Black-ish recap: Man at Work |

TV Recaps | Black-ish

Black-ish recap: 'Man at Work'

Wanda Sykes shakes things up.

(ABC/Eddy Chen)


Season 2, Ep. 9 | Aired Dec 02

This week, we learn a lot from the Required Dre Johnson Preamble at the start of the episode. In it, Dre tells us about his background, growing up as a good kid in ’80s Compton. Even when trouble found him, good friends were able to keep his head on straight. The speech is all about how you should never forget where you came from — and, more pertinently, who you came up with. Your crew, your entourage, your best friends, your bearded artist friend named Sha who’s annoying your whole family by sleeping on the couch all day and not showering.

That last one is especially relevant right now. Sha’s in town for an art show, and since he spent his childhood personally looking out for young Dre back in the day — even took a bullet BB for him! — he figures he’s allowed to help himself to Dre’s luxe couch cushions. Bow (surprise) disagrees.

Also: Theme alert! Over at Dre’s work, Mr. Stevens’ excitement level is as popped as the collar on his pink polo shirt. Why? His ol’ college pal and business partner, Philip Lido, is stopping by. See how similar that is to Dre’s situation with Sha? #Loyalty.

Anyway, this all makes a lot of sense — the company is called Stevens & Lido, yet they’ve never explained or shown us who Lido is. Now we finally get to meet Dre’s other boss. Yay! We find out that Stevens and Lido started this business all on their own, with nothing but a measly $5 million dollars from their fathers.

The only problem is…Philip doesn’t show up. Wanda Sykes does instead. Double yay! As promised before, Sykes has finally arrived to Black-ish as Daphne, Philip’s ex-wife. She divorced Mr. Stevens’ best friend due the fact that he was a rampant (and apparently cinematic) cheater. As part of the breakup, she gets the company — that’s right, Sykes is the captain now. This is terrible news for Mr. Stevens and his unchecked priv, because Sykes immediately starts shaking up the status quo. Women and minorities, come to the front of the table — Daphne wants you to have your “Rosa Parks moment”! Even Charlie, the self-declared “back-up black guy,” gets excited!

In fact, Charlie’s doubly excited because Daphne came here from France, which he thinks means soon they’ll all be working only two-day week and having one-minute meetings. Daphne has other ideas, though — she confides in Dre that she wants to fire Charlie. Or rather, she wants him to fire Charlie. She thinks he’s useless, much to Dre’s dismay. Firing his best work friend? A hard pill to swallow. Which sneakily brings us back to our Word of the Day — it’s up to Dre to defend his boy Charlie. #Loyalty!

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Mr. Stevens is having a #Loyalty crisis, too. He’s severely saddened by Philip’s absence. The man isn’t even shaving anymore, one of the most telltale signs of WASP depression. And he’s blaming it all on Daphne. As he tells Dre in the hallway, “I think that bitch killed my soulmate.”

Meanwhile, back at Casa Johnson, Sha is roaming around the house, making his own soap, and lounging around in his cut-off calf-length pant-shorts, a paint-splattered T-shirt three sizes too small, checkered purple socks, and, yes, Birkenstocks. Bow can’t handle it.

At work, Charlie interprets Dre’s “step your game up” advice as start “coming to the office dressed like a pawn-store Lucious Lyon,” which enrages Dre. Making matters worse is the fact that he wore a fur coat to a PETA meeting — though, to his credit, he thought it was a pita meeting. ALSO to his credit, his prepared pita presentation is basically brilliant. “Pita: Flat is where it’s at!” ALSO ALSO to his credit, the montage of Charlie’s best-worst moments of work throughout the seasons was a hilarious reminder of how essential Deon Cole is to Black-ish.

In other words, Dre must find a way for him to keep his job. But Bow is on Daphne’s side. She’s forced to sit him down on their bed and say that she gets — even respects! — his impulse to protect his crew. But, she tells him, Dre’s family is his crew now. His wife and children are his new E, Turtle, and Drama.

NEXT: Dre realizes his wife was right all along