by Ariana Romero | via Refinery29
So much of the grown-ish cast of characters has flourished before our very eyes over its first season. Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) went from the too-cool-for-school eldest Johnson kid to a veritable weirdo with enough awkward tendencies to merit her own sitcom. Ana Torres (Francia Raisa) has left her puke-drenched first day of college behind in favor of a descent into obsessive social media trolling and the constant possibility her entire family is sleeping with each other. Even art bae Luca Hall (Luka Sabbat) has been given some real layers after revealing he lives in constant fear of growing up to be like his alcoholic father (Zoey did not care enough about that last little detail, but I do).
Poor comedic relief Vivek Shah (Jordan Buhat) has not been given the same kind of character-developing treatment. Tell me what you know about Vivek other than his drug dealing, computer expertise, shame over his sweet-sounding dad being a cab driver, and general air of desperation, all of which was laid out in the premiere. Is it nothing? Do you know absolutely nothing else about Vivek Shah? Well, all of that finally changes with “Who Gon Stop Me.”
One of grown-ish’s best freshman season decisions was to be unapologetically and aggressively honest about college party culture, starting with its one-hour premiere, where Zoey picked up an Adderall habit. While Zoey’s Adderall abuse is only used as a plot line for a single episode, second installment “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” it’s actually followed our heroine ever since if you’ve been paying attention. Every once in a while, someone will mention the prescription pills or casually question Zoey’s dependency on the drug.
After all of this subtle plotting, we end up at the natural conclusion: a deep dive into drug culture at Cal U. When a rumor runs through campus claiming a drug dealer has been “popped” — “a classic two to the back of the head” — our BFFs assume it has to be bumbling low-level businessman Vivek. “Yo, deadass, Vivek’s dead,” Luca cooly says with the air of someone who’s definitely smoked a little that evening. Then, as the grown-ish crew witness emergency services dragging a body into an ambulance, Vivek shows up, alive and well. “Hey guys. Did somebody get shot?” he asks, loudly sipping on a large boba tea.
That is the last we see of harmlessly funny Vivek.
Although Vivek isn’t dead, the murdered student was legitimately a dealer, top dog Arturo. The unexpected death leaves a vacuum in the campus drug supply; a supply that is further hampered by a movement to crack down on all narcotic contraband on school property. With so much heat on dealers, everyone leaves the game… except for Vivek. Within days, he’s the king of campus, with the threads, VIP tables, and high-powered connections to prove it.
Even Luca is jealous, quietly muttering he’s “been to Paris” in an attempt to one-up Vivek. No one even responds.
Click HERE to read the rest of the recap, “Who Gon Stop Me.”