“Grown-ish” Recap S2, Ep 1: The Second Time Around

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

By Andréa Butler

It’s #sophomoreszn, y’all! And just in case you forgot how it all ended last March, here’s a quick refresher: Zoey picked Luca. And now, onward!

In her opening voiceover about how sequels get a “bad rap”, Zoey muses that sequels can actually be the chance to do things better the second time around. While Leikeli47’s Money plays in the background, Zo pulls up in a fresh ride with a new ‘do and a new wardrobe. And after catching us up on the status of her and Luca’s relationship — they basically FaceTimed all summer long — she announces they are to be reunited in less than 24 hours and, in the meantime, she’s always got her girls. And two of those girls (Nomi and Ana) will be rooming with her in an on-campus apartment. Or, as Zoey says, the “flyest, priciest, on-campus apartment — haaayyy!” This year is already lookin’ up.

Or not.

The apartment is trash. Literally, it’s trashed: stains on the walls (is that blood?); used plates, bottles, and other waste on the floor; messed up window blinds; overturned furniture — the works. Ana and Nomi begin to pile on Zoey as if this situation is all the way her fault, reliving their not-so-fun summers in the process, and Zo vows to fix everything. They’re sophomores now, so she’s got this.


Cut to Zoey pleading to the dean for help — Dean Professor-Doctor Charlie, that is. You heard right.  (Also, HOW is he dean of students AND still working at the ad agency with Dre? That’s like two full-time jobs. We just … we don’t know.) Anyway, DPD (Dean Professor-Doctor) refuses to remedy her hot mess of a “habitation situation” (surprise, surprise), so Zoey gets creative and throws a party. A turn-up of the cleaning, painting, repairing (and yay snacks) variety.

But, as she puts one fire out, another starts blazin’. Apparently, one of her required courses was cancelled, so she’s gotta find a replacement ASAP. She scours the options on her laptop in her gorgeously decorated room — while the rest of the apartment is still so trash, tho? So. Many. Questions. But no time for that right now ’cause there’s a knock-knock-knock at her door. It’s Aaron.

He’s tripping over his words, talking about how he didn’t know it’d be this difficult to see her again for the first time after the whole choosing Luca over him thing. “Oh my god. I broke him,” Zoey says to herself. She invites him in to “talk things out” and he smiles that big beautiful smile and claims he’s joking. He’s all good. This only serves to remind her that she made the right choice chuckin’ deuces to the A. Aaron throws some shade on her “corny boyfriend”, and she tells him Luca hasn’t come back yet.

Oh, but he has, Aaron basically says, revealing he’d seen dude chillin’ outside his dorm. Zoey’s like nah, fam. “Well, the guy had on a Balenciaga apron and coolots, so don’t know really who else that coulda been,” Aaron says.

Ouch. Zoey’s face falls — hard.

And so do all her hopes and dreams of that Hollywood movie airport-style reunion she’d have with bae when he returned. Now, ya’ girl is mad. She goes straight to Luca’s dorm room to confront him, and when he opens the door, she throws a drink in his face.

Oh wait, nope, just the version she imagines.

IRL (well, the real life of the show), Luca opens the door with a “Hey, Baby”, and all she can say is, “So, you are here.” To break up the awkwardness, he tries to smooth talk his way out of why he didn’t hit her up as soon as he touched down. His oh-so-compelling excuse? “The flight was mad long, and I was mad tired.” (Oh, ok my guy. Here are all the side-eyes.) Zoey tries to play it off like it’s all good and she’s cool with everything and invites him to her place. He turns her down, but invites her in to watch a movie and chill right there.


Back at the girls’ new crib, Aaron and Vivek chop it up a bit and we learn that Aaron is now the R.A. of Hawkins. Next, he and Ana start talking about how his summer went, and then, she opens up to him about Nomi’s recent bathroom behavior that’s making her uncomfortable. (Nomi’s been using the bathroom while Ana is still up in there.) Being the expert in conflict resolution (and infant CPR, apparently) he is, Aaron tells her that since girls always seem to go to the bathroom together, maybe that’s all it was and she just really had to go. Ana seems to accept that.

And then Nomi does it again. Ana leaves the bathroom quickly (to a perfectly immaculate and decorated apartment, complete with new furniture, btw) and runs into Zoey, who’s just getting back from seeing Luca. When her girls ask her how everything went, Zoey fronts like it was so perfect and fun and nice — until she realizes all the chips are gone. Cue freak-out. After taking a breath and a necessary sit-down, Zoey relays what really went down during her not-so-romantic reunion.

Instead of a blissful atmosphere with candles, cute decor, and such, Luca’s room is tricked out in dirty laundry and old paint cans. Instead of a kiss, Zoey gets a reach around as Luca grabs a smoke. Instead of cuddling on the couch as he runs his fingers gently through her hair, Luca’s hand gets tangled in her curly wig and then he actually tells her it’s her fault for not wearing a bun. And instead of bonding over a romantic movie, Luca falls asleep. At that point, Zoey peaces out.


After ending her disappointing tale, Zoey complains to her roomies that “sophomore year was supposed to be my awesome sequel”. (It’s day one, Zo. Chill.) Also, what Ana said: “Life isn’t a movie. You don’t figure it out simply by saying you’ve figured it out.” She goes on to say that if they’d begun the year on that flawless tip, they’d have no room for things to get better. They toast to what’s next.

Later that night, as the crew is in the midst of their nighttime rituals, Zoey decides to stop dreaming up unrealistic expectations. She removes her wig, puts her hair in a bun, and this time when there’s a knock at her door, she doesn’t jump to conclusions.

J/k, of course she does. “I knew Luca wouldn’t let me down,” she says to herself. But, it ain’t Luca. Even better, it’s Jazz and Sky — with chips. They heard about what happened and wanted to cheer her up. So, it ends, as many real-life letdowns do — with your girls having your back.

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™