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Black-ish recap: Old Digger

When Ruby reveals a new man in her life, Dre perfectly shows the double standard between men and women’s dating lives

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Vivian Zink/ABC


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Anthony Anderson, Miles Brown, Laurence Fishburne, Marsai Martin, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Yara Shahidi

No one wants to think about their parents’ dating lives, and this is rings painfully true for Dre on this week’s episode of Black-ish. Sure, Dre’s parents have been divorced for years and Dre has witnessed the parade of women Pops has canoodled with since — and apparently even a tad before the divorce was final. (No kid should ever be on a “Cheating Husband” reality show, even with the promise of cheddar biscuits afterward). But when it comes to his mother, Dre always pictures Ruby as a virtuous woman who only needs the love of her son and Jesus to fulfill and enrich her life. 

The double standard for Pops and Ruby in the episode is obvious and thankfully noted. As a child, Dre was somehow comfortable with Pops’ ladies being introduced to him as his potential “new mama,” most likely because he knew it would never stick. But Ruby dating someone? That realization and announcement was usually met with Dre pushing the suitors down the stairs and adding a little finger shake (courtesy of Dikembe Mutombo) for an extra showing of force. Ruby has been silent on the romance front for years, according to Dre. But little does he know the sacrifices she’s made as a mother to a difficult child. And little does he suspect how much he’ll come to find out when the kids help get Ruby a new man. 


Dre’s thoughts on his parents’ dating lives continues into his forties, but of course things change when Ruby suddenly comes to him, talking about a new “passionate and firm lover” in her life. While Dre tries to self-soothe over the news of Ruby’s romance through the power of spiritual humming, Bow embraces the news with a little too much curiosity. She theorizes that Ruby’s new man must be crazy because “crazy loves crazy.” Dre is sure he must be a “freak with a dungeon in the basement,” and Bow immediately agrees. But does he have a sex dungeon or a murder dungeon? 

Thankfully it’s neither. Ruby’s new lover (cue Dre’s humming) is named Davis, and he owns several restaurants and a general store. Apparently he’s a “good ol’ fashioned man” that Ruby met on a dating site called “RatchOnly.com” that the kids helped her join as she’s basically the worst with technology. If you’re new to the show, see this episode if only for the snippet of Ruby trying to order fast food at a pole instead of the drive-through system.

Apparently four weeks prior, the kids sat Ruby down to help her fill out a profile, complete with her likes and dislikes. For those who are curious (because who wouldn’t be): 

Ruby’s Likes: Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, Filene’s Basement, Intimacy

Ruby’s Dislikes: Satan, Demons, Cilantro, Bow’s cooking 

But in the end, Ruby tells Dre, all she really wants sometimes is a good hug… You know, that kind of hug (cue Dre’s humming as it morphs into a hymn). Despite Dre’s moaning, he finally agrees to go out to dinner with Ruby and Davis, mostly because when he explains his worries to Pops, he reveals an interesting piece of history: Ruby has been dating in secret for years, and usually the men are — well, old would be a polite way of putting it. Seriously, one of them even died on the couch. Actually, Pops says, he stopped breathing on the couch. He actually died in the hospital. 

Pops’ theories on Ruby’s dating life, which he believes is only used to make him jealous enough to put her on his Medicaid, prove once again that the dating double standard is pretty universal. Pops says Ruby isn’t really dating at her age, but that it’s different for him because he’s a man. So Dre confidently goes to dinner, where he discovers Davis is definitely not old. In fact, he’s probably closer to his own age. 

As they relive the events of the evening in the car, Dre blows everything Davis did out of proportion. He accuses the lovely man of being all over Ruby (when he was really asking everyone to join hands for grace) and talking over people (when he was just proposing a toast). Bow, on the other hand, is pretty happy with Davis as he shared his dream of taking Ruby on a trip around the world, meaning Ruby would be out of her hair for a long time. 

So because clearly Bow “was out of her mind” (insert eye roll here), Dre hopes to find solidarity from his male co-workers. Now here is where Charlie’s presence is really missed. Not only is Daphne not involved in this conversation, Charlie’s two cents on the situation would have been a perfect addition to the mix. Oh well, instead we get all of Dre’s co-workers in support of Ruby (except maybe Josh, who’s mostly just in denial about his own mom). But Curtis is really on board because he exclusively dates older women, or Golden Girls, as he calls them. Basically Curtis gets free stuff and a whole lot of loving from women like Ethel Watkins. Dre’s talk with his co-workers, once again, is a total bust. 

Davis, meanwhile, has been trying his hardest to get on Dre and the family’s good side. He bought them Lakers tickets, he offers Dre passes to CrossFit with him, and more. But nothing’s gonna work: Dre is on a mission to get him out of Ruby’s life for good, and he’s now turned to the master, Pops. After discovering Ruby’s new man is not old and crotchety (and is in fact called Pop Pop by the kids because he’s “twice as strong as Pops”), Pops has joined the crusade against Davis. Pops’ best plan? To seduce Ruby, of course. 

While the family is out to the movies, Pops dyes his hair black (but leaves the beard gray), wears a T-shirt that looks suspiciously Ed Hardy-esque, lights too many candles, throws on some R. Kelly, and tries to romance Ruby using his South African gold coin that keeps around his neck as an amulet. But Ruby is too strong for even a little “Bump n’ Grind” and that sexy gold krugerrand. 

NEXT: Dre finally acts like a mature adult…kind of