“Grown-ish” Recap S2, Ep 2: #RelationshipGoals or Bust

Photo: Freeform/Tony Rivetti

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

By Andréa Butler

Annnnd premiere night continues! From jump, we know this episode is going to center around being ba-dum boo’d up, as Zoey’s intro voice-over breaks it on down: There’s the “CrossFit couple”, the “throuple”, and the “hella cute” couple (camera pans over to Jazz and Doug kissing on the quad). They’ve just been crowned #relationshipgoals by their social media subjects, and Zoey’s not about to let them be the only ones rockin’ that majesty.

Out to prove she and her bae Luca are just as #RG, if not more, she leans close to him over on their quad setup to snap a sweet selfie — but it turns out more fizzle than fire. (#Awkward LOLz) Cue classic Zoey freak out in 5… 4… 3… 2… theme song.

Back in Zoey, Ana, and Nomi’s on-campus digs, the whole crew is kickin’ it, including Jazz and Sky, when Zo starts going in on Jazz and Doug’s new ‘ship status. “How, Sway?” she asks, then redirecting the convo back to her and Luca. “Out of curiosity, or whatever, why aren’t Luca and I considered goals? I mean, guys, we’re undeniably pretty.” To which Jazz reminds her, “Relationship goals aren’t just about looks.” Deep discussion about what exactly “relationship goals” means, ensues.

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Over at Hawkins, Doug and Vivek are chillin’ in the dorm lounge littered with trash all over everywhere, finishing a round of FIFA, when Aaron strolls in in all his R.A. glory cleaning up behind them and talkin’ ’bout how he’s trying to “elevate Hawkins to its rightful status as a beacon of Black excellence.” (We heart you and your mad love for the culture, Aaron, but sometimes, you trend a tad extra.) Not trying to hear all that, Vivek gets up to leave, humble bragging on the way out that his house is throwing “Brochella” that night and invites Doug and Aaron to roll through. Being shown up by “rich white boys” ain’t about to happen on Aaron’s woke watch, though, so he decides to throw a rival event to rep hard for that “beacon of Black excellence.” (Yep, he said it again. Nope, that’s not the last time.)

Speaking of belaboring points and what not, Ana is now leading the girls in a full-on discourse about what makes a great couple and what doesn’t. Her visual aid behind her — side-by-side photos of Zuca and Jazzy D are displayed on their flat-screen — Ana launches into her lecture on the finer points of taking the perfect couple’s photo. It’s “all about body language. Look how you’re pointing away from each other,” she says to Zo about her photo. “Bad sign.” Nomi doesn’t help, either. “Ever since Luca’s been back, you guys just seem, like, a little off.” Zoey tells her to go on, and when no one else chimes in to help Nomi explain, she puts them — and their secret group text about Zuca’s “sinking relationship” on blast. Zo tries to brush it off and says it’s really just a couple of bad photos, NBD. Her girls won’t let it go, though, and they get into Zoey’s head.

Later that night, the crew heads to Aaron’s outdoor movie night at Hawkins, and while walking arm-in-arm with Luca on the outside, on the inside, Zoey is still obsessing over their apparent out-of-syncness. But no worries! This movie night underneath the stars is the perfect setting for rekindling the romance — and, more importantly (to Z, at least), proving to the world that Zuca is also #goals. As Aaron gets ready to introduce the movie, Jazz and Doug are already cozied up, his head in her lap, the two gazing lovingly at each other. Trying to one-up them, Zo forces herself behind Luca, grabbing at him as if she’s trying to do the Heimlich. Luca: “Can I help you?” Zoey:

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Turns out the movie Aaron has planned isn’t quite the love story Zoey’d hoped for. Instead of a couple hours of cuddling to a classic like Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights, or even Their Eyes Were Watching God (yaaasss, Tea Cake), Aaron breaks out 12 Years a Slave. The crowd was not ready. Great movie, wrong time.

Over the whole thing, Nomi, Ana, and Sky are ret to go, but Sky’s not trying to be the first Black person to leave because obviously. Nomi doesn’t want to be the first white person to leave, either, because also obviously. So, Ana makes the move. But ya’ girl doesn’t leave quietly. Back to that in a bit.

Meanwhile, Zoey’s getting more upset by the minute. Luca won’t cuddle because of his chakras or whatever. He tells her he’s a “vegan again” out of nowhere, and he says he forgot to tell her he had to drop the only class they would have been in together. “He didn’t think to tell me, just like he didn’t think to call me when he got back from Paris,” Zoey tells the camera in her aside. “All this is starting to feel hella problematic.”

Toward the front of the audience, Ana is now standing in front of Aaron going awf about how he always tries to push his agenda on everyone else. He comes right back at her, explaining that he’s just trying to elevate his people, and if she’s not feelin’ it, she can leave. And she does — but not before grabbing the mic and telling the whole crowd they should all dip and go to “Brochella”, instead.

The audience disperses, leaving Zoey and Luca pretty much alone, during which time Luca lays his head on Zoey’s lap. Oh, but Zoey! Why couldn’t you just relish the moment? Why did you have to attempt the perfect selfie just to prove your relationship worth to people you barely even know? Luca is right, boo. You’re being “mad extra right now.”

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She proceeds to tell him that her friends keep telling her the two of them have been “off”. (What happened to not caring what others think, Zo? Didn’t we learn that lesson from Luca in season one?) She tells him about their #relationshipgoals convo and why Zuca wasn’t getting that label. “Hold up, hold up. Just because we’re not getting some corny hashtag, something’s off?” Luca asks. He tries to assure her they’re fine, but that’s not enough for Zoey. “We shouldn’t be ‘fine’,” she says. “We should be great. At this stage, we should be spectacular! We should be everything goals!” And with that, Luca sarcastically comments “relationship goals” on a pic of them and bounces.

Minutes later, as Zoey grabs her purse from inside Hawkins, she runs into Aaron who notices her sad state and asks her what’s up. She starts telling him about her Luca issues, and despite the awkwardness, Aaron puts his feelings aside and gives Zoey some advice. He reminds her she and Luca just haven’t had time to find their own rhythm yet and that she shouldn’t push too hard but just let things happen organically. “Sometimes, when you push too hard, you push people away,” he says.

On her way back to her apartment, Zoey thinks on Aaron’s advice, and in the voice-over that follows, she remembers feeling closer to Luca over the summer when the only option they had to see each other was via Snapchat. She pulls out her phone, snaps a pic of her frowning, captions it “i’m sorry”, and hits “send”. He sends back his own photo reply and they carry on a text convo for the next few minutes.

Then she sees him. He’s waiting for her on a bench outside her crib. They sit together and share their fears and hopes. “I just really want us to work,” Luca confesses. “It means something real to me, like, in real life … I love you, Zoey.” She says it back, and they kiss. All is right with the world again.

Catch up on the episodes you’ve missed here.

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