“Grown-ish” Recap S2, Ep 16: Stress, Secrets & Self-Care

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

By Sire Leo Lamar-Becker

At the start of this week’s episode, we find Zoey giving props to her (questionable?) work ethic. She’s been holdin’ it down at the campus bookstore for two weeks, didn’t fail her latest chemistry test, got her car back from her dad, and even got her first paycheck, starting her off on the road toward being financially free-ish.

All that hard work deserves to be celebrated with some downtime, Zo decides, so, she rounds up her crew for a self-care weekend retreat at her parents’ empty house.

Or, so she thought.

What is Junior even doing here? Apparently, he’s exhausted from being Devante’s primary caregiver. Not trying to let his presence completely throw off her and her girls’ weekend plans, Zo says whatevs and keeps things moving.

Sky and Jazz are impressed with the digs. Nomi isn’t. (Apparently, you’re not wealthy if you don’t have heated floors.) In an attempt to dodge Nomi’s shade, Junior, thankfully with his robe now closed, welcomes the girls into the home, saying there are plenty of beds for everyone — but offers to share his with Sky, if she’s down.  

Taking this moment to be all the way 100 with him about where they stand, Sky asks to speak to Junior alone. “Sweet, sweet Junior. How do I say this gently,” she begins. Turns out, their one, sweaty night on the dance floor a few episodes back is where their relationship ends. After all, he’s her bestie’s bro and that can get super awkward. To save face, ya’ boy comes at her with, “Say no more. I can read between the lines. You’re afraid I’ll hurt you.” And then, he peaces out, giving her one last wink. “I’m disturbed,” she says to herself.

Joining the others back in the kitchen, Sky’s just in time to hear Zoey proclaim self-care weekend’s official start. And y’all already know how this group is about rules, so here are the ones for the weekend: no phones, no social media, no alcohol, no illegal substances, and no junk food. Ana refuses to go through her break-up without carbs, note the bag of chips, and who can legit blame her? But, as Nomi points out, she’s not actually going through a breakup because she and Aaron were never actually together together. (Way to rub salt in that open wound.)

Nipping that back-and-forth in the bud before it really gets going, Zo reminds her squad that healing is the most important part of this weekend. First activity on deck? Adult coloring books. Ew. No one is into it. At all. 

Cut to our subplot and Aaron is in a commercial about the Hawkins Brotherhood fundraiser to help beautify the parks surrounding Cal U’s campus. The group of other students gathered at the dorm’s fundraising party that just watched said commercial are less than impressed. Vivek’s in charge of music. Doug’s in charge of chasing that fetty. Neither is enough for Aaron, who’s ready to go off when he sees they’ve only raised $50. His boys tell him to give people time, so he says cool, but tells them they need to work the room and rethink the playlist with a little Gucci Mane or Michael McDonald to get people to give.

Back at the Johnson home, the girls are reluctantly coloring in their books. Jazz says the whole thing is wack and she did not miss the MLK parade to color some mermaids, and we can’t help but think about how IRL, her sis just nabbed the part of Ariel, but we digress…

Anyway, back to the turn up that Jazz is trying to get started. Zoey attempts to shut that all the way down — they are supposed to be relaxing — and get them excited about the next activity: listening to ASMR videos.

And then, in walks Nomi reading Zoey’s childhood diary.

With absolutely no shame at all, Nomi spills she found it buried in “some random sealed box that had [Zoey’s] name on it and said ‘Do not open.'” Zoey shoots her the side eyes of death and, not ready to relive the stories of yesteryear, tells her friends her diary is not for them to know and to please respect her privacy, thank you very much.

Jazz basically tells her she should’ve thought of that before she had them locked away in some “bougie subdivision” bored out of their ever-loving minds. Zoey gives in, but says she’ll be the one doing the reading.

She recounts the story of Bow finding her at the roller rink with a jacket she borrowed that she was told not to borrow. Jazz interrupts saying Sky has a way better, more embarrassing, story. Apparently, in sixth grade, Sky thought oral sex meant talking about sex, and when a boy in her class talked about it one day at recess, she went home and wrote in her diary that she had actually had it with that boy.

And then her dad found that entry and read it.

While the girls are laughing at Sky’s misfortune, Junior walks in wearing a tank, camo sweatpants, and a towel around his neck announcing he’d just worked out. “Please try not to stare. You might hurt your eyes,” he says, flexing his arm muscle.

