by Rebecca Farley | via Refinery29
Well, grown-ish crew, it’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it? Just a few weeks ago, Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) was a college freshman trying (and relatablely more often than not, failing) to juggle school work, new friendships, sex, love, crying parents, and a burgeoning abuse of prescription pills. Now, thirteen episodes later, we’ve officially closed the door on Zoey’s first year at Cal U with “Back & Forth,” and even kicked the Adderall habit.
Considering all the flirty buttons on recent episodes — Luca Hall (Luka Sabbat) dreamily staring at Zoey in the design room; Aaron Jackson (Trevor Jackson) dreamily staring at Zoey in a bar; both of them dreamily declaring their love at the dance — it’s no surprise the finale wrapped up Zoey’s freshman year adventures by forcing her to decide her romantic future.
Yet, I truly didn’t believe the season-ender would actually finish with such a clear winner among Luca, Aaron, or, eye roll, Cash Mooney (Da’Vinchi), who re-appeared in the final seconds of “Crew Love.” Instead, I assumed grown-ish would throw a curveball into all of this relationship chaos with a prospective Teen Vogue summer gig in New York City or a crossover-friendly Johnson family emergency to send its heroine running back to black-ish. Petty love troubles would pale in comparison to those kinds of life-altering decision predicaments.
But, no, grown-ish season 1 ends with Zoey picking art bae Luca once and for all. Sorry, Aaron and your neck-nape braid. Good riddance for good, Cash, please let the door hit you on the way out. Although Zoey’s final romantic decision is exciting, the real fun of the finale is watching Zoey’s journey toward picking Luca for good.
We kick off “Back & Forth,” which takes place entirely the night after the freshman formal, with Zoey agonizing over which attractive man she will choose. Since there’s literally no movement on that front, grown-ish pairs each possible suitor with one of Zoey’s friends. Aaron bumps into Ana (Francia Raisa) in the cafeteria line. Nomi (Emily Arlook) tracks down the aroma of blueberry hornet weed to Luca’s room. Poor Jazz (Chloe Bailey) and Sky Foster (Halle Bailey) are stuck listening to plot device Cash swear his romantic allegiance to Zoey.
With alliances made throughout campus — although freakin’ Cash is the only one who actually sought out his designated Zoey Friend — it’s time to throw all of these ladies together. So, Zoey ends up picking each of them up throughout the dorm until they’re all convened in a campus lounge. Now that everyone is together, it’s time to play Fuck, Marry, Kill, televised bleeps included. Francia recommends sleeping with Cash, wedding Aaron, and killing Luca. Aaron does want to buy Zoey Hamilton tickets.
Everyone else follows suit. Nomi says to bang Luca, marry Aaron, and kill Cash. For the record, this is also what I think Zoey should do. Yet, Nomi and I don’t agree why this strategy makes sense. In Nomi’s mind, “bang” is the top designation, so she’s giving her marijuana-smoking pal the gold star in this competition. When everyone reminds Nomi you can also have sex with your husband, she is disgusted. Nomi is a perfect person.
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