When the entire family gets the flu, Dre is called upon to nurse his kids back to health for the first time — and Bow's 'sickness' turns out to be one big surprise
Credit: ABC/Ron Tom
S2 E23
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Time and time again, Black-ish has proved one thing above pretty much all else: Bow is a wonderful mother. It’s something Dre holds to be an undeniable fact, even as he worries about his own insecurities as a father. In fact, having been raised by a single mother, Dre is uniquely aware of just how important and heroic mothers really are to their children. And as we see later in the episode, Dre’s respect for motherhood is increased tenfold when Bow announces she’s pregnant!

As Dre shares at the start of “Daddy Dre-Care,” mothers are the “closest thing we have in real to superheroes.” It’s not about being able to fly or lift cars; a mother’s superpowers include things like being able to make dinner out of the only available ingredients — a flashback shows Ruby turning out a meal for Dre from only macaroni, Spam, and grape jelly. A mother, in Dre’s mind, also seemingly never gets sick, which makes her the perfect person to help nurse her children back to health. Ruby’s methods of treating baby Dre showed fierce love and support but were also totally disgusting. But Bow, Dre explains, has an added superpower of being able to tell just how sick her children (and husband) are with a touch to the forehead.

So when Ruby gets sick with the flu, Dre naturally freaks out over the rare occurrence, and assumes that his own Superman has caught some kind of super bug that will kill them all. And to be fair, he’s got a point. What starts with a flu only Ruby contracted while going for a “trifecta of communal hand-eating gatherings” during flu season, then spreads quickly to Jack who eats Ruby’s leftovers. Jack then spreads his flu germs to Junior out of spite for making fun of him. Dre starts diluting bleach to spray at his family as each goes down with the illness one by one — until finally Bow is also infected. (The recurring bit of Dre screaming “I gotta live” is one of the funniest parts of the episode, in my opinion).

Stevens and Josh just make matters worse when Stevens tells Dre that getting sick in the midst of the uncertain times at the office is a bad idea. And knowing this, Josh comes to work despite being hardcore in the throes of flu season. Charlie and Stevens both give Dre a few ideas on how to combat his sickness, and they both sound disgusting. (Old fish guts in vinegar and tiger semen? Say it with me now: YUCK.) Bow finds Dre as he tries to escape and check into a hotel, but she stops him and tells him he needs to take care of the kids because she is too sick to do it. Dre’s flu paranoia is immediately dialed up to 11.


The kids don’t make things easy on him, either. They scream and complain about being sick but refuse Dre’s help as he tries to give them medicine, food, and comfort, things he learns from Bow that the kids need because apparently he didn’t realize that for himself. Zoey does a hard pass on Dre’s chicken soup, Junior can’t and won’t swallow any pills, and the twins won’t take their liquid medication because they’re worried Dre didn’t get the dosage right. When Jack accidentally sneezes in Dre’s face, he’s all but thrown in the towel until he realizes something important: What kind of father was he that in his kids’ time of need, they want anyone but him? Dre decides that if he’s taking care of the kids, he’s gotta do it his way. Enter Dr. Dre, in more ways than one.

Much like the film upon which this episode was named, Dre actually does a great job with his own style of raising the kids. He sets up the living room as a fort. He pours their medications like tequila shots, replacing the salt and lime with sugar and an orange slice. He makes their chicken soup fun by adding a small piece of fried chicken to their bowls. He even crushes up medication to put in Junior’s orange juice so he can learn to take the right medication.

NEXT: Bow’s “flu” turns out to be one big surprise


Meanwhile, Bow and Ruby are stuck in Dre and Bow’s bedroom together as they share the same symptoms of the flu and are thus quarantined from everyone else. Unsurprisingly the two do not enjoy being imprisoned together at first, but they slowly bond, especially after Ruby shares with Bow a chapter in her life when she was a backup singer in nightclubs for Bette Midler. The two reminisce on other chapters in their lives and wonder what’s next for them, but as Ruby gets better, Bow’s nausea continues on.

Bow notices that the kids are doing better with Dre as their caretaker and compliments her husband on his turnaround in childcare. And Dre reveals that he actually loved nursing the kids back to health and expresses his sadness over missing out on doing these things when they were all younger.

But Bow has a surprise in store for Dre. She mentions to Dre her conversation with Ruby about new chapters in their lives and reveals a positive pregnancy test! That’s right folks, and the new baby will make five kids in the Johnson household, meaning a new, larger car for Dre (RIP Yolanda!) and exciting new moments for season 3! With this wonderful bomb dropped on the penultimate episode of season 2, I can only imagine what’s coming up next week. Anyone else wondering if all this talk about uncertainty at Dre’s job is forewarning us to something major in the finale?

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Bow: Take Tylenol. Three, not four. Four’ll kill you. Two’s not enough.

Junior: Four will kill me??

Bow: And two’s not enough. Aspirin’s weird.

“I gotta live!” —Dre, many, many times.

Bow: You’re not gonna die

Ruby: How can you be sure?

Bow: Because nothing ever works out for me.

“Actually, I’m not worried about getting what you have. Because you can’t catch weakness.” —Diane who then high-fives Junior. Little does she know what’s coming to her.

Ruby: And it should read: “Survived by her son Andre. The light of her life, bravely raising her four grandchildren alone. Survived by her many satisfied lovers, including Compton City Councilman Eugene Tensley, Cyrus from the Real World, and wrestling legend Junkyard Dog”

Bow: I think this is hell. I’m in hell right now.

Dre: Why are you kids so needy?

Diane: Why are you not mom?

“But we’re not watching that Hocus Pocus. That’s the devil s— right there.” —Ruby, as she agrees to a movie marathon starring her former friend, Bette Midler

“No for real, I think I now know what it’s like to be a doctor. And it’s not as hard as you make it out to be.” —Dre

“I now see that I may be the root of our problems.” —Ruby, realizing what we’ve all known from the start about her relationship with Bow.

Bow: I can’t believe you’re making me stand here while you say goodbye to your car.

Dre: Her name is Yolanda, Bow, alright? And she can hear you.

“I promise, I will try and get rid of him before you get here.” —Bow’s words of comfort for her unborn child as Dre mourns over the loss of his car

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