Grown-ish Episode 12 Recap: Generation of Not Being in Love

Zoey (Yara Shahidi) declares Drake the voice of her generation at the top of this episode, with an emphatic speech about how the emotional lyrics written on the screen so perfectly capture the way her and her peers relate to each other. “We live in a generation of, not being in love, and not being together/But we sure make it feel like we’re together,” the words on the screen read as Zoey makes her way through a crowded party. It’s only freshman year and already Zoey seems disillusioned by the drinking and dating scene. She’s ready to settle down with one guy, but do any of the dudes she’s into have feelings for her? Zoey makes it a mission in this episode to find out if Aaron and Luca like her too. But she’s just putting off the fateful question she’ll eventually have to ask herself — which one will she choose?

While Zoey is in relationship purgatory, Jazz (Chloe Bailey) has officially made Doug her boyfriend, by way of comfort level, i.e. dropping a deuce while he was still over. “The next time I came over, he had baby wipes for me,” Jazz enthused. Even Zoey’s jealous, “is this how it feels to be another girl looking at me?” she asks, “because I hate it.”

Zoey can’t figure out where she stands with Aaron (Trevor Jackson) and Luca (Luka Sabbat). She decides to pull a Drake by being low key vulnerable — which translates to dropping hints about the formal in front of both boys. It’s not working on Luca. He’s so far out in space he thinks the twins were dating, and instead of asking Zoey out when she starts hinting harder, he declares that he is designing her a dress. With Aaron, Zoey “casually” brings up Jazz’s changed relationship status. Instead of taking the bait Aaron asks what anyone is still doing on Facebook. Aaron calls her both “his girl” and “his homie” in the space of about three minutes, and fed up with the mixed signals, Zoey leaves no closer to figuring out his true feelings.

The night of the formal, the girls are all getting ready together high school prom style, but with an adult spin — they’re drinking and playing “Never Have I Ever.” Ana (Francia Raisa) is feeling victimized because she hasn’t “done anything”. From kissing a girl to smoking a joint, her experience is very limited. Luca shows up with a gorgeous, somewhat Carrier Bradshaw-esque pink tutu dress for Zoey, sexily zipping her into it. Then he bails. Zoey is shocked that he’s not going to the dance, which she clearly thought he was. “That’s not me,” he explains, “it’s hella corny.”

Lucky Zoey’s got her girls. They roll up to the formal as a #GirlSquad, where Charlie is DJ-ing. It’s a welcome relief to see him after a many episode hiatus. It’s the typical drinking and dancing shenanigans until Aaron unexpectedly crashes the freshman dance and finally says whats on his mind — albeit Kindergarten style. “I ‘like you’ like you,” Aaron admits.

Meanwhile Ana is getting rejected by Nomi. Trying to check boxes off of Ana’s bucket list is not Nomi’s thing. “I just figured if there was anyone to experiment with,” Ana whines, “it would be with one of my beautiful, caring, and supportive friends.” Nomi rolls her eyes, gives Ana a very platonic kiss, and says, “now you’ve lived.”

After a far less platonic kiss, Aaron tells Zoey “I’m down to make this a thing if you are. Think about it.”  Zoey turns around to see Luca standing with flowers. He showed up after all, despite ditching Zoey earlier, and now is hurt that Zoey had a “back-up plan.” “Before tonight I didn’t even realize either of you cared,” Zoey tells him. “Well, now you know.” Caught between two guys she has real feelings for, Zoey turns to Nomi for advice. “You can’t fall into a relationship with someone by default,” Nomi tells her. “It’s time to make a grown up decision, even if that means losing one of them.” Zoey ultimately decides to sleep on it, but a knock at the door interrupts her — of course it’s Cash.

Now faced with three choices and three very different men, Zoey has a big decision to make in next week’s season finale. Will she go with Aaron, the guy she has been crushing on since freshman orientation? Aaron has goals, morals, and ethics. He’s also a senior, which could make it hard to date him after he graduates. Or will Zoey choose Luca, the esoteric artist who challenges her but sometimes teases her a little too hard? With the curveball of Cash back on campus, it’s anyone’s guess which guy Zoey will go with.

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


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