‘Black-ish’ Season 4, Episode 8 Recap: Dre Learns the Importance of Charity, Junior Fails His Driving Test
We've gone a few weeks without black-ish, but now that's it back, we're watching Dre grow as he's forced to understand the importance of giving and Junior step up as the eldest now that Zoey's out of the house.
With Kendrick Lamar as his soundtrack, Dre schools America on its obsession with charity and the need to always be recognized for giving back.
"Americans love charity. The only thing we love more than charity is being recognized for doing charity. Angelina Jolie has a specific charity outfit. Don't get me wrong. She brings a lot of joy to children around the world, but she also brings camera crews."
After his brief, but powerful monologue, Dre walks into his office conference room to join Mr. Stevens, Josh, Connor and Charlie. The company cohort discusses the need for charity and the reasons that drive Americans to give (beyond what Dre so kindly pointed out at the beginning of the show). Mr. Stevens motto about giving is vain, but simple: "I love giving back. How else are people supposed to know you're rich?"
Fed up with the conversation, Dre goes home to discuss the meaning of charity and giving with Bow. Bow educates Dre on ways to give, and tells him it's not always about giving money— sometimes you can just give your time. Bow then reminds Dre that she spent two weeks overseas providing medical treatment to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to care. Dre looks at Bow confusingly as he tries to recall her so-called charity trip, but then remembers she might have been traveling during March Madness and if that was the case, then he definitely wasn't paying attention.
Bow tells Dre to clean out his closet and donate clothing to a local shelter. Dre tries to argue and provide reasons for not being able to give away his various fashion-forward ensembles, but Bow kindly points out that he has repeat clothing, i.e. more than one of the same thing in the exact same color. Since a happy wife makes for a happy life, Dre ultimately bags up a few of his designer threads and heads to a homeless shelter. On the way there, he points out that homeless shelters would get more donations if they were more conveniently located. Then, he sees a sign telling him not to give his clothes to a shelter but to a homeless man sleeping on a bench in front of the community coffee shop.
Dre leaves his clothes with the man, and sees him wearing the exact same outfit he's rocking while driving to work with Charlie. Charlie tells he has a homeless twin, and needs to fix that before people think it's him sleeping on the street. Dre tries to explain everything to Bow when he gets home from work, but as usual, she thinks he's being crazy. That is, until, Janine comes over to have a woman-to-woman moment with Bow, and let her know that Dre's cheating on her and sleeping on street benches since he obviously can't come home. Bow tries to explain, but we all know Janine doesn't stop talking long enough to listen—not even to herself.
Dre goes back to the street bench in front of the coffee shop to steal his clothes back, and leave the homeless man with some less appealing attire but winds up inviting him for coffee instead. And instead of continuously referring to him as the homeless man, Dre learns his name is Greg. The two chat, Dre realizes how much they have in common— like the fact that they grew up in the same area and went to the same places for haircuts and shopping. He then finds himself contemplating life because he realizes Greg's life could have been his.
When Dre gets home, he sits down with Bow and opens up about his feelings regarding homeless people and giving back. He admits he avoids the homeless because it reminds him of one of his biggest fears and his check-to-check childhood. Thankfully, Bow is his light at the end of the tunnel, and she informs him that perhaps his ability to relate to the homeless can be his way of giving back.
Meanwhile, Junior trying to get his driver's license so he can step in to fill Zoey's shoes and shuttle the twins around the way she did. Ruby and the twins set up a surprise congratulations party to celebrate Junior's latest rite of passage only to find out he didn't pass, because he didn't yield. Junior apologizes for failing the test, but Jack tells him not to be sorry. In fact, he says, "It's our fault for believing in you."
Ruby pulls Junior to the side and tells him if he wants wants Jack and Diane to respect him like they did Zoey then he's going to have to earn it. Thus, Junior talks Ruby into being his over-25 licensed driver— as long as he agrees to call her Big Mama J— and tells the twins he's taking them on an adventure to the science center for the day. An unexcited Jack, Diane and Big Mama J get into the car and fall asleep while being forced to listen to a podcast about something only Junior is into. They stop at a gas station along the way, and after accidentally dinging and ripping a windshield off a parked car, Junior says they have to stay there so he can inform the car's owner of his "wrong doings."
At first Jack and Diane are completely over the situation, but after venturing out in a neighborhood nothing like their own, the twins admit to actually having a good time. In fact, they ask Junior if they can do it again.
It looks like all is still well in the Johnson household...until next time!