“Grown-ish” Recap Episode 4: The Tutor and the Baller

What went down on the latest episode of grown-ish? Get all the tea with Sesi‘s weekly recaps.

Episode four, “Starboy”, opens with Zoey (and her perfectly coifed hair and ka-yute pink pom-pom earrings) in voiceover mode basically saying “middle fingers up, wave your hands high” to millennials who have it all together — specifically Mark Zuckerberg, Tavi Gevinson, and even Malala! We audibly gasped at that last mention, like, you’re goin’ in on Malala, tho?! But then, Zoey concedes that obviously all of those people are amazing. Her beef? They set the bar too high, and now everyone in her generation feels the pressure to be perfect and make super-huge #bossmoves before the age of 25. (It’s not lost on us that Yara, IRL, has also set the bar really high.) There are no “L’s” allowed, and all that pressure won’t let milennials be great. Zoey personally feels pressure to land a bomb internship, which tbh, is a little odd, since she’s barely halfway through her very first semester of freshman year. Typically, internship pressure doesn’t kick in ’til junior year, but whatevs. Even worse, is the burden for basketball players. That’s where Cash — the cutie who asked Zoey for directions at the end of episode three — comes back on the scene.

Cash Mooney (or as we like to call him, Cassius Bae) was a superstar athlete in high school, but the pressure of performing flawlessly all the time while keeping his grades intact is getting to him. So, he asks Dean Parker if Zoey can be his tutor. Turns out, Zoey, who isn’t exactly known to be the studious one in her fam and never seemed to put much effort into high school, has apparently signed up to be a tutor. Her main motivation for this is to snag a recommendation letter from the dean for her internship application.

Back in her dorm room, girls gathered ’round, Zoey laments the fact that she’s being forced to tutor Cash. But it wasn’t just a few days ago that ya’ girl was completely checkin’ for dude. We’re confused. Anyway, Jazz and Sky gush over Cash’s skills, and Nomi chimes in saying that Cash is literally so baller that he’s on the short list of Black guys her dad would be down for her dating. Zoey gives her the side-eye and claims she doesn’t really care who Cash is, she just wants that internship. She’s taking a break from dating for a minute, she reminds her squad, because of all that went down with Aaron and Luca. Again, we say, but just last week, you …. oh, nevermind.


On the day of Zoey’s first scheduled tutoring sesh with Cash, we see her leaving a building clearly agitated — and wait, is she poppin’ another Adderall right now?! — and her voiceover reveals that Cash was a no-show. About the same time, Cash runs up to Zoey like, “Where are you going?” Zoey looks at him like he’s out of his mind, reminds him that he is an hour late, and tells him she is not the one. Cash begs her to wait, but Zoey’s on the move. She even starts to jog away from him, but he chases her and finally gets her to stop. He says things aren’t going so well for him — his first couple of games sucked, his coach lit into him about them, and he needs Zoey to help him keep his grades up. She calls him out saying he’s just runnin’ game, she’s not interested, and he can find himself another tutor, kthxbye. He admits he requested her because she’s “super cute” and he knew that would help him focus better because he wouldn’t want to look stupid in front of her. Zoey blushes and smiles, “So, that’s all it’s about? You passing your class and me being stunning?” And just like that, #IssaGo.

They find an outdoor study area and begin working. Cassisus Bae shares how everything was so easy for him in high school, but not so much now that he’s in college. Zoey says she feels the same way, and just as they begin to bond, guess who shows up looking all shook — Aaron. He smiles and says, “What’s up, guys?” Cash stands up, shakes Aaron’s hand and says,  “Yo, what’s up Lil’ Man?” Aaron’s face is like, “Who you callin’ ‘lil’?'” Cash goes on to say it’s not a good time for a selfie, but maybe later. Zoey is living for this moment, as seen in the gang of facial expressions she’s making in the background. Aaron tries to explain that he’s not there for anybody’s selfie, but no one is listening, so he leaves. #Awkward.


