ABC’s black-ish returned for season 5 last night, and there is a lot for fans to be happy about. For starters, Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Dre (Anthony Anderson) are still together following the intense divorce arc from last season that sent me into a mild depression. Junior’s (Marcus Scribner) high school graduation was a high point of the season, but it also meant that he was headed off to college. What would this mean for his character on the show? Apparently nothing. In the season opener Junior opted for a gap year, which means he’s here to stay, for now. I’m also happy to report that college has not completely isolated Zoey (Yara Shahidi) from the rest of her family, as she appeared in the premiere. Pops (Laurence Fishburne) and Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) are still offering hilarious, unsolicited opinions on Bow and Dre’s parenting. However, my eyes were firmly on Diane (Marsai Martin) who is on the precipice of something great. In fact, I’m calling it now: Diane is going to shine in this season.
While Dre and Bow were trying to figure out what to do with Junior — who unexpectedly returned home just days after being dropped off at Howard University, insisting that he needed to take a gap year — Diane and her twin Jack (Miles Brown) were making some pretty big life decisions of their own. With help from Ruby, the pair reluctantly realizes that the time has come for them to have separate bedrooms. As they get ready to knock on puberty’s door, the twins are overdue for some privacy. Jack needs to be able to oil up his triceps on his own time; Diane’s bras are beginning to distract her brother’s friends; and Ruby is nervous that they may become a little too close for comfort as they age.
It’s bittersweet for the inseparable siblings, but it’s great foreshadowing of how Diane’s character is going to evolve. For four years, Diane has stood out as the smart, calculating, savage member of the Johnson tribe. She’s had big girl goals since she was small and is known for operating on a blueprint of her own design. This has laid the groundwork for her to blossom into a black-ish powerhouse in the current season. We already know that she and Jack are headed to middle school this year. Diane is going to develop what is being called her first crush — although we know her first crush was actually Zoey’s grown-ish boo, Aaron (Trevor Jackson). And the two of them have a reputation to uphold in the seventh grade. All of these moments are opportunities for Diane to put her absolute best foot forward.
My guess is that when Diane and Jack decided to part ways as roommates, it was the beginning of what is going to be some serious character development for both of them. It’s very possible that middle school is going to be the catalyst for the twins to operate as individuals. Diane already seems to be standing a little taller and ready to take on the world. While I love Jack, we have to be honest about the fact that the Johnsons' girl children are actually the cream of the crop. And if Zoey’s light shone bright enough for her to get her own spinoff show, I can’t wait to see what the black-ish writers have in store for Diane. I see an Emmy nomination in the very near future for Martin.
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