'Black-ish' Season 7 Premiere Review: Johnson family deals with the coronavirus pandemic in brilliant comeback
'Black-ish' did a great job in depicting how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted lives across the world and it does so in its usual touching way
It's taken a long time but 'Black-ish' has finally returned for a new season. The seventh season premiered with Andre "Dre" Johnson Sr (Anthony Anderson) opening with lines about the elephant in the room: the coronavirus pandemic. Dre has been bummed out because the pandemic led to the NBA season being disrupted.
Of course, Dre also shows the importance of social distancing and sanitizing when he runs from his wife, Dr Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) when she comes back from work with takeaway food. It's only their son, Andre "Junior" Johnson Jr (Marcus Scribner) who appreciates his mother for being a "national hero" and an "essential worker".
Dre thinks of himself as an essential worker — not that anyone else agrees that Dre's job as an advertisement executive makes him one. However, Dre believes that he is one because of the "creative images" he makes comforts people in "a time of crisis" and gives them hope. Unfortunately, even his colleagues don't agree.
Dre's plagued mind is, however, perhaps more recognizable than we think it to be. At a time when most of us are feeling helpless and locked in place, we could perhaps recognize Dre's need to feel like he is making a change and being an inspiration to others.
So Dre continues working on his "masterpiece" to spread hope. His masterpiece is an ad about hands and touching — and here, 'Black-ish' shows how it always excels in creating situational comedic moments. Dre finally realizes he is not, after all, essential. But he does show how important family members of essential workers are, in the support that they provide.
For Rainbow, it's a different conversation with her colleagues. While Dre laments that no one is acknowledging him as an essential hero, Rainbow laments that even though she and her fellow doctors are acknowledged as essential workers, they aren't shown the appreciation in ways that matter.
We also see Junior's girlfriend, Olivia (Katlyn Nichol, now a series regular), come over to spend time with him — something that Rainbow does not approve of. These scenes were, of course, to show that essential workers have more to worry about than their work and it is that they hope their families are safe as well. Rainbow is disappointed that her most trusted family member could be flouting social distancing rules.
Later, when Rainbow talks to Junior about it, he tells her that it has been really hard to be apart. Rainbow also explains why she is so angry — how she kept dealing with patient after patient, even a woman her age who was an essential worker in a supermarket.
'Black-ish' does a great job in depicting how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted lives across the world. We see Dre working from home (wearing basketball shorts) and Junior having video call dates with his girlfriend. We even see Rainbow and Junior lament about the government's shortcomings in dealing with the virus as well as the people who continue ignoring safe distancing rules.
The episode also rightfully shows how hard it is for those who are fighting the pandemic daily — especially when it comes to dealing with those who do not make a big deal about the pandemic. Will there be a time we can look forward to when the pandemic is a thing of the past? We can't tell. However, we are thankful that our experiences are being reflected on television on a show that is great at doing just that.
'Black-ish' also ends on a positive, hopeful note, reminding us that it is up to everyone to make sure we get through this pandemic. 'Black-ish' airs on ABC on Wednesday nights at 9.30 pm EST.