On game night, everyone gathers at the Titanium sports bar. Nomi’s on a date with the girl who made her miss her registration deadline, but that soon falls apart when said girl realizes Nomi is bi, not lesbian, and tells her to call her when she’s done with her “phase”. Nomi goes off and yells for her date to respect the “B” in “LGBTQ”. Two seconds later, Nomi is flirting with a guy who tried to buy her a drink earlier.  Over at the table, Zoey and crew watch as the game is about to start. The announcers are already going in on Cash about how lame his game has been lately. (Dang, tho! They need to chill on all that; he’s only 18!) Aaron takes the opportunity to throw a little hateration of his own, referring to Cash as “Lil’ Man” this time. Zoey takes up for Cash, empathizing with how hard it must be to play your best while everyone is watching and talking about you. Ana shares her resentment that Cash gets to go to college for free just because he can throw a ball into a net — but Sky and Jazz check her real quick about how being a student athlete is so much more than that. This segues into an explanation on how much colleges make on athletes and how unfairly those athletes are treated.

Back to the game and Cash makes another failed play. Cal U loses — again.

The next day, Zoey’s at the campus coffee shop when Dean Parker comes in to tell her that he’s sent her letter of recommendation and she no longer has to tutor Cash. Zoey realizes that the school is just giving up on him because he’s not winning them any games, but she won’t do the same so easily.

A few minutes later in class, Zoey gets on Cash for not paying attention to the lecture — he’s steady making dunk videos. Cash tells her there’s no point because nothing even matters anymore. He’s washed up at 18. Zoey tries to give him a pep talk and tells him that he’s so much more than just a basketball player. You can tell those words really hit him. Finally, someone was seeing him for him. He promises to refocus and continue his tutoring.

The next game day finds us back at Titanium — and Aaron back on his hateration tour. Zoey tells Aaron that Cash will be good with or without basketball, but “how many jobs for revolutionaries are there on Monster?” The shade!!! Meanwhile, Cash is put in the game only to take another “L”. It’s too much crash and burn for Zoey to watch, so she dips and heads back to her dorm.

There, she sees everyone crowded in the lounge watching the game and bemoans the fact that she can’t escape it. Suddenly, cheers! Ana runs out in to the hallway asking Zoey if she saw the amazingness that just happened. When Zoey says she missed it, Ana pulls her into the room in time for the replay — looks like Cash is back on top! The announcers are all #TeamCash now, saying he gave “the performance of a lifetime” and almost singlehandedly decimated the number one team in the nation when he set a new school record of 51 points and 13 assists. The crowds across campus go wild, and Cash sends Zoey the cutest shout out in an interview, thanking her for being down with him from jump.

It’s midterm day, and Zoey’s voiceover recaps that she’s gotten her rec’ letter and that Cash killed it on the court. She grabs a coffee for herself and Cash to help them get through their U.S. government exam, but when she goes to hand Cash his cup, she sees it’s most definitely not him. It’s some nerdy, white boy in Cash’s seat, perpetratin’ for the test. (How the professor doesn’t notice this is beyond us. It’s not like they’re in a huge lecture hall of 300+ students. So. Many. Questions.)

Zoey is not happy with Cash’s cheating ways and tells him as much when she sees him after the exam. (Side note: On her way, she gets an urgent text from Nomi saying they need to talk — NOW.) Cash tells Zoey not to worry about a thing, it’s all good, and kisses her on the cheek. She still feels some type of way about it all.


With “Young, Gifted, and Black” playing in the background, the episode starts coming to a close. Aaron, looking a little crestfallen, turns down an offer to watch the game at Titanium and heads back to his dorm. We’re guessing Cash’s comeback is contributing to Aaron’s #mood. In the dorm lounge, Aaron pulls out his laptop and types “Jobs for revolutionaries” into a job search engine. No results found. He closes his computer looking all melancholy and what not. (But on the real, if he’s so woke, how does he not know he can just go straight to sites like Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU to find out about any openings?)

On deck for next week (we hope): What was Nomi so urgent about? Will Cash get found out and kicked out? What about Aaron?

Catch up on the episodes you’ve missed here.



Quarterly print teen magazine for Black girls ages 13 to 19. Covering The Black Girl's Mainstream™