Dre Reconnects With His Old Crew On 'black-ish' After A Jarring Death

Eric McCandless/ABC
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Grief can make people react in some weird ways, and not just with sadness. When one of Dre's childhood friends dies, his reaction is surprise, not just because it's shocking to find out that a middle aged man simply died in his sleep, but because he realizes that his time with his childhood group of pals is limited. Dre has a lot of friends and family from when he grew up back in Compton, but right now, he's firmly ensconced in his privileged, wealthy neighborhood, and that makes him realize that he's been neglecting his friends a bit more than he wants to be. Still grieving, and hot off of some quality bonding time with them at the funeral, he decides to make an effort to not just spend time together, but make an effort to "take care" of them.  

You see, Dre believes he's the successful member of the crew, the one who's responsible for providing the rest of his friends a better, or at least, more luxurious, life. Certainly, Dre is very devoted to the comforts of life, and "made it out" of the hood. But his friends, understandably, don't like being condescended to about their lives. And eventually, they confront him — they appreciate the gifts, but they don't even really need them, and they definitely don't need his self-righteous attitude.

Also, given not nearly enough time in the episode is Marla Gibbs, best known for once playing George Jefferson's maid, Florence, and as the star of 227, here playing Dre's grandmother. She briefly appears as Dre attempts to move her out of the hood, but it's barely enough to justify bringing in such a great guest star. Hopefully, she's back for a fuller appearance soon. She certainly still has a great sense of comedic timing for an octogenarian.

Honestly, it's a little awkward to see this Stand By Me/Boyz in the Hood riff when most of these characters are brand new introductions. The audience isn't really familiar with them, and therefore the meditation on grief feels a little hollow when so many actual recurring characters from Dre's past are still on the show. But hey, even black-ish can have the odd off week.