Zoey tells the girls to ignore him and continues to read her diary. Unphased, Junior joins them on the couch, as Zo starts reading off the goals she’d written down as a middle schooler — goals she has yet to reach, which Junior finds amusement in pointing out. Every. Single. Time.

Zoey is now thoroughly in her feelings.

Retreating to her room, she starts going through a box containing her awards, good grades, and gifts from her dad — things that made her feel special. She says she feels embarrassed that she’s gotten so far off track from her goals, but we’re over here like, girl. You’re a sophomore in college. You’re 19, not 99.

Ana, who’s clearly on the same wavelength as us rn, tells Zo to step away from the box and proceeds to tell her what real embarassment is, e.g. “being dumped on your own balcony by a guy you’re not even in a relationship with.”

Still, Zoey goes on about feeling unaccomplished and not even working in a field remotely related to fashion at the moment. She says she gets starting at the bottom, but wants it to at least be the “right bottom”. Jazz shares her own feelings of not being where she’d thought she’d be at this point in her life, too. “I thought I’d be some Olympic gold medalist by now, and Sky would at least be bronze.”

Nomi comes in as the voice of reason, reminding them that they are young and have time to establish their personal and professional lives. The girls tell Nomi that’s easy for her to say because she stays having good grades, money, and no relationship drama. Nomi tries to let them know her life isn’t perfect, that she has things she’s dealing with, too. Jazz and Ana tell her to name one thing that’s hella messing with her life at the moment. Reluctantly, she spills the tea that she’s dating professor Hewson. Everyone, but Zoey (obvi) is shocked. 

Back at the fundraiser, Aaron is still trying to get people to give to his current cause. One guy, Mauricio, agrees to donate, but when Aaron sees he only gives $5, instead of being grateful for the contribution, he shames dude for not giving more. Things start to pop off — good thing Vivek and Doug are close by to remove Aaron from the situation.

Cut back to the girls, and everyone is dealing with the news of Nomi dating their professor. Everyone has an opinion as they try to tackle whether Nomi’s relationship is appropriate or nah. Sky wants to know if that’s how Nomi got an A, Jazz thinks the power dynamic is messed up, and Ana’s out here playing devil’s advocate. But Zoey? She’s silent. And when Jazz asks her to speak her truth, Nomi jumps in with, “I already know how Zoey feels,” and we flashback to when Zoey caught her and Professor Hewson kissing.

“I think Nomi is an amazing human being, and I honestly trust whatever she chooses is right for her,” Zoey chimes in. Jazz and Sky, judgmental as ever (but really can we all the way blame them in this sitch?), tell Nomi they’re gonna pray for her.

The girls scatter, leaving Zoey to sit in her room alone.

We find out Zoey and crew are only six hours into their supposed self-care weekend and already, nothing is going right. And just as Zoey is getting ready to launch into the next part of her soliloquy, a scream.

Zo, Ana, and Nomi run up the stairs as fast as they can to find Jazz all the way shook, standing in the doorway of a bathroom in which Junior and Sky are sharing a bubble bath. They are all equally horrified.

Sky, looking at Junior, continues with a smile, “Don’t worry about them.” Zoey legit looks like she’s about to vomit.

Gathered back at the table, Nomi admits she’s happy her relationship is no longer the topic of conversation. Sky walks into the room, plush robe on and all, talkin’ ’bout how she was just trying to stay on the whole self-care theme. The girls bust out laughing — well, except for Zoey. She’s still very grossed out. She’s over everything, and she’s failed on her self-care weekend.

Nomi tells Zoey she made a good effort, but she can’t just carve out a few days and think that everything is magically going to get better because life doesn’t work that way. Jazz jumps in, “It’s like how you are with your curls; it just doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process.” Zoey realizes everyone is right, and all’s well that ends well.

Now back to the boys. Vivek and Doug are outside trying to figure out what’s going on with Aaron ’cause it can’t just be about Mauricio not donating more than $5. Aaron admits he feels like he’s lost focus with everything going on — partying, being an RA, and dealing with the Zoey and Ana drama. Vivek tells him not to be so hard on himself and shows him that he, inspired by Aaron’s efforts, made sure they reached their goal with a donation of $1,000.

At the Johnson house, Self-Care Weekend Redux is on and poppin’, and in her voiceover, Zoey says they didn’t need the clean eating and coloring books, after all. All they needed was good food, quality time, and laughs. To cap off the night, they raid Bow’s closet and #werk their fiercest runway walks.

Catch up on the episodes you’ve missed here.


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