It’s Halloween time once again for the Johnson family, but instead of prank wars and a heavy emphasis on family group costumes, we get psychological wars and a heavy emphasis on family dynamics with the introduction of the Johnson cousins, including Dre’s cousin Junebug.
Dre begins his narration telling Black-ish fans what they already know: He loves Halloween. Ever since he was a little kid dressing up as the Silver Surfer (not the Tin Man) with a hairnet on his head, stealing money from his mother’s purse to get on the bus and travel to the best Halloween candy houses, Dre has obsessed over the spooky holiday. Now that he lives in one of those best Halloween candy houses, it’s a free-for-all for trick-or-treaters, including his kids’ “hood cousins”.
The episode cleverly brings us back to the Johnson family group costume from “The Prank King” while introducing the “hood cousins” (in a Straight Outta Compton gag that would have been insane not to use), who basically kick the crap out of Dre’s own “soft-ass” kids, which he lets happen every year as his own little tradition. You may think it’s not the best parenting technique in the world, but Dre clearly swears by it. And considering that Junior designates his hands by their calligraphy skills and knows the names of TV movies starring Farah Fawcett and Judith Light, Dre might have a point about his kids and their “soft-ass”-ness. Then again, they may get that from their old man — as we see from the appearance of Dre’s cousin Junebug.
Once again, we see why Dre and Bow are one of the great couples on comedy television right now, from their couples costumes (You always go classic Michelle Obama over Teen Choice FLOTUS, Bow!) to their adorable pep talks, which begin with Dre fixing sinks and cars with zero tools and lots of tears. As we already know, the Johnson family all get into the holiday spirit, but Ruby cannot stand the holiday. She insults both Dre and Bow’s embrace of Halloween and Bow’s dinner, and she hands out tiny Bibles to trick-or-treaters throughout the night (Bow’s treats give the kids cavities, while Ruby’s give them “everlasting life”). Junior walks in with his Halloween costume as one of POTUS’ Secret Service, and, because it’s Junior, he takes it way too seriously. No, really. He’s been following his dad around all week, even monitoring his bathroom breaks.
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Joy stops by for a little morning top-off of racism and the added bonus of kid-hatred, letting Bow know that the neighborhood will have a guard for the “big, scary kids” who will be coming out to trick-or-treat, as the kids prepare for their not-so-equal duel with their cousins. But this time around, it’s the cousins who are getting “mollywhopped.” Junior, Zoey, Jack and Diane have apparently been training for 364 days for this very rematch, so the Johnson kids get the element of surprise and the jump on their cousins. But it’s Dre who’s in for the biggest surprise as Junebug makes his triumphant return to Dre’s life with a tray of candy apples in tow.
NEXT: We finally learn what the heck “tea kettle” means. It’s pretty literal.