the case, we might have to reevaluate her all over again and decide that she is the nut job she first appeared to be!

bb Zende Delon de Metz"The Bold and the Beautiful" SetCBS Television CityLos Angeles, Ca.10/23/20© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode # 8414U.S.Airdate 12/07/20

Is that the catbird seat in which Zende’s sitting?

The Point of No Return

Whatever the show is attempting to do with Zoe, it stacked the deck extra high against her with its January 27 episode, in which she threw herself at Zende. Didn’t warn Carter that they needed to talk. Didn’t warn Paris, for that matter, that she was going to try to seduce her crush. Zoe just went for it with no concern whatsoever for the people she purportedly loves. In her mind, she and Zende “owe ourselves this opportunity to see where it leads.”

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Uh, where it seems destined to lead is out to the Forrester pool for some especially active skinny-dipping.

Sigh. We don’t get it. Do you? Hit the comments with your reaction to Zoe’s actions, then while you’re here, check out the below photo gallery of the show’s all-time best love triangles.