“GROWN-ISH” EPISODE 5 SEASON 3 RECAP
This episode affirmed the idea that black women often don’t benefit from the strict rules they apply to themselves.
“Gut Feeling” the recent episode of Grown-ish was mostly dull but it was about facing crossroads when growing up. Three important topics were addressed that are worth mentioning. One was about whether it was right to give a baby up for adoption, the other was about the responsibility that a pregnant woman has to the father of their child, and finally about black love, to uphold it or forsake it.
In this episode, we were immediately introduced to Nomi (Emily Arlook) at an ultra-sound appointment with Luca (Luka Sabbat). She was very emotional when she saw a sonogram of her baby for the first team and even Luca was touched enough to pretend that he was the father. Then, the two went back to Nomi’s shared home with her girlfriends, where they walked in on a surprise baby shower blow out, organized by Ana (Francia Raisa).
The happy scene made Nomi uncomfortable though because she hadn’t decided what type of relationship she wanted with her child yet, whether she would give the baby up for adoption (as advised by her parents), or not. When she confessed her dilemma to the crew, it immediately instigated a discussion about whether it was in her best interest to keep the baby and still attend school given how difficult it is to balance both her education and parental duties.
Then things quickly took a turn when she also explained that she hadn’t factored in the father of her child in any of her deliberations since they were strangers still, after their one-night stand and she didn’t know his name. So she didn’t feel like he was entitled to know. At that, Aaron (Trevor Jackson) stressed her moral obligation to give him all the information so that he can decide what to do instead of unknowingly being estranged from his child. He essentially explained how unfair it would be to both the father and the baby if she kept the information from him.
The conversation is interesting because it really confronts the concept of men’s right in pregnancies. Any pro-choice activist will affirm a woman’s right to choose whether to keep a baby or not but often the conversation stops there. However, in this episode of “Grown-ish” the conversation centered on the importance of including the father of the baby in decision making. The arguments Aaron doled out was quite reasonable. As he illustrated, if the father of Nomi’s child was to find out decades later about his child, he would rightly be confused and upset. For someone who wanted to be a father, it would be a bittersweet moment because if they had wanted to be in their child’s life, it means that they lost the opportunity to build a relationship with their child and watch them grow.
Still, equally important in this episode of “Grown-ish” was the discussion about black love which was interjected through Sky’s (Halle Bailey), relationship with her racially ambiguous boyfriend Rodney (Andrew Liner). Everybody was shocked when they saw him for the first time and realized that he was Caucasian because Sky is a huge proponent of “Black Love”. She even remonstrated others in her group about dating outside of their race.
The conversation was important because it highlighted two things: First that among the black community, interracial dating is generally welcomed, but secondly, it demonstrated that the largest supporters of black love are black women. Black women are usually the ones to uphold this movement, more than black men. We see this when Doug (Diggy Simmons) briefly dated a white woman when he broke up with Jazz (Chloe Bailey), while Jazz was firm that she wanted Black Love. In fact, a 2017 Pew Research report, found that “[n]ewlywed black men are twice as likely as newlywed black women to be intermarried.”
This episode affirmed the idea that black women often don’t benefit from the strict rules they apply to themselves. It’s actually better to stretch your dating pool so that the chances of finding love is higher. The fact that Sky fell for Rodney is a direct acknowledgement of this concept. Of course, it’s not impossible to find black love. Research suggests that even though interracial relationships are largely accepted in the black community, black men mostly marry within their community. So ideas about the scarcity of black love which is often promoted in the media, is false.
Honestly though, it was kind of a stretch to finding meaningful things to note about this episode. Yes, the writers of the show addressed Nomi’s pregnancy issues and slightly discussed the concept of black love but at heart it lacked vigor. Remember when I said that the show was meeting it’s promise of giving it’s audience excitement with bombshells? Maybe I was wrong because so far “Grown-ish” has been slow-burning. When are we going to get steamy scenes of Zoey finding a new man —or alternatively, a new passion? And what happened to finally making the other characters well rounded personalities with their own story arches instead of continuing to project them as Zoey’s sidekicks?
The previous season had twenty one episodes so hopefully the story will start picking up as more episodes are released. I’m still waiting patiently for Zoey to discover who Jillian (Ryan Destiny) is, but at this point I’m not sure where the show is headed. Nomi really added an element of unpredictability that will probably be lost if she’s written off the show. But it’s hard to imagine how the writers will be able to continue her story line if they keep her since she’s very pregnant but the others live a very child-less lifestyle. Ultimately, if she were to keep her baby, her relationship with them would be strained anyway. So, I wonder if the writers will have her give her baby up for adoption. Regardless, I have very high expectations.