Cash and Zoey Get Closer
While not every college student can relate to dating a star athlete their first semester, most will have memories of feeling betrayed by a new boo. Zoey (Yara Shahidi)’s latest campus crush Cash Mooney (Da’Vinchi) accidentally spilled that she is a “#virgin” on Instagram. Although Cash was attempting to defend her honor against the haters — and even deleted the comment later — the fateful text got 130,000 views. While most of Zoey’s friends think she should “Cash Out”, Luca lets Zoey know that Cash has family drama. It seems his father has been selling off Cash’s high school swag.
A Rough Road Ahead
Zoey decides to be the bigger person and accompany Cash on an awkward-silence-filled road trip to see his Dad. There’s an excellent flashback featuring Zoey’s own father Dre (Anthony Anderson from Black-ish) proving just how good Zoey is at the silent treatment. The only thing that eventually breaks the stonewalling is Cash’s admission that Zoey’s virginity is “good for his brand.” Both Zoey and Cash reveal some tough truths about whether or not they would still be into each other under different circumstances.
Zoey wouldn’t put up with rumors of infidelity and only seeing her boyfriend for an hour a day if he weren’t a superstar athlete, and Cash would be less attracted to Zoey if she were less wholesome. They both have insecurities about their relationship, and being honest about those feelings is hard.
The pair arrives at his Dad’s house and Cash reveals an inexplicable wallet wad of cash that he gives his drunk dad. A single tear running down Cash’s cheek softens Zoey’s heart.
Back on campus, Nomi (Emily Arlook) meets up with her bisexual ex to apologize for her own intolerance about his sexuality. “Two guys kissing is not hot,” Nomi admits. She asks, “if you’re into guys too, how can I ever be enough for you?” This sexuality subplot feels under-explored. Nomi and Dave’s relationship has a lot to say about the state of sexuality, romance, and relationships, but Grown-ish hasn’t quite given either character the depth or screentime to develop a complex argument.
The best the audience gets is Dave’s dismissal of Nomi’s fears about not being enough for him as insecurity, which is not quite the advice modern love gurus like Dan Savage might give in a similar scenario. It’s a big win for bisexual visibility that a relationship like this is even happening on a prime-time television show, but the story so far leaves a lot to be desired.
Zoey missed Vivek (Jordan Buhat)’s birthday party, and when she finally shows up her friends aren’t hesitant to let her know what they think about Cash. Zoey, in turn, roasts all her friends, really taking her time on her former crush Aaron. “You guys don’t know Cash,” Zoey says, “and until tonight, neither did I.” For a girl who claims to be all about her crew, Zoey is putting Cash on a pedestal at the expense of her friendships.
In a convenient, let’s-wrap-this-all-up conversation, Cash admits that (thankfully) Zoey means more to him than just her virginity. They agree, “it’s me and you versus everybody else,” and promise to keep being honest with each other. This theme of prolonged adolescence continues to follow the series — the high school coming-of-age fare of earlier generations was all about losing one’s virginity in high school.
Zoey has made it to college without being deflowered, and now she’s dating a campus celebrity. Beyond the toxicity of basing a woman’s worth on her virginity, most college athletes are celebrated for being players both on the court and in the bedroom. It’s odd that Cash’s first instinct in defending his girl was to call out that they haven’t had sex. Will Cash eventually pressure Zoey to take things further? Or is there a reason why Cash isn’t pushing for more?
Grown-ish, a Black-ish spinoff continues its 13 episode season Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Freeform.
In case you missed it, read the previous episode review here.
Photo and video credit: Freeform/Tyler Golden
Remember to subscribe to our newsletter!