The episode starts off with the Johnson family choosing a movie for the night. Dre wants to watch Breakin’ but the kids aren’t for it. He asks Bow to back him up, but she hasn’t seen the film. After all, they didn’t have TV on the commune.
Dre questions how he ever met Bow. Turns out, they wouldn’t have met if the elders hadn’t been “detained” for three to five years.
Then we go into the flashback of Bow’s happy childhood on the commune. It was a nice, simple, peaceful life where everyone lived in harmony. For Bow and her community, life was a utopia on the commune, but the government didn’t see it that way. To them, they were a radicalized cult in violation of over 47 ATF regulations.
Bow was 12 years old in the summer of 1985, when her family had to move into her grandpa’s rental house. Her younger brother Johan was fascinated by everything, while her five-year-old sister Santamonica complained about everything.
Bow’s parents call the kids in for a little informal rap session, even though he has the talking stick. Bow’s parents met at Berkely Law where her dad dropped out in protest but her mom finished because as a black woman she would need a back-up plan. The kids want to go back to the commune but it turns out that they’re staying in the suburbs.
We’re introduced to Bow’s grandpa, her dad’s dad. He’s basically the embodiment of upper-class white man in the 70s. Though he does make some racist jokes, he doesn’t seem to have anything against Bow’s mom. He even offers her a job at his law firm.
On their first day in the real world, the kids have their first real confrontation with race. Someone asks what they’re mixed with and Bow asks what mixed is. The whole cafeteria laughs at them.
The kids come home with questions of what it means to be mixed. Their parents sit them down for a talk on race. Bow monologues on what it meant to be mixed in the 80s, especially when the only people they had to look up to were DaBarge.
Aunt Dede pays a visit and tries to help out with some new clothes, hair grease, and a hot comb. Their parents aren’t so receptive and tell her that they’re above race.
Johan and Santamonica decide that they need to pick a side when it comes to race. They decide to turn on the Idiot Box, which is what their dad calls the TV. The next day, Santamonica pics the white side of the cafeteria and Johan picks the black side.
Mom decides to take on a job with Grandpa’s law firm. When she comes home from her first day of work in a pantsuit, Bow feels like their new home is changing her. Her dad feels like his wife isn’t setting the best example for the kids.
Bow’s parents have a tough conversation about it all where her mom confronts the fact that things are different for her because of the fact that she is a black woman. Bow’s dad, Paul, finally starts to realize he’s got to be more realistic about the situation.
He has a heart to heart with Bow where she admits that she doesn’t want to deny either side of her identity. Bow’s mom comes in and affirms that they wouldn’t ever think that she was rejecting them by “choosing sides.” It’s a sweet family moment.
The last scene is everyone having a water gun fight. It was super cute.
Honestly, I’ve been looking forward to Mixed-ish and I really liked this first episode. It worked well in establishing the plot. I think it’s easy to follow, even if you aren’t caught up on Black-ish. Mixed-ish is perfect for fans of Fresh Off the Boat, I could totally see those two worlds overlapping.
The actress they chose for Bow is honestly perfect. They could literally be family. I’m also happy that they’ve swapped out Bow’s mom on Black-ish for someone who looks more like they could be Bow’s mom. I never understood the original actress playing Bow’s mother, it just didn’t seem believable to me.