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Black-ish recap: The Leftovers

Dre and Bow debate (and mostly argue) over who should take care of their kids if they die

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Ron Tom/ABC


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

Who do you leave your kids with when you’re gone? It’s a tough, important, serious question for parents. And much like the solutions to a lot of their problems, the answer for Dre and Bow comes from an unlikely and somehow totally obvious place.

“The Leftovers” begins innocently enough: With a movie night at the Johnson’s. Tonight’s movie choice? The Lion King, which all of the kids groan about the overplayed classic Disney film. No one knows who keeps picking it (Dre), but whomever it is (Dre) must feel really passionate about the choice (clearly Dre). Diane says that if they have to watch the movie again, they can’t fast-forward Mufasa’s death, which takes Jack by surprise who thought the family was forwarding over lion sex, not a famous death scene.

As Jack attempts to get over the shock of this news, he asks Dre and Bow who will be the kids’ meerkat and warthog, their new guardians, after Dre and Bow are gone. As normal parents always do, Dre and Bow tell their kids they will be around for a long time, then retire to go privately freak out for not knowing that answer.


Apparently along with financial planning, Dre and Bow didn’t really do much guardian planning. In fact in their brief discussion with Dre’s accountant, James Brown, all the not-quite King had to say was that Zoey would become a ward of the state in the event of Dre and Bow’s deaths. Not the greatest idea in the world, but apparently it’s a helluva plus on the taxes…?

Dre and Bow realize that it’s time to make some difficult choices — so naturally they get drunk and begin arguing about which of their family members would make the best guardian. Dre says the kids should go to his parents and not Bow’s because “they’re our kids and we love them,” and because apparently living with Bow’s parents means traveling on a bus powered by human poop.

But Bow won’t relent and let Dre’s parents take the kids because with Pops always being gone, she’s worried they’ll always wonder if he’s still alive (a question Dre also has considering the phone call he makes to his Pops begins with some shouting in a foreign language and a giant thud). And Ruby is just out of the question because who knows what crazy antics she’ll pull on the kids.

The rest of Dre and Bow’s family members are nixed for various reasons, Bow’s sister literally hates children, and two of Dre’s closest relatives are frequenters of the San Quentin and Folsom prison facilities.  

As per usual, Dre’s co-workers are of no use (aside from Lucy, whom Stevens always relegates to the nickname “diversity female hire”), but the scene in which Stevens offers to raise Dre’s kids does make for a fun gag on Diff’rent Strokes when Dre imagines how his kids’ lives would be if they actually lived with Stevens with the fake series Diff’rent-ish Strokes. Dre realizes that even his friends are of no use; Gigi’s extravagant life and lack of maternal instincts spells trouble, and of course Charlie’s not actually an option, Dre just misses him and wanted to give him a shoutout. (We miss him, too, Dre. We miss him, too). In the end, even “cut from the same cloth” Drake is vetoed because, well let’s face it, he’s from Canada.

At the end of the workday, Dre and Bow come together to realize that neither of them have found more suitable alternatives than their respective mothers. It’s time for a MOM OFF!

Dre and Bow sit Ruby and Alicia down (Alicia via video chat) to ask them a few questions and see who would in fact make the better guardian in the event of Dre and Bow’s deaths. Ruby pulls a politician (and specifically Donald Trump) move by saying phrases like she’ll “do something big” and “make this family great again.” On the other hand, Alicia wants to sit the kids down and discuss energies and spirit animals (although it’s strange, who doesn’t want to know Diane’s spirit animal?).

Once again, Dre and Bow are at a standstill over what to do, so all they can do is harp on each other as the night ends. But in the morning, they come back together and Bow gives in. She says that Ruby is definitely the choice for the kids, but Zoey has other ideas.

NEXT: The kids are in for some rude awakenings