If there were ever a time for Dre to be thankful for his family, tonight’s episode of Black-ish would be it. On the series’ season 2 finale, Dre’s worries about layoffs continued and didn’t really get a resolution. And yet, by the end of the episode, fears about the Johnsons’ future were a distant memory as the family proved once again, in both gravy dream and reality, why they are one of the most supportive and stable families on television.
Much like its title, “Good-ish Times,” the episode followed a similar story line to family sitcoms of the past. Dre tells Bow that maybe she should start taking things easy and take time off of work as she had to work during every one of her other pregnancies. Dre is confident that he can take care of the family, despite Bow’s concern, as he believes the latest round of layoffs have ended. But when Stevens fires Lucy (and on her birthday no less), clearly things may not be looking up for Papa Johnson. Thank goodness Charlie didn’t get fired. If his initial reaction were any indication of how he would take that news, it seems safe to say the whole office would be destroyed.
When Dre gets home, he finds an entire family on the same side; they all agree that Bow should take some time off (though of course Ruby’s reasoning is because Bow looks haggard and apparently she wants to carry the baby herself…creepy!). Pops even praises Dre for wanting to hold down his house by himself.
Because Dre always believes the weight of the family’s world is all on his shoulders, he keeps this new round of layoffs to himself and drowns his sorrows in a bowl of biscuits and gravy and falls asleep while watching a marathon of the ’70s classic Good Times. Suddenly, Dre begins to dream as though his family were the actual Good Times family.
Of course we’re treated to jokes upon jokes about life in the ’70s (O.J. Simpson and the Houston Oilers both come up), but the dream Dre has essentially follows a similar theme to his real life: Dream Dre and Dream Bow — named Keith and Thelma — discover they’re pregnant, and they’re worried about how to support the child. But obviously, there are quite a few changes.
For starters, Dre and Bow are not married, and Ruby and Pops are now Bow’s parents (though even in this alternate reality, Ruby is still more partial to Dre over Bow). Pops and Ruby are also the parents of Junior and Jack (J.J. and Michael, respectively from Good Times) while Zoey and Diane are now intended to be the Willona and Penny characters, the best friends/neighbors.
In this reality, Dream Dre tells Dream Bow that, despite being broke and pregnant, he can still take care of them as he has a football tryout the next day that is destined to take him to NFL stardom. He gets everyone’s hopes up about living a better life when they all find out about the pregnancy, as well, but when he hurts his knee in the tryouts and is told he’ll never play football again, Dream Dre hides the injury and pretends as though the tryout was a success. After the family takes turns telling him their dreams for a better, less broke life, Dream Dre finally snaps and reveals the truth.
Dream Pops takes the news the hardest, yet somehow everyone quickly forgives Keith and tells him that their baby will be supported no matter how little money they all have. The family sticks together, which makes real-life Dre realize the same about his real-life family.
NEXT: Will Dre keep his job?