“Grown-ish” Recap S3, Ep 17: All’s Well That Ends Well

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

By Andréa Butler

Here we are again. Another season finale. But this ending is actually all about new beginnings, starting with the class of 2020’s commencement ceremony. But, you know, our grown-ish crew exists in a COVID-free alternate universe, so they get to gather and what not and we’re not jealous at all. (We’re very jealous.)

The camera pans across the crowd of graduates, including Aaron Jackson, clad in their forest green caps and gowns. Chancellor Mitchell is at the podium about to confer the degrees, but hold up. Every time she calls a name, no one gets up to walk across the stage. “Man, you guys must’ve had a crazy night!” she jokes. She tries again. This time, someone approaches the stage, but it’s not who she named. It’s our boy Aaron.

He tells the chancellor his classmates have nominated him to say a few words, if that’s cool, and Chancellor Mitchell steps back and yields the floor to him. It’s finally arrived, y’all. The moment Aaron’s been preparing for and waiting for since we met him: to deliver an epic take down of a system of oppression. And he does not disappoint. After giving a quick recap of his recent efforts to convince Cal U to stop giving money to private prisons, he puts the school on blast even more by letting everyone know how the school’s powers that be tried to buy his silence with an offer to forgive his student debt. All he had to do was sign their non-disclosure agreement (NDA). His final decision?

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And then, like the Drake song says, he shut that graduation down (down, down). As “Glory” played in the background, Aaron unzipped his robe to reveal an orange jumpsuit — from the same collection Zoey made to help with his first mass protest a few weeks back. Every other grad stands and does the same thing. Chancellor Mitchell, reaching peak Karen-ing, mistakes Dean Telphy for a Black man whose purpose is to do her oppressive bidding and leans over to him talking ’bout, “We need to call security.” He looks her dead in her face like, “No. You need to call security.” Then, he, too, stands up in solidarity with the grads and reveals the orange jumpsuit he’s been wearing underneath his robe. Aaron wraps his speech by saying no student will walk the stage until Cal U divests their tuition dollars from the private prison system.

Later, at A.J.’s graduation party, everybody is hype — well, everybody except Aaron. The venue, of course, is Titanium, and the place is packed. It’s a COVID-free grown-ish world, and we’re just vicariously living through them in it. Anyway, Aaron’s bros try to cheer him up by getting him to turn up, but he’s just not feelin’ it. His recent rendezvous with Zoey is on his mind (because of course it is), so he tells his boys what went down and says he legit has no idea what to do.

Meanwhile, also in Titanium, Zoey has arrived to the party with Jazz and Ana and all her drama. “I cannot believe I let you both talk me into this. I should not be here!” she laments. The situation has got to be mad awkward, not gonna lie, especially since Rochelle just decided she was wrong for letting her insecurities get the best of her and that she, Zo, and A should all be friends.

Ana and Jazz basically tell Zoey to stop making this about her (LOL, good luck girls). It’s Aaron’s night, and they’re here to celebrate him. Periodt. But as soon as Zoey agrees there’s no reason to make things weird, Rochelle walks over, and Zo runs to hug her all extra like. Yep, not awkward at all.

Back to the convo with the guys on the couch. Vivek tells Aaron everything will work out, that it’s never too late to right your wrongs. Speaking of, Vivek also announces a new beginning of his own: He’s finally going to stop dealing because he doesn’t want to mess up anything with his gf. (But remember when threats of violence couldn’t even get him to stop? We’ll just file this under #growth and be proud of dude.) Doug’s two cents? Rochelle’s not the one.

Chillin’ alone at the bar now, Doug’s approached by Jazz, who tells him she loves him and is fully ready to hit “unpause” on their break.

Next, a literal run-in with Zoey and Aaron leads to more awkwardness, but the two recover quickly, exchanging congrats and thank-yous and looks of longing and love. But just as (it seems) Aaron’s about to confess said love to Zoey (again), Rochelle’s celly starts to blow up with text alerts. She calls him over. Turns out, those alerts are announcing Cal U’s decision to immediately divest from private prisons. “We actually did it!” Aaron shouts and the crowd goes wild; Zoey’s smiling from ear to ear. That is, until Rochelle and Aaron kiss right in front of her. She leaves out, taking one last glance back at Aaron. Before he can follow her, Vivek rushes over to celebrate the victory.

Back at the crib, Zoey finds Luca. He’d come over to help Nomi with baby Luna, but now they’re sleep, so he’s sitting on the couch vision boarding. Or, as he calls it “putting together a self-improvement project” in which he places pictures on a board in an attempt to will the ideas into existence. Soooo, yeah, vision boarding. But how dare anyone call it that because Luca is well, Luca. He shares he’s been feeling a little down since everything with his clothing line fell off, and Zoey shares she’s also “back at square one” since quitting her styling job.

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Zo goes on to reveal she’s been thinking about staying back at the house and re-enrolling in school, but now, she’s not even sure about that because she may have ruined everything. Not believing anything could really be so bad that she couldn’t come home and pick up where she left off, Luca asks her what’s up and says she can tell him anything. “Zoey, it’s me. There’s literally nothing you and I can’t talk about,” he says. Except, for some reason, Soldier Boy.

And Aaron.

After hearing how “together together” Zoey and Aaron had been recently, Luca says the two deserve each other — but not in a nice way. His tone is hella judgy and he means to throw tons of shade.

Enter Jazz and a very drunk Doug who starts running off at the mouth about the Aaron x Zoey situation, his and Jazz’s nighttime plans, and then, dun dun dun, he whispers (loudly) to Luca that Jazz did the deed with someone else. Jazz is visibly hurt and embarrassed. Luca takes all these late-night confessions as his cue to exit. Before he can make his getaway, though, Zoey follows him outside to call him out on the shade he threw a few minutes earlier. “Yeah, well, take it how you take it, Chief,” he says. She let’s it be known that she takes it quite offensively. Luca hits back with how they dated for a whole year while she clearly had feelings for another guy. Zoey says that’s not true and why does it even matter now, anyway? Luca admits it doesn’t matter at all to him, but it’s unfair for them to drag Rochelle onto their emotional roller coaster.

Lying in bed, Zoey can’t stop thinking about what Luca said. The split screen reveals Aaron is deep in thought while lying in his bed, too. And then, from Zoey to Luca with love, a “U up?” text. (Can we also just pause for a minute? These eps always have such fire soundtracks and we just… OK, back to the show.)

The two meet up outside Aaron’s dorm. He asks if everything’s alright, and Zoey says actually, it is not. She apologizes for playing with his emotions the past few years, for not falling back as Rochelle had requested, and for generally putting them into this situation in the first place.

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Aaron stops her. She cannot take the blame all on her own. “We are grown[ish]. It happened. Now, we just gotta be adults and figure out what’s next,” he says. But there’s nothing else to figure out, according to Zoey. She tells him she loves him and is in love with him, but she’s gonna make this an easy decision by removing herself as an option completely. She doesn’t want their story to start this way, but maybe, in the future, if they’re meant to be, they can start fresh. It’s Aaron’s turn to look heartbroken. Zoey gets in her car to leave. No goodbye hug or kiss or even an awkward handshake.

The next morning, Doug awakens from his drunken stupor as Jazz brings him a tray of juice and toast. “Babe, please tell me I didn’t do anything too crazy last night,” he says. Oh, you mean besides putting your girl on blast for cheating when y’all had supposedly squashed all that? Jazz voices her concerns about those comments. Doug apologizes but also admits it’s been hard for him to just forget about it and act like it never happened. Jazz understands and ultimately decides to call the whole thing off. For real this time.

Zoey’s final voice-over of the season is a quick recap of the year everyone had, ending with a shot of her re-enrolling at Cal U. Then, there’s a knock at the back door. It’s Aaron. Bump waiting ’til later, he loves her, too. “I want our story to start now. Like, right now,” he says and they kiss.

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The show’s not over yet, though! We’re with Vivek and Heidi now, as they’re cruising down the road. She’s talking about all the places they can visit while on summer vacay together. But then, sirens and flashing lights in the rearview. Vivek is nervous. Heidi tells him to relax, he hasn’t broken any laws. She reaches into his bag to fish out his license … only to find pills on pills on pills.

Catch up on the episodes you’ve missed here.

Main Image: Courtesy of Freeform